Saturday, December 6, 2008

Keeping your offices and losing your people

This caught my attention and I thought it needed a little more than a FriendFeed post: Plenty Of Companies Would Consider Going Virtual To Save Money

Apparently, with the current financial crisis, a lot of companies are beginning to reassess whether they really need a physical office at all. A new study found that 43% of small and mid-sized businesses would consider going completely virtual in order to help deal with the current economy

When working with organizations, I've heard it said more than once, "People are our most important resource," and yet how many are downsizing? Do you hear them seriously considering the savings that could accrue from closing unneeded offices? I have yet to hear a single person mention that their organizations are considering closing offices in order to preserve staffing. I have heard a few mentions of consolidation of offices, but that's different.

Even without an economic meltdown the closing of offices makes total sense. Given our current situation, closing offices is a no-brainer. Seriously, unless you are selling or producing a physical product what function does your office serve? Make a list-- yes, I am challenging you to justify why you keep your offices while at the same time downsizing your work force. I'll wait... go make that list. Now which of those functions could be satisfied in some less expensive, and perhaps better manner by a co-working facility, hot-desking, or virtual meeting space?

I don't want to hear another person tell me about how people are their most important asset. It's not true. If people really were the priority we wouldn't be talking about 43% considering going virtual. That number would be far higher.


stevenrconn said...

I ran an 8 month, 6-person software development project from my home a few years ago. The team had members in 6 different cities and 3 different time zones. We used eproject, AIM, email and subversion to collaboratively manage the workflow. And the best part was being able to pay ourselves what we would have spent in office rent.

Kevin Gamble said...

Steven, I like that story!