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What to Do with Empty Office Space: Rent Out Your Unused Desks

The pandemic emptied out schools, restaurants, malls, and offices. Because of COVID-19, people were made to stay at home for months on end in order to slow the spread of the virus and prevent more Americans from getting sick. That left many places deserted and neglected.

Although vaccinations in the United States are ramping up, a large portion of the American workforce has gotten used to working from home and are hoping for things to stay that way. Many American employers also wanted to provide flexibility to boost productivity.

But, what will happen to office spaces that will remain empty or half-empty?

What are Rentable Desks

The market has changed significantly over the years. There are more people now who work freelance — those who are not tied down by a single employer and have the choice to accept or decline certain jobs. The share of full-time freelancers rose from 17 percent in 2014 to 28 percent in 2019. Meanwhile, the number of workers who freelance part-time has dipped as more people shifted to doing it full-time.

There are also now more people willing to take the risk and establish their own ventures. But, rather than starting a business at home like what many startups did in the past, there are now more options for fledgling entrepreneurs. One of them is rentable desks.

While a growing body of research has shown that people are more productive when they work at home, there are those who thrive in the distraction-free professional setting. There are no dogs barking or people ringing the doorbell; workers can focus on their tasks much better.

Moreover, there are advantages to working in an office. The office building typically hires commercial cleaning service providers to come and tidy the place for everyone’s safety and to improve concentration. At home, the worker is responsible for tidying their own space. There are also desks and chairs specifically designed for people who sit in front of their computers for long periods of time.

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There is Supply and Demand

It might sound weird to welcome a stranger into the office and temporarily allow them to use office equipment, but the concept of rentable desks also makes financial sense. Previous research has found that office desks are only fully utilized 45% of the time. And, as more people ask for a flexible working arrangement, there will be more space available for outsiders to come and go as they please.

The popularity of the concept is already spreading across the globe. Dozens of websites have popped up on the internet in the past couple of years that promise to connect businesses that have rentable desks and workers who need them.

The idea is similar to Airbnb except that, in this case, the space being provided is not for sleeping but for work. And, like Airbnb, companies that have a desk to spare can earn extra income to rent the unused space. It is perfect for businesses that are looking for an additional source of money during tough times and have additional room to take in more workers.

There are options available to businesses and workers depending on availability and need. A business that has an empty private office room, for example, can rent it out for a higher fee to an individual. Those who have conference rooms sitting empty for days on end and are rarely used by the office can be rented out to a group for the day. The building owner can also have a more long-term arrangement with a small organization that needs a temporary space before they scale up.

With this arrangement, both parties benefit. The individual or organization gets their temporary office while the office owner receives financial compensation for renting an empty desk or room to the individual or organization.

More than Just an Office

Renters expect more than just a desk and a chair. Nowadays, with more and more offices expanding their services to provide rentable desks, the competition is high. In order to garner more interested renters, businesses are throwing in some useful employee perks.

If, for example, the office has a mail system, extending it to a renter would drum up more interest on a rentable desk. Having access to the employee pantry will also be a plus because many freelancers and entrepreneurs also use the opportunity to network.

When your office reopens after the pandemic and your employees prefer to work from home, you can continue to use the space that you have and earn extra on the side by renting out empty office desks and chairs.

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