ICL plans to boost hot-desking


ICL plans to boost hot-desking

Bill Goodwin

Troubled computer services company ICL is planning a significant increase in the number of its workers "hot-desking" as part of a strategy to break even by the end of the year.

ICL, which is under pressure to cut operating losses of £70m in its last financial year, believes that the move could shave millions off its property costs.

The company, which is in the process of slimming down its workforce and cutting management layers, is expected to announce details of its future strategy and current restructuring next week.

ICL's plans include a significant reduction in its pool of IT contractors. "We have had a larger number of contractors in ICL but it makes sense for us to use our own people," said spokesman Neil Pattie.

ICL also plans to cut costs by using mobile technology to increase the proportion of its 21,000 workforce hot-desking from 25% to 35% by 2002.

"We are moving progressively towards a model where a single building will be able to cater for twice the number of employees that it used to," said Richard Reed, director of corporate infrastructure.

The hot-desking will be encouraged using a technology called Extended Connected Office, developed by ICL. It will go on trial with 50 employees, giving them access to documents, the Internet and e-mail on the move from Wap phones, PDAs and laptops.

ICL has set up a company-wide intranet, containing communities and special interest Web sites to give mobile workers a "sense of belonging" to the company.

ICL's office in Staines, which has 320 desks but supports 600 people, will be a model for ICL in the future.

The company estimates it can save up to fifth of its property costs by expanding its hot-desking.

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