Save Money with a Flexible, Shared and Productive Office Space
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: September 12, 2011, 7:57 am
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.
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.
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.
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