Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Improving Space Perfomance: Yet Another Cubicle Farm Bites the Dust

The design consulting firm DEWG helped pharma firm Lilly redesign a 470Ksf space housing 3,300 employees, converting it from a 20th century cubicle farm to a more flexible 21st century model, focusing more on work tasks and style and less on "turf ownership."  We are seeing more of these transitions as organizations look to increase efficiency and productivity, including optimizing the real estate portfolio.  The Lilly project offers compelling evidence that when done right these projects are true levers to organizational performance.

In this case, both employees and ROI numbers speak rather loudly.  Thirty-seven percent of employees said that their satisfaction with office appearance improved and twenty-seven percent said it was more stimulating.  Overall employee satisfaction with the workspace improved by thirty percent.

As impressive as that is, executives are likely more impressed with bottom line efficiency gains.  GSF/employee was reduced from 212 square feet to 156 square feet, furniture cost was decreased $4,200 per capita, and the overall capital cost per employee was nearly halved.

The goal of Alternative Workplace Strategies (AWS) is to maximize real estate leverage while at the same time improving employee productivity and satisfaction, and contributing to recruiting and retention efforts.  Lilly's project is not unique in its accomplishments, rather it is further evidence that AWS has long since moved past  "growing trend" status to being a favored tool of those responsible for corporate real estate.  

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