ITRA Global Reports on How Companies Are Squeezing More Employees into Less Office Space

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As more companies look to reduce their occupancy costs and increase employee collaboration, it is easy to see that “hot desking” could be a trend to stay.

Jeff Howell

We are now seeing the average square footage of office space per employee at 175 to 225 square feet, and over the next few years, it will shrink further to the 150 square feet per employee range.

Back in the 1970’s, many companies calculated their office space requirements based on 500 square feet. per employee, which included space for circulation and file storage. “It was a different world back then.” says Jeff Howell, partner at Nidea Corporate Real Estate / ITRA Global, a leading tenant advisory firm in Toronto. “By the year 2000, however, 250 square feet per employee became the norm. We are now seeing that number come down to 175 to 225 square feet, and over the next few years, it will shrink further to the 150 square feet per employee range.” Moreover, recent studies indicate most companies have up to 30% of their office space vacant at any given time.”

Professional services firm Deloitte is a pioneer in addressing this phenomenon. When the Toronto headquarters in 2015 are opened, there will be no assigned seating but instead an office organization system which involves multiple workers using a single physical work station or surface during different time periods. This growing trend is known as “hot desking”. “When students went to high school or a university their focus was to get their school work done, so they went to a library to study.” quips Mr. Howell. “Why should working at a company be any different? Cubicles in libraries are small quiet spaces to work and study. Why do people need a 150 square foot office to do work they could complete in a three by three cubicle?” The cost of Deloitte’s new space is offset by the reduction in total square footage required. The real benefit should be in the increased collaboration, where ideas can be generated and easily shared.

“This trend is one of the most interesting experiments to hit our industry: the extinction of true personal space. This may be a challenge for senior workers to adapt, having been accustomed to pictures of their children on the wall, a display of their golf trophies and the freedom to invite co-workers into their office for a meeting. On the other hand, the new generation of workers is unaffected, and this new trend should promote a more positive atmosphere among employees where people are no longer seen as prestigious by having the corner office,” adds Mr. Howell.

As more companies look to reduce their occupancy costs and increase employee collaboration, it is easy to see why hot desking is becoming more attractive to business owners.

Nidea Corporate Real Estate, provides innovative real estate solutions exclusively to corporate space users. Nidea does not represent landlords, developers or building owners. It is this unbiased approach that allows them to maintain a clear focus in the development of operating strategies that are formulated and delivered on behalf of their clients. For more information about innovative real estate solutions, contact Jeff Howell by telephone at 416.941.9900, Ext. 239 or by email at jhowell(at)itraglobal.com.

ITRA Global is an organization of real estate professionals specializing in representing tenants and buyers in the leasing, acquisition and disposition of office, industrial and retail facilities. With coverage in major markets around the world, ITRA Global is one of the largest organizations dedicated to representing tenants and buyers of commercial real estate. Clients benefit by having an experienced professional as their trusted advisor, providing conflict-free representation with total objectivity.

To learn more about conflict-free representation and representatives of ITRA Global, please visit the organizations web site.

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Beth Wade
ITRA Global
+1 (706) 654-3201
Email >

Beth Wade
ITRA Global
1 (706) 654-3201
Email >