Sometimes it is the little things that can make a huge difference to productivity and cost savings. Each may seem like just a little adjustment, but on mass can turn your whole business around and create a working environment that is more productive and efficient.
Eliminate unnecessary lighting – install motion detectors to control lighting in frequently unoccupied areas, such as restrooms and copy rooms.
Keep a close watch on energy consumption – set your thermostats to a lower temperature, turn off all appliances when they’re not in use and encourage staff to shut down their computers when they’re out of the office.
Look at paper usage – implement paper-reducing strategies such as double-sided printing and reusing paper. You’ll save some trees, too!
Font and font size – is the font you’re using embellished? For instance, Century Gothic doesn’t use as much ink as Arial when printing. If you also reduce your font size from 12 to 10 or 11, then you will reduce the ink you use therefore reducing costs.
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate – suppliers definitely don’t want to lose business so you have a real power to pull them down to the lowest possible cost. As long as service and quality are not compromised, then you can make some big savings.
Communication and marketing
Communicate on online forums and message boards – you’ll interact with potential clients and customers — for free.
Be responsive – if you are going to use social media as a marketing tool, make sure you follow up any feedback you receive — watch for and respond to comments, questions and especially complaints. And when you are contacted as a result of offline marketing activities, respond quickly and professionally.
Start a blog – you can advertise, review your offerings and give free tips as often as you’d like without worrying about running up your budget.
Use Skype – instead of running up a hefty travel bill make the most of this free service.
Speak, pause, listen – when you have several topics to tackle, rushing through them to get all of your ideas out may be tempting. But this causes confusion and makes staff feel their input is not important. Slow down, and remember communication is a two-way street. Establish a give-and-take that allows both parties to have their say.
Ask for feedback – one way to maintain long-term relationships with your clients is by keeping open lines of communication. This means asking them for their input on how things are going and how they feel about the service you’re providing. This can be accomplished by inquiring at the end of a project, during day-to-day conversations or through formal surveys.
Get more organised – individuals and businesses can get through a multitude of work with careful planning and organisation. List your tasks, prioritise them and track the progress. You’ll find you get through more with a less haphazard approach.
Cost vs task – are you paying someone an unsightly amount per hour to do menial tasks. Look at the tasks of each of your employees and yourself. Think about getting in a student or part-time worker to complete these tasks so you and your staff can be more cost effective.
Create some competitiveness – set goals and targets for your team members. This may provide a little healthy competition which will increase productivity. Ensure you have short term and long term goals and make sure everyone knows their contribution towards reaching them.
Do we need to do this? – look at all tasks performed within your business. Are you completing some processes just because they are historical or are they essential? Are some processes being duplicated by different people? Can the process be pared down or done when completing another task to save time? Check with staff who complete the jobs – often they have great solutions to how things can be done more effectively and efficiently.
Be a positive person – present an attitude of positivity and approachability. Show staff you are available and willing to help them. Walk around with a smile, and make eye contact with those you pass in the hallways. Be friendly, pleasant and nice. Talk with kindness, encouragement, civility, and respect. Ask questions before making assumptions. Listen to others with interest.
Look at the space – does your office reflect the needs of your staff? Do people’s jobs require them to interact with other staff members yet everyone is tucked away in their own office? Are some people’s job sensitive or require privacy and yet they are in an open-plan environment. To get the most out of your staff and provide a productive workplace, match the space to the jobs.
When you lay your office out you can choose to have straight paths throughout your floor plan. However, it may be worth investigating paths that wind and curve around different work areas to offer a bit of variety to the work day. Worker morale is important to productivity, and if winding paths to get from one department to another help to break the feeling of structure and a rigid workplace, then it is something worth looking into.