Businesses in the North East are being forced to review their property costs like never before as they look to fight their way through the recession, according to Scotland’s leading workplace design experts, Space Solutions.
The Aberdeen-based company is reporting a surge in interest from companies in the region who are anxious to reduce costs during the economic slowdown or while oil prices remain low.
The firm has also revealed that its new workplace performance service – which shows companies how to realise efficiencies in the way they operate – has also exceeded all expectations.
In the past week, Audit Scotland highlighted the need for Scottish councils to improve management of their property assets with Aberdeenshire and Highland Councils topping the list of buildings in Scotland in the poorest condition.
Managing Director Steve Judge said the challenge for businesses and councils alike to reduce costs has never been greater.
He said: “This is the real hot topic in the North East business community. In all the meetings and conversations I am having, the drive the reduce costs is the one subject that comes up all the time.
“Property is one of the biggest costs faced by businesses or organisations so in these challenging times, and with concerns over low oil prices, the importance of good estate management is crucial.
“Many companies in the oil and gas sector have problems with their property estates. Some have had to react to strong growth in a haphazard fashion with staff being squeezed into any space available. This has caused problems with some teams being split over various sites. In other cases, project teams have swiftly sprung up and grown in size without being properly accommodated.
“It all means that Facilities Managers or people in charge of property portfolios are under pressure to sweat their assets like never before.”
Steve said Space Solutions has been flooded with inquiries in recent weeks from firms and organisations looking to make better use of their property to reduce costs – as well as overwhelming interest in its specialist workplace performance service.
The creation of the workplace performance service follows the appointment of two of the UK’s leading workplace strategist specialists – Mark Breingan and Rory Cochrane – who have some 32 years experience in the sector.
Space Solutions has already been asked to present proposals to 15 firms, including some blue chip companies in the oil and gas sector, just six weeks after the service was launched and have been given the go ahead to carry out four reviews to date.
Steve added: “The appointment of our two strategists means we are able to offer a service that take a holistic view of the entire organisation, in particular its staff, and align these to the business objectives.
“By capturing information on how a company uses its existing space and pinpointing where savings can be made without jeopardising business function, we can develop a workplace and accommodation strategy to ensure that premises are being used in the most efficient way possible while allowing staff to work to the best of their ability.
“This provides a roadmap to allow companies to reduce their per-person accommodation costs and make informed decisions on future accommodation needs without it impacting on the firm’s overall success. So a company could consolidate staff from multi-site locations into one site firstly enhancing communication and collaboration and secondly allowing the surplus accommodation to be disposed off.
“We’re sure that we can help any business make significant savings – although the best benefits will be achieved by large firms with high personnel numbers or multi-site operations.”
Mark Breingan said the Audit Scotland report, and the message that councils need to ensure they are managing their assets as efficiently and effectively as possible, is a timely reminder of the importance of good workplace planning and management.
He added: “The Government is challenging the public sector to make efficiencies in all its areas of operation – and of course the one key area is through better estate management. It’s fair to say that councils in England have grasped this challenge quicker than Scotland. However, the over-riding message is that the need for properties to work more efficiently has never been more crucial.”
Space Solutions is Scotland’s biggest independent expert in helping businesses manage changes within the workplace. It operates UK-wide to design, build, fit out, refurbish and relocate modern and productive business environments.