As a consequence of the financial crisis plenty of large and middle-scale companies have to get rid of employees. This is terrible for the ones being sent out, but it also leads to a spooky atmosphere in the office.
A lot of desks remain empty and on Monday morning there’s no one to talk to while waiting for the coffee machine. Many companies are oversized when it comes to the amount of available desks compared to the number of employees and the overhead expenses in general. The situation creates real ghost offices. Why not use this over-capacity and rent it in a flexible way?
Some interesting online initiatives enable these kinds of services. Examples such as Office Genie in the UK, and Desktime in the US offer online marketplaces for vacant desks. Companies can make extra money by leasing their vacant spaces, while, on the other hand, flexible freelance workers and small businesses can look big and save money at the same time by renting desks.
Office Genie lets space-seeking ‘deskers’ search for a desk space by postal code or town, contacting the advertisers directly. The site lists vacancies in most major cities around the UK, covering ‘all inclusive’ desk packages with Wi-Fi and other utilities, or more basic ‘pay for what you use’ services. Desktime is a web app that helps connect desk-seekers with those who have a desk to spare. Desktime currently offers its services in Chicago, New York City and Austin.
To serve the international working nomad on a global scale, there’s the website Deskwanted. Deskwanted is a worldwide marketplace for empty desk space. Enter your city and available desks are shown immediately. For now, most of the offered desks are part of some sort of co-working places, but the initiative leaves room for other companies to add their vacant desk space as well. Desks vary in price depending on their location and the service provided, and can be rented for a month, a single day or even for an hour.
Desk rental services can be considered a new trend in mobile working. A lot of freelancers get sick of working from home — they get disturbed, lack decent facilities such as a proper printer, there are no representative meeting rooms available, and, last but not least, they miss colleagues to talk to from time to time. On the other hand, Starbucks is noisy and uncomfortable, and an increasing number of coffee bars don’t want people to occupy seats while purchasing one coffee for a complete day.