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How to reduce office expenses

by elena (follow)

We are fortunate to live in an era where technology has permeated every aspect of the office environment. We can hold meetings with people on the other side of the world and we can have reports faxed to us from distant places in seconds. However, most people are still buckling under the weight of heavy office expenses. We are not always happy to see the office bill at the end of the month, and we all wish that it could shrink by a few hundred dollars. Turns out there are simple, smart ways through which we can put a cap on our office expenses.

Here are a few ideas:

Go slow on the power usage
Office owners and their employees rarely switch off their electronics. They basically put them on standby when not in use. There is a common belief that when computers, printers and faxes are on sleep or standby modes, no power is used. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. These devices are simply using less power than they would have if active, but the bottom line is that some electricity is still being sucked up. Create a culture around the office-have everyone switch off all devices after use. Ensure that this law is followed and lead by example. This approach has the ability to save you almost a third of the total power outlay in a month.

Take advantage of internet-based services
Gone are the days when you needed to drive out for miles just to attend meetings. Today, you could simply 'meetí with associates over the internet as long as each party has the appropriate software. One of the simplest ways of engaging online involves the use of services offered by Skype. There are other teleconferencing tools out there, and the choice you make depends fully on your need and convenience. You can also take advantage of VoIP services, which are significantly cheaper than real-world options. Even when offline, learn to make use of VoIP-based phones as the expenses they rack up are way lower as compared to conventional phones.

Save on printing
It is just incredible how much we spend on printing. You always have paper lying around, and this adds to your expenses. The simplest solution here involves maintaining your cartridges, and toners to ensure that they stay their course. Perform regular cleaning and avoid overworking your printers. You also need to pay attention to the volumes you print. You are going to realize that a large volume of the content you are printing is more useful in soft copy than it is in ink. Go digital and make a list of what can be printed and what needs to stay in disks and memory drives. You will need to print out your employee files but you certainly do not need hard-copy lists of the people you have hired over the last ten years. Finally, try to squeeze more text into one page and tweak your printer settings such that only economic modes are available. Know when to quit- you do not want to produce shoddy and unprofessional-looking documents.

Sell old electronics and buy items from established suppliers
You certainly have bits and pieces of hardware which have outlived their use. You may no longer use them, but someone out there needs them. The good thing is that in this era, you can find market for anything on the internet. Sites such as eBay and Craigslist are great choices when looking for these clients. Whenever you need to replace electronics, choose experienced suppliers and build trust with them. That way, they will be willing to offer discounts from time to time. If possible, purchase second-hand electronics that have been refurbished and put back on the market. That way, you get to pay less than the market price for products that are otherwise decent and functional.

Revise your payment structure
You really do not need to keep a full-time staff, especially if you are in a market where activity is seasonal. Find temporary employees and pay them by the hour. Allow them to go on leave at least 3 days in a week and cut back on the hours they are supposed to show up. If you need full-time engagements, weigh your options carefully and choose one or two employees who are the most productive of the lot. Invent ways for employees to be more productive within limited time spans and offer small incentives to motivate those under you. If possible find some interns and allow them to learn on the job. Interns make perfect economic sense because they do not have to be paid. Such individuals will take time to get the hang of the job but when they do, their input is totally worth the wait.

Reconsider your lighting choices
Purchase energy saver bulbs and fluorescent tubes and keep the lights off in idle rooms. You could also take full advantage of the sunís light during the day-simply keep your windows open and switch off the lights. Here, you need large windows that have good aeration and great positioning in relation to the rays of the sun. Avoid windows that face the sun directly as the glare is always uncomfortable and dangerous for those in the office. Fit timers on your outdoor lighting points to makes sure that such lights come to life when the sun sets and go off when it rises.

Sublet some of your office space
If you have a large office with rooms that rarely come into use, sublet it to someone with the need for a small place to operate from. This might be tricky because you do not want to have a competing business right outside your door. Always go for candidates outside your niche. However, avoid renting out to individuals whose professionals are disruptive and counterproductive-for example, renting out to a welding professional could be a massive mistake because such occupations involve a lot of noise and disruption.

Running an office entails keeping an eye on the expenses recorded at the end of each month. Cutting back on your monthly outlay means that you can spend less than you used to but still keep productivity levels at their highest.

Photo Credit: Flickr
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