‘Open plan seating’ is favourite among corporate offices: CBRE

NEW DELHI: Corporates are moving towards promoting interactive and collaborative work culture, reducing the share of cubicles or individual work spaces to just about 5% today, from as high as 25% a decade ago, according to international property consultancy CBRE India. Consequently, ‘open plan seating’ in offices, which was merely about 25% of the floor plan earlier, has now increased to 45-50% today.

“Majority of office space design has slowly moved from a rigid floor plan to one facilitating an open plan seating arrangement,” said Gurjot Bhatia , managing director, project management group, CBRE India. Share of open floor seating arrangements also vary across sizes of floor plates and type of office function, shows the report.

For larger office spaces of over 300,000 square feet, the open plan seating increases to 60-65% of the total area, against 40-50% when space is in the between the range of 50,000 sq ft and 100,000 sq ft. “For larger office spaces of over 300,000 sq ft, companies have the flexibility to further increase the open plan seating, while doing away with corner offices and limiting the space allocated to meeting rooms and circulation area,” he added.

Companies today are also increase their space allocation towards recreational areas, cafeteria, and lounges, taking its share to around 7% of office space, compared with below 2% a decade back. “Over the past few years, most companies have also started to embrace employees’ needs for a greater work–life balance in an attempt to boost satisfaction, productivity, and retention. This has led to an increase in space allocation towards recreational areas,” said Bhatia.

Newer concepts like ‘hot desking’, which is majorly beneficial for sales and marketing functions and shift jobs, have multiple workers use a single physical workstation or surface at different times of the day, reducing the need for a fixed space. There is also a growing trend towards optimising space for collaboration at formal meetings, as well as during interactions in common spaces such as corridors and cafeteria, for instance. Collaborative and huddle spaces are also replacing fixed meeting rooms these days.

Offices are not focusing on reducing cost by reducing individual work stations, according to Bhatia. “The overall office space size has not reduced with time, so cost reduction is not the main idea behind this. It’s just to increase productivity,” he said.

Credits ET Realty

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