Lack of responsibility from staff is costing SMEs energy savings

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are missing out on crucial savings because owners and staff are not taking responsibility for energy efficiency in the workplace, according to new research from energy company E.ON.

The study on workplace habits reported that only one in ten workers acknowledged energy efficiency as their role, with employees passing responsibility to more senior staff.

Many junior executives believed that responsibility for energy efficiency in the workplace was the role of the office manager, while many office managers said it was the responsibility of the owner.

Overall, owners or CEOs accepted most responsibility with 22% accepting it was their role to ensure the office was energy efficient.

However, the report said that many bosses are failing to set an example, with a quarter (24%) admitting they rarely think about the issue, and a further one in 10 (11%) taking no measures at all to be more energy efficient.

According to the report, only 28% think regularly about energy efficiency at work, compared to 55% when at home.

The study suggests a lack of communication is playing a decisive role, with nearly two thirds (57%) of employees receiving no clear company guidelines about energy efficiency.

Head of business sales at E.ON, Iain Walker, said: “We appreciate it’s often difficult to dedicate time to educating the workforce about energy saving, but the benefits of implementing better practice can be significant and directly beneficial to all employers.

“You’ll always get some people who are more active than others but I was quite surprised that the overall number of people taking personal responsibility for saving energy, and for passing on help to colleagues, is still relatively low.”

Company chief executives were also the least active in communication, with half of the bosses questioned (51%) saying they never spoke to staff about energy saving.

HR employees were the most active in raising awareness with around a quarter (22%) speaking frequently with colleagues about energy wastage.

Mr Walker added: “I think responsibility for reducing waste should start at the top, with bosses and senior managers passing the message to all employees.

“We recognise leadership is needed, which is why we are calling on key decision makers within the workplace to seek advice and information on the topic, such as the potential for financial savings and simple measures that can be introduced to reduce waste.

Leigh Stringer

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