Saturday, January 20, 2007

Employees Don't Bring Home to Work

at least when it comes to energy conservation. According to a recent study in the UK of 1,000 employees, most employees are much better at conserving energy at home than in the workplace. This includes switching off lights (94 percent to 66 percent), and turning off PCs (85 vs. 53), among other, very British, questions such as boiling just enough water for a single cuppa (54 vs. 10)

Surprising? Not really. What is surprising is that half of the respondents said that their companies don't care about environmental issues. Here's where the savvy really kicked in; for example, 75 percent pointed out that their companies recycle paper, but don't use recycled paper themselves. Or the fact that 75 percent of them have access to double sided printers, but only 25 percent were given training on how to use them.

I see this type of response all the time, companies think they are doing something, but their efforts are far outpaced by workers' expectations, producing nothing but backfire. Close the loop - if you are going to recycle paper, use recycled paper. If you are going to print double-sided, show employees how to do it.


Anita said...

Saw your post on Digg ... you have an excellent blog, congrats on getting Dugg (I loved the article, and this one too).


Unknown said...

Of course the question is whose responsibility is it to endeavor to save energy... in a public space, it is much rarer for people to proactively do something like turn lights off, etc. Think back to the days of having roommates and the dirty dishes that piled in the sink or mess that was left in a common area. Add to that the fact that few corporate workplaces empower employees to think for themselves, let alone take control of these types of things proactively. I know more than just a few that would require a cost-savings proposal that would get several signatures prior to anything actually getting done.

BUT, with that said... some pretty pioneering companies are actually making CO2 reduction a management performance indicator. As more managers are "graded" by their efforts to use less energy, conservation will likely play a far greater role in the worklives of the 9-5ers out there.

For more on Nissan's recent conservation-oriented strategic changes, including the CO2 Reduction Management Performance Indicator:

Mark Ontkush said...

You're so right. the problem with assinging roles in corporations is that employees think there a rols for every job, and that's not always the case.

CO2 is interesting, I liked your link, let's see where it goes.


DW_558 said...

The other point is the financial incentive. Save energy at home and you're saving your own money, save it at work and you're doing your boss a favour. The environmental aspect is probably secondary, at last in most people's minds. I even know of people who are very good at saving energy and water at home, but are deliberately wasteful at work because they hate their boss, haven't had a pay rise for too long or whatever, so they deliberately try to hurt their boss where it hurts: in his wallet.