Lurking in the midst of a bunch of vacuous platitudes about "collaboration" and "mobile workforces" is a line that underscores the real thinking behind these workspaces:
The objectives are to improve collaboration and cut costs.
“Real estate is an expense and it needs to be managed,” says Brad Searchfield, global head of corporate real estate at Manulife. “All things being equal, we will use less real estate. Then as we grow, it creates opportunities for us to manage that growth very cost effectively.”
“Calgary’s just a lot more generous with space,” says Mr. McNair. “In downtown Calgary, the norm for energy firms would be close to 300 square feet per person. Some of the firms are at 400.”But the trend is spreading.
“Most organizations can reduce their real estate by 30 per cent if they go to a [desk] reservation system or a slightly different workplace model, with very little change, because 30 per cent of those people are either on holiday, travelling on business, ill or out visiting clients,” says Lisa Fulford-Roy, a senior vice-president at design firm HOK, which is working with Manulife.