Flexible working can save companies a fortune


British businesses are not making the most efficient use of space in their premises and are missing out on big cost savings by not allowing staff to work flexibly.

According to figures released by BT, a desk-bound employee at a standard workstation can cost up to £18,000 to maintain, while, on average, just four out of ten of office desks are in use at any one time.

Subtract £2000 to equip your employee with the technology to work from home and you can save £16,000 a year per employee simply through improving desk utilisation by replacing the conventional one-desk-per-employee arrangement with fewer “hot” desks.

UK firms loose around £18 billion a year through wasted property space, BT estimates.

The company also practices what it preaches. Some 7500 of its employees are now home-based and BT has equipped 63,000 employees with the technology to work remotely.

Over the past ten years, BT has reduced desk spaces in London from 10,000 in 1993 to 3,000 today and claims to have saved £42 million in rent each year since introducing its flexible working scheme.

Mark Hughes, general manager of the BT Workstyle Group, said that if you looked around most offices, you would probably be faced with a sea of empty desks.

"Businesses are missing a valuable opportunity to capitalise on the cost of benefits of flexible working.

"Our research shows that you can make annual savings of up to £16,000 per employee just by improving desk utilisation across a business.

"However, it’s important to realise that the benefits highlighted above are derived from property rationalising alone. Additional benefits of flexible working include improved employee productivity, lower travelling costs, reduced absenteeism and better morale," he said.