Hot-desking ‘could save on property costs’

30 Jul 10
More flexible working practices could cut the £6bn public sector property costs by up to a fifth, consultants claimed today
By Vivienne Russell

2 August 2010

More flexible working practices could cut the £6bn public sector property costs by up to a fifth, consultants claimed today.

Advanced Workplace Associates said that different hours and working patterns can enable more people to work in public sector offices, freeing other buildings for sale or rent.

Andrew Mawson, managing director of AWA, cited the recent introduction of flexible working at the Home Office. A detailed review of working practices and greater adoption of new ways of working have allowed an additional 650 people – or 17% – to work out of the department’s Westminster headquarters..

Mawson said: ‘This has allowed the department to dispose of four other buildings in central London, consolidate functions and reduce costs.’

He added that if the model were rolled out across central and local government, the savings would be ‘immense’.

Tony Edwards, head of Home Office General Property said: ‘The approach we have taken to implementing flexible working has been successful in making better use of our headquarters.

‘By carefully researching the way the organisation worked, coming up with a tailored business-led change programme and then working with business units to implement it, we have delivered real and significant savings across our central London estate.’

The National Audit Office has said that a strategic approach to property asset management and bringing the performance of buildings into line with those of the private sector could reduce gross annual expenditure on offices by £326m.

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