Working overtime adds extra energy costs to SMEs

Employees in Britain’s small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) working overtime are adding extra costs to their firms’ energy bills. According to new research, three quarters of people in SMEs work overtime, […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Employees in Britain’s small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) working overtime are adding extra costs to their firms’ energy bills.

According to new research, three quarters of people in SMEs work overtime, clocking in an additional 1.9 hours a day on average. It suggests the average SME employee works overtime three days a week and around 22% admitted that most or all of the lights are kept on when they are the last person in their workplace.

Most people (62%) believe switching the heating and lighting off is the responsibility of the last person in the office but a quarter (23%) sees it as the specific responsibility of others including office managers, cleaners and security staff. The research also suggests only a small number of workplaces have timer systems for lights (5%), air conditioning (9%) or heating (25%).

Anthony Ainsworth from energy firm E.ON, which conducted the survey said: “At an average of two hours a day, three days a week, it’s clear Britain’s workforce is going significantly beyond the call of duty – and while this can be good for business there are also negative implications.

“Working very long hours can impact on employees’ wellbeing and lifestyle, preventing people from achieving a healthy work/life balance, but it can also prove costly. Our results show many businesses remain fully lit, heated and air-conditioned after hours – sometimes for just one employee. With the extent of overtime being carried out across the UK on a daily basis, this has the potential to add significantly to energy bills.”

The highest percentage working overtime five days a week by company role is the CEO/Owner, followed by HR, Senior Manager, Junior Executive, Office Manager and Administration. The highest percentage of employees working more than three hours a day by sector is Hospitality, Manufacturing, Retail, Transport/Logistics and Education.

According to the latest Eurostat report on full-time employment, Brits work more hours per week than any other European nation.