My Experiences on Downsizing My Company's Office

Downsizing should not always be confused with cutting staff - at least, not in the case of my own business!

We wanted a smaller office simply because more and more staff had opted to work from home at least half the working week. It made sense - much work can be done via our extranet (our virtual office if you like) - staff could communicate, upload completed work, download new work.

When I floated the idea of telecommuting, many of the staff were excited by the prospect of working from home. The reasons for the excitement were obvious - less commuting, more flexible hours. I said that we had to start slowly - volunteers could be the first to try it on a small-scale basis (8 to 16 hours a week working from home).

Well, I had not shortage of volunteers.

Within 6 months, 80% of the staff (around 50 people) were doing at least 8 hours telecommuting a week. At any given time, 30% to 40% of the staff were out of the office.

It meant that we had more office space than necessary, and given that we were looking to increase telecommuting hours even further, it made sense to look for a small office.

It made sense, but it was easier said than done. The logistics of juggling more staff than office space available was like being an air traffic controller: we had to make sure that enough planes were not parked at the airport at the same time - there wouldn't be enough gates (so to speak!). And so we had to devise an intricate timetable that meant that there was always a "hot desk" available for incoming staff.

It's worked a treat - our office costs are greatly lowered, and we have happier and more productive staff (staff retention has greatly improved).

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