There’s never an ideal time to work on a limited budget.
Over the past few years, businesses across the country reaped the benefits of a strong national economy. Year-over-year consumer spending steadily increased beginning in 2013 as individuals became increasingly confident in their future economic prospects. But now, it seems, those days are over.
In this new business environment, managers across all departments and functions will need to make difficult choices aimed at curtailing spending, and facility managers are certainly no exception.
A Grim Outlook
Simply put, the world as a whole and the United States in particular face economic uncertainty unmatched since at least the 2009 financial crisis.
According to a recent economic forecast by Deloitte, prospects for the U.S. economy in 2020 are, at best, mixed. Their forecast presents three scenarios, with the most optimistic entailing an 8.3 percent drop in GDP in the year 2020 followed by a recovery in 2021, and the most dire prediction calling for two years of minimal growth and high unemployment.
On a positive note, Deloitte also expects business investments to rebound in 2021 after suffering a massive shock in 2021, with many companies returning to profitability next year.
In any case, managers will need to evaluate their budgets and make creative choices to limit spending given the likelihood of a downturn in revenue even after social distancing orders are lifted across the country.
Facility managers can help lead the way by taking proactive steps to reduce spending in their areas of control.
Here are a few simple measures you can take to help reduce facility costs for your business.
3 Ways To Cut Your Company’s Facility Costs
1. Evaluate and Improve Energy Efficiency
There’s no better time than now to improve your office facility’s energy efficiency.
Almost anyone can state the environmental case for investing in an energy-efficient office. A reduction in consumption ultimately leads to fewer emissions from power plants and cleaner air.
But what about the business case?
By simply investing in items such as compact fluorescent lamps, air-cooled chillers and heat pumps you can save your business a substantial amount of money. For example, the federal government’s Energy Star program reported a company with whom they are partnered saved $89,200 over the course of a year by installing motion sensor lights—their total investment in the lights was only $28,400.
The U.S. Department of Energy offers a number of other measures businesses can adopt to improve their facility’s energy efficiency as well as a calculator to help determine their cost savings through the adoption of said measures.
2. Optimize Workplace Usage
It’s possible your company isn’t using its workspace wisely—and you may be paying for it.
We’ve written at length about the new challenges social distancing requirements have posed on business hoping to reopen in the near future. These challenges do, however, underscore the importance of effectively utilizing the space for which your company is paying.
According to JLL, an international real estate company, companies on average use only 70 percent of their office space.
That means most businesses are paying for square footage they aren’t using for productive means and could benefit from a relocation or renegotiation of their lease terms.
There are a number of resources available to facility managers hoping to optimize their workspaces and reduce real estate costs.
If you do, however, choose to take on the project of optimizing use of productive space in your facility, be sure to factor in all considerations related to the mitigation of virus spread.
3. Reduce Maintenance Costs through Asset Testing
Routine maintenance costs can quickly add up, especially in emergency situations.
As company assets age, the likelihood of them breaking down significantly increases. Emergency repairs or, in worst case scenarios, replacements, can be costly.
Luckily, companies with existing facility management software can run predictive tests on assets to detect ominous trends in a device’s performance and anticipate breakdowns.
Testing such as this allows technicians to perform routine maintenance as opposed to major emergency repairs, thereby reducing costs associated with the scale of the job.
If your company doesn’t already use a facility management system, here are a few of the top rated options available on the market today.
Of course, business realities for every company will differ greatly. It’s best to discuss with your entire management team business priorities for the upcoming year and determine whether your company can foot the upfront cost of projects aimed at reducing long term costs.
A creative and forward-looking management team can help the business withstand the immediate business challenges and set the company on a trajectory toward long term viability.
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Author Bio: Patrick McAteer is an MBA student at the University of Southern California and an intern with Nodus Office Movers, a commercial moving company based in Orange County. He also works as a freelance writer specializing in office moving, office design and workplace culture. In his free time he enjoys reading, cooking and following Pittsburgh sports teams.