Meanwhile, the proliferation of wireless technology and influx of Millennials has changed the way we do business. Home computers and portable devices allow employees to work remotely or hunker down with co-workers in communal work areas.
Take that, Cubicle Land.
The financial downturn left few corners of corporate budgets untouched, including real estate costs. Companies that reduce their overall footprint save on both rent and the amount of money paid to build out offices.
“There are going to be some clients that have to move, and they just don’t have a high budget ... and that’s going to be their focus,” said Kim Heartwell, senior vice president at Washington-based RTKL Associates.
“Many clients are saying, ‘I have a certain amount of money to spend, how am I going to get the best value out of this?’” she added.
That question has turned some local firms, including McLean-based contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, to use “hoteling” or “hot seating.” Regardless of the term-du-jour, it means employees work from the office sparingly, and use a shared desk when they do.
The option would not have existed before high-speed Internet became commonplace in urban environments like Washington. Now employers can require less-senior workers to log hours from home instead of from costly office space.
“If they take less square footage overall, they’re reducing their footprint and overall real estate costs, so that means they have to use their entire build-out budget effectively across the entire space,” said Jennifer Klein, principal at DBI Architects, a corporate design firm with offices in the District and Reston.
LivingSocial has dedicated a team to ensure its properties meet the company’s needs as in recent months it has added employees and office space faster than most, if not all, private employers in the region.
Alan Clifford, who heads the company’s culture and facilities teams, said LivingSocial has maintained a startup dynamic as it grows in part by limiting space to between 80 and 110 square feet per employee. Even CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy’s corner office fits just two extra chairs, a coat rack and freezer.