Employers have a duty to their employees to ensure that they feel they are cared for. After all, that is often when workers produce the best results: when they feel valued. In light of the current energy crisis, STX Next analyses what employers can do to ensure everyone else around them feels like they can deal with it.
STX Next is a European software house specialising in designing and creating digital solutions in the Python programming language. The company has been operating since 2005 and cooperates with over 500 people through eight offices in Poland.
Speaking to The Fintech Times, Maciej Dziergwa, CEO at STX Next, explained why businesses must make an extra effort to look after their employees during this challenging time:
After the seismic shock of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, families and individuals across Europe and beyond are grappling with a once-in-a-generation energy crisis. Analyst firm Cornwall Insights has predicted that the energy cap will rise to over £4,200 by January 2023, an increase of £650 from its initial estimate just a few months ago. These drastic price rises will place a serious strain on the finances of many households, some of whom will find themselves unable to heat their homes without assistance.
While businesses in the technology industry are rightfully taking steps to help safeguard their organisation’s future, there is also more they can do to help their employees cope during this time of financial hardship.
Just as companies should support employee wellbeing in the workplace, now is the ideal time to extend this support further. By providing security for all staff and helping them emerge from the energy crisis unscathed, technology businesses can play their part in alleviating stress caused by financial difficulties.
In return, businesses will be rewarded with a loyal and dedicated workforce, buoyed by the knowledge they have an employer with their best interests at heart.
Look beyond monetary solutions
In the short term, tech companies are putting a range of policies in place to reduce their energy expenditure. These include installing modern lighting solutions such as motion sensors and timers in offices, and expanding workplace practices such as green coding. However, efforts should be made to help employees on a personal level, particularly those still frequently working from home.
Some organisations have offered pay rises or one-off bonuses to employees to help them cope with higher bills and the impact of rampant inflation. These serve a short-term purpose, but helping employees to develop more permanent energy-saving habits will ensure they come out of this crisis in the best possible shape.
In the immediate term, this means providing comprehensive guidance to workers on how they can minimise their energy usage at home without significantly impacting their wellbeing. After all, the rise of remote and hybrid working has given businesses more flexibility around energy costs than they had before the pandemic, so leaders should be figuring out how they can pass this flexibility to their employees too.
Businesses should think of the methods they employ in the office to keep energy expenditure down, and spend some time figuring out how the same principles can be adapted for the home. Furthermore, initiatives such as cycle-to-work schemes or simply the provision of bicycle parking at the office will ensure employees spend less on fuel when not working from home.
Plan for the future
In the longer term, it’s crucial to lead by example and commit fully to sustainability and decarbonisation projects, all of which rely in some way on efficient use of energy to be successful. Sustainable companies can inspire their employees to make more conscious energy decisions at home, which will bring major benefits during this energy crisis and any others down the line.
To really make strides in energy efficiency, technology companies should consider the potential of AI and machine learning in this area. An outdated approach to reducing energy consumption will only result in more inefficiency, and investing in technology to boost sustainability is sure to yield financial rewards in years to come.
Leveraging data, AI and machine learning capabilities can be instrumental in identifying areas where energy is being wasted and work out how to address issues. As discussed above, anything you do learn during this process can then be adapted into advice for remote workers to apply while at home.
There is no point in collecting this data without putting it to good use, and any vulnerabilities this technology exposes should be acted upon without hesitation. Every day that inefficiencies go uncorrected represents a loss for both the organisation and its employees, so technology companies should be prepared to intervene as soon as an issue arises.
In a situation such as this, every little helps, so being prepared to think outside the box to help your employees will pay dividends.
Look after your workforce at all costs
Employees are the heartbeat of every technology company, and as such should be at the forefront of business decision-makers’ minds as the energy crisis worsens. Technology leaders must empathise with staff at all levels of seniority, making an effort to understand and address the financial struggles that will ensue from further increases to the cost of living.
Besides, long-term steps taken to support staff will have a positive impact on the sustainability of technology companies, ultimately helping them to operate more efficiently. Supporting staff through the energy crisis is a mutually beneficial process, so businesses cannot justify leaving staff to fend for themselves.