No matter whether you work at home, run a small business, or manage a multi-million dollar international corporation, the office is a cornerstone of your success. It’s a central communications hub – where files are emailed, papers are stored, business plans are drafted, where programs are written. Unfortunately, offices can also seem to represent a black hole sucking up a seemingly endless amount of money in ultimately inconsequential costs. Office maintenance, supplies costs, and not to mention the utilities all add up to what can be daunting figures. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can minimise your costs and organise your office to be both functional and profitable.
Go Green and Save Money
A key thing to realise is that the factors which make an office “green” also often are the same ones which save money. Reducing your use of paper, cutting down on your energy consumption, and eliminating your heating and cooling budgets aren’t just good for the environment. They also help your budget by reducing the money you’re wasting on inefficient practises. In some cases, you’ll find local, state, or national governments provide grants which can help you implement greener solutions — a win-win situation.
For some easy ways to “go green and save green,” consider:
– Double sided printing — an easy way to cut paper consumption by as much as 50%.
– Surge protectors that shut off automatically. Surge protectors that shut off on a timer can help eliminate any “stand by” power parasites sucking up and wasting energy when nobody’s in the office.
– Energy efficient lights. They’re more expensive on the front end, but they can save a tremendous amount of money on your electric bills.
Buy a Quality Printer
Printing is crucial in any office. As much as “paperless” is a buzzword and emails are commonplace, some things still require a paper copy. Printers themselves also represent major expenses — even before you buy cartridges or toner.
As a rule, the cheaper the printer up front, the more you will pay later for refills. A cheap printer can be appealing initially but end up costing you vastly more later on in terms of cartridges and toner. For example, Ink Station reports that a printer cartridge costs $30 on average – but the toner cartridges for a high-end printer generally deliver tens or hundreds as many times as many print-outs as the cartridges for cheap printers.
If you already have printers but they’re several years old, check and be sure they’re still operating at peak efficiency. Older printers can eat up toner and supplies very quickly, killing the cost savings you think they represent. It may be time to buy a new one to minimise your printing costs.
In other cases, by tweaking the darkness adjustment controls and making sure your employees don’t print out documents which are better emailed, you can save a hefty amount without buying anything at all.
Maximise your use of the Internet
Another way to cut your office costs is to take advantage of your Internet connection to eliminate your other bills. For example, instead of paying a phone bill for multiple lines, you can use “Voice Over IP” (or VOIP) technology to run your telephone service over the Internet.
Similarly, by cutting your use of paper expenses (like stamps, printing, and envelopes) it may not seem like you save much, but it adds up over time.
Check your Heating and Cooling
Simply properly setting your thermostat can save a small fortune — and for additional benefit, make sure you aren’t heating or cooling places which don’t require it, such as hallways or archive rooms. Similarly, consider leaving the windows and doors open on hot summer days so you don’t have to run the cooling system.
It’s such a simple step – yet how often do you end up going to the local “big box” office supply store for all your needs, or buying from the same website simply out of habit? Especially if you’re going to outsource part of your printing (another good way to save money) it’s worth doing your research to find your best-price options. If you’re buying a new printer, some careful comparison shopping can often save a great deal of money immediately — but even ensuring you buy office supplies at the lowest price saves a great deal in the long term.