There are lots of forces at play in today’s workplaces. People are drawn to the buzz of activity. Ask, and most of them will tell you they’re more productive, more energized, and more engaged when they’re around other people. So it makes sense to shrink the size of offices; it not only brings people closer together, which can foster collaborating, but it also cuts real estate costs. Given that many offices aren’t being used, the trend toward compacting offices is understandable; nothing kills the buzz in an office faster than a bunch of empty workstations.
All that togetherness can cause problems, though, with cries for quiet piercing the office buzz. Putting people too close together without places they can go to concentrate can backfire. That’s why smart companies are using some of the real estate they save to design other types of spaces, such as community zones, gathering areas, quiet rooms, and phone booths, so people have choice and variety in where they work. These companies are cutting real estate costs while giving employees a better workplace. It becomes a matter of making real estate work harder, so it costs less and it gives people an appealing, inspiring place where they can to do their best work.