What smaller office spaces mean for the future of work

What smaller office spaces mean for the future of work
November 29, 2023
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The landscape of the workplace is undergoing a significant transformation. A recent report by CBRE highlights a trend that's reshaping our understanding of office spaces.

Since 2019, there's been a notable shift toward smaller office requirements, with spaces ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 sq. ft. seeing a 7% increase. In contrast, the demand for larger spaces of 50,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. and those over 100,000 sq. ft. has plummeted by 38% and 36%, respectively. This emerging pattern speaks volumes about the evolving needs and preferences of businesses in the post-pandemic era.

Total Number of TIM Office Requirements by Size Range. Source: CBRE

The implications for future workspaces

This trend toward smaller offices is not just a fleeting response to current economic uncertainties or the hybrid work model; it's an indicator of a more profound change in how companies envision their work environments. As organizations lean into the hybrid work model, the need for sprawling office spaces diminishes. Instead, there's a growing preference for compact, flexible, and efficient workspaces.

“I've spoken to people where it's a little bit doom and gloom, you know. Workplace real estate says ‘Oh no, we're gonna have to shrink.’ You might shrink but if you make your space better quality, great.” — Lewis Barker, ServiceNow

The role of data in office design and utilization

In this evolving landscape, the utilization of office space becomes paramount. This is where workplace insights like those Density delivers become vital. Understanding how space is used, and optimizing it for maximum efficiency, is crucial. Companies must leverage occupancy data to make informed decisions about their office layouts.

Intentional in-Person days

As businesses embrace smaller office spaces, planning intentional in-person days becomes essential. These are the days when teams come together for collaborative work, meetings, and to foster a sense of community. Utilization data can help companies identify the best days for these gatherings, ensuring that the limited space is used most effectively.

Related: Four benefits to in-person collaboration — and how to nurture it

Hot desking and flexible workspaces

The concept of hot desking, where employees do not have fixed desks but use any available desk on a given day, fits perfectly with the trend of smaller office spaces. By using real-time occupancy data, companies can manage these flexible workspaces efficiently, ensuring that every square foot of the office is used to its full potential.

Related: Are dedicated desks the key to a better return-to-office?

Maximizing space utilization

With smaller office spaces, the challenge is to maximize the utility of every area. Utilization data can help companies understand which parts of their office are most used and at what times, allowing for a more dynamic use of space. This could mean converting seldom-used areas into multifunctional spaces or reallocating resources to where they're needed most.

Related: Do you really need more office space? Here's how to decide

Preparing for the changing dynamics of the workplace

The shift towards smaller office spaces is a clear indicator of the changing dynamics of the workplace. As companies adapt to this new reality, they must do so with a strategic approach. Utilizing data to understand and optimize space usage will be key to thriving in this new era of work. The future of work isn't just about where we work, but how we use our workspaces efficiently and effectively.