There has been talk for many years about the changing workforce and how to best provide office space to the emerging knowledge workers. Office space is usually the second biggest line item expense for businesses after salaries. It is a big deal if a company can reduce their office space needs. Many small business are using a variety of options top cut their costs. Theses include co-working space, virtual office space and executive suites on as as needed basis. Larger businesses are starting to get into the concept with hot desking or desk by reservation systems that allow workers to reserve a desk in an office on an as needed basis.
One of those companies doing so is IBM. They realized that on any given day the traditional office was anywhere from 40% - 60% empty with employees out doing business.
So IBM took a drastic step. With a desk-sharing scheme, and by allowing employees to work remotely, they reduced their downtown Toronto office space by 40 per cent consolidating three offices into two in a pilot program over the past few years. The company has even devised a reservation system that employees use to book desks from the office or online, and soon from their BlackBerrys.
IBM is now a workspace “evangelist,” leading other companies on office tours.
“Now people are enabled to work three days a week instead of five days,” says Brodie, who works from his Uxbridge home and goes to his Markham office only for meetings. The Markham office, IBM's Canadian headquarters, houses software development, services professionals, sales and corporate marketing, and the bulk of the employee base.
“Young talent expects to work this way. Older folks want to ‘retire' to the cottage and work from there.”
It is trend that is starting to gain momentum. Businesses end up with happy employees and reduced overhead for office space. What's not to like.
For more information on the future of the workplace see The 21st Century Office SpaceFlexible Workspace , Office Space , Office Space Design