The office gap | One firm's creative use of expensive office space may inspire you

One firm's creative use of expensive office space may inspire you

Deep Dive

The days of all-office 9-5s are officially over. But what to do with 99-year leases, or even when you own a building that’s no longer fit for purpose? This CEO has turned his office into a co-use space for employees, including for adult birthday parties and children’s play groups.

When CEO of facilities management company Cloudfm, Jeff Dewing, first engaged his offices for 100 people to work in regularly, he probably never anticipated that the need for it would become obsolete. But obsolete it did become. And, like most leaders, he was a bit stumped about how to make the best use of this asset, which may quickly have become a burden.

Research firm SSRN reported in its June 2022 paper, Work From Home and the Office Real Estate Apocalypse, that commercial real estate values in the US alone have plummeted 39% since 2020, and the research experts at SSRN predict an overall devaluation of 28% over the long-term. So what is a stalwart, yet creative, CEO to do?

Getting creative with office space

“Having an office that can take 100 people, but having only around 20 come in regularly due to hybrid working made me wonder how I could get the best out of the space,” Dewling shares. “The possibility of opening the office space into more of a recreational hub sprung on me during a conversation with my daughter about setting up a children’s birthday party. We were chatting about all the associated costs that come with it. I thought, why not use our office space that is kitted out with couches, TVs, free parking, a canteen, speakers and more? We’ve even got karaoke in the office. Why not let the staff have the benefit of the office when it’s closed on a Saturday?”

After one particular team dinner, about 60 people went back to the office and partied until six o’clock in the morning

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