UK firms were last week advised that they will have to introduce financial incentives if they wish to change employee's behaviour and encourage them to reduce electricity costs and carbon emissions through energy efficient working practices.
That was the main conclusion of a survey of over 1,000 public and private sector employees undertaken by IT services specialist Logicalis, which found that employee's responsible attitude to energy conservation in the home was not being repeated at work. The survey found that while 94 per cent of people switch off lights at home and 85 per cent switch off their home PC after use, only two thirds switch off lights at work and almost half fail to turn off their PC of an evening.
Chris Gabriel, head of solutions at Logicalis, said the difference between home and workplace attitudes could be at least partly explained by the lack of incentive for staff to save energy at work. "More and more people are eco-warriors at home because they have seen their electricity bills climb and have both an environmental and a financial incentive to turn things off," he argued. "On the drive to work that financial incentive is lost."
He added that this was particularly apparent in the IT department where many IT directors do not have to pay their energy bills despite them representing a significant and growing proportion of IT's running costs. "CIO's should be given control of their electricity bills and told that if they can reduce them they can have a cut of the savings in the form of an annual bonus for their team," said Gabriel. "Given the average datacentre used up £5m in energy last year that would prove a significant incentive to improve things."
Gabriel argued this incentive model could be repeated across the business. "Almost all environmental savings generate cost savings, so if you want staff to drive environmental improvements and feel involved you should give them a cut," he said.
The survey revealed support for this idea with just under two thirds claiming their employer should offer incentives for being green in the workplace.
The report also uncovered widespread dissatisfaction with firms' green policies with just under half of respondents arguing that their employer is only paying lip service to the environment and failing to draw up a coherent company-wide strategy. "We found that around half of respondents now had remote working capabilities, but only 19 percent had contracts that allowed them to use it," said Gabriel. "There really needs to be more joined up thinking and improved leadership to drive these types of green initiatives."
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