Tuesday 21st July 2015

In a world of globalisation and multi-national corporations, the issue of workspace underutilisation is vital to overcome for businesses. Imagine you are the CFO of a global bank, or the COO for an international telecoms company: how do you stay in control of your costs when it comes to real estate and staff management?

1 person = 1 desk

Many companies purchase office space to meet the demands of a set amount of workers. So one employee equals one desk, one phone, one chair etc. But in today’s world, with freelancers, temps, flexible workers, and the rise of digital natives, this is no longer an effective way of managing your workforce.

What to watch out for?

Underutilisation of office space is an issue affecting both the public and private sector. In London alone some estimates put this figure at 40% – in that on average businesses are only using 40% of their real estate. Condeco’s recent workspace ocupancy studies revealed it is in fact even lower at 39%. But how do you measure this? What are the warning signs of underutilisation that organisations need to watch out for?

Companies on average only utilise 39% of their office space

Empty seats

One of the first warning signs is obviously an empty desk. With mobile technologies enabling people to work from anywhere, workers are increasingly taking advantage of this. Whether it’s working from home, hot desking at a client’s office, or spending their day in meetings, sometimes workers simply don’t need a desk for their role. Breakout areas, hot desking and even desk sharing all offer a solution to this, meaning in the long run the amount of individual, static desks could be reduced.

Higher bills

Another warning sign is utility bills. Has your electricity bill increased? If so it could be down to lighting and air conditioning being left on when staff aren’t in the office. Better workspace management would mean lighting, air conditioning and heating can be scheduled around the times when staff are in actually the office. Therefore businesses could avoid unnecessary costs and an increased carbon footprint.

Unhappy staff

The final warning sign for businesses is less obvious, but can often be the most harmful impact of underutilsation: staff productivity. In an office with static desks, no ability to work flexibly or cater to new, different working styles will eventually stifle the workforce. This will lead to poor performance overall and in the worst case, a higher staff turnover as staff become unhappy and move on to places that offer these facilities.

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