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Office sharing is not alone

Companies such as Ubeeqo (Europcar) offer corporate car-sharing in the same way that Regus, Silversquarea and others offer office sharing.
(Image: Ubeeqo)
Companies such as Ubeeqo (Europcar) offer corporate car-sharing in the same way that Regus, Silversquarea and others offer office sharing. (Image: Ubeeqo)

We often have reason on this website to talk about the ‘New Way of Working’ and in particular the growth of shared offices. This is however, part of a much wider phenomenon which is affecting both professional and private domains.

Starting with office sharing, companies such as Regus have been offering temporary space for around thirty years – a short term contract for a branch office, a start-up, a very small company – which would eventually move out into their own offices. Meeting rooms, secretaries and other facilities are provided on a ‘pay per use’ basis. Now, however, even this is changing. The latest generation of co-working space is seeing larger companies opt for the solution as a matter of choice, preferring this to the traditional ‘our offices’ model. One such example is in Brussels, where an internationally-renowned holiday operator has located all of its 30 employees in the city into a co-working space run by SilverSquare.

In the car…

Moving into the wider sphere, the figures are compelling. Many companies are opting for car-sharing in one form or another, for the same reasons of cost and efficiency. Quite simply, having one car permanently assigned to one person is one of the least cost-efficient elements of a company’s operations, except in certain cases such as sales representatives. It has often been shown that many of the cars on our roads are only actually moving for around 5% of the time – and then with just one person in them. So 95% of the time – or 95% of the investment if you prefer – involves a very expensive lump of metal sitting at the side of the road doing absolutely nothing. The solution is to share the company’s own cars or to use one of the many specialist services.

…and at home

So what about housing? Here too, a number of new rental developments are being built with sharing in mind. Communal laundry rooms, communal vegetable gardens, shared child-play areas may not be too radical. But now, even spare bedrooms are being provided on a pay per use basis. The philosophy is that people do not need to pay the higher rent for a three-bedroom apartment when bedroom number three is only used twice a year for a family visit. So in some cases, within a new apartment block, a number of spare bedrooms are now being included which can be reserved as and when required, by any of the tenants of the apartments. This is a sort of hotel concept, but for the spare bedroom only.

The sharing society is with us, and while it may seem philanthropic, hard cash is the real reason.
Tim Harrup

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