Authored by Cathy L. Chambers in Personal Finance
Published on 11-02-2009
The economy has everyone looking for ways to cut costs and save money, at home and in the workplace. Small businesses especially may be struggling to keep costs low. Finding ways to keep expenses at a minimum requires some thought and creativity but can prove beneficial in the end.
Before beginning, hold an office meeting to explain to staff that trimming costs is beneficial to everyone. Saving money can mean saved jobs and increased job security, making the process important to all involved. Office supplies are a big expenditure. Instead of keeping the supply closet open to all employees at all times, consider locking the closet and giving one employee the key. Having one person responsible for the flow of supplies can increase awareness of how much waste is occurring.
Encourage the recycling of file folders and other items. Instead of using disposable cups and utensils in the break area, have employees bring a reusable coffee mug or glass. Even if the company makes an initial investment in dishes for the break area, they will pay for themselves in a matter of weeks. Instead of paying for individual packets of sugar and creamer, buy these items in bulk.
Businesses might also be able to cut costs by changing phone service. Changing to Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) could save money. The quality of sound has improved greatly over the years and the costs are extremely low. Electricity costs can be trimmed by putting all office computers on stand by or turning them off completely at the end of the day. Shutting down monitors helps lower costs but completely shutting down the system during non business hours will save even more.
When it comes time to replace computers, consider a refurbished computer. It may have a cosmetic flaw or two but will work just as effectively and save money.
If you have not already done so, consider investing in a postage meter. They can help with mailing costs. Alternatively, consider going completely paperless and conduct the bulk of your correspondence on line.
Do not forget simple fixes like changing to energy efficient light bulbs. The initial investment will lead to money saving over time. Before printing, ask if a hard copy is necessary. Many times, it is not necessary to have a hard copy. This is especially true when editing documents. Get into the habit of editing your documents on line and encourage employees to do the same. Some people get into the habit of printing every email they receive. Stopping this habit can also cut costs a little at a time.
Encourage employees to take ownership of the process. Consider allowing motivated employees to work from home with a company provided laptop. Once people see how saving money benefits everyone, it is easy to get them on board with the process. Some ideas listed above are also environmentally friendly. Many people support the idea of going green but have no idea what steps they can take to support the environment. Encourage everyone on staff to look for ways to cut costs. Reward employees who take steps to save money around the office. Being cost effective is good business for everyone involved.