Is Your Office Getting a Bit…Cozier?

Office space isn’t what it used to be – many offices and most government agencies are tearing down the walls – literally – and placing workers in increasingly small, and less private, cube space. Is this the trend in your office? Do smaller offices make it easier to collaborate, or just make you more annoyed with your coworkers?

“According to the Federal Times, new leases for the various agencies and departments of the U.S. government are shrinking the average space per employee. In an effort to reduce leasing costs, the standard square footage per employee is dropping from 200 square feet to 157 square feet or less.

The calculation of an employee’s workspace includes common areas like conference rooms, offices and workstations and snack bars. Bathrooms, closets, stairs and hallways and lobbies are excluded from the calculation. Regardless of the calculations, it may get crowded in some government offices.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety provides a great discussion of what constitutes “work space”. They point out that North Americans like their elbow room while other cultures may be more comfortable working closer to others.

A December 2010 article in the Los Angeles Times talks about the shrinking of the corporate office. They quote an expert as noting the drop from 500-700 sq. ft. per employee in the 1970’s to a potential 50 sq. ft. by 2015.

The cost savings for the government is substantial. With yearly square footage lease costs running $20 to $50 per sq. ft., the reduction in the average workspace per employee creates a lease savings of $860 to $1,000 per employee per year.”

Read the full article here and let us know – is your office space shrinking?

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Carol Davison

I anticipated officers continuing to shrink as we move to telework positions and desk sharing. Why purchase each of us office equipment (or any for that matter!) if we won’t all be using it simultaneously?