Oftentimes, a company will end Q4 — adios, fiscal year! — with a budget surplus. (In rare moments of joy, they’ll know at the end of Q3 that a budget surplus is en route.) Two of the main ways this tends to be dealt with are:
- Bonuses (ideally as an employee/manager)
- Rolled into next year’s budget (maybe less ideal personally, but you might get a chance to work on some cool projects next year now)
A third approach — probably less used than those two, but still semi-often — is finding a way to spend it immediately, or within the context of Q4. If you choose this option, what are some ideas to pursue? Here are seven options:
Q4 typically occurs in the late fall/winter, so in some parts of the world, this isn’t the most ideal time if you want to chase some sunlight as part of your company party. But you could get together and do something cool as a group — rock climbing, let’s say — and then move to a bar where all drinks are comped for 1-2 hours. It’s good for employee morale, although admittedly bonuses might be higher on that list.
Here’s an absolutely amazing statistic. There are roughly 700 million websites in the world right now. (That’s not the amazing part, although that’s a lot of websites.) 72% of those websites, though, fail to drive conversions or engage visitors. That’s over 7 in 10! There’s a good chance your website needs a refresh, whether that means making it mobile-friendly, tracking analytics better, de-cluttering the home page, or whatever else. This always seems to slide down the priority list for companies, which means it’s ideal to spend a surplus on.
Relative to your industry, this could be an awesome addition. Even if it doesn’t fit your industry exactly, 3D printers are going down in price, and even a small one can be a boon to an office full of creatives or engineers.
The least-sexy option on this list, but still … ‘tis necessary. If you can buy reams of toner on a surplus and strike that line item from next year’s budgeting, there is a small, but important, advantage fiscally there.
Slap a ferris wheel or slide in your office
People are actually doing this — at real corporate HQs around the world. (The ferris wheel is from Acuity, a Wisconsin-based insurance company — and the slide is from Google’s Zurich office.)
Pass the surplus to the managerial level, but they can’t spend it on themselves
One of the biggest excuses given about potential employee recognition programs is that managers end up spending lots out of pocket — on Starbucks gift cards, fun pens, movie vouchers, etc. If you pass the surplus back to the managerial level and allow them to make determinations, this eliminates that excuse. Maybe a dinner with their team? A bowling night? Bar-hopping? Whatever the concept is, the manager can decide. This also empowers the team leader.
Think about document management
Paperwork is going to pile up next year — it always does. If you’re not fully digital in terms of document storage, consider making that leap now. You want to make sure you’re there before even more digital concepts begin to scale, leaving you further behind.