By Claire West

The UK is the costliest place in the world to invest in commercial property according to global research, which places London at the top of the global league of places to have offices.

Last year companies spent $700bn on real estate and this figure is expected to rise to record pre-recession levels of $1tn dollars in the next five years.

With an alarming 58 per cent of desks in the financial services sector going unused for up to half of the day and 71 per cent of meeting rooms not being used, this appears to be a very real problem that businesses have not yet recognised. These insights into the under-utilisation of space are being attributed to the growing trend of remote working and increasing flexibility, with employees having more choices than ever as to how and where they do their work.

Paul comments: “With the economy starting to emerge out of recession, the cost of commercial real estate is forecast to continue to spiral and businesses will still haemorrhage money unless they have access to the facts about how efficient their office space usage actually is. The most worrying aspect of this is that businesses are not aware of the extent to which their office space is under-used or their meeting rooms left empty, and it is large corporates, who own vast amounts of real estate across many cities and countries, who experience this pain more than anyone else.”

“A major trend for fast-growth multi-national companies right now is the leveraging of USPs within their workplace, such as collaborative spaces, in order to attract and retain the world’s best talent. A flexible workspace, geared to the daily demands of evolving business will not only work towards supporting better employee engagement and satisfaction, but also seriously enhancing productivity, he adds.”

The problem companies face with empty rooms is not just confined to the underutilisation of meeting rooms. The reality is that there is a lack of transparency when it comes down to the whole area of meeting room management according to a study by Condeco, with around 20 per cent of the meeting rooms that are booked not being used at any time.

Paul concludes: “A lack of visibility when it comes to meeting room booking not only impacts on a company’s finances, but also on the daily schedule of fellow workers with external meeting spaces being booked blindly offsite. Bookings go unused as people do not turn up or forget to cancel their actual meeting room at the same time they cancel their meeting, all of which results in wasted space for the company.

“This is a constant source of frustration for workers who are looking for a meeting room or collaborative space, but are finding meeting rooms that have been booked lying empty. Although this problem might not be visible to business leaders within a company, the solution within the industry certainly is.”