Three quarters (76%) of employees at Britain’s SMEs work overtime, clocking an additional 1.9 hours a day on average.

The research, from energy company E.ON, was commissioned to tap into the nation’s culture for long working hours, highlighting the impact this can have on the additional cost to businesses as a result of this extra energy use.

The average SME employee works overtime three days a week, and almost a quarter (22%) admitted that most or all of the lights are kept on when they are the last person in the workplace.

Responsibility for switching off at the end of the working day is left to individuals in most cases, with only a small number of workplaces operating timer systems for lights (5%), air conditioning (9%) or heating (25%).

Most people (62%) believe switching the heating and lighting off is the responsibility of the last person in the office, but a quarter (23%) see it as the specific responsibility of others including office managers, cleaners and security staff.

Anthony Ainsworth from E.ON said: “Our results show many businesses remain fully lit, heated and air conditioned after hours – sometimes for just one employee. With the extent of overtime being carried out across the UK on a daily basis, this has the potential to add significantly to energy bills.”

Leigh Stringer

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