Saving business energy costs: 6 tips for getting employees on board
When it comes to business energy costs, most organisations look to reducing their financial commitment in three main ways:
- They look at the structure and efficiency of their building and implement changes to make the premises more energy efficient.
- They turn to technology to manage lighting, power saving equipment modes and automation.
- They regularly research and compare business energy prices in order to ensure they’re on the best deal for them.
However, most businesses overlook the fact that in many ways, their employees significantly influence how much energy the business uses. Businesses still pay too much for their energy, despite all of the measures above if they don’t have buy-in and commitment from their people.
If your staff set the heating/air conditioning too high and for too long, if they boil a full kettle for one cup of tea and leave computers and other equipment on overnight – they’ll be significantly impacting how much energy your business uses and subsequently your energy bills.
It’s therefore important to involve your people in all of your energy-saving initiatives as well as involving them in your decisions and objectives so that you have their buy-in and commitment to making a difference, not only to your business but to the wider impact your business has on the environment.
Here are 6 tips we recommend to getting your people committed to helping you reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint.
Tip 1: Communicate your objectives
Most people think about energy saving when they’re in their own homes – partly to reduce unnecessary spend and partly because they have a desire to make a positive environmental impact. When it comes to the workplace however, these great intentions are often left at home.
It’s important to explain your objective to your employees and why it’s important. This includes being transparent about costs and how much you’d like to save. Setting a target – such as “we want to save energy costs by 10% in the next 12 months” will also help your people to focus and understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
Tip 2: Create a project team
It’s important to get your people involved in your energy saving initiatives from the start by asking for their ideas. By helping them shape your energy strategy, they’ll feel a sense of ownership of the initiatives, and you’ll probably uncover a vast number of ideas that you won’t have thought of otherwise.
A key step in any energy saving initiative is to audit each area of your business to identify areas for improvement – and there’s nobody better to get this done than the people that work in the various departments of your organisation. It’s a good idea to ask for volunteers who would like to participate in the initiative – that way you’ll attract people to the team who are passionate about your objectives and committed to making the project a success.
Tip 3: Give useful information
The next step is to provide your people with all of the information they will need in order to cut their energy use. This involves going further than simply telling people to switch off lights. Instead, it means going through practical actions that they can follow.
For example, your employees may not know whether they are allowed to turn a particular piece of equipment off if they find it running but not in use, as they may not know whether turning the piece of equipment off will affect business operations. You should therefore explain which equipment should never be switched off, which equipment should only be switched off by trained personnel, and which equipment can be turn off by anyone.
Tip 4: Establish policies
Establishing policies and formal guidelines relating to your energy saving initiatives is a great way to give structure and formality to your efforts. An example is creating a tea rota. This prevents people from making only one or two cups of tea at a time. Instead, everyone gets their tea or coffee together. This means the kettle only has to be boiled once.
Other examples include putting in place an open routine for the first person in each day and a closing routine for the last person to leave. This ensures things are only switched on when they need to be and that everything is switched off before the building is locked up for the night.
Tip 5: Incentivise
Another great method of motivating employees to cut their energy use in the office is to incentivise them to do so. If you relate these incentives to your energy targets (for example, hitting a 10% saving in annual energy costs), and give something that is meaningful to your employees, they’re likely to remain focused on your goals.
Company-wide incentives could involve some kind of social event, or you could link the incentive to your CSR strategy by pledging to donate a percentage of the savings towards a cause that’s important to your people. Either way, if your people see that someone else will benefit from compliance – either themselves or a group in need – they’re more likely to get behind what you’re trying to achieve.
Tip 6: Lead by Example
Finally, it’s important to make sure that you and your management/senior team lead by example. Leaders set the tone for employees through examples set in everyday tasks and by leading by example, not only will your employees pick up on your positive cues, they’re far more likely to respect and follow your example.
If you’d like further advice on reducing your business energy costs, contact United Gas & Power on 0844 318 0044.
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