December 15, 2014 Neil warshafsky

With Companies Trending Towards A ‘No-Desk’ Concept: Will This Affect The Office Market?

“An organization estimates 175-250 square feet per employee.” – Officefinder.com

Organizations are quite rational to assume this much space for every employee working under their roof. The allocation of this much space is what an employee requires to make his/her personal working space according to their likings; and organizations support it for productivity. However, the trend is changing and now large corporations in general and startup or small businesses in particular are moving towards a ‘no-desk’ concept within their working environment.

The ‘no-desk’ or often interchangeably used with ‘hot desk’ or ‘hoteling’ is a management practice in which organizations save their cost by cutting the working space per employee. The cutting down of the workspace is done by arranging the decor and workflow in such a way that multiple employees use the same working space where there are no name plates and no fixed desks for employees – hence, the name ‘no-desk’. Telus and Unilever in Toronto are adopting this strategy and are making there working environment more collaborative and sharing.

The ‘no-desk’ concept seems to be working for organizations the proof of which can be seen in a report by Deskmag report where it says, “90% of co-workers said they got a boost in self-confidence, while 71% said they felt a boost in creativity since joining a co-working space.”

The statement makes it clear that in addition to the obvious benefit of organizations cutting the cost greatly by reducing their space requirements, they also get the benefit of optimal productivity because the ‘no-desk’ concept increases the creativity and confidence of the employees as well. Thus, for organizations in the developed world in general and Canada in particular, the ‘no-desk’ working environment appears to be the way of the future.

Now the question to ask is, if companies and organizations are moving to ‘no-desk’ concept, how will it affect the office market and in what ways?

Although apparently it might seem as a situation not going in favor of the office market, because of the fact that offices that practice the ‘no-desk’ concept, for them the additional vacant space in the structure is futile. This might make the whole ‘getting the vacant estates occupied’ process difficult and complex for the commercial real estate agents in Toronto. However, the scenario is quite contrary and the ‘no-desk’ concept will likely have a positive impact on the office market. It will primarily affect the market positively in two ways.

Firstly, all this ‘no-desk’ concept and the businesses confining to small spaces means that more businesses will be able to setup their offices in the urban areas of the cities where previously the limited space of the infrastructures was a problem in comparison to the space that a business had estimated for its employees. Ergo, by adopting a ‘no-desk’ policy the office market will experience a boom in the urban areas and downtown Toronto, where businesses will be establishing their offices in the urban region.

Secondly, the creation or establishment of a ‘no-desk’ working environment comes with its own infrastructure requirements. Commercial real estate agents in Toronto will soon add this expertise into their set of services.This will help organizations optimize and utilize every inch of the space they have available. It will force feed companies to adopt better office efficiencies when they lease space.

The ‘no-desk’ concept is profitable to businesses in every respect, therefore, sooner or later it will become a commonly practiced phenomenon and the commercial real estate agents in the office market of Toronto will welcome it with open arms.