It's almost 2024 and the economy is in a pretty unpredictable place, with the recession still looming over the biggest markets in the world. Companies far and wide are letting people go, halting hiring, and cutting back expenses.
If you have an office, you might be looking at shaving off some unnecessary expenses, be it your office space costs, office supplies, your business credit card or some other type of expense.
Here is how to efficiently cut back on office expenses without hurting your operations or making your employees unhappy.
Encourage better time management
It's normal for employees to take a break and have a quick chat over the water cooler. However, if employees start wasting time on non-work-related matters, it means productivity suffers. After all, time is money, and encouraging effective time management ensures you reduce the amount of money lost when employees procrastinate and become less productive.
The best way to address chronic procrastination in the workplace is by implementing an office app to track your employees' time. This will keep everyone accountable and will ensure all tasks are completed within the standard time frame.
Trim your energy costs
Reducing energy bills is one of the best cost cutting ideas for large companies and small businesses alike. That's because electricity costs contribute significantly to your overhead costs, and the mistake most businesses make is to assume that this can't be changed.
Take your heating and air conditioning expenses, for instance. You can reduce these business costs without sacrificing your employees' comfort by using a programmable or smart thermostat.
These devices are highly efficient because they will automatically adjust to your climate control needs at different points of the day and throughout the year. So, in the long run, you can reduce your heating and cooling costs significantly.
Other ways to trim your energy costs include making sure all lights, appliances, and machinery are powered down when not in use. This may seem like an insignificant cost-cutting initiative, but every dollar counts since this is commonly the biggest expense for many businesses around the world.
Embrace telecommuting and virtual technology
When it comes to how to reduce costs in the workplace, telecommuting no doubt deserves special mention. That's because the work from home culture is very beneficial to employee's morale and productivity, all of which have positive implications on your bottom line.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become the norm to have a remote team instead of having unused space that you have to pay rent and utilities for. And even if a part of your team goes remote, that still means a decrease in physical office space and fewer costs.
In addition, finding as many ways as possible to adopt virtual technology into your business helps reduce utility costs, travel and commuting costs, and time lost to commuting and travel.
It also allows you to use space more efficiently since you don't have to house all your employees in a central location. You can even downsize your space to cut back office expenses. Or if someone really wants to work from an office, you can control expenses by giving them an allowance for a coworking space.
Reduce advertising costs
Nowadays, potential clients can be found online, so advertising should never be expensive for your business. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for TV spots, all you have to do is leverage online marketing tools such as social media, email, and pay-per-click advertising. Having a well-designed social media marketing campaign and a user-friendly website, in particular, is a great way to build a highly visible online presence.
Another way to reduce advertising costs is by encouraging word-of-mouth marketing. For instance, you can implement a referral program that rewards existing customers who refer new customers.
Reduce insurance costs
Insurance is an essential business expense, but it doesn't mean you can't negotiate the best deal that still provides good coverage. Ultimately, you still want to protect your business from potential accidents or lawsuits that could ruin your finances.
That means ensuring you have adequate coverage for all important areas of your business, including workers' comp, disability, and property insurance.
The best thing is to consult your business insurance broker and have them explain all available coverage options in terms of insurance policies.
It's also important to shop around for insurance to see if you can get a better deal from other providers. You should also consider what you can do to reduce your risk since this may result in lower premiums on insurance policies. Compare different insurance providers to ensure you can save on unused services and other costs.
For instance, if you take steps to fireproof your property by installing fire alarms and sprinkler systems, it's possible to get an insurance discount and make your physical space safer at the same time.
Lower your supply expenses
If your business usually purchases supplies, you probably have plenty of room to cut back office expenses in this area.
The great news is most suppliers are willing to provide you with the best deals because you're buying in bulk. But you'll need to constantly keep an eye on your supply costs so you know where to find the best discounts from alternative suppliers. And with lower supply costs, your production costs get lower too.
If you see a better deal elsewhere, don't hesitate to ask your supplier if they can match it. They will be willing to reduce your costs in most instances, especially if you're a regular purchaser. If not, then you can always switch suppliers. When it comes to business deals and contracts, remember that most things are negotiable, but you'll have to ask first.
Another way to cut back supply costs is by shortening the list of supplies and buying lower-quality items where applicable. Sometimes, things like fountain pens and high-quality stationery are not really necessary, and your office can still get by with cheaper alternatives.
Buy almost new business equipment
It never hurts to consider buying gently used equipment as part of your cost-saving initiatives in the workplace. While it's nice to buy something brand new, it's even nicer to save money by buying items that are almost as good as new.
Buying used products typically applies to office items like printers, copiers, and computers. Over time, you can end up significantly cutting costs this way, especially if you have a lot of fax machines.
Depending on your business, you'll find there are even more opportunities to buy used. We are talking about furniture, storage equipment, and machinery, plus more.
Besides printing costs, this list should also include vehicles because vehicle expenses can have a significant impact on your bottom line. But because cars tend to depreciate at a faster rate, it's usually easy to find plenty of good, used vehicles that can serve your business well.
Evaluate your payroll
It's normal for a business to consider reducing payroll costs, and there are many possibilities for doing so and contribute to your expense management.
For starters, you can begin by evaluating employee responsibilities and cross-training your staff. This ensures that you have highly trained people that can take on more tasks. In addition, this allows your business to get by with a smaller team and reduces the need to keep hiring.
You can also reduce payroll costs by using an automated payroll system and considering direct deposit options. These will reduce the amount of work and operating expenses you need to cover.
Outsource some services
Outsourcing is a great way to cut back office expenses because it eliminates the need for an in-house team that takes care of specific tasks.
As a business owner, you may feel like you want everything to be done by an in-house team, but not only will this cost you money, but your employees may get bogged down in monotonous and time-consuming tasks.
Some jobs like payroll processing and billing actually reduce the value you can give to your customers.
In contrast, if you outsource some of these tasks, it means your business has more time to focus on keeping your customers happy. This is a business expense reduction that makes sense both for you and your customers, who can get a higher level of service.
You will be able to cut back office expenses significantly because freelancers and independent contractors don't require health insurance benefits or paid leave.
While on the subject of outsourcing, you could also consider hiring an accountant. An accountant can help you track your revenue vs. expenses. Once they have the numbers figured out, they can even help you discover more ways to shrink your office expenses.
Explore bartering opportunities
One unusual way to reduce office expenses is to barter for business goods and services. Chances are there are many bartering opportunities in your area, and if your schedule and resources allow, it may be worth your while to trade your work for another company's.
For instance, if you are a small transportation business, you can transport some electronic equipment in exchange for some installation work. This can be a cost effective way to save some extra money.
Keep in mind that bartering should be treated like any business transaction, meaning all parties involved should honor the agreement. In addition, it's important to make sure you're getting a fair value for the services you're providing. When done right, bartering is a viable way to keep your business moving during times when revenue drops. It's also an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with other businesses.
Ready to cut back office expenses?
Your business is unique. But while some cost cutting measures may not apply to you, chances are you will find many of these ideas helpful and practical. Overall, cutting back office expenses is a great way to increase your profits, even when you haven't increased your revenue.
And the best way to get to a business expense reduction? Find out where your time goes. Dealing with unused space is crucial, but finding out where you waste time is even more crucial.
With Unrubble, you can track time for your entire team in just a few clicks. Sign up today for free and get back in.