Of­fice costs too high? 6 easy ways to a smarter workspace

THE SUS­TAIN­ABLE BUSI­NESS NET­WORK IS PRO­MOT­ING A SMART AP­PROACH TO OF­FICE MAN­AGE­MENT. ANDY KENWORTHY HAS A SNAP­SHOT FOR SMES.

NZ Business - - WORKING SMARTER -

In­vest a lit­tle time and money on smarter of­fice man­age­ment. It cuts costs, re­duces waste and low­ers your en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact. It will also help max­imise the cre­ativ­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity of your most im­por­tant as­set –you and the peo­ple who work with you.

1. START WITH THE BUILD­ING

It’s weird that a lot of us tol­er­ate work spa­ces we wouldn’t dream of liv­ing in, when we are liv­ing in them for 40 hours a week or more. It’s not just lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, or even lo­ca­tion and price. Con­sider in­su­la­tion, heat­ing, cool­ing and nat­u­ral light, or you may find your­self los­ing out in the long run.

2. MAKE SPA­CES FLEX­I­BLE

Desk shar­ing, hot de­sk­ing and flex­i­ble shared work-spa­ces re­duce the space and en­ergy you need. You might be able to avoid heat­ing and light­ing spa­ces that are empty a lot of the time.

Let your peo­ple find the best ways to ar­range work­ing to­gether at dif­fer­ent stages of a pro­ject.

3. USE EN­ERGY WISELY

Heat­ing and light­ing are costly. Re­place your light­bulbs with high ef­fi­ciency or LED lights, and make sure you still have good light through­out. Get your peo­ple into the habit of turn­ing off un­used equip­ment. Tune your heat­ing sys­tem. It doesn’t need to be blast­ing out heat right up to home time if you have de­cent in­su­la­tion.

4. SIM­PLIFY YOUR ICT

The tech­ni­cal side of even a small of­fice has a way of be­com­ing com­pli­cated, fast. This can be very ex­pen­sive and frus­trat­ing.

Don't just buy the cheap­est op­tions ad hoc. You will have sep­a­rate com­pa­nies for your lap­tops, print­ers, desk phones, mo­bile phones, phone con­tracts, ap­pli­ca­tions and so on. When some­thing goes wrong you will likely not have a clue how to fix it or who to call. This causes ex­pen­sive down­time. It means security and vi­tal back­ups get for­got­ten.

In­vest time to plan. Map out what your busi­ness will need as it grows. Ide­ally, hire an IT ser­vices com­pany to help. They deal with the var­i­ous sup­pli­ers. They know who to ask and what to say to them. They can ad­vise on the lat­est and best op­tions.

One of the best op­tions is to buy a package of com­puter ap­pli­ca­tions from a ma­jor brand. This will cover nearly every­thing you are likely to do, with pro­grammes that work to­gether. It avoids every new em­ployee down­load­ing a bliz­zard of new pro­grammes that clog up your sys­tems.

5. GET YOUR PA­PER­WORK IN OR­DER

We still await the pa­per­less of­fice. In the mean­time we all need to do our best to avoid waste, cost and em­bar­rass­ing breaches of con­fi­den­tial­ity. Set up print­ers to print dou­ble sided and black and white. Make it so that peo­ple have to press ‘go’ on the ma­chine it­self to com­plete their print­ing.

For pa­per look for the For­est Ste­ward­ship Coun­cil (FSC), Pro­gramme for the En­dorse­ment of For­est Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (PEFC) or car­boNZero en­dorse­ment.

Sim­ple desk­top pro­grammes like MYOB and Xero make it easy for even the most num­ber-pho­bic of us to keep tidy ac­counts. You don't want to be ri­fling through a folder of dog-eared re­ceipts come late March.

6. WASTE NOT

Get your­self a good range of re­us­able cups and a dish­washer. This means you won’t have to buy takeaway drinks or sin­gle-use cups. They are costly, and end up in a bin of one kind or an­other. A water fil­ter avoids the cost and waste of the bot­tled stuff.

Work with your clean­ers to di­rect waste into streams for in­creased re­cy­cling rates – pa­per/card­board, plas­tics, glass, food and land­fill. Get some pur­pose-made, well-la­belled coloured bins. Take the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover how much of each stream you are cre­at­ing, and how you might re­duce them. Put signs up to re­mind your peo­ple that this is im­por­tant to you.

Is one par­tic­u­lar kind of sup­plier send­ing you too much pack­ag­ing? Talk to them about how they can re­duce it. Is your busi­ness gen­er­at­ing a lot of waste – how could you re­duce or re­use it?

Don’t get over­whelmed with old ca­bles and busted ma­chines. Con­tact a rep­utable e-waste ser­vice – look out for ISO ac­cred­i­ta­tion and en­sure that any e-waste ex­ports are cov­ered by what’s called a ‘Basel Per­mit’.

James Grif­fin, pro­ject lead at the Sus­tain­able Busi­ness Net­work, says: “A Smart Of­fice makes for more suc­cess­ful busi­ness. No­body can work to their best in a swel­ter­ing dimly-lit of­fice sur­rounded by clut­ter. And we can't feel good about the work we do if it leaves a ter­ri­ble mess be­hind it."

A Smart Of­fice makes for more suc­cess­ful busi­ness.”

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