One of the largest recurring expenses for any business in the UK is its utility bills. Most UK businesses consume between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of energy a year and according to figures provided by Ofgem, this equates to over £3,000 per year on electricity rates and over £800 per year on gas.
However, it’s worth remembering that there are ways to cut back on your business’ utility bills. One action your business can look to take is to scour the energy market for the best deals on offer from a range of energy suppliers, before comparing and ultimately switching to more competitive business tariffs if they are available. This is something Utility Bidder can help you with – we make it easy to compare the best deals on both gas and electricity.
If you are happy with your current rates but still want to cut your energy costs, it’s still possible to reduce your bills by changing employee behaviour. As well as helping you to cut utility expenses and therefore boost your profits, encouraging employees to be more energy efficient and introducing energy saving initiatives can also help to reduce your business’ carbon footprint. But what does this look like in practice?
Energy saving tips for employees
Whether you’re looking to improve your bottom line or boost your business’ corporate reputation, saving energy starts with improving your employees energy usage habits and looking for efficiencies where appropriate. No matter what industry you operate in or what infrastructure, equipment and technology your business uses, making a series of simple changes in the workspace and training employees to work more efficiently could significantly reduce your energy bills.
Basic energy saving tips for employees include the following:
Turning equipment off after every use
From printers and PCs to power tools, heavy machinery and warehouse equipment, regardless of the type of workplace environment your employees operate in, encouraging them to get into the habit of switching appliances off when they are not in use can save a surprisingly large amount of energy. Even when on ‘standby modes’, many common items of office equipment, such as PCs, projectors, printers and copiers still use a lot of electricity. This means, getting your employees into the habit of switching their equipment off when it is not needed – overnight, for example – can result in significant savings over the course of a year. To make it as easy as possible for employees, powerstripsthat allow them to switch multiple appliances off at once, rather than having to turn various pieces of tech off individually.
Keeping the thermostat at a reasonable temperature
While it may come as a surprise, dropping the temperature of your workspace by just one degree Celsius can cut energy usage by up to eight per cent. With this in mind, by encouraging employees to turn the thermostat down just a tiny bit during the colder months, your business may be able to make significant energy savings. While it is naturally very important to ensure the temperature of your workplace is not only safe but also comfortable for all employees, agreeing on a one or two degree drop in temperature with your staff should be considered reasonable. This same principle can also be applied to workplace air conditioning during the warmer months.
Many office-based businesses are still in the habit of physically printing a significant amount of documents. By promoting a paperless corporate policy and encouraging employees to view documents electronically and using email rather than post when communicating with and invoicing clients, the amount of energy saved by reducing printer usage can cut your electricity bill significantly. Additionally, going paperless will also mean you will spend less on paper and ink, as well as potentially cutting down on the amount of physical storage space you need. This is a way of showing customers and staff that the business is proactively taking steps to become more environmentally friendly too.
Motivating your employees
The key to making your business more energy efficient and less wasteful is finding ways to engage and motivate your employees to take an active interest. The best way to achieve this is to start by taking the necessary time to educate staff in energy efficient practices. This can involve practical group training sessions and company meetings to talk through any new company policies, initiatives and incentives you want to introduce.
Make the benefits clear
An extension of initial training and education programmes, continuing to hammer home why saving energy is so important – not just for the finances of the business, but also for the environment – can really help to keep employees engaged. After all, if workers understand why they are trying to save energy, they are more likely to remember to take part. Place posters and stickers in key areas of the workplace, reminding employees of energy efficient practices and outlining the benefits of saving energy – the financial savings, the reduced carbon footprint and the greener corporate image. Also try to publicise any initiatives as part of a company handbook that all employees have access to. Finally, as time goes by, remember to keep staff updated with any progress the company has made. If energy usage is significantly down after a month, for example, let your employees know they are doing a great job. Knowing their actions are making a difference can help to keep workers motivated and committed.
Appoint an ‘energy champion’
Appointing a so-called ‘energy champion’ is also a good way to get employees to buy into new practices and encourage the entire workforce to get involved. This chosen staff member, who should ideally possess strong leadership and communication skills, can help to promote good energy-saving habits and ultimately turn these practices into workplace norms.
Another great way to motivate employees to save energy is through the use of incentives. Setting realistic energy saving targets over months, quarters or years and providing rewards for when these targets are hit can promote a healthy sense of competition that can encourage workers to engage. This can be introduced across different departments, buildings or locations (depending on the size of your business) and rewards could include free team lunches, extra holiday days or even cash bonuses.
If the measures put in place to save energy aren’t quite saving you enough on your energy bills, let Utility Bidder help. We make it easy to find and compare the best energy deals on the market for your business. Why not take a look for yourself today?
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