Of all the research into office space usage over the past decade, Herman Miller’s studies have delivered some of the most surprising results. According to their data (collected by placing weight sensors in chairs to determine when they were occupied), a typical workstation is only in use 40% of an average workday. Even accounting for lunch and bathroom breaks, workers out sick or on vacation, and the occasional meeting, that’s a lot of empty cubicle time!
In the same series of studies, HM also found that conference rooms are typically overstocked with seating. There are rarely so many people in a meeting that all the chairs are needed. You can actually draw an interesting conclusion from these two pieces of data:
- Employees are doing a large percentage of their work away from their assigned desk
- Some of these activities are teamwork-oriented and taking place in the conference rooms
- The teams are small and don’t take up a full traditional-sized conference room
One solution suggested by Herman Miller is to realign space usage to include more small, collaborative meeting areas and less large conference rooms and workstations. They also point out that each workspace must be equipped to support technology. If not, employees have to hunt for a location that fits their work needs. That’s even more time they’ll spend away from their desk.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user InvernoDreaming