Voluntarily cutting costs at work? Getting recognized for it?

I’m a little fixated these days on people who voluntarily take pay cuts or reduce hours hoping to save their organization money and save jobs. Seems like we’re seeing more of it in this downturn and it strikes me as admirable.

So I asked our Public Insight Network recently to share some stories about what they’re doing/seeing at their workplace to cut costs — and if it’s being recognized by management. Here’s a sampling:

I most often buy my own office supplies. I also work extra hours without putting in for the time on my time sheet. I have also donated funds to my employer for staff training …time etc.. goes unnoticed as we struggle to keep up with high demands and increased work loads. — Lenore Rockler, Minnetonka, employment counselor, Dislocated Worker program

Not claiming all my mileage reimbursement, and other expenses. I work longer hours for the same pay. I am paying for some of my own training. As part of the wellness committee at work we have promoted going to using real silverware and plates compared to plastic and paper. We also have set the printers to double side print. … The whole agency is on board with the changes. – Charlie Yanisch, Glencoe, coordinator, Arc Greater Twin Cities

We use the back of all paper in order not to buy new paper. We look for free furniture. We are using e-mail more than printing and sending information out. All staff received a 10% pay cut in April. We also cut the mileage rate too. There is no more food at meetings and we’re drinking less coffee…Yes, the board is thankful and I certainly tell my staff that I know how hard it is and appreciate their efforts to save money. — Sue Abderholden, St. Paul executive director, NAMI Minnesota

Gilda Gieske of Sauk Centre reminded me that not all the cost cutting is corporate and the best thank you’s don’t always come from the top of the organization:

I’m a homemaker. I’ve always looked for the best ‘deals’, such as buying unprocessed foods, and growing my own, which I can make into an assortment of tasty dishes. Second hand stores are great too…Sometimes the kids say thanks for being there for me.

I’ve been highlighting what seems to be the biggest local effort — Hennepin County’s Special Leave Without Pay program. Globally, there are some extreme examples, including British Airways recently asking workers to work for free for up to a month in order to save jobs.

Would anyone do that?

Check out the map below for insights from people about the current job market. Then tell us what you’re seeing or if you know of a situation where people are voluntarily cutting costs or take less pay to keep jobs — and what response you’ve received from management.

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