Staff guilty as charged over mobiles
WORKERS are saving up to £110 a year by charging mobile phones, iPods and other gadgets at work rather than at home.
A report has found that one in five people deliberately recharges their phone in the office in an effort to avoid rising electricity charges at home, adding £1.5 billion a year to employers’ power bills.
About 4 per cent of workers say they use their office as the main charging point for their phone, while 16 per cent do it “occasionally” – but both groups admit doing it to save money.
A further 29 per cent admitted using their employer’s electricity to charge their gadgets, but said the decision had more to do with convenience than cost-cutting.
But the poll found that consumers were less worried about wasting energy or resources at work than at home.
People are more likely to leave lights on at work than at home, and while more than four in ten leave devices plugged in when they are not in use at work, fewer – more than a quarter – do the same at home.
Workers are also less concerned about wasting energy on heating or air conditioning. Just 4 per cent would leave it on when it is not needed at home, but almost a quarter would do so when they are at work.
Almost a fifth of the 1,300 workers surveyed admitted they were not worried about wasting power or resources at work because their own money was not affected.
“With energy bills rising, consumers are becoming more energy-efficient at home,” said Kevin Sears of uSwitch.
“However, when it’s the boss’s pocket and not our own, it seems even simple efficiency measures go out of the window.”
He added: “Being efficient doesn’t have to be hard work, but with the high cost of energy hitting households and businesses alike, it does have to be a full-time job.
“Even small measures such as turning off lights when you’re not in the room and not leaving devices on standby can all help cut energy bills, whether you are at work or at home.
“Not only will it cut costs, but it will help the environment too, making it a win-win for everyone.”
However, a third of workers willingly monitor energy and wastage because they are aware of the impact on the company’s bottom line.
Those who do try to avoid wasting energy and resources at work tend not to do so for financial reasons – four in ten say they are being careful to save electricity because it is better for the environment.
The survey by uSwitch.com found that employers seemed to be reluctant to crack down on wastage of resources, despite the huge costs to their businesses.
A quarter said they turned a blind eye to electronic equipment being left on overnight, while fewer than two in five said they prioritised cutting waste.
Six years ago, the low-cost airline Ryanair banned its staff from charging their phones at work, claiming that the extra cost would impact on fares.
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