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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Boiler room backlash? Companies offer more office space per worker

Study shows 52 percent of seats now devoted to alternative work areas

Employees are now getting more office space (credit: Getty Images)

The days of the traditional cubicle may be long gone, but a new study indicates that workers need more space than they were getting as the creative office craze took hold.

Businesses are starting to increase the square footage per employee in shared conference rooms, living-room style seating areas and other communal work spaces, according to the most recent 2017 Workplace Report by New York-based architecture and design firm Ted Moudis.

The study, which analyzed 2.4 million square feet of office space at projects designed by Moudis, noted that the average unassigned “seat” per employee increased to 165 square feet, up from 142 square feet last year. The average amount of space at assigned workstations, meanwhile, stayed the same.

With office workers spending about 60 to 65 percent of their time at their desks, employers are finding benefits in having their workers spend more time in communal areas. Free meals and treadmills desks are among some of the amenities offices are offering to make their spaces attractive to employees.

However, there is a growing backlash against the more extreme creative office environment, where the leisure time amenities are crammed in with the workspaces. Unlimited beer on tap and an active ping pong table scene might have unintended consequences on worker productivity, designers said.

“People are saying we tried the open plan, and there is a lot of virtue in having people connect,” CBRE’s Lenny Beaudoin told the Wall Street Journal. “But if you can’t get work done, that is problematic.” [WSJ] – Natalie Hoberman