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The Number

Projected square feet per office employee Office workers in the United States are working in smaller spaces than ever before. Based on data from CoreNet Global, a commercial real estate trade association, the average square footage for each worker dropped from 225 square feet in 2010 to 176 in 2012. It’s projected to shrink to 151 square feet in 2017. Kevin Fenenbock, senior vice president at brokerage Colliers Inter-national in Encino, said companies routinely shrank their office footprint during the Great Recession. The subsequent recovery has yielded more workers, but businesses are reluctant to rent more space, resulting in lower per-worker space. Another factor is what Fenenbock calls “office hotels.” Flexible work schedules and mobile technology allow people to work from home or on the road, so they only go to the office a few days a week. That leaves room for others to use the same desk, he said. Businesses are also getting rid of individual offices in favor of open creative-space environments where workers can collaborate, added Fenenbock. “(Companies) like Google are creating an environment that feels like home. This way people work longer hours and want to be in the office, unlike a traditional office space,” he said. But Lamia Maalouf, partner at interior architecture firm MI Design Inc. in Sherman Oaks, sees the idea behind creative office space as making the workplace friendlier, which could improve productivity. But some business matters require privacy. “We will always need offices, no matter how technological the world is,” she said. Even though executives aren’t ditching their corner offices, Maalouf said they are opting for office designs that allow them to overlook the open office space outside their door. – Nicole Pinto

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