Estate is a significant cost for most organisations and certainly an easier area to make savings that reducing headcount. With ongoing budget cuts and increasing pressures to do more with less, we have found the conventional ways of making cost savings are no longer effective and we have had to be flexible in our approach to making an impact on reducing estate costs and increasing efficiencies.

A couple of years ago, we were sick of manually comparing various spreadsheets every month to understand how spaces were used, so we took a fresh look at using technology to answer a series of very clear questions about buildings used by multiple individuals and organisations/departments:

  • Which spaces are being booked?
  • Which rooms are actually being used?
  • By whom and for how long (in real time)?

Simple questions I know, but we struggled to find an intuitive, easy to use the system on the market that gave instantaneous and real evidence regarding use. So, we involved a technology company and invented our own system, Shared Space, that combines our strategic estate expertise with their technology savvy.

Day to day, this agile system is used by multiple organisations to book facilities. However, it is its reporting on performance that sets it apart from other products. Our team can spot ‘serial offenders’ of overbooking and under-utilisation. Using heat and motion sensors, it spells out, down to service level, where this happens and how much this costs the building owner. It flushes out where spaces are in high demand that cannot be accommodated and enables ‘nudging’ opportunities with the promotion of underused spaces as part of the system.

We have also used this tool in business cases to evidence demand for space (both latent and realised), to indicate where there is an over provision or an under provision and to clearly set out where there is room for improvement in operational plans

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In a nutshell, our Shared Space System is a user-friendly, modern room booking system offering:

• Different user types and permission levels
• Compatibility with smart technology – making it accessible ‘on the go’
• Images of the space you are booking and equipment available
• ‘One-off’ bookings or recurring bookings in one easy go
• Providing vital information about your booking location – eg: key collection, H&S
• All your booking information in one place
• Sourcing of suitable accommodation of a similar sort or nearby location if your exact requirements can’t be met
• Financial reporting and booking report to aid efficient and accurate invoicing

But with the added benefits of reports to the administrator:

• Providing detail on bookings regularly under-utilised, worst offenders of poor utilisation at organisation, service and user level, space types and locations where this is happening more often.
• Giving the same level of information on ‘over-utilisation’ where rooms have been used outside of their booking time slots.
• Clear visual analysis of utilisation and demonstrating exactly where the regular patterns of poor utilisation are happening to make it easier to tackle.

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Shared Space works in any sector where estate cost reductions are a high priority It has made a huge difference to us and our current clients finding significant ‘unlockable value’ in their estates. If you think it might help you, or just want to know more about being a pilot partner, give Lucy Robinson a call and we can tell you more about it.