January 31, 2011 (Palo Alto, CA) – Hoteling and alternative workplace Solutions were the buzzwords of the last decade in the corporate workplace. They may soon be replaced by Virtual Office and flexible office spaces.
Large corporations started to drift away from standard office settings in the 90’s when large firms like Accenture, Sun Microsystems, or Cisco Systems pioneered non-dedicated office space. Employees would show up at work and reserve a workstation on a first come first serve basis or via an online reservation system.
Asset utilization surveys have shown that an average workstation in a traditional office environment is used only 35% of the time during business hours. From the perspective of the CFO, this means that two third of the time the under-utilized asset is wasted. Companies that have implemented hotdesking environments have reported increased in asset utilization ratios from 35% to 65%, thereby reducing the waste in half. What is good news for the CFO may not be as good news for office building owners. Companies now need a smaller footprint to accommodate the same employee base. A large segment of Fortune 500 companies have implemented programs with non-dedicated office space. At IBM, already 42% of the workforce does not have a dedicated office.
The next frontier will be to achieve 100% utilization, simply by outsourcing the workplace altogether and eliminating company (not just employee) dedicated office space.
Laurent Dhollande, CEO of Cloud Officing Corp, explained: “It makes a lot more sense for Cisco and Hewlett-Packard to rely on a network of on-demand office spaces, available in thousands of locations around the globe on a pay-per-use basis, rather than to rely on a few captive touchdown spaces. We are building this network for them”.
None of this is new to start-ups and bootstrap entrepreneurs. The use of Virtual Office space, one form of on-demand workplace, is widespread in the small businesses world as it enables them to cut costs, yet still give them access to professional offices and conference rooms to meet with clients or business partners when necessary. Today, larger companies are realizing the benefits of accessing similar forms of on-demand workplaces for their remote employees. In California, providers like Pacific Business Centers, a sister company to Cloud Officing Corp, are thriving on this new corporate demand.
Dave Evans, Futurist and Chief Technologist, Internet Business Solutions for Cisco stated in a recent Press Release “Employee mobility is a fact of life, and the business advantages are clear across many industries. Work is not a place anymore. It’s a lifestyle.”
Both small businesses and large enterprises realize the necessity of being mobile, but also need the business functionality of professional workplaces. Today’s business professionals need to cover more territory with fewer assets, whether they are bootstrap entrepreneurs or they work for a Fortune 500 company. On-demand Workplaces enable them to do this without sacrificing functionality and professionalism. In the end, both productivity and profitability are increased.