SME bosses struggling to engage workforce in energy efficiency

Energy waste is one of the top irritations for seven out of ten small business leaders, as two-fifths (38%) say they are in charge of monitoring and managing their company's energy consumption.

According to a new survey, carried out by energy firm E.ON, although minimising costs is the main motivation for SME leaders wanting to see greater workplace efficiency (69%), four out of ten said that a poor reputation for sustainability could lead to customers viewing their business in a negative light.

As a result, controlling energy waste is seen as the most important thing for maintaining business efficiency, behind accurate budgeting and collecting debt.

Older generations of business leaders appear to be more motivated, with 70% of bosses aged 35 to 54 tracking energy consumption, compared to half (50%) of respondents aged 18 to 34.

The focus also varies across sectors, with catering and hospitality revealed as most proactive (72%) and professional services shown to monitor the least (63%).

The research of 1,000 small business decision-makers also provides insight into some of the measures small business leaders are taking to encourage a more positive attitude to workplace energy performance.

Nearly half (43%) set improvement targets and a quarter align staff bonuses with overall business efficiency.

Other measures businesses said would help encourage staff to monitor energy consumption more closely include real time information showing use/waste (39%) and a breakdown of consumption across heating, lighting, machinery and equipment (36%).

Backing the corner of SME leaders, E.ON said that senior staff might not always have time to keep track of consumption, and businesses that are able to embed a culture of monitoring throughout the workplace will have a greater chance of improving overall business efficiency.

Leigh Stringer

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