Friday, March 2, 2012

CoreNet Global Study Predicts Shrinking Office Space

A new CoreNet Global report predicts that the average U.S. office employee space will shrink to 100 sq. ft. or less in the next five years.  The report cites growing collaboration work styles and economic pressures as the main drivers behind this trend, which is moving U.S. occupancies closer to the European standard.

This type of fundamental shift will affect virtually every facet of the design, construction and facility management industries.  Organizations that go this route will be faced with developing new or enhanced workplace policies, including an increased emphasis on office etiquette and behavior management.  FM's will be in the forefront of these changes and in some ways will be most affected.  Designers and builders will complete projects and move on to the next one, while FM's and their HR and operational cohorts will be left to live in, work in, and manage the new work space.

While some will make the point that these new workplace standards fit the work styles of younger generations now becoming predominant in the workforce it is also true that not every type of work will lend itself easily to this change.  Concentrated cognitive work, for example, requires greater visual and acoustic privacy than other forms of work.  In these types of organizations the spatial changes potentially have deep implications to the quality of work product.  In all cases, the importance of thoughtful consideration, function-centric design and accommodation, and well managed socialization of the change process will be essential.

Not to be overlooked are implications to the CRE industry.  A true contraction of space requirements of this magnitude can be expected to affect vacancy rates, project activity, and capital investment in new inventory.

Read the CoreNet Global press release here.

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