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Savings Guide

How to encourage your staff to save power

Saving power in the office

One of the main roadblocks in the environmental movement is that it is still largely seen as an individual choice – people make decisions in a vacuum that they hope will have an impact, sometimes imagining that others around the world are also working on their own towards saving energy, thus enlarging their collective impact. But we need to do more than hope that everyone else is trying to reduce their energy footprint – we have to try and motivate each other, coordinate with each other, and pool our experience and resources.

Motivate your team

One great idea is for all business owners, managers, and other people in positions of responsibility, in businesses large and small, to motivate their employees to not only find ways for the business itself to be more energy efficient, but to be more environmentally conscious in their own personal lives. Company culture is a great way to get a large number of people working together towards the goal of a greener world.

Unfortunately, many company cultures are very set in their ways and are usually focused on getting work done, not on how to save electricity or how to serve the community. Trying to change an entire office’s way of doing things via summary orders and memorandum filled with new policies is sure to meet grousing and resistance. So how do you motivate your staff to be more aware of their power consumption and seek ways to be more environmentally responsible? One great idea gaining traction is the Do One Thing concept.

How to save power by connecting the DOTs

Do One Thing (DOT) is a simple concept: managers challenge their employees to think about their daily routine and choose one thing – just one thing – they can change or do differently that will have an impact. The DOT concept isn’t tied to environmental issues; it can be applied to any change in culture or desired action. But it’s a perfect fit for trying to get your staff to think and act green.

For one thing, DOT empowers employees. Instead of simply receiving an instruction about how they must behave going forward, they are challenged to think for themselves. This makes them an agent in their own lives and gets a much more enthusiastic response in the hunt for a more energy efficient workplace. Plus, since the idea is for everyone to Do One Thing themselves, there’s no wasted effort trying to organise a committee or take suggestions from a dozen competing opinions – it’s a simple matter of having an idea and immediately implementing it, which is an incredibly empowering revelation for most people.

The key to success is recognising those employees who take the initiative to heart and follow through. Keeping the atmosphere light is essential; no one should feel like their performance review will be determined by how they react to the DOT initiative. But shining some spotlight on those who answer the challenge in a positive way will not only encourage them, it will also encourage fence-sitters to jump in.

When DOT is linked to not only the company’s performance but also to the culture of the office itself, it’s remarkable how effective it can be. The combination of giving staff the freedom to define their own impact and managerial support can quickly change the way things are done in the office on a permanent basis. The ideas suggested will range from the insanely simple – like installing an EcoSwitch at every copy machine and printer station – to the more complex, like office-wide recycling programs or community service concepts. Whatever the ideas are, big or small, they will combine into a powerful force of change, and the theory is that once people do something in a different way for two weeks it becomes a habit.

Changing the impetus of change from a traditional top-down approach to a ‘crowd-sourced’ approach may not work for all business decisions, but it can be the secret to getting your staff to think environmentally – to think about how to save electricity and other valuable resources in the daily operations of the office. Do One Thing is an incredibly effective concept that encourages everyone to take responsibility for their personal impact on the world and simply do one thing. If everyone in the world did just one thing, the combined impact would be felt globally.