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How To Make the Most of Underused Space

60% of workstations today are empty, along with 77% of private offices and 50% of conference room seats, said Margaret Serrato, Senior Workplace Strategist at Herman Miller, Inc., at Tuesday’s Excellence in Government event. Yet, as she quickly explained, employees tend to overestimate the time spent in these locations.

In “Using Technology-Driven Utilization to Optimize Space,” Serrato gave the federal audience some advice on how to build a business case to find more space. First, she offered, it’s imperative to decide which question you’re trying to answer: How much headcount can my space support? or How much space does headcount require? Each question requires a different approach backed by space utilization data.

For those trying to fit headcount into a fixed space, agencies can consider adopting one of three scenarios: high mobile, high flex, or split flex.

1. High mobile (for organizations that contain highly mobile employees) - Mobile workers will not be assigned a assigned workstation, but space will be provided for them to sit in conference rooms or other shared spaces, should they be in the office. Flexible people (those there certain days of the week) and residents (those there every day) are assigned workstations that fit their needs.

2. High flex (for organizations with many flexible workers) - Flexible workers will be assigned to workstations for a specified period, while residents receive assigned seats commensurate with their tasks.

3. Split flex (for organizations that have flexible workers of varying workweeks) - Highly flexible people are assigned to flexible workstations, but flexible people who are in the office less get unassigned workstations. As always, residents receive assigned workstations.

For those lucky few that are dealing with the second question (How much space does headcount require?), workstation sharing ratios will be the key determiner.

-Zoe Grotophorst, Manager, Research & Strategic Insights

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.

Image credit: mrdorkesq


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