UK businesses are still reeling from the disaster that was in 2020. Going in the red might lead to dire consequences — particularly for smaller businesses and offices. Manage your overhead by increasing efficiency in the workplace and cutting costs in a few areas.
Offices require significant space and often at higher premiums. Commercial space can be expensive, especially in urban centres like London, Manchester, or Birmingham. Every bit of excess space increases your overhead, especially if you can opt for a smaller office with just a few changes. Get rid of unnecessary filing cabinets and desks.
Go paperless and send your printed documents to an archive storage facility. Emptying a few rooms allows you to manage electricity use more efficiently — particularly with heating and cooling. Keep your eye out for smaller offices and get an expert to plan the design before moving in.
Most offices have more personnel than they need. Cutting non-essential personnel reduces wage spending, frees up space, and lessens the stress on your heating and cooling systems. Automation is one way to do so. Automated answering and forwarding systems can take the place of dozens, if not hundreds, of employees. A single VoIP system can process multiple calls at once — dealing with simple inquiries by itself or transferring calls when necessary.
Automated answering services also increase your business’s efficiency by reducing wait times and limiting human error. Automated systems can run for 24 hours, increasing access to your business without the need for overtime pay. Go further with programs that manage payrolls, inventories, and accounting needs. Specialized office management programs can receive, process, and send information instantly — reducing the need for extensive HR, inventory, and purchasing departments.
Use Shared Office Spaces
Events of 2020 have proven that most businesses can survive without the standard office setup. Get rid of your office entirely (or manage it with a skeleton crew) by utilizing shared office spaces and telecommuting. Contrary to most assumptions, working in alternative office settings like one’s home or shared office spaces actually increases efficiency. Flexible time and output-oriented systems often allow employees to work at their best — away from the hierarchy and pressures of the usual office setup.
Employees will also be happier, reducing turnover and increasing morale. Opt for shared office spaces at the start and allow employees that perform well to eventually work from home. Schedule in-person meetings when necessary, although online meetings have also proven effective. Shared office spaces also allow you to expand your business without needing to procure the necessary real estate and the documentation that comes along with it. All the required permits are shouldered by the shared office space, and you just have to acquire slots for your employees.
Most offices can benefit by going green. Opt for smart glass windows that change opacity with a press of a button, or just apply UV-filtering film to your windows to reduce the heat coming from the sun. Purchasing newer equipment might be expensive — however, newer models tend to run cooler and use less electricity. You’ll also save a few pennies on maintenance costs. Solar power systems are practically free— especially with the higher price of electricity for commercial use. Solar power systems in commercial areas typically pay for themselves in 5-10 years.
Most systems can last for 30-45 years, with most solar companies guaranteeing the first 25 years of operation. An integrated monitoring system can adjust a room’s temperature and energy consumption based on the number of employees — but you can do the same by just implementing guidelines and making sure rooms are powered off when not in use.
The best way to expand a business, without significantly increasing overhead, is by going digital. Online shopping grew by enormous proportions during the pandemic, and most people are now experienced in buying from online stores. Going digital makes your business available to a global audience without the need for a storefront and the overhead that comes with it. The most basic e-commerce programs usually go for less than £20 a month, though you can pay more for additional features and listings.
These programs deal with invoices and bank payments — while also issuing receipts and managing inventory. Of course, you’ll also need a dedicated website (around £40 a year) and a proper website design (from £500-£5000 depending on features and complexity).
Reducing overhead can sometimes be the key to survival or an impetus for growth. Limit your office’s overhead by managing space, increasing efficiency, and getting rid of necessary spending.