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Save Money with a Flexible, Shared and Productive Office Space

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Save Money with a Flexible, Shared and Productive Office Space

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 12, 2011

If you are looking to get more from your business space, boost employee morale, and save money – then flexible working environments might be worth a look.

What are flexible working environments? Unfortunately in the work space, the term “flexible” can invoke negative connotations such as lots of free time, perks and a “free for all” environment. But a flexible work space is far from that and includes such practices as flex time, telework, hot desking and consolidated work spaces. All of which can lower the cost of managing an office and  increase employee morale and productivity.

Here are some tips for making simple adjustments to employee work habits and your office space that can save you money.

Introduce Flex Hours

Many businesses are seeing the benefits of instituting flexible working schedules for employees (commonly known as “flex Fridays”) as well as work from home options. Flex hours doesn’t mean employees work fewer hours, but that they work the hours that are mutually convenient to their schedules and your business needs.

Flex time isn’t for everyone or every business. It involves careful thought and planning in light of your operational needs. This article outlines some suggested steps for implementing and policing a flex time policy. 

Introduce Teleworking

Teleworking or working from home is a huge morale booster for employees as well as a useful hiring benefit. It can also save you money, since a teleworking employee is using fewer office resources (power, heat, water, etc) and is also freeing up desk space for your rotating employee schedules.  Low-cost remote access and collaboration tools also make it easier to stay in touch with employees when they are not within eyesight

Teleworking isn’t for everyone, but if you are ready to consider introducing teleworking into your business practices, here are some considerations, how-to’s, and tax incentives to bear in mind: How to Make Telework Work for your Small Business

Share Office Space

From a cost-savings perspective, allowing employees to adopt flex hours or telework actually frees up office space. With some pre-planning employees can literally share a “hot-desk” on a rotating basis. So if one employee is teleworking or taking flex time, another employee can use the same desk space. This immediately drives down your costs, because you are only paying for one desk, where before you may have had to have two. It can also reduce your IT and IT support overhead since one networked workstation serves many.

Turn Down the AC!

Honestly, who doesn’t work in an office environment and long for autonomous control of the thermostat? During the summer, the air conditioner often accounts for more than half of a typical business’ summer electric bill. Of course, you don’t want your employees to boil, but for every degree below 78, you’ll use 3 to 4 percent more electricity cooling your business space!

If you are interested in other energy saving strategies, SBA’s Green Business Practices includes tips, advice and resource to help you green your small business. In addition, Energy Star’s Guide for Small Business can help you assess your energy savings potential and prioritize projects and even contractors who can help.

Reduce Your Office Space

You might be surprised, but using some business down time to re-design your office layout and consolidate desks can free up more space and even reduce your overall leased space requirements.

This is a good strategy, particularly if you are feeling an economic pinch and can benefit from scaling back your floor plan and freeing up space that could be sub-let or closed off to reduce energy bills. If you lease suite-space or operate out of a serviced office, downsizing your office space needs through a little consolidation may even get you out of an expensive rental agreement for space you don’t need.

Related Resources

·       Recognizing Performance in a Tough Economy: How to Best Reward Stand-Out Employees

·       Get More from Your Team - 5 Employee Incentive Program Ideas that Pay Off

·       Green Guide for New Businesses

·       From the Home Office to Main Street: The Ultimate Guide to Green Small Business!

·       Green Commuting Options; From Teleworking Programs to Transit and Ride Share Tax Incentives

·       10 Technology Tools You Can't Run Your Small Business Without

Caron Beesley has over 15 years of experience working in marketing, with a particular focus on the government sector. Caron is also a small business owner and works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

good point
We "meet" using skype, google chat, phone and email, and that does the trick in most cases. It's still good to have face to face meetings, especially if clients are present, but overall the options for telecommuting have improved markedly over the past five years. registro de la propiedad
I've had a lot of my contractors switch to telecommunting over the past five years. As a web development and SEO company, this is fairly easy to organize because most of the work is done online anyway. We "meet" using skype, google chat, phone and email, and that does the trick in most cases. It's still good to have face to face meetings, especially if clients are present, but overall the options for telecommuting have improved markedly over the past five years, and I've been taking advantage of that to save on office space costs. This also is a more "green" way to run a business too.
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This article is good, but it misses one of the primary advantages of flex scheduling - in a slow economy it can allow you to shrink your workforce capacity and expense without laying off employees. I operate a California lemon law firm in San Diego, California, and recently started allowing a paralegal to operate on a flex schedule. Doing so reduced my costs, but I still have sufficient staff to meet my needs. And I didn't have to lose the experience and dedication that you get with full-time employees.

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