Three Office Space Trends That Reflect A Changing Economy

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Years ago the goal for most employees was to climb the corporate ladder until they reached that dream, the “corner office.” Today’s up and comers know that the corner office isn’t as easy to find or achieve because today’s business spaces aren’t used in the same way. Three important trends that reflect our changing economy also signal a change in how corporate America views the contributions of their employees and the ramifications of each individual’s work area.

Shared Office Space Is On The Rise

Many businesses first downsized their square footage during the economic downturn a few years back, but these same companies have discovered something valuable along the way – sharing can be more efficient and more productive in addition to saving companies on rent money. Because more businesses than ever have employees who may be on the road a lot or who telecommute, there is less need for oversized conference rooms on a daily basis. It’s essentially wasted area that is dormant more than it’s in use. The solution is sharing conference rooms, break rooms and other non-essential areas with other divisions or other companies. In another trend, many employers are sharing reception areas and receptionists, saving even more money while putting on a professional face that shows customers or clients that they are successful without paying a fortune for an individual who may not do much besides answer phones and get the mail.

More Efficient Use Of Square Footage

Watch “Mad Men” and you’ll see corporate offices that waste a lot of space. But the days of a huge, private area for one person who gets to soak up all that natural light are falling by the wayside. Today’s entrepreneurs recognize the value of natural sunlight and lay their rooms out accordingly. They maximize their square footage so that the most amount of people have access to the sunlight in order to keep morale up and energy levels at their peak.

Multiple use areas also reduce a company’s footprint without sacrificing efficiency. One way they do this is by catering to telecommuters with check-in areas that have the essentials – such as Wi-Fi, a desk and a phone – in a small footprint so that valuable storage or conference rooms aren’t compromised. Since more than one person may use the check-in area throughout the week, these are kept streamlined and efficient. For more permanent offices, business owners are adding features such as additional power outlets for a variety of electronics while removing traditional fixtures such as standing file cabinets that are rarely needed in this day and age.

Open Floor Plans

Business executives and efficiency experts have discovered that open floor plans harbor and promote collaboration and creativity through additional face time. They’ve discovered that reception areas and desks that are open to each other rather than being walled up behind cubicles actually make workers more productive. Many executives are even making themselves more available to their staff by eschewing the traditional corner office in favor of being more visible and more approachable to their employees.

Keep these office space trends in mind when you are shopping for available lease options for your business. You may discover that the ideal solution combines innovative design with traditional esthetics.