By Daniel Hunter

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

In the study on workplace habits, just one in ten workers acknowledged energy efficiency as their role, with the results revealing that employees frequently “pass the buck” when it comes to taking responsibility for saving energy at work: many junior executives believed it was the role of the office manager, while many office managers said it was the responsibility of the owner or more senior managers.

Owners or chief executives accepted most responsibility overall, with 22 per cent accepting it was their role to ensure the office was energy efficient. But many bosses are failing to set an example, with a quarter (24 per cent) admitting they rarely think about the issue, and a further one in 10 (11 per cent) taking no measures at all to be more energy efficient.

Only 28 per cent think regularly about energy efficiency at work, compared to 55 per cent when at home. The E.ON study suggests a lack of communication is playing a decisive role in this, with nearly two thirds (57 per cent) of employees receiving no clear company guidelines about energy efficiency.

Iain Walker, Head of Business Sales at E.ON, 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.”

Crucially, company chief executives were also the least active in communication, with half of the bosses questioned (51 per cent) saying they never spoke to staff about energy saving. HR employees were the most active in raising awareness with around a quarter (22 per cent) speaking frequently with colleagues about energy wastage.

Iain 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.

“With this in mind, we’re rolling out nationally accredited energy saving training to all our 4,000 front-line colleagues who will be able to give specialist energy advice. Whichever way a customer comes to see us, they can be assured there’s no one better placed than E.ON to help their business to save energy.”

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