Reston Spring

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Here's What It's Like To Work In An Office Where Nobody Has An Assigned Seat, Business Insider, August 15, 2014

For more than a year, we have highlighted the ongoing reduction in office space per person (see our entries under "Office Space" in the index or search this blog on "office space per worker") as a key strategic driving force in the commercial real estate industry.   In particular, space per worker has shrunk from more than 300 gross square feet (GSF) to less than 200 GSF per person and is headed toward 150 GSF per person or less by the end of the decade.  The impact of these reductions has been felt in the Washington Metro office market where office vacancies continue to hover around 15%-17% four years after the end of the Great Recession. 

This article by Aaron Taube, Business Insider, highlights what may be the ultimate form of space reduction:  No assigned seat.  Here are some excerpts from the article:
Imagine coming to the office every day and not having your own desk. There's no place to call your own, no pictures of your family lining your cubicle, and none of the status that comes with a plush corner office.

That's what the 250 employees at the New York office of the Gerson Lehrman Group, a consulting firm that connects business executives with relevant experts, experienced in late June when the company moved into its new space at 60 East 42nd Street.

Instead of a desk, workers were given a locker, a laptop, and a license to roam across a variety of office landscapes ranging from conference rooms, to couches, to the company's own in-house coffee bar.
The two-floor, 64,000-square foot office is the largest U.S. implementation of activity-based working, a Dutch-born theory that posits office workers are happiest and most productive in an environment that allows them to utilize a variety of different spaces based on the task they are performing. . .
The goal, said GLG head of public affairs Richard Socarides, is to increase collaboration among employees and to have a space better suited for hosting clients.
Since one of the things the company is most proud of is bringing together its clients to share knowledge with one another, Socarides said it didn't make sense that these meetings were being held at restaurants instead of GLG's offices.
So far, it seems employees are mostly happy about the shift. . . .
Click here to the read the rest of this major article, which also includes a number of photographs that show how the work environment has been made appealing.

From a community planning perspective, as we have pointed out repeatedly to the County, the reduction by half of the amount of space each worker occupies mean that twice as many workers can occupy the office space that is being planned by the County.  Such an increase will swamp the County's ability to provide the needed transportation (& other) infrastructure whose calculations were based on historic averages, not the future we are supposed to be planning for. 

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