The E.ON survey of 112 founders and managing directors found they were being left frustrated by workers who fail to take responsibility for powering down their workplaces when clocking off.
The study showed that almost half (45 per cent) were left to switch off machines that weren’t in use, while nearly two thirds (61 per cent) had to turn off lights.
Almost half (46 per cent) took sole charge of workplace energy monitoring, while 78 per cent cited energy waste as a top irritation.
Minimising cost was the main motivation for controlling energy use for 72 per cent of executives who said they wanted to see greater workplace efficiency, although 41 per cent feared that a poor reputation concerning sustainability could lead to customers viewing their business in a negative light.
The research also showed that catering and hospitality businesses were putting measures in place to encourage positive attitudes towards energy efficiency.
A quarter (27 per cent) set improvement targets, a fifth (21 per cent) align staff bonuses with overall business efficiency and one in ten has a dedicated member of staff to monitor energy consumption and waste.
However, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of executives said they lacked the tools to track their energy efficiency.
Anthony Ainsworth, sales and marketing director at E.ON, which has an Energy Toolkit that provides energy saving help and advice for small businesses, said: “It’s positive to see many small business owners and managers proactively monitoring energy performance but it is understandably frustrating if you feel you’re fighting that battle alone.
“Senior staff might not always have time to keep track of consumption, and businesses that are able to embed a culture of monitoring throughout the workplace will have a greater chance of improving overall business efficiency. To achieve this it’s important all employees have greater visibility of their company’s energy habits as well as understanding the implications of waste.”
Earlier this year, the UK hospitality industry was accused of overspending on energy by £180 million per year by the Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme.