Last week we focused our attention on start up businesses and how difficult it is for them to find the right advice when looking to match up their space plan and business plan.
This week the Your Office Agent team are looking at established businesses and ironically the situation can sometimes be even worse. Even if the original space plan was well managed its probable that the business itself has overtaken the practical uses of the space and the company has fallen into the trap of adding desks as new staff are added. Then, to make the team feel more settled, a 3 to 5 year lease is signed and the future looks bright until those rainclouds of change start to appear overhead. In the same way that taxes and death are the two certainties of life so it is true that change is inevitable and by fixing 100% of your staff into a fixed, inflexible, non agile model such as this, you are not going to be able to adapt when that change comes. Many CFO’s shut their eyes to this at lease signing, hoping that the change ticket comes after they have moved on but, although this may have been possible 10 years ago, it is not today.
The solution for the established businesses out there starts with – Do you have a best and worst case business strategy written out? This is not just a real estate floor plan but a detailed breakdown as to how you currently align your real estate with your business objectives and where innovation is possible. The options range from outsourcing to executive suites, optimizing desks, to hoteling, to reverse hoteling, to hotdesking, to name just a few. Outside the office walls you have mobile working, home working and telecommuting. Although there are cost savings of up to 70% to be achieved from implementing some or all of these work styles there are those who are afraid of change, who find it hard to manage a remote team, who do not trust their team to work as hard when they are away. There are others who covet their desk, the prestige it brings, the feeling of accomplishment that this particular piece of wood gives to them. Seriously, get over it. It’s just a tree. The below is what you really need to think about:
- What do you want – a strong company or your desk
- The savings from real estate can go straight into marketing and give extra commission or better facilities.
- Many employees will not stay unless there is a work life balance. This keeps better people longer.
- Hoteling gives you hundreds of desks, not just one. The desk was never yours.
- Space utilization is not cutting 1 inch off a desk that is only used 50% of the time and the same applies to meeting rooms, common areas, etc.
Here at Your Office Agent we normally advise our clients not to eat the proverbial elephant in one bite. Start with small bites. Check out competitors for best practice, measure total potential savings, and then do a pilot. Ask employees what they want and don’t go too extreme on day one. Take small steps and most importantly get the buy in from your team. If you do all this then you will build the bullet proof company of the next 10 years.
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