One area of business operations that is always under the microscope is the costs of operating facilities. The day-to-day expenses of even a simple office building can be a big drain on the bottom line, and the money can be wasted in ways that we often don’t even think about.
By the same token, identifying and reining in those costs can do wonders for profit margins. It is also beneficial for those who oversee such savings, as they can establish themselves as savings-minded managers who always have an eye on lowering costs. That is an image that can really boost your career.
So where does it start? What steps can be taken to improve the operational efficiency of an office? Not surprisingly, it has a few things in common with what you do at home to save money, but it also includes some other things.
There is always a balancing act between what your staff should be doing and what you should hire other personnel to do, or possibly contract out.
Cleaning is a good example. If your facility is large enough, you may have a custodian on staff; smaller offices may contract with a service. But almost no one just requires their personnel to clean their own space, because it’s not efficient.
There may be other such functions that are less obvious. One common area that consumes a lot of worker time is keeping coffee made. It may sound simple, but ensuring that supplies are stocked and doing the necessary cleaning and repair of coffee makers can quickly run into a lot of wasted time. Contracting for office coffee machines and supplies can replace that wasted effort.
Finding Comprehensive Solutions
Sometimes there are factors in an office that consume time in more ways than we realize. These can be so subtle that we don’t even notice them.
A good example is humidity in the office. Buildings in damp locations or climates can have very high humidity levels that cost money in three ways. First, the excess moisture can cause personnel to keep thermostats set to cooler temperatures in the summertime, increasing utility costs. Second, dampness can feed mildew and mold problems that can be costly to clean up. Finally, high humidity can cause paper to feed poorly in copiers and printers, leading to jams that consume staff time and waste paper. Installing a dehumidifier can resolve all these issues with minimal cost and effort.
Striking a Positive Cost-Benefit Balance
The solutions we have outlined so far have been easy to justify. At what point can the scale tip the other way, making us penny wise and pound foolish?
As with any expenditure, savings measures at the office should capture the full costs and benefits before being implemented. For example, a thorough inspection of windows and doors could cost some money, but the repairs that are made will lead to savings for many years. Conversely, committing ten percent of a middle manager’s time to constantly reviewing copier usage or ink pen consumption will not be beneficial. Simply put, don’t spend two dollars to prevent wasting one dollar.
Managing an office efficiently calls for attention to where each dollar is going. Any expense that is taken for granted is one that can quietly balloon to needless size, and any savings that is constructed will save money behind the scenes for years to come. Your management style should be alert without micromanaging, always ready to make constructive changes that will reduce overhead.