Rendering shown of One Channel Place, Boston. Architect- ADD Inc.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (rendering left) and Bing
This is the future in our post-recession world: companies are downsizing office workspace and increasing profits.
At a recent NAIOPMA event* at the Boston Seaport Hotel, Dustin Sarnoski, Director of Global Real Estate Transactions for State Street Corporation, describes the company's plan to minimize "per seat" costs of each employee, which, from the company's calculations, significantly improves their bottom line.
A typical "per seat" square footage is currently at around 170 and will be reduced to 108 by 2015 in the new State Street headquarters located at One Channel Center in the Seaport District of Boston. This means they can fit 338 more people in a 100,000 SF space, saving $3,100/per seat. Occupancy levels will now be around 90% but soon after the move State Street will grow occupancy to 133%. Employees working in the office three or less days a week will no longer have their own dedicated desk at the office but rather share "bench space" with other flex employees.
The typical ratio of offices: workstations is 15%: 85% State Street will be reducing this ratio down to 5% offices, meaning middle-level managers will no longer have their own office. Offices will be built in the middle of the tight cubicle layout which allows more natural light to flow into the space. The space will actually appear more open because of natural sunlight (which was previously trapped in offices lining the windows).
What are other changes we will be seeing? More collaboration in meeting areas, a 24/7 Cafeteria space, sustainability in the building design, ability for connectivity to constantly changing technology, and more flex employees who may work from home.
These new, radical layouts are sparking questions among the CRE community in attendance at the event. How much smaller can the "per seat" square footage get? At what threshold do employees become unproductive in this environment?
According to State Street, this type of cost savings is becoming the norm for financial institutions as a way to decrease expenses. Those who do not adapt will no longer be able to compete. State Street is on the cutting-edge of finding ways to decrease total expenses while holding steady (if not increasing) productivity, employment and profits.
The question is; would you work in that environment? Most of my peers say yes.
*Workplaces of the Future- To view the entire presentation via NAIOPMA, please click here.