In some respects, offices are no different to homes when it comes to clutter that leads to disorganisation and time wasted. The big difference, of course, is that offices generate income, and without organisation, profits can plummet.
Optimised spaces are a pleasure to work in, encouraging productivity and allowing creativity to flourish.
Step One: Streamline
Today’s tech gives us many ways to simplify and automate common business processes, from accounting to CRM and staff communications. It all starts in the cloud.
You could go the freely available route with accounts from Dropbox, iCloud, or Google. Google Drive provides a generous 15gb just for signing up. That’s enough for sole traders with small needs to get started while they scout out other options. More dedicated and professional services for business are offered by some cloud storage providers, including Microsoft with their Enterprise business solutions for companies or corporations of all sizes.
The benefits of cloud storage are legion, including:
- The ability to access stored documents from multiple locations as long as you have Internet access.
- Freedom from the office, giving more power to field workers or those who carry out admin tasks away from the office – such as home or teleworkers.
But cloud working extends beyond mere document storage, as with cloud accounting packages (which are also accessible from off-site locations) business finances are more easily monitored and updated.
As a final benefit, with more documentation in virtual, digital storage, there is less need for extensive paper filing systems, which makes retrieving documents or data much faster and more accurate.
Rethink Stock Storage
Service providers have a relatively easy ride when it comes to stock storage as the only stock they hold is that needed on a personal business level. For the rest of us, business revolves around physical sales, and that means having somewhere to keep items before they’re sold.
There are two choices: either store stock in the office (which limits the quantity you can hold), or rent two separate facilities, greatly increasing the overhead.
The solution is to combine operations in a flexible space that can expand and contract on demand. Imagine being able to take advantage of overstock or other seasonal bargains at the drop of a hat, or having the option to cut down on space to save money during lean times. It might sound like a pipe dream, but many business owners have discovered the magic of self storage units, where such flexibility is built in.
Further self storage benefits include:
- Short term rentals (up and downscale easily and quickly).
- Robust security
- Easy vehicular access and fork lifts or pallet trucks if needed
- Long opening hours
- Delivery receipt on your behalf if you can’t be there
- Handy add-ons such as packaging materials or courier services if needed
- No VAT, business rates, or utility bills
Retail businesses, especially online retailers, often find they can do away with a separate office altogether when they combine packing and dispatching, stock storage and managing CRM in the cloud.
Use Space for Profit
For others, the need for a separate office remains, but there are ways of making the space work harder once basic storage and business processes are optimised. With less physical storage needed for documents, and with stock removed, shelving or filing systems can come down and free up floor space that could be used for an additional desk.
Providing your office rental contract allows, you could then join the hot-desking or co-working movement and rent out that space to a fellow small business owner or freelancer.
The additional income would meet storage costs (both physical and cloud) but unexpected benefits include an extra burst of energy that’s brought in by new people who work in different fields. An outside perspective often stimulates a change in mindset that can drive a business forward.
Offices are more than working spaces; in some ways they’re the heartbeat of the business. Keeping them organised and efficient through effective storage and working practices eliminates the frustration and negative energy that can lead to stagnation.