In order to win back the non-believers of open workspaces,
some companies are attempting to introduce more personal space
away from the desk, such as breakout areas, kitchens, outdoor
decks and barbecues. However, Dr. Oommen argues that this is
not an adequate trade-off. “It is very silly to have a huge tearoom
and a huge reception or chat area when your employee is working in such a small space where they can hardly find any space to
keep their office bag,” he says.
So why are some companies taking the plunge and veering
headlong into the “shrinking office” mindset without fully understanding the long-term consequences?
Some would say the answer is simple: the financial savings.
Depending on how far senior management decides to go, a company can cut its overall office workspace by 25 percent or more.
It’s difficult to pass up such savings, especially during down
years when employees should just be happy they’re employed.
“I would rather give up some of the space I currently use than
my job,” said Gavin Bloch, chief asset officer at the U.S. General
Service Administration. But what happens when the economy
improves as it always does, along with the well documented sta-
tistics of baby boomers retiring steadily with impending skilled