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Hot desking ‘will see offices shrink’

The wider availability of cloud-based services and other digital tools will enable many companies to reduce the size of their offices, it has been claimed.

Research conducted by technology provider Citrix indicates that organisations will cut the size of their offices by an average of 17 per cent by 2020.

The study suggests that workplaces of the future will provide just seven desks for every ten office workers, as more companies take advantage of hot desking.

The figure for 2020 is as low as six desks for every ten workers in Singapore, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK.

Also, by the end of the decade, each person will be accessing the corporate IT network from an average of six different computing devices.

Citrix said the trend towards fewer office-based employees – who use multiple computing devices to access corporate apps, data and services from a range of locations outside of the traditional office – is part of a global trend called mobile workstyles.

Globally, 24 per cent of businesses have already fully adopted mobile workstyles, and this will rise to 83 per cent by the middle of 2014.

Mick Hollison, vice-president for integrated marketing and strategy at Citrix, said companies are now encouraging people to operate outside of the traditional workplace.

He said employers are increasingly welcoming to employees using their own personal devices to improve the bottom line.

“This is making the organisation more responsive, improving productivity and reducing the cost of real estate and device management,” Mr Hollison stated.

“At the same time, organisations are investing in the space they have to create enticing workplaces that foster collaboration, innovation and creativity.”

He claimed that the result of this is a stronger organisation, with high calibre people performing at their very best.

“The technology to enable the workplace of the future is already available and proven, and plans for workplace redesign can easily be put in place,” the expert stated.

Mr Hollison said the real winners will be those that get the people management and culture right, to empower the workforce of the future.