The pandemic has impacted every aspect of daily life, and businesses are not immune to its effects. Even companies that were financially robust at the start of the year may begin to see shutdowns and changes in consumer spending impacting their bottom line. If you're looking for ways to save money while you weather these turbulent times, your office is a good place to start. After all, commercial leases are often one of the biggest ongoing expenditures for businesses. Here are some ways that you may be able to reduce costs:
1. Exercise Your Right to Sublease or Assign
With teleworking and rotating schedules, many companies are finding themselves with unused square footage in their offices. If you're one of them, exercising your right to sublet could lead to big cost savings. Through this arrangement, you will lease part or all of your office to another tenant and use the funds toward your own rent payments. If you have moved all of your operations online, you can opt to assign your lease, turning the office over to a new tenant and walking away completely.
2. Downsize Your Space
Moving to a smaller office or relocating to a new area could result in cost savings for your business. If your lease is expiring soon, think seriously about how much square footage you're likely to need in the short term and shrink the size of your business' footprint when possible. For companies that have tons of unused square footage due to changes related to the pandemic, it may even make sense to exercise an early termination clause in your lease, pay a fee and move to a smaller office.
3. Head Back to the Negotiating Table
Landlords know that they may soon be facing an eviction crisis, so you're likely to find yours eager to keep you in your space if at all possible. You can use this to your advantage by renegotiating your lease. It's possible that your landlord may be willing to reduce the rental rate or provide you with a generous rent abatement or free rent period if you're willing to extend the term of the agreement.
4. Reassess Your Parking Needs
If your company pays additional fees to the landlord for parking, take a look at how much space you're actually using post-COVID-19. You may find it possible to dramatically cut those costs if a large portion of your team is now working from home. Don't forget to take visitor parking into consideration. Many companies are keeping visitors out of their office to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and will not need extra spaces for visitors any time soon.
5. Check Out Programs in Your State and City
Some cities and states are offering support for businesses who are struggling due to the pandemic. Depending on where you're located, you may qualify for rent support or be able to postpone making utility payments for a few months.
6. Look for Conservation Opportunities
While you may not want to invest in improvements to reduce energy consumption during the pandemic, it is possible to save money on your utility bills without accruing big expenses. Turning lights off in unused parts of the office, turning the thermostat up or down by a couple of degrees and switching to LED bulbs can all lead to immediate cost savings.
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