Facilities are the second-highest expense for large companies—and many are providing more workspace than they really needed. There’s a real opportunity in the realm of virtual office space.

"The opportunity to reduce facility costs, by reconfiguring office space or reducing the average space allocated to each worker is an opportunity corporate leaders cannot ignore," says Jim Creighton, co-founder of New Ways of Working, a member organization focused on alternative workplace solutions.

New Ways of Working recently hosted a roundtable to examine how to decrease real estate expense while maintaining a steady workforce or even increasing headcount.

A panel consisting of Chris Hood, Program Manager, the HP Workplace at Hewlett-Packard, Clark Sept, Co-Founder, Business Place Strategies, and Mark Wartenberg, Founding Partner, Co3 Group, Ltd., tackled the problem of cutting real estate costs by 50 percent while accommodating more employees in less space. Virtual office space can play a key role in these strategies.

Real-world examples demonstrate that companies can save millions of square feet of real estate and reduce occupancy costs by optimizing footprint, employing workplace flexibility, and implementing processes and places that support mobile work. Again, virtual office space can play a key role. Hood says HP has just about halved its office space worldwide, and has reduced operating costs by about 40 percent.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at 11 ways companies can reduce corporate real estate costs without sacrificing productivity, with virtual office space front and center in the discussion.