Wasted office space in the public sector

The Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP), published recently by HM Treasury is asking central and local government departments to make better use of their office space, by using up to 30 per cent less space by sharing desks.
    
The majority of local government buildings operate with a desk occupancy rate of just 45 per cent and a meeting room occupancy rate of 60 per cent. On any given day there can be as many as 297,000 empty desks and countless amounts of under-utilised meeting and conference rooms in local authorities across England alone.
    
These are quite astonishing statistics, especially when considering that an individual desk can cost up to £13,000 a year to run and that meeting rooms can be a huge drain on company resources. Government organisations are now under increasing pressure to make better use of their real estate and cut costs wherever possible.

Time for change
Many public sector departments have embraced technology that allows their employees to become more mobile, but at the same time staff still expect to have their own permanent workspaces at the office – desks which may be empty for two or three days a week as well as at least four weeks per year when employees go on holiday.
    
These empty desks take up a lot of space in prime real estate and are expensive to run.
    
Similarly, meeting room culture across the public sector is generally wasteful and poorly managed. Many organisations expand their meeting room capacity needlessly, taking on valuable office space based on the false perception that they are utilising their meeting room facilities to the maximum.
    
Traditionally, employees will book a large boardroom for a relatively small meeting and there is always high demand for meetings taking place during peak hours, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm. This adds to the perception that meeting rooms are always occupied.
    
Meeting room ‘no shows’ are also a very common and frustrating problem. In some cases, up to 40 per cent of booked rooms can be affected by ‘no shows’. This means that rooms will remain empty when they appear to be booked and that audiovisual equipment and catering is often ordered and not used – a huge drain on company budgets and resources.
    
Public sector organisations must address the issues of under-utilised real estate and low office occupancy levels. The problem is that many organisations do not know where to start, and initiating an optimisation process will inevitably result in a culture change for their employees.
    
Workspace optimisation
Workspace management companies – such as RNM Systems/Condeco – can help organisations to save costs on underutilised office space, in a way that is easy and smooth to roll out amongst employees.
    
Software for workspace optimisation
RNM Systems’ web-based Condeco meeting room and desk booking solutions enable flexible workers to connect from anywhere, at any time, to reserve a desk or an office space when they need it.
    
Also, Condeco’s touch-screen enabled digital signage products, which are mounted outside meeting rooms and on desks, ensure that space utilisation is maximised to its fullest and that ‘no-shows’ are kept to a minimum. With such efficient workplace management tools available, it is no longer acceptable for offices to have such low levels of office occupancy, especially if the taxpayer is paying for it.
    
In line with the OEP recommendations, Condeco is providing an large number of central and local government department with the capability to raise their office utilisation, reduce their energy bills and ultimately, reduce their carbon footprint.
    
Public sector Condeco users
Some of the central and local government departments using Condeco:
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Barnsley PCT, Camden PCT, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Cornwall County Council, Ofsted, Cornwall County Council, County Durham NHS, The Insolvency Service, Ministry of Defence (MOD), Hampshire County Council, Tower Hamlets, Financial Services Authority (FSA) and many more. Look at the full client list on www.condeco.co.uk

About Condeco
RNM Systems is a specialist in workspace management. Its Condeco software suite provides public sector organisations with the ability to manage office space more effectively and with ease and fluidity.
    
Condeco was awarded the best technology product 2008 at the BIFM annual awards.Case study – Winchester City Council
One council that has already taken major steps in the right direction is Winchester City Council.
   
Faced with the challenge of consolidating its real estate, coupled with the need to provide its growing staff base with appropriate workspace, the council started to consider embracing a flexi-working culture.
   
The council recently consolidated its real estate from four office buildings to just two, implementing Condeco’s desk booking software to help optimise desk usage and facilitate flexi-working. The council has since seen dramatic changes and improvements in the day-to-day running of its workplace, saving money and boosting efficiency in the process.
   
In fact, the council’s workspace optimisation has been so successful that it now has further empty space in its remaining two buildings, which it is currently considering to rent out to local businesses. Despite the big change involved, the shift to “hot desking” has been well received by Winchester staff. “It has not been too much of a culture shock,” says Shelly Osman, Winchester’s IT administrator.

For more information
Tel: +44 020 7001 2055
E-mail: contact@rnmsystems.co.uk
Web: www.condeco.co.uk

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