Shrinking Physical Space, Growing Government Innovation
Leasing office space is a huge cost for Federal Agencies, so in this age of shrinking budgets we are experiencing the phenomenon of the shrinking office spaces, if not disappearing ones, to meet budgetary needs. The Feds have taken a cue from the likes of American Express, GlaxoSmithKline, and other private industry giants who have long embraced downsized communal office spaces in order to save on real estate costs.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA ) closed offices in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia while shrinking its headquarters in DC from 63,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet, thus saving $900,000 annually on real estate. Alan Duncan, the executive in charge of the audit division at TIGTA said the agency has developed a more mobile culture of work that makes the brick and mortar office space less important. Technology is one element that makes effective mobile work possible, employees use webcams, meeting software, laptops and work off of a cloud network, making the physical office unnecessary. Furthermore, estimates show that traditional office spaces are utilized at about 50 percent on a given day, due to factors such as leave, travel, and out of office meetings. All of which makes maintaining a physical work space inefficient.
Another aspect of this more mobile work culture that GSA is experimenting with is ‘hoteling’. The idea of hoteling is: Workers in an office do not have permanent spaces, instead, they make reservations in advance for an office or conference room or even a desk using software to book a physical space. This saves room because workers can telecommute much of the time and an office can house twice the staff it once did, with more flexible seating arrangements. This idea has already begun to save the government money, because many employees spend the majority of their time away from the office, reducing the amount of office space and resources needed for each employee. GSA’s renovated headquarters in DC will support twice as many workers as the originally configured space because of innovations like hoteling and mobile workforce.
About Kevin Lancaster
Kevin Lancaster leads Winvale’s corporate growth strategies in both the commercial and government markets. He develops and drives solutions to meet Winvale’s business goals while enabling an operating model to help staff identify and respond to emerging trends that affect both Winvale and the clients it serves. He is integrally involved in all aspects of managing the firm’s operations and workforce, leading efforts to improve productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.