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A Real Estate Company Recommends Using Less Real Estate

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Corporate productivity strategies usually come from HR, operations, and IT. So why is one of the biggest real estate companies in the world talking about employee productivity, and why are they recommending occupying less real estate?

The shocker appears in a MarketWatch press release titled For Knowledge Workers, Productivity Begins with Workplace Strategy. Key passages include:

Work is what employees do, not where they sit. The focus of work and workplace is no longer about square-footage per person, but about revenue per person.

The traditional one-person-per-desk model does not best serve knowledge workers.

Do more with less. The “ownership model” of assigning a seat to every employee is no longer sustainable, given that 50 percent of desks will be vacant on an average day in a typical company. In North America and Europe, for example, job sharing, telecommuting and virtual meetings have significantly decreased office space usage

These quotes about organizational productivity comes from international real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. They manage 2.6 billion square feet of real estate. So why are they encouraging clients to use less space?

Corporate Productivity - Empty Office Space

© Flickr user yourbartender

We’ve covered topics of productivity decisions and real estate before on The Methodology Blog. And we’ve also talked about the impact of telecommuting on real estate as well.

But a multinational real estate company recognizing changing patterns in work is something else. To quote from the release:

“A typical knowledge-oriented organization spends significantly more on its workers than on its space,” says Bernice Boucher, a member of Jones Lang LaSalle’s global workplace strategy board with responsibility for the Americas. “For these companies, productivity is not about presence–that is, sitting at a desk–it is about performance. The right workplace strategy can help increase shareholder value, achieve business goals and create a high-performance, cohesive corporate culture.”

That’s newsworthy. Work is not where you are, it’s what you do. If the real estate experts know that organizational productivity has changed, when will the rest of us catch up?

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