Take a tour of Edinburgh's ‘ghost office’

An IT firm has created an 18-desk “ghost office” in a prime Edinburgh location – in the hope it will never be used.

The firm says the office can be operational with just moments notice. Picture: contributed.
The firm says the office can be operational with just moments notice. Picture: contributed.

The Leith premises of Consider IT – whose customers include the Faculty of Advocates, the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards, Nile and Par Equity – boasts desks and chairs that are “eerily” empty. Additionally, PCs at each workstation are left on, with no users, for updates and testing.

The firm said that despite investing heavily in an office set-up it says would be the “envy” of small firms across the city, the team hopes it will remain empty – although it can be operational with just a few moments’ notice.

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Now the man who took the decision to create what the firm calls a “Marie Celeste-style” deserted office suite says it is a gamble that has paid off and has brought in a raft of ­valuable new business.

'We know how weird it seems to have such an attractive office space lying empty for months on end,' but it will be a 'genuine lifeline', says Stuart Gilbertson. Picture: contributed.

Stuart Gilbertson, founder and MD of Consider IT, said: “It’s our disaster recovery suite, and we put loads of thought, care and attention into creating it. We are very proud of the set-up. This is a vital insurance policy for those clients who are signed up for our disaster recovery service."

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Reassurance

“If something catastrophic happens in their business, they have peace of mind knowing that their team can be back at work within minutes – with access to all of their computer systems, files and phones as if they were working at their own office.

“Of course, like most insurance policies, we hope it is never needed. The longer our disaster recovery suite lies empty, the happier everyone can be. We know how weird it seems to have such an attractive office space lying empty for months on end. But when it is needed, it will be a ­genuine lifeline.

“The ability to quickly get a team back to work after a fire, flood or similar disaster can be the thing that helps a business to survive.”

The firm says it has around 70 clients across Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, and since being founded in 2007, has enjoyed continuous growth and has built up a £1.2 million turnover.

It has a fleet of orange and white branded support ­vehicles, with its team of ­technicians working with many of the city’s SMEs.

Gilbertson, a computer ­networks graduate from ­Napier University, recently took the decision to move the IT company into an office building in Leith’s docklands – despite the “huge” cost increases and other risk of moving from modest 1,400 square feet offices into a space spanning more than 3,550 sq ft.

Risk

He said: “It was a massive risk and there were points where I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. But we needed to make a big, splashy, bold statement to set ourselves apart that reflected the superior service that we offer.

"In the past six months alone, we have signed up at least five major clients on the strength of our disaster recovery suite, as well as the other, robust business continuity services we offer, including data back-up services and IT managed services.

“We also have our own offices on the floor below which are also well-appointed.”

The disaster recovery floor also boast a chill-out room, a pool table, and meeting room for up to 15 people that Consider IT lets out to clients.

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