Whether you have a small business or a major corporation, the cost of your office space is always a concern. You need a place big enough to help your staff work efficiently and comfortably, but you also need to watch your bottom line. For some companies, office space is their biggest expenditure.
So how can you have the space you need without breaking the bank? For some, it may mean relocating, while for others, it could just come down to better management of the space you already have. If you are looking to cut down on office costs, consider these options.
Office costs can be expensive no matter what is going on in the world, but during a pandemic like COVID-19, when many companies are being forced to shut their doors, this can be an even more alarming situation. If you are struggling, talk with your leasing office. You may not be the only company with problems as many others may be moving out of the building. Tell the leasing agent the truth, that times are tough, and cash flow is tight. They may end up giving you a better deal, so you will stick around.
If you are not able to renegotiate the lease, then you could try some of the services available from your state for businesses struggling during the pandemic. For instance, you can apply for a small relief business loan, which can provide money for your office space and work resources while you are impacted by COVID-19. However, keep in mind that this money will need to be repaid, as stated in the terms of the loan.
Whether you are impacted by the pandemic or not, you can also cut costs by subleasing to another company and sharing your space. This could mean literally having a split office space where both of your businesses can seat employees and have common areas like break rooms and restrooms. It could also mean that you split up the time that either of your companies uses the space. For instance, if your company can swing it, you could have your employees work four 10 hour days a week, and the other company could use the space for the other three days. This way, you can use the funds paid by the other business to help with your rent payments.
If you try the options above and the cost is still too much to handle, then you may have to consider vacating the lease and moving to a smaller office. Think about how much space you really need. Is it necessary to have several conference rooms, or can you schedule meetings accordingly so you only need one? You could also consider an open floor plan where you take down the cubicles and reduce the work areas to simple desks that are scattered at safe distances, which will save space overall. Keep in mind that an open office should have a few private offices for HR and executive meetings, as you will still need to have confidential discussions from time to time.
As a side note, keep in mind that news of downsizing can be alarming to your employees as they may immediately begin thinking about their job security. To quell these concerns, be open and honest and explain why you are taking these steps without holding anything back. Explain that this is not only to cut down on unneeded space but also to save money on utilities, increase efficiency, and build towards a stronger company.
In addition to condensing to an open office setup, you can also downsize to a more affordable location by transitioning to a virtual or remote team. This would mean that the employees can still use their computers, but they work from their homes. Many companies have had to move to remote work due to the social distancing recommendations made by the government, and the adjustment has proven to be successful, so this can be a great way to cut down on office space costs. Plus, remote employees are also happy employees, so the situation may improve business efficiency.
If your situation is not so drastic that you need to pick up and move, you can still save money by being smart about your equipment and utility use. Start with your computers. On average, your high-performance desktop computers are using about 250 watts of electricity, which could come out to 50 cents per day. However, if you have many devices, these costs could escalate quickly. To cut down on computer costs, use ENERGY STAR certified devices and set up your machines to go into hibernation mode when not in use.
You can also cut down on general utility costs. Start by switching your lighting to LED, which will last longer and use less energy. Put timers on the lighting systems so the lights turn off at night or when you are otherwise out of the office. Also, take control of the air conditioning and heating costs. For the best efficiency and cost savings, set the air conditioning to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter, and limit the ability of your staff to change the settings.
Perhaps the smartest way to cut down on utility and equipment expenses is to practice preventive maintenance so you can keep your tools running longer and avoid the costs associated with completely replacing what you lost. To ensure efficiency with HVAC equipment, have regular inspections where professionals change filters, inspect ductwork, and test all controls. Also, have your IT team regularly inspect networks and look for outages so computers can be fixed instead of needing to be completely replaced.
As a business owner, you need a place where you can plant your roots, store your systems, and comfortably house your hard-working staff. While it may not always be cheap, you can use the tips above to make your costs more manageable.
Guest post courtesy of Beau Peters