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.
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.”