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Office Hotel December 29, 2005

Posted by danh in Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized.

My co-worker, Mike, always has really interesting ideas even if they might seem a bit odd at first.  We were discussing telecommuting and how much more efficient it is for the company and possibly the economy if it can be more common.  Most jobs, if you look at it closely can be done from home with today’s technology.  For a company, it reduces or removes completely the commute time which is basically a tax on worker’s productivity.  For the city, it removes traffic on the road and therfore, lessens pollution and therefore, improves air quality, and therefore lowers our healthcare cost etc…  It also decrease the commute time for people who actually do need to go the office or store or factory to work. Children might be be able to stay home rather than daycare and there are a whole bunch of benefits I can rattle off for that.  However, that’s not central to the discussion. 

 If, let’s say, that telecommuting becomes prevalent, the need for permanent offices will decrease.  If a worker only uses a desk or cubicle for a few days a month when he does actually need to meet with co-workers or business associates, it just doesn’t make sense for a company to maintain such a fixed expense on its balance sheet, maintaining a office space that is hardly used anymore.  In that scenario, what would be more logical is to rent our office space much in the same way we can book a hotel room, basically office hotel.

 There’s many reason why this would make logical sense from an efficiency and financial perspective.  Since workers will only be coming to the office on rare occassions, you can drastically cut your office spaces down.  In addition, a leasing model for offices may make more financial sense for tax purposes instead of owning the actual physical building.  For small businesses, this is a great way of maintaining an office present in a prime real estate location without having to pay the high cost.  For high cost items such as copiers, fax, telephone system, conference rooms, projectors, even personal computers, leasing is a great way of spreading the cost among a whole group of consumers in a fair an equitable way. 

 To build a business around this model probably will require a pretty high starting capital.  The important thing is to find a prime real estate location, build out the office spaces and set up a reservation system much like those in hotels.  I used to work at Andersen Consulting and they had a very impressive office booking system.  You can log online and look for available cubicle or office space, request office equipments such as projectors or PCs or telephone and reserve it for a duration.  Once you arrive at the office, you walk up to a touchscreen terminal, enter in your name and look for your reservation.  It even brings up an office map so you can find your way.  When you arrive, your name plate is already set up and hanging on the entrance and the equipment you requested is waiting for your use.  It was efficient, very user friendly, and is probably implemented at hundreds of location.  It just need someone to make into a service, market and sell it.



1. becky - December 30, 2005

It’s a great idea for businesses that are built on a foundation of reliable employees, but I am much more cynical about the reliability of corporate employees in general. It’s possible, but requires alot of checks and balances and built-in accountability guidelines to make sure the company is working at its highest efficiency. An honor-based system would totally wreck a company’s productivity.

On a different note, another consideration would be that the office in a prime real estate location would be solely used by executives, sales and other people who benefit from meeting at that location. In some cases though, it may even be simpler for colleagues to meet in their local area rather commute all the way into town to meet. Instead of leasing one space to accommodate all employees when they need to meet, the prime location would accommodate perhaps 20% of the staff, then smaller satelite locations could be set up at a much lower leasing contract to accommodate colleagues who happen to live close to each other.

2. Evil Spud Boy » Blog Archive » Epicurean Geek - January 3, 2006

[…] In this post, Danh takes an idea I had and runs with it. […]

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