I am writing in response to your interview with the BBC’s head of property Paul Greeves.
It was interesting to read about the issues the BBC faces in managing its estate. The organisation comes under constant criticism - much of which is misguided.
Just this week, the BBC came under fire from the tabloids for spending nearly £50,000 “of taxpayers’ money” on hiring meeting space in nearby buildings. It is totally unreasonable to expect any organisation as big as the BBC to be able to perfectly match demand for meeting space with meeting rooms every hour of every day. Would the critics prefer the BBC to spend millions on a building full of meeting rooms that lie empty for large portions of the week?
It is a dilemma facing businesses everywhere. How can you strike a balance between providing essential meeting space for your employees whenever they need it, while ensuring you’re not paying a premium for empty or rarely used office space? Enlightened companies, like the BBC, are leading the way in embracing the use of off-site meeting spaces to better control supply and demand.
I strongly believe that meeting rooms are the next commodity we’ll all be trading in the sharing economy. Just as our bedrooms and cars have become products and services that people are willing to pay for through Airbnb and Uber respectively, we will start to see companies with meeting space capacity rent it out to businesses with unmet demand, through online marketplaces. It’s an exciting trend to be celebrated, not castigated.
Caleb Parker, chief executive, MeetingRooms.com
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