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When profits slip and the economic outlook is not a friendly one, it can be tempting for businesses to cut one of their largest costs, employees. Recently it was suggested that computer firm IBM might be about to begin one of the largest corporate culls ever, but losing staff is a move that carries a significant risk, and not just because of the large cost in pay-offs or potential lawsuits involved. If a company sheds staff then, when business picks up, it may find itself without the people it needs to seize opportunities. Recruiting and training new people takes a long time and can put businesses at a disadvantage to the competition while you wait.

There is also the fact that making significant cuts to staffing risks damaging the morale of those still employed and, if too few people are now trying to do the same amount of work as before, it could actually decrease productivity through stress, mistakes or illness. The worst-case scenario for a company is the feeling that they are – or at least feel – forced to introduce swingeing cuts which mean the most skilled, experienced and hard-working staff are cast out as well as those the company can afford to lose.

So although making redundancies is a standard tactic when times are tough, it’s worth considering the alternatives…

Software Licensing

A major organisation can have hundreds, if not thousands, of staff employed across multiple sites. Assuming most of them will use computers for at least part of their job, and that they will need to a variety of applications, then the company will have a heavy spend on software licensing. The danger is that, in such large companies, it can be difficult to keep track of exactly what software is in use, where, by whom, and most importantly, to what degree.

Overspend could quite easily run into the high thousands, possibly the millions, without due care and attention. It makes sense, then, for companies with such an issue to work with suppliers such as 1e.com to quickly gain an accurate insight into which software licences do not need to be kept on.

Energy Efficiency

Climate change is an issue that’s not going away. The instability of the UK’s power supply will be topping the political agenda for years to come. And consumers, by and large, are in favour of companies that commit to environmentally-friendly initiatives. That’s before we even speak about the potential for cost-savings which, for large organisations, can be immense from even the smallest of changes. Introducing motion-sensors and low-energy bulbs to big offices can have a huge impact. Dropping the thermostat by just one or two degrees in a premises where hundreds of people work may bring massive savings. Requiring staff to print on both sides of paper and keeping printing to an absolute minimum could even halve a major cost. There is abundant advice out there to help large businesses save significant sums every year and these steps could easily prevent people from being made unemployed.

The Cloud

Cloud technology has revolutionised the IT industry and the way that modern businesses work. Moving data or applications across to an external storage system carries manifold benefits, financially and otherwise, but let’s concentrate on how it can save money. Firstly, by slashing the cost of server storage and maintenance, which can easily run into the thousands of pounds a year.

Secondly, because the Cloud provider will usually provide the latest versions of software as soon as they are out, the business has that benefit coupled with no cost for installation. Also the cost of IT security, of vital importance, is borne by the Cloud provider. Then there is the benefit the Cloud gives of allowing remote working – not only potentially boosting employee productivity but also allowing the company to lower its overheads on premises.

We live in an age of technology. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have been putting people out of work. Yet, as we can see, there are many ways in which technology, well-used, can actually help to avoid unemployment if a business is open to investigating the possibilities.


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Benjamin Campbell