An increase in rent – a shock to the system and an opportunity
We have been expecting our rent to be increased because our building is being partially refurbished, but a 100% increase, to be implemented in one month’s time, was not what we were expecting at all.
What to do?
The first thing is to put some distance between the shock of the 100% rent increase and the decision-making. I was surprised how angry it made me and it doesn’t help to make decisions in that frame of mind.
When calm descends, there are three things that we need to look at:
- Document management
- Remote working
- Changing work patterns
We have too many files and they take up too much (expensive) space. So we are actively researching “paper-free” office solutions to see what is available and how different solutions can be implemented.
We’ll need to scan the contents of the historical files and safely dispose of the originals. And we will have to make sure that when new pieces of paper arrive they are scanned and passed on to the right person to deal with.
In the accountancy world there is a big drive towards the concept of “never enter data twice” – NED2. The theory being that if you can see data in a downloaded bank statement or in an invoice that arrives electronically, you should be able to upload that data into your accounting package with no manual intervention.
We have been working like this where we can for some time, but we need to find more opportunities to embrace NED2.
We have been using solutions such as LogmeIn for years as a way of working remotely with clients to solve quick problems. The client might be stuck on a piece of accounting and we will log in to their PC, fix the problem and move on. The client can see what we are doing and it acts as a training opportunity that we both benefit from.
However, that is not an ideal way to do two or three hours work, so we will investigate other network solutions and use more cloud-based software.
Changing work patterns
Working more remotely and with less paper will inevitably change the way we do our work. We are all used to “reaching for the file” to do some work and now there will be an online equivalent which will be similar but different.
The office may well become much less the place everyone heads for every day and more a place where people pass through. Of course sales teams have been working like this for decades, so there is no reason to think it can’t be done. Again, it is just different.
These changes will mean we require less space which will mitigate the increased cost, but the ironic thing is that the more flexible you make the working environment and the less dependent you are on large pieces of office space, the easier it is to expand!
Similar experiences? Please share them with us.