Employees taking up less office space

The square footage occupied per employee is down compared to years past.

Kevin Thorpe, the chief economist at Cassidy Turley, gave a recent presentation at the Urban Land Institute's Technology Reshaping Real Estate seminar.

Like the name suggests, Thorpe believes original ideas are helping change the industry's landscape.

According to the Phoenix Business Journal, Thorpe noted the advancements of smartphones and tablets are changing the way people work in professional environments.

Now, with more employees working remotely, using the library or a coffee house as an office, employers have started to cut work space.

According to Thorpe, the average work space per employee dropped from 225 square feet in 2010 to 165 square feet in 2013. That number is expected to drop even further in coming years.

Those figures were found in a survey by CoreNet Global. The survey said that employment levels would rise in the second half of 2013, catalyzing a "property paradox" where more workers are using less individual space.

"We advocate that corporate real estate and workplace executives approach workplace management as a holistic practice starting at the C-suite level," said Richard Kadzis, vice president of strategic communications for CoreNet Global, according to Today's Facility Manager. "Workplace strategy is no longer a singular function of real estate, but a product of taking into account the needs and demands of the business and how real estate should work with human resources, information technology, finance and other support functions to support overall organizational planning." 

Square foot projections small
According to the CoreNet Global survey, approximately 67 percent of companies said the average employee is taking up less than 150 square feet. More than half of respondents predict work space to plummet to 100 square feet or less per worker in the next five years.

"Through this survey, and anecdotally, we are hearing of a 'collaborative space bubble,'" Kadzis said. "Just as we have escaped the 'cube farms of Dilbertville,' some employees may start to feel that the open-space pendulum has swung too far at the expense of a worker's ability to concentrate without interruption or distraction."

Corporate offices are switching to open space floor plans instead of assigned cubicles, which has fueled the change. More than four of five companies responding to the survey said their company has taken this route.

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