Small Business

Technology Upgrades and Optimising Space: The Surefire Ways to Cut Office Costs

Starting a business has long been known to be a costly endeavour. Depending on the type of enterprise you’re looking to open, you could be looking at a first-year investment of a whopping $485,000 if you have an eye on being a tech trailblazer. According to Lloyds Bank, the “single largest contributor” to that cost is office space, which makes up a quarter of overall startup costs.

Yet, investing in office space is an unavoidable expenditure, and with so much of your initial outlay going on simply having a place to work, finding a way to make your budget stretch further is crucial in ensuring that yours is not one of the often-cited 90% of startups that fail. These methods are actually much easier to put into effect than you might think—here are five upgrades you can make to your office to cut costs.

Go paperless

While paper has long been the backbone of most businesses, its impact on the environment is profound. Paper makes up a quarter of all landfill, and printer cartridges have a devastating effect on the environment when not disposed of appropriately. Consequently, although instituting a comprehensive recycling program will go some way to improving your office’s carbon footprint, going completely paper-free will have the additional benefit of cutting your costs.

The financial benefits of going paperless not only stretch to not having to buy paper itself but the space and furniture it takes to store your documents. With US office workers using roughly10,000 sheets of paper each year, that’s a huge amount of space and money you could be saving on file cabinets, printer ink and paper. Indeed, this paperless future may also encourage you to cut your server costs (and space) and make use of cloud storage. By working in the cloud, your staff will be able to access all of their documents as and when they are needed, and everything your team is working on is kept secure.

Audit your energy use

In the UK, it is a mandatory requirement for businesses to conduct an energy audit on their office space. By investigating how much gas, electricity and water your business uses, and the associated costs and CO2 emissions, you can get a clear picture of what you need to do to not only save energy but save money on your bills. Even if you are based in the UK and have already conducted an energy audit per the government legislation, further examination of your business’s energy use can help to correct bad habits and cut down on the cost of the day to day running of your office.

Consider alternative office spaces

Whilst a dedicated office for your team might seem like a marker of success, it may not actually be conducive to financially future-proofing your company. Considering the factors at play—from purchasing furniture to the cost of amenities and business rates—finding the ideal workspace to suit your business is a tricky proposition indeed.

Fortunately, there are alternatives which take care of the infrastructural issues for you.Serviced offices, as Landmark note, “give your company all the flexibility that it needs as it grows”, offering reception staff, around the clock access, and communal working spaces. This allows you to only pay for the space you need and encourages collaboration between staff which may be hampered by a traditional allocated deskspace setting.

Optimise your office space

According to a Princeston study, clutter is the enemy of productivity; a messy desk and a disorganised workspace can distract staff from the tasks at hand. Unproductive workers operating in a poorly utilised office could seriously damage your bottom line, whether they notice it or not. Despite the hype, the most recent research has shown that open plan offices actually hamper productivity, but that doesn’t mean you have to force your staff into cubicle hell. Indeed, if many of your workers spend most of their time outside of the office, you can tailor your workspace (and rotas) so that you only have space for the maximum number of staff who will be present on any given day. This allows you to organise your premises in a way that will best suit the needs of your team.

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Simon Davies is a London based freelance writer with an interest in startup culture, issues and solutions.

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