Once various business practices are in place, they’re often not revisited on a strategic basis to ensure processes are up to par. Just because something is working, doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon while also saving money. When it comes to striving for environmentally sustainable business practices, not only will you save money, such efforts go a long way toward building a stronger brand image.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide an overview of a good number of areas your business can start cutting its costs immediately. Take the time to develop a way of systematically checking such matters on a rotating basis that may be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly depending your needs.

Enable Staff Productivity

The cornerstone of any business is the people in its employment. Office spaces have come a long way over the years in terms of design, and its widely known people tend to get more work done in quiet spaces without incessant interruptions. If needed, designate such a space. Also, consider cutting down on the number of meetings held, and encourage face-to-face interactions between employees rather than endless emails. Allow those who can work from home to do so on a regular basis as well. Most importantly, make sure tasks are assigned to employees based on their skills rather than who might be available at any given moment.

Harness Technological Advances

It can be hard to keep up with the latest advances in technology but is well worth the effort in many cases. Depending on the size of the office, it may prove beneficial to put a fast mesh wi-fi receiver in place as opposed to relying on signal boosters. Installing WANs and LANs can prove quite expensive, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can improve speed and lower costs. Cloud computing can also provide an effective alternative for document sharing purposes. Most importantly, make sure there are systems in place when these features inevitably experience hiccups. The normal IT person won’t always be available, so have a backup plan in place.

Strive for Energy Efficiency

Older windows allow more heat and air to escape, and upgrading to the double-paned variety can result in significant utility savings since the heating and cooling system will cycle on less often. Older HVAC units can also be adding unnecessarily to monthly utility expenses. Simply adjusting the temperature settings a degree or two can make all the difference. Many employees often complain how chilly their offices are kept. Other energy savings can be had by installing light switch sensors and not leaving equipment on in standby mode all the time.

Implement Eco-Friendly Practices

Much of what is done on paper no longer needs to be. Take strides in becoming as paperless as possible as an office and also consider small incentives for customers to sign up for paperless billing. If bottled water is made available for employees, consider installing a water filtration system. Encourage recycling and the use of carpooling and public transportation as well. While some of this won’t impact your business’s bottom line too much, you are bearing the responsibility for being a steward of the environment. This responsibility can also be extended to choose business partner who undertake sustainable practices as well.

Outsource and Automate

As your business grows, there comes a time when it becomes apparent various tasks are better left to someone else. This could entail hiring a virtual assistant to help with office tasks or hiring a freelance author to help produce web content or the company newsletter. Such services can be found at hourly rates, by project, or even for a monthly retainer fee. Always be on the lookout for ways to automate processes as well. If it’s possible to cut out a step or two in a review process, consider doing so. Whether using online billing or sending out social media posts, schedule as much as possible to happen on its own.

Numerous ways exist to become a more cost-effective business, and we are often limited only by the lack of time and effort set aside for this very purpose. Always keep an eye on how money is being spent. Another way to come up with ideas would be to offer incentives to employees to submit their ideas on how to cut costs. This can be a great way to further build a sense of team spirit. Seeking out and implementing ways to save money is as integral as any other part of a successful business practice.

What else would you add to this list of cost effective ways to make our offices more efficient?

This article is part of a series on Build a better business

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