How we’re tackling energy in a remote working world
It’s a big topic whether you’re approaching it from the perspective of cost-savings, climate, or both. In the UK, owing to a massive energy price hike at the start of April, it’s become a central contributing factor to our cost-of-living crisis. And with prices projected to soar again in October, it’s a borderline scandal destined to haunt our headlines for the remainder of 2022.
These pressures are happening at a time defined by a fundamental shift in the way we work. The ‘Work From Home’ boom may have ushered in a work/life balance at hitherto unheard speed, but the benefits trailing its shockwave have left a vast imprint – and that includes energy usage.
At Touch, we know remote working. We’ve been doing it for a long time. Remote working has become an excellent opportunity for companies to cut costs and emissions, with fewer to zero office hours and the abandonment of the traditional work commute. We believe it’s crucial that the benefits to business from this shift don’t become a burden on our employees. They should reap the benefits too. To strive for this, we have set three main goals.
Goal #1 – Listen to employees
Naturally, this is par for the course for us – happy employees are essential to a healthy work environment and sustainable growth. But it’s also the crucial first step in making decisions on energy. If you’re not actively listening and engaging with your employees when setting goals to improve a business, you are missing the point. What if you’re missing out on a wealth of knowledge and experience employees harbour outside their day job? So, first things first – listen!
At Touch, we have a well-established Sustainability Committee open to all employees, where we discuss and action important topics and challenges, including energy. Tapping into this wealth of knowledge, the committee members have compiled valuable tips and tricks they themselves use to save on energy. You’ll find them at the end of this post.
Goal #2 – Take shared responsibility
Let’s admit it – the fallout from deserted office premises, while a source of hankering after the ‘old days’ for some, has resulted in a marked decline in business energy costs and emissions. But reign in the celebratory procession – because that burden has inevitably now fallen on employees. They’re now spending upwards of 40-50 extra hours a week at home, running energy-sapping equipment required to perform their job. That can add a substantial chunk to someone’s household bills.
So how to get around it? Well, short of returning the days of pens, paper, filing cabinets and snail mail, modern tools are a necessary burden. But there are other ways to help employees bear it. A key action of ours has been to pay every worker the annual non-taxable Working from Home Allowance.
Goal #3 – Equip employees to make their own decisions
We pride ourselves on our mutual trust and freedom to self-govern our time at Touch. But that doesn’t mean leaving employees to fend entirely for themselves, it means equipping them with the tools and resources to make the best decisions. So, while the ultimate verdict on energy use will – and should – be made by those paying the bills, we see it as our responsibility to sift through the daunting amount of energy-saving information available and make it accessible in one place.
Over the next few months, Touch is planning to do that legwork; researching and distilling the valuable, actionable advice that will enable employees to make informed energy-saving choices at home – quickly and more easily.
These goals are a taste of all that we’re doing to bolster our prized culture of support and collaboration. Long may they continue to generate a positive impact for which every team member can be proud.
Energy tips and tricks from the Touch team
Matilde Liegis – Project Manager:
“Investing in a Nest or Hive smart thermostat to reduce energy wastage in your home by giving a greater level of control over your heating system so you avoid using too much energy.”
Kathy Day – Medical Director:
“Only heat the rooms you are using!”
Lily Wiseman – Employee Experience:
“Free 4-minute Shower Timer: According to the latest reports from the Energy Saving Trust: Cutting just a minute off our shower time could save £15 in energy bills, and a further £15 in water bills if water is metered, per person, per year – or £120 saved a year for an average four-person household.”
Charis Coleman – Project Manager:
“Use the eco setting on your dishwasher or boiler, the eco setting heats water more slowly, using less energy. You get the same results; it just takes a little longer.”
Emma Lewis – Project Manager:
“When it feels a bit chilly at home especially when I am WFH on my own, rather than putting the heating on or up I do some exercise to warm up!”
Emma Foxon – Director of Product Strategy:
“Heat pumps – we have one in the house we are using. They are brilliant and if you invest you will see the difference of heating your house after 2 years.”