Market Insight

Office consolidation and the marriage between HR and facilities

May 31, 2016

In the wake of the recession, lots of businesses went through a period of office consolidation which resulted in many organisations choosing to lump sites together to save money on multiple overheads.

As the purse strings continue to tighten, particularly for local councils in the wake of the recent Budget, we’re likely to see this trend continue.

However, if reducing costs is the aim then consolidating through the reduction of multiple sites isn’t always the most appropriate or cost effective answer.

Before embarking on an office consolidation exercise, there are a number of factors to consider – and it isn’t just about factoring in things like future growth.

These days, business practices are evolving so much that you may find that the way in which your business operates, or aspires to operate in the future, will impact significantly on the amount of office space you’re likely to need.

To help better understand how your business practices will evolve and what potential impact this could have on your future office space needs, it’s vital to ensure open lines of communication between your HR and facilities teams.

These days very few companies need a desk per employee and advances in technology and the increased use of things like cloud computing, mean that many employees can work a lot more flexibly than before.

For example, many businesses and local councils now operate desk sharing policies. This means that employees no longer have ownership of a specific desk, but are able to hotdesk or work from home instead. Some businesses even have standing desks which can take up much less space than an ordinary desk, depending on the chosen design.

However, whilst your business’ approach to flexible working might translate into less office space in the future, this doesn’t necessarily mean that consolidating multiple sites is the most cost effective route.

Not only can site consolidation can prove a costly route for your business, it can also lead to significant upheaval for employees, as issues such as increased commuter time and costs rear their head.

Instead, you might be able to renegotiate your existing leases to reduce the amount of office space you take, and save money in the process.

The important thing is to make sure you explore each of the options available to you in detail, working in partnership with your HR and facilities teams, whilst also seeking professional advice.

This will ensure that before committing to a long-term property agreement, you’ve covered all eventualities in order to make the most informed decision.

For more information about how Vail Williams can help you to plan a strategy for your business’ future office space needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch.