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The Changing Business Environment

Author: Larry Chester, President

I was watching a movie the other day, and a company executive walked into the office, a large room with row upon row of desks, filled with women typing on typewriters. It was sometime in the 50’s. My, how things have changed.

The advances in mobile technology have changed the way we live, but the changes in the way companies get things done is just as significant. The typical new age company no longer has assigned desks for employees, and cubicles are a thing of the past. The office is an open environment.

People have flexible hours, and since working from home is no longer an exception, ongoing electronic communications is now the standard. It’s almost unique to have a phone conversation. People don’t need to be in the same office to work together on a project. There are different ways of connecting, collaborating and working together. Here are some significant ways that you can become more efficient, and save money in the process:

Offices –

  • Do you need an office?
  • Home Office – Many small service businesses I know operate out of a Home Office, resulting in huge savings. Before investing in a fixed office space, determine whether you actually need one. Or, if you have staff that works in another city, do they really need a physical location? Most will have meetings at the clients’ office.
  • Shared workspace – This is no longer just for small companies or start-ups. One client of ours, doing over $100 million a year, operates in a shared facility. They have an office suite with shared conference rooms, workspaces, and a large common area. This provides them with facilities far in excess of what they would have if they did it on their own.
  • Flexible workspace
  • You can also create your own shared work environment. A software client provides worktables that allows staff to move around to work together. No desks with pencil drawers or filing cabinets. No structured office space.
  • Office equipment – As information has moved to the cloud, paper has been eliminated in offices. One client with more than 40 employees has a single printer that is rarely used. Electronic document storage increases access and eliminates file cabinets.
  • Collaboration
  • Now, employees seem to talk to each other less. I still marvel at seeing a table of millennials at a restaurant, each madly texting, rather than talking to each other. How do your employees collaborate on projects?
  • Do you use project software? These programs provide for easy allocation of resources, allowing everyone to know who is on task.
  • Shared calendars allow visibility of staff availability.
  • Everyone’s physical location is now irrelevant. An educational services client operates freely without office or common locale. Officers and managers are spread around the country. Meetings are held on line, using video conferencing software. They hire the best people they can find and save on relocation costs. Having a virtual assistant, web designer, engineer or manufacturing company overseas no longer restricts conversation. Issues that pop up can be easily addressed with an “instant meeting.”
  • Document Management
  • The Cloud – Are you effectively using it in your company? Moving your documents to the cloud provides instant access to documents no matter where you are.
  • Workflow – Remember when rubber stamps left their mark on paperwork to show that it had been processed? The stamps are long gone, but a series of shared folders can do the same thing. The right people have access, and as work is processed, notes are written on, or attached to the PDF file while it’s moved from one folder to another. Ready access, controlled processes, no lost documents.

The business climate is changing. But it’s not just your customers, it’s the way we do business. Integrated technologies aren’t just available for large corporations anymore, they are available for the small to mid-sized business as well. Just as they save large corporations millions of dollars a year, they can save you thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars annually. That money just falls to the bottom line, and into your pockets.


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