How to Keep Your Office Costs On Budget

by 30 May 2012

It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in life; whether it’s at home with your children, out with your friends or at work juggling three things at once. There is always a budget.

Office costs are probably the least of your worries; after all, there is normally someone higher up having to be concerned about those things. But what if that someone is you? How can you keep your office on a budget but avoid the risky strategy of cutting too many corners.

Your first option, which is a last resort for any company are for redundancies. Whilst job losses do provide a cut in expenditure, it drastically lowers morale for your other employees. This should only really be an option if the company is in dire circumstances, and can perhaps be avoided altogether by reducing hours across the workforce. This reduces salaries for everyone, but does at least retain all members of staff.

Asking for volunteers for this is always a good place to start, some people could be grateful for the cut in their hours or at least see it as a way of keeping their position. On the same note, voluntary redundancies offering a good severance package is a better option before forced redundancy.

Another little known/considered option is something called furloughing. This is a practice where you as an employer require employees to take unpaid time from work. These hours can be set or it can be scheduled much like a holiday. At this time, your business could change or reduce your business hours or even shut down completely. If you are to stay open but at reduced times, make sure they are heavy footfall or traffic times where possible. Asking employees to take furloughs at different times allow you to operate at various times and continue running your company.

Other steps you can take to avoid staff cuts:

  • Electricity – This might seem obvious, but I think you would be surprised at how many companies leave an array of computers on overnight. Whether it be down to an employee forgetting to switch theirs off at the end of the day, or a manager who is convinced their computer needs to be left on over the weekend to ‘update’. Cut these occurrences down, leave responsibility for these actions down to an appropriate manager or team leader.
  • Advertising – There are plenty of resources to use which are free. Pushing or marketing your company is important, you can post videos of your company or employees (with consent where necessary) on YouTube for example. Don’t forget your online presence – Social network sites aren’t just for personal profiles. Use them to your advantage, make a name for yourself for free
  • Working from home – It isn’t always possible to allow employees to work from home. But the idea of telecommuting isn’t just for your employees if they don’t want to make the journey to work. A program for working from home for a certain division of your company for example, could allow you to consider a smaller office space. This frees up some cash flow and cuts down on permanent rental fees, electricity and permanent office equipment. Office rental is often one of the highest costs and is linked to a lot of a companies’ other monthly bills.

Make sure you review your expenditure constantly:

  • Cancel unnecessary subscriptions – The internet is free for this purpose. Utilise it.
  • Reduce training and travelling expenses where appropriate – Your senior manager does not require a higher travel budget to a junior employee in times of financial concern. On top of this, make sure only critical meetings are attended
  • Stationary – Re-use as much as possible, encourage better filing systems and do not order unnecessarily
  • Recruitment freeze – Only take on members of staff that are imperative for the growth of your company whilst in financial crisis
  • Outsourcing – Only continue to outsource certain practices if it remains more cost efficient than keeping it in house. On the same note, if it’s cheaper to outsource a task then action it as soon as possible.

There are a wide variety of different options for struggling businesses, but starting simple and implementing just a few of these points can make a difference. Trade smart; trade on a profitable budget

This post is by Endre Rex-Kiss, a real estate enthusiast and occasional guest blogger.  Endre is currently representing Yses, a great service for finding offices for rent. You can follow his occasional rants at Twitter.



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