The cost of running an office sometimes seems cast in stone. After all, when you look around you, doesn’t every office look just about the same? We are talking office furniture, equipment, stationery, software and utilities.

That’s why at first glance, it can be difficult to see any opportunities for significant savings from this seemingly rigid setup. Yet, there are many ways you can spend less on running your office than you currently do. It’s all about getting creative and being open-minded.

 

  • Examine Your Utility Bills

 

Utility bills are one things that can creep up on you over time. When you initially set up an office, the bills won’t seem much. However, as you gradually accumulate more and bigger office equipment, as well as hire more employees, your bills can grow pretty fast. Perform an audit of your utility bills and routinely embark on a visual inspection of employee behavior that needlessly exacerbates utility costs.

Perhaps most of your employees leave their computers on overnight. In this case, requiring staff to turn off equipment before they leave can help. You can also force compliance with this directive by, for instance, plugging computers and peripherals to power strips that will enable you to switch them off at the flick of a button.

 

  • Equipment Sharing

 

Sharing equipment can deliver huge savings especially in medium and large organizations. Think about it; how often is each employee’s or department’s fax machine, copy machine or printer in use? The average office worker will need to use such equipment for just a few minutes each day.

Ergo, instead of purchasing dedicated equipment for each employee or department, it would be prudent to have one that’s shared by multiple persons and teams. This will save you the cost of buying the actual item. It will also reduce your cost of operations since each new piece of electrical equipment will contribute to your power bill and require regular maintenance.

For small businesses that share a building with other small companies, joint purchase of such equipment should be explored.

 

  • Automate

 

The automation of business processes through information technology has been with us for decades now. Nevertheless, many modern businesses still fall far short of leveraging the advantages that can be derived from using technology. Information technology can ensure faster processes, higher accuracy, improved security and lower payroll costs.

For example, instead of relying on arduous manual methods to develop and monitor employee scheduling, vacation management, time tracking and payroll, these processes can be done with online scheduling software such as Humanity.com.

 

  • Outsource

 

When we think about outsourcing, what first comes to mind is giant multinational corporations moving their manufacturing to China or their call centers to India. The reality is that every business outsources some process even though it won’t be referred to as such.

For example, you contract an internet service provider to give you connectivity to the rest of the world because laying your own cables would not only be prohibitively expensive but it’s also an area you do not have expertise in. Outsourcing as we know it today is therefore not really a leap of logic from what every business is already used to.

So instead of delivering your own packages, you could, for instance, use a courier service. Outsourcing not only saves you money directly but it also allows you to focus your time and energy on more productive activities such as growing the business.

 

  • Eliminate Paperwork

 

It’s been years since the idea of the paperless office was mooted but for many businesses, getting rid of office paper may seem somewhat far fetched. It isn’t that hard to do though especially when you consider that you don’t have to go completely paperless at one go.

You cannot realize a paperless office before you create an alternative means of reading and sharing documents. For example, instead of printing or photocopying a document, share it as a PDF file instead. By reducing the amount of paper in use, you can slash your stationery costs substantially.

This simultaneously reduces repair and maintenance costs associated with your printers and photocopiers since they won’t be subjected to heavy use.

A core principle of business is that you cannot make money if you aren’t ready to spend money. You cannot run an office without spending money. The problem though is that many companies spend much more on their office expenses than they should. By identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks, you can get rid of needless expenditure and thus save money that would be better applied to driving business growth.