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Are workstations in Asia becoming smaller?

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Hong Kongers today are not only dealing with shrinking living space, but with also smaller workstations, according to a new report by real estate service provide CBRE titled Space Utilization: The Next Frontier.

The report said organisations all across Asia are now under pressure to drive down costs by cutting the size of workstations.  

The reduction in space in the office has reached a point that is impacting productivity, performance and retention.

In Hong Kong, India and China, workplace space has shrunk to 50-60 sq. ft. per desk.  In Europe and the US, where density norms are around 150-200 sq. ft. per desk, workstations in Australia and New Zealand are even more spacious at around 90-150 sq. ft. per desk.

CBRE regards below 60 sq. ft. per desk as a clear productivity danger zone, anything lower than this level will result in drop off in staff productivity, performance and put retention at risk.

Tight desk space leads to lack of privacy, increase of noise and levels of distraction from neighbors, leading to decreased productivity.

It also tends to jeopardise teamwork and decision-making.

Peter Andrew, director of workplace strategy, CBRE Asia suggested alternatives that allow firms to balance the pressures of cost and density.

“We propose activity based working (ABW), allowing staff to work flexibly by choosing from a diversity of different places to work within the office rather than being assigned a fixed desk as the one primary place of work.  Giving people choice enables them to work more productively,” he said.

Benchmarking metrics such as workplace density and space utilisation are becoming more critical in helping corporate occupiers make informed workplace and real estate decisions, and manage their real estate as a strategic asset.

“Corporate occupiers must develop a complete understanding of how their people work, and what their organisational objectives and imperatives are,” said Dr. Henry Chin, head of research, CBRE Asia Pacific.

“It is only by aligning these two fundamental perspectives that companies can implement a workplace strategy capable of achieving cost effective business transformation.”


ALSO READ: Office rents in Hong Kong continue to soar, led by Central

Image: Shutterstock

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