The tech changes every office needs: Get rid of fixed desks and invest in meeting room management

Conventional meeting spaces can be costly because of lack of use
Insisting on traditional desks and not quantifying use of space will hit your business financially.
Companies are facing a real headache trying to make the most of their space and turn it into a modern, workable office. With the cost of space continuing to rise, it is vital that they can make every inch count.
Firms risk decreasing productivity by throwing away money if they do not move away from a rigid environment and towards an open, flexible, smart office. That is the approach being taken by many FTSE 100 firms, which have embraced technology in a bid to create the perfect modern office.

END OF THE DESK?

As people demand more flexible working environments, individual desks are becoming a thing of the past – and businesses must embrace this change if they wish to thrive.
Alongside new staff, investment in new workspace previously stood as one of the strongest indicators of performance. But with fixed desks becoming increasingly irrelevant, aggressively expanding into larger office space is no longer a requirement for successful growth.
Creating an agile office with collaborative spaces and the option of flexible working is now a priority for fast-growth companies, as they look to attract and retain the world’s best talent. Indeed, research from HR company Robert Half shows that flexible working space has increased by 37 per cent in the last three years alone.

EFFICIENTLY USING SPACE

With the price of premises continuing to rise, businesses will still haemorrhage money unless they have access to the facts about how efficient their office space usage actually is.
Worryingly, companies are not aware of the extent to which their space is under-used. Those of all sizes are struggling with high rental prices, but it is the large corporates, who own vast amounts of real estate across the world, who stand to lose the most from a lack of space management.
We discovered that average office utilisation can be as low as 38 per cent, leaving companies investing in millions of pounds of premium real estate that routinely goes unused by staff who are increasingly out at meetings or working remotely.
Very few business leaders have any real-time data on how their offices are used day-to-day. Most believe that they have a high level of efficiency, but our research has found it to be almost half that of the expectation. This huge disparity is invariably caused by reliance on outdated manual surveys – clickers and clipboards. These are extremely time consuming and prone to inaccuracy – and provide no indication of the day-to-day use of space.

EMPTY MEETING ROOMS

Another problem is the use of meeting rooms. The issue is not just confined to under-utilisation – the reality is that there is a lack of transparency when it comes to the whole area of meeting room management. We have found that 20 per cent of booked rooms are not being used at any given time.
A lack of information about meeting room bookings not only impacts a company’s finances, but also the daily schedules of fellow workers, with external meeting spaces being booked blindly offsite. Bookings go unused, as people do not turn up or forget to cancel the meeting room when they cancel their meeting – all of which results in wasted space for the company, and its employees.
Creating a technology-driven smart office should be at the top of the agenda for any company that wants to drag its workspace into the modern world – and reap both the cultural and financial benefits.
Paul Statham is founder, chief executive and managing director at Condeco.

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