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          David Saul, managing director of leading serviced office operator Business Environment, on the importance of quality meeting rooms in the current climate.

          I was interested to read recently that a company in New Zealand has developed a video conferencing service aimed at government departments, in a bid to cut costs for the country’s taxpayers.

          Clearly, during a period when governments across the world are cutting spending on services, it’s prudent to demonstrate a willingness to reduce the cost of government activity. Not doing so would undermine the ‘we’re in it together’ mantra, which has characterised the UK Government’s justification for spending cuts.

          In the business world, value for money is also more important than ever. Of course, it’s sensible business practice to seek out value regardless of the state of the economy, but it’s absolutely imperative as the UK plunges deeper into recession and consumer confidence remains unstable.

          Low-cost meeting space will prove particularly important for start-up businesses, seeking to make a professional impression at a time when banks won’t lead and economic conditions are uncertain.

          More importantly, however, is that these businesses are able to enjoy real value for money rather than offered a price that looks initially attractive but rapidly increases once hidden extras are accounted for.

          All-inclusive good value office and meeting space is the offer for the business environment right now – meaning TVs, WiFi, refreshments, flipcharts and stationery should all come as standard.

          There also needs to be a real focus on quality. After all, if a small business is hiring meeting or office space in order to make a positive business impression, it’s clearly important that the space they hire does this.

          Meeting space providers should ensure that professional front of house staff are on hand to greet customers and show them to their meeting room.

          And, if anyone doubts how important a quality front of house team is on making a good business impression, they should note the results of a survey we carried out at Business Environment that showed that rude front of house staff are the main reason businesses are put off working with other companies.

          Meeting space provision that offers quality and value will prove particularly crucial in the current economic climate – whether this is for the New Zealand government or a fledgling start up business.

           David Saul is MD of Business Environment

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