Deloitte turns down thermostats of UK offices

09 January 2023 2 min. read
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The UK wing of Deloitte has reduced the temperature of its offices this winter, in a bid to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. The move comes as a number of other large professional services firms look to economise on their office expenditure.

Average energy bills will rise by £900 a year, having already exploded by thousands ofpounds in some cases during 2022. As interest rates rise, making borrowing more expensive, and government support for energy bills is scaled back, households across the UK are increasingly faced with impossible choices around their finances – even as energy companies celebrate record profits.

Businesses are also feeling the pinch – and not just small or mid-sized enterprises, either. The largest operators in the professional services market – the Big Four – have also been announcing measures to combat the steep rise in energy costs over the last 12 months.

Deloitte turns down thermostats of UK offices

Before the Christmas period, PwC announced that a number of its largest offices would shut for the festive period – citing a time of “energy scarcity” as one of the chief reasons. And according to The Financial Times, Deloitte – which also closed its offices for the last week of December – now has plans to reduce its energy costs in the longer term.

The Financial Times reports that Deloitte has lowered temperatures in its UK offices by 2C – with offices now resting between 19C and 22C. Thermostats are set to the higher end of that range during colder months, according to a source briefed on the plan – who confirmed that alongside the usual closure of Deloitte’s offices for Christmas, this was expected to result in savings of as much as £75,000 for December alone.

The plans will also go some way to helping Deloitte meet its current sustainability goals. Many large companies are under pressure to reduce their carbon emissions, and are making pledges to limit their impact on the environment. Keen to bolster credibility as advisers to companies on their net zero emissions plans, this has seen top consultants make particularly high-profile commitments. Deloitte’s WorldClimate strategy has aligned it to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.

Deloitte announced the cut to office temperatures to its 23,000 staff in the UK in December, following similar measures by public and private sector organisations across Europe – with the war in Ukraine deepening the UK’s energy crisis. UK CEO Richard Houston meanwhile publicly noted that the savings from December would be donated to charity Scope.

In the UK, there is no legal maximum or minimum temperature that people can work in. However, employers do legally have a 'duty of care' to make sure working temperatures are reasonable for their staff. This means if extreme temperatures are expected, employers are encouraged to make plans for keeping staff comfortable and safe. While there is no guidance for what that means in terms of a maximum temperature, government guidance suggests a minimum of 16C, or 13C if employees are doing physical work.