Sometimes I don’t know whether to sigh at or applaud the “innovative” ways that companies come up with to cut costs. Instead of focusing on major expenditure items – like business class travel or copious quantities of alcohol for client entertainment – some of them take the saying “every penny counts” a little too literally. Here’s a compilation of the most ridiculous ideas I’ve heard when it comes to penny pinching. I’ll bet none of these decisions actually shifted a single digit on the company cost sheet.
- Not providing office stationery
“My company was so stingy they refused to indent any office stationery. During the new employee orientation, we were told to bring our own from home, and even ‘encouraged’ to take the pens and notepads from hotels when we travelled.”
- Stocking the office pantry with food employees don’t like
“It had been weeks since a certain popular biscuit had been restocked, so I asked the pantry lady why. She had apparently been told by management that she could only order snacks people didn’t like, so as to cut down on pantry expenses.”
- Storing all the copy paper in the CFO’s room
“If we wanted to photocopy or print anything, we’d have to go to the CFO and request for a ream of copy paper. Yes, CFO approval was required for $5 worth of paper in a multi-million dollar revenue company.”
- Rationing paper towels in the toilet
“Our office toilets didn’t have hand dryers, but paper towel dispensers instead. One particular week, we realised that we were running out of paper towels by midday. It turned out that the facilities manager was ‘rationing’ paper towels to cut costs so only a certain number were put out each day. I guess we should be glad they didn’t decide to ration toilet paper!”
- Booking a too small venue for the annual office party
“My company booked a cheaper venue that clearly could not accommodate the entire office, and removed all the seating to make more room. No one was allowed to leave early so everybody was forced to stand around in the tight space for 3 whole hours. I’m sure we violated some building safety code.”
Cutting costs? More like cutting employee engagement.