Renting office space can be expensive. Even worse than paying a lot for your office is having to pay for more space than you need. There could be any number of reasons to downsize your office, whether it’s because workers are telecommuting, a reduced budget, or simply a desire to reduce waste. If you find that you have more space than you need or want, then here are several ways to reduce your office space.
Take Stock of Your Needs
Before rushing to make changes, consider your exact needs. If you downsize and then find that you now have too little space, you haven’t done yourself a favour. There may also be things that you think you can do without, but upon closer inspection you realize you need to keep. Examine your options before taking action.
Here are some points for you to consider before you make the decision to downsize:
- Are you actually using all of your office space? How much of it are you truly using on a daily basis?
- Is there anything that could be moved into storage? What do you require easy access to daily?
- Can work be done remotely, or must everything be done on-site?
- Do clients come into your office regularly, or do you deal with them primarily through the phone, email, and off-site meetings?
Once you have determined how much of your space is required and how much is being wasted, you can begin to look at the things that can be reduced or done away with completely.
Tips for Reducing Your Office Size
Now that you have taken the time to review your space, you may find some things that you simply cannot do without. You will also likely discover many more things that are simply filling space and are no longer needed. A large, oversized desk may look impressive and give you plenty of space to work, but if all of your drawers are empty and the bulk of the desk is holding family photos, decorative items, or nothing at all, then you are filling space for nothing.
Here are some ideas to consider that may help you in your efforts to downsize:
- Get rid of anything that you aren’t using. As mentioned above, if something is not being used on a regular basis, you don’t need it in your office. Chances are that you have items in your office that see little or no use. If something needs to be stored, that’s fine, but your office is probably not the best place to do it. Look into storage facilities that you can rent. There are many excellent ones that you may make use of and depending on your needs, this will probably be cheaper than paying to use an oversized office for this purpose.
- On the topic of storage, you may not need to keep all the files and records that you are currently keeping. There is a tendency in many businesses to keep everything “just in case,” but many documents can be safely disposed of. Check to see what must be kept (there may be legal requirements) and what is simply taking up space. As mentioned above, you may wish to consider off-site storage for anything that is necessary to keep. This will save you space and likely also be much more organized.
- If you have records that you must keep, and the thought of off-site storage does not appeal to you, consider whether electronic storage is appropriate. Hire a company to scan and archive all your existing files and invest in a scanner to store new documents yourself. Electronic documents, emails, and virtual signatures are legally binding, so you needn’t worry about having physical copies of all your documents.
- Be more organized. If you find that you tend to scatter your work across a large desk, learn to keep things neatly piled. You may also consider desktop shelves to help keep things in order.
- Is it appropriate for employees to telecommute? If it is an option, you can free up the space used by multiple employees if they begin to work from home. Even if they must come into the office, laptops and desktop computers are smaller than they used to be and require less space to work with, so your employees likely do not need as much space as in the past.
- Do your employees require separate offices, or can they share an open space?
- Large pieces of furniture should be replaced with smaller, more streamlined ones.
- If you have regular meetings, do you need a large conference room? If your employees are sharing a workspace then you can likely hold your meetings there. If some of your employees telecommute, you may want to arrange for conference calls rather than having them come into the office. You may also consider renting a small conference room at a local hotel if your meetings are infrequent. Rent a space as needed, rather than paying for a space that is rarely used.
- If you cannot, or don’t want to give up your conference room or some other part of the office, think about whether it might be possible to share office space. This is becoming increasingly common and not just for high-priced locations. If you are able to find another small business with which to share your location, you may be able to arrange a deal wherein you can both make use of communal spaces.
The decision to downsize your office can be a big one, but it needn’t be overly difficult. With a little thought and planning, the process can be made relatively simple and can result in a much leaner workplace. This in turn can lead to greater productivity and increased efficiency, in addition to saving you money. There is simply no need to continue to pay high rates for a large office when a smaller area will serve just as well.