By Brooke Chaplan
Running an efficient office has a direct impact on your overall company budget. Curbing office expenses can be achieved in a variety ways, starting with a review of several key areas. Cutting costs in one may not yield the desired results, but applying the same cost-efficient strategies across the board will have all your bottom lines looking better. Addressing the following eight categories with targeted tactics can be a boon to any budget.
Set your thermostat to a temperature comfortable for the majority of employees. During the summer months, ensure the temperature is not so cold that everyone ends up wearing a sweater. During winter use the same strategy. For example, if the weather is warm outside, the heat should not be on inside. Turn off lights in offices where there is no activity, and install sensors that are activated by motion for conference rooms, break rooms, and rest rooms.
Buy bulk office supplies with a membership from a wholesale club, and take advantage of free shipping offers and other incentives such as coupons and discounts. Store all your supplies in a secure location with one employee in charge of disbursement and restocking. Create a database to track usage and review concerns with the staff as needed. Have an office supply party day where desks are cleaned out, as a way to find unused items before orders are submitted.
Rental or purchase of computer hardware, buying off-the-shelf software, or managing and monitoring computer infrastructures all have room for cuts. Research to determine the appropriate route for the tech services needed to run day to day operations. Owning computers and software will generally be a savings over rental and outsourcing, and the cost of an employee’s salary to manage this function can produce enormous savings.
Consider seasonal workers for peak times throughout the year. This could also include holidays and summer, when employees take more vacation time. This will alleviate the need to pay overtime for permanent workers when covering vacancies. Consider partnering with an agency where rates can be negotiated caters to budget guidelines as part of your staffing plan.
All businesses have letterhead, business cards, and other literature. With the new document software packages available, in-house production of these items is a huge cost savings. Administrative assistants or secretaries can be responsible for production, based on a set schedule. Other items such as customized checks can be used to stretch this theme even further and will help to raise brand awareness and visibility for both customers and vendors with an item that is a staple.
When office equipment is needed, a quick internet search can locate websites that have used items for sales such as desks, chairs, and file cabinets. Visit local wholesalers for scratch and dent products, since this still offers control of the quality for the items needed, and can be an opportunity to upgrade at affordable prices.
Review to see if you have too much telecommunications coverage and downsize to the number of lines that are actually used on a regular basis. Changing phone plans alone has the possibility to save thousands of dollars annually. Opt for packages that provide internet service to streamline the current computer infrastructure including web hosting and cloud computing. Assess the option of voice over internet where office computers make phone calls.
Postage and Shipping
Go paperless for mailings to customers and vendors with transactions such as electronic payment, billing, and newsletters. This will save on postage, advertising, marketing, and letterhead. Open accounts with shipping companies that offer discount rates based on the volume instead of weight.
The cumulative effect of these strategies will save your company thousands of dollars. Use credit cards that have cash back features and enroll in rewards programs with vendors since these can add instant cash flow. It is also recommended to get employees involved with the effort. Once everyone is included, your budget can be a little easier to manage.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.