$2 Billion in Empty Desk and Office Space Ready To Share!

Monday, 3rd July 2017  |  Articles, The Sharing Economy

There are over 2 million listings on Airbnb, homes shared with owners earning money from what would otherwise be under-utilised space.

Now, businesses are eyeing up empty desk and office space so that they too can earn by sharing their unused space with other businesses.

Businesses with spare office space to share, earn on average over $500 a month per desk

Here at Rubberdesk we’re huge fans of sharing, and are often likened to Airbnb (who we use and love). In fact Airbnb has done wonders for the sharing economy, helping two-sided marketplaces explain their business model in simple terms to prospective clients as being the “Airbnb of…”

Helping people to understand the concept of the peer to peer shared economy is important as the biggest challenge faced by two-sided marketplaces is in raising awareness amongst prospective suppliers that they have unused assets which are valuable and could be rented out – in short – that those empty desks could be earning!

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Billions of dollars of untapped office space to share

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We’ve looked at office space in Australia, and specifically the availability of spare office space amongst “regular businesses”. These are businesses where sharing is not their principal activity – they aren’t dedicated coworking spaces – instead they might be accountants, marketing agencies or architects, you get the idea.

On Rubberdesk businesses have an average of 6.9 unused desks to share and while many of those on the platform are already earning from renting their spare desks, thousands more have yet to get on board and list their under-utilised space. In fact, from our findings:

there are hundreds of thousands of spare desks sitting empty in small and medium sized business across Australia, each with the potential to earn their owners over $6,000 a year.

That staggering untapped resource adds up to billions of dollars left on the table that could otherwise help businesses to grow. Here at Rubberdesk we’re passionate about helping businesses earn money and grow by sharing their office space.

Who is sharing their offices?

On Rubberdesk there’s an even mix of industries sharing their spare office space. Accounting and Finance companies make up the largest sharing sector, followed by Tech, Media and Marketing firms. The size and types of businesses vary as do their reasons for sharing; whether upsizing their office or downsizing their team, starting up or relocating.

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And it’s not just small and medium sized businesses, in fact some of the worlds biggest and most forward thinking companies such as Google, Microsoft and KPMG use shared office space in some capacity.

Spare Desk versus Shared Office, Coworking or Serviced Office?

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Now here’s a good question… is renting a couple of desks by the month from an accountant any different to a Serviced Office? If all your outgoings are included in the monthly rate with Wifi, fair usage printing, and cleaner – this is starting to look and feel like all you really need. 90% of businesses are ready to start sharing their office space straight away, it really is that simple – and all the reasons they love their office will be the same reasons other businesses will pay to share it.

One of the key factors that differentiates offices shared by peers is the price. The average desk on Rubberdesk shared between peers is ~$500. The chart shows the distribution of desk rates, varying by location and quality of fitout. What’s noticeable is that:

Desks shared between peers save up to 45% compared to some of the alternatives, making the peer to peer market on Rubberdesk very appealing.

Are landlords worried?

No. Landlords are embracing shared office space for businesses far more than their residential cousins have and the reason is very simple. Happy tenants make for happy landlords by reducing turnover and vacancy rates. Imagine a business that today only needs 100 sqm of their 150 sqm office. Tenants’ options are to carry the cost of unused space or move to a smaller office and limit their growth potential – neither particularly appealing to the tenant or the landlord.

If instead the tenant rents out the spare 50 sqm of desks under licence through Rubberdesk – they are able to cover their costs and because space is shared month to month – when they are ready to grow into it – it’s there ready for them. Tenants should always seek landlord approval before licensing out spare desks through Rubberdesk to ensure they aren’t in breech of their tenancy agreement. However, in our experience landlords haven’t raised any concerns, as the renters are themselves a great source of future tenants who will one day need a space of their own. That coupled with

Rubberdesk’s unique $20m public liability coverage provides peace of mind to all parties

The way we work today is a world apart from the way we worked just five years ago, and what the future has in store for business is hard to imagine. But what is certain is that those businesses that embrace innovation and technology will constantly evolve and be the winners.