UBM Case Study

UBM reduces real estate costs with Redstone’s OneSpace

UBM is a global events-led marketing and communications services business. It helps businesses do business by connecting them with a targeted, qualified audience, through live events, press releases and other digital and print media. UBM has 5,000 expert staff deeply embedded in the many specialist communities it serves, bringing an unusual depth of understanding and real know-how.

The Challenge

Relocation was essential due to the impending lease expiry on UBM’s London office with planning for redevelopment at the site. This presented the company with an opportunity to find a new location to support their 550 employees with adequate workspace and the flexibility to adapt for future requirements.

Like many businesses, UBM experiences fluctuating workforces due, in part, to a strong history of acquisition and disposal so the design had to allow for easy expansion and contraction.

However, with London property prices being the third most expensive in the world a decision on a new location needed careful consideration. UBM identified that the relationship between business needs and workspace required further examination if it was to provide employees with a long-term working environment, with the facilities and support they needed.

The Solution

“We carried out a time utilisation study and found that desk occupancy was as low as 50%,” said Tom Holden, senior project manager at UBM. “That meant we had a lot of space tied up on desks even when not in use. We calculated that we could achieve a 1 to 1.4 desk sharing ratio instead of the 1 per person we were currently employing.”

UBM turned to Redstone's OneSpace solution to help improve desk utilisation:

“The most important reason to have a desk-booking system is to have desk utilisation data. Short term, we need the data to support any specific management concerns. Ongoing, FM use the data to successfully manage team moves, expansions, acquisitions and disposals. Long term, they need it to predict floor expansion or release opportunities.”

The study also identified needs such as:
• Wayfinding - ‘find my colleague’ function
• Real time visual information of desk occupancy
• Power saving/energy efficiencies for the building at desk level
• Simplicity and straight forward functionality of the OneSpace tool
• Flexibility of space utilisation throughout the building

Holden knew that to achieve this sharing ratio along with his other goals, UBM would require a new way to manage its office space. He researched solutions, spoke to Redstone about OneSpace and initiated a pilot involving 20 desks over six months:

“I wanted to prove the system’s reliability and effectiveness within the UBM working environment and a live test was the best way to achieve this. A key part of the message we gave to the management team was that this would reduce the daily anxiety of desk selection for their staff and an internal communication strategy was also put into place that focused on the benefits of helping teams work together with OneSpace being an easy method for finding people.”

The Results

OneSpace allowed UBM to provide workspace geared to individual needs, which resulted in a high approval rating and speedy adoption by employees. After the successful trial, UBM was able to make informed decisions about their new office facility. This included considerations on additional floor, desk space and cabling provisions, which directly impact the volume of real estate required.

The deployment of OneSpace at UBM provided savings for both initial capital costs and operational expenditure for the building life cycle. With average desk space in London costing £15k per annum, the capital saving represented approximately £3m. Average fit out costs in London of £70 per sq. ft. meant a further potential capital saving of circa £1.5m.

By allowing staff to work more flexibly, the need for supported desk moves was reduced to near zero. Plus the reduction in desks allowed for more meeting rooms (which were in high demand) and nimble working spaces, whilst eliminating unoccupied space.

The data from the original utilisation study together with the dynamic analytics OneSpace provides has enabled UBM to make an informed business decision to sub-lease its 14th floor. This represents a significant saving of approximately £1.5m per annum over the 25 year lease. The intelligent powering-off of desks when not in use have also helped UBM to meet its environmental objectives.

“OneSpace is changing how we work at UBM. Elegantly simple solution to finding our usage data whilst also promoting a more green desking solution with power-off.”
Tim Holden, UBM project manager