The Real Deal New York

NYC companies embracing office design based on worker habits

New activity-based approach can help cut businesses' real estate costs
July 07, 2014 11:40AM

The days of being chained to a desk may well be a thing of the past in New York City. 

New York City-based companies are increasingly moving away from traditional seating arrangements and opening up the entire building for employees, the Wall Street Journal reported. Instead of a desk, a chair and a land line, employees now often just get a laptop and a locker for their belongings. As for where they sit down to work, that is largely left up to them.

Gerson Lehrman Group, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Accenture have all experimented with this activity-based model. At GLG, the new office design includes comfortable couches, a coffee bar with a barista and single-occupancy glass booths.

This new model also saves space, saving companies real estate costs. CBRE Group opened a new Los Angeles office where 250 people work in 48,000 square feet. If everyone had their own desk, the company would have needed 72,000 square feet for 210 people, according to the Journal.

“Office workers are really only at their desks 40 percent of the time,” Bernice Boucher, a managing director at real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, told the paper. “We have known this for decades, which is why everyone talks about desk sharing… free-seating and telecommuting.” [WSJ] — Claire Moses