Home Office Upgrades That Will Save You Money
Date: May 18, 2016
Working from home has become increasingly popular within a wide variety of industries, aside from small business entrepreneurs and freelancers. In fact, the telecommuting trend grew over six percent in 2014 alone! Over 3 million employees now spend more than half their time working from home offices. If you’re one of them, it makes sense to take a look at your work space, habits and equipment, to determine how you can be a more efficient employee, while also saving money.
Make the Most of Your Existing Fixtures
If your office is overdue for a little reorganization, you may gain big results just by investing a little time. Start with a plan that breaks your space up into zones, such as:
- Your workspace — desk, chair, computer, phone and daily-use supplies.
- Filing — unless you're retrieving files frequently, keep your main file cabinet in its own zone to improve access over desk drawer files.
- The electronics center — printers, scanners and fax machines can share space away from your desktop.
- Bulk storage — place boxes of paper, folders and envelopes in a remote corner or closet to avoid clutter in your main work area.
Optimize each zone for function and accessibility. Efficient workflows save money by improving your productivity and reducing waste.
Invest in Office Fixtures for the Long Run
Using a kitchen chair for workplace seating is money-saving of the worst kind, and it might not save you anything at all. An office chair includes supports and adjustments, not only for your comfort but to prevent repetitive strain injuries.
Other elements such as your desk, monitor stands and keyboard trays also contribute to good ergonomic performance. There's no one-size-fits-all office solution, so look for office fixtures that are adjustable and adaptable. You'll save money through productivity gains and reduced downtime.
Reduce Paper and Printing Costs
Going green with paper is environmentally friendly and it can save you money. Some studies indicate that every page you print may cost more than 30 times the sheet of paper itself. Reduced paper-use strategies include:
- Setting printers to low-resolution, black-and-white, double-sided printing by default
- Saving single-sided waste paper for reuse as note paper, fax sheets or proof printing stock
- Using PDF format for double-checking print layouts
- Striving to make email paperless — file important emails electronically by backing up to cloud servers such as Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud.
Make a Purchasing Plan for Your Home Office
Waiting until supplies are exhausted before you restock can cause inconvenient downtime when deadlines loom. Similarly, stocking up on supplies during sales may tie up money and space on inventory that won't be used in a reasonable period of time. Draw up an inventory with reasonable minimum and maximum counts for each item. Count your inventory and make a shopping list based on consumption, then make use of current flyers and deals to maintain your optimum stock levels.
In some cases, brand name or high-end products can reduce waste and improve quality. Spending less on inferior goods may be the best route for other goods. Supplies, such as highlighters, clips, staples, notepads, folders and envelopes may be just fine in their most economical form. List office supplies by your usual supplier and regular cost to identify when and where you can save money.