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Could Underused Office Space be a Revenue Generator in a Post-Covid Era?

May 17, 2021

Particularly in this new Covid/Post Covid era, people are seeking new ways to work smartly and spend less time in the office. This is leading some organisations, both in the public and private sector, to re-evaluate their estate use. Business and Estate managers know how expensive unused office and desk space is to their organisation. Reports in the national press show that this has already motivated some to mothball unused space, or give up property leases.

Some are exploring ways of retaining office space, and making more effective use of their estate. Others suggest that swathes of office buildings across the country could be turned to accommodation, and that city and town centres risk being hollowed out as attitudes change towards the practice of going to an office base. But applying the maxim that necessity is the mother of invention, could we innovate a way to continue using office spaces for their purpose, and encourage people to continue using business districts in cities and towns as centres for enterprise. Would it be possible to make office space a revenue generator rather than a cost centre?

To illustrate, EventMAP was recently asked to work with organisations to use its Booker product as a flexible tool to allow staff to book their meeting rooms and desk spaces and enable them to plan a route out of Covid. We see this especially as businesses move to future modes of working, allow staff to work in a blended fashion between home and office. Such a blended approach means there is a likely increase in spare capacity in the office, in other words, under-utilised and less productive resources, however the overhead cost of running an office remain the same.

EventMAP were asked by Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) to use the Booker product to solve their problem, working to solve the issue of spare office space (rooms and desks) by providing a means to offer space to external users, on a pay-as-you-go contract basis, but also allowing internal staff to continue to book the same resources without the same contractual restrictions. These contracts can turn space into a revenue stream to offset the cost of running the office. The system has many room controls including a way to ensure rooms can only be requested a certain time in advance, hence Room Administrators can plan and book priority activities in a timely manner, accommodating the needs of the organisation first.

As an external user there are many advantages of having access to office grade space on a flexible basis. They have the freedom to come and go on a needs basis which means the expensive overhead of running a dedicated office is vastly reduced and supports the blended working practices which many are now seeing in this new era. For such users, the opportunity to take advantage of an organisation offering a pay as you go room/desk booking scheme would be very attractive.

This model could be applied to many environments including local Chambers of Commerce, Business Hubs, Business Innovation Centres, Colleges or Universities that may want to form links with local businesses or organise and manage local business incubator hubs? Even larger private organisations that have excess estate capacity could select to support local start-ups by allowing some of their estate to be used to support local enterprises. Businesses want to show themselves to be ethically and socially responsible. One way to demonstrate this is to provide facilities that support the local community, and up-coming entrepreneurs. And if such an approach allows these organisations to generate sufficient revenue to keep their estate assets in use, everyone benefits.

With the use of such applications as Optime Booker following the pandemic, such lateral thinking may allow us to build back better, and use effective tools help us to build stronger and innovative local business communities.

If you would like to consider how Booker can help your organisation in the post Covid era please get in touch.

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