wooden desk and office chair
Hybrid work
Space optimization

Office space downsizing: a cost-saving strategy that matches our new way of working


May 2, 2023


June 16, 2023

For a long time, companies decreasing their workspace size was  a negative sign rather than a positive one. The main motives were either financial issues or other difficulties. But office space downsizing is now a standard move resulting from our new ways of working, such as flexible work.

Organizations can grow successfully and still decide to use this cost-reduction technique. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss why an increasing number of firms choose to downsize their floor space. If you are considering this option for your business, some key information that must be considered will be shared. 

Would having less space to welcome employees impact your corporate culture? Would your team members be less bonded and lose their connection with the workplace? Indeed, these can be challenges that come with a workspace that matches a hybrid work model. Yet, there are solutions to overcome them. Reducing your office space shouldn’t be seen as a new obstacle but more as an opportunity. Do you want to learn more about the office space downsizing? Here are key insights and tips that should trigger your interest!

Office space downsizing can be part of business growth and success

Most companies have embraced the hybrid work model

Offering flexible work arrangements is now a norm for organizations that promote an employee-centric approach and attract talent. It enables them to hire worldwide and continue growing without looking for new office spaces. They benefit from building a highly skilled workforce while answering one of their strongest workers’ requests, being entitled to more flexibility at work.

After working in a traditional office model for decades and then experiencing full remote work during the pandemic, most people agree that a mix of both is the best solution. A hybrid work schedule allows team members to enjoy the positive sides of working on-site and the perks of the home office simultaneously. 

For companies, it is also a win-win. They can scale up without having to dedicate more budget for bigger facilities. The cherry on top, they meet one of the highest employees’ expectations, improve employee experience, and help them find a better work-life balance.

👋 Do you want to learn more about deskbird? Discover the advantages of a user-friendly desk booking app: click, book, work!

Employees spend less time in the office than before

The virtual connection enables your employees to collaborate seamlessly from different locations. Hybrid workplace technology helps them coordinate their work to remain productive and efficient no matter where they decide to work from.

But, embracing the benefits of hybrid work directly impacts the company’s office space use. Obviously, your occupancy rate drops when a part of your workforce operates from home or elsewhere. 

Workers still want to meet in person. Going full remote wouldn’t then be the best idea. But implementing work flexibility and reducing your workplace size are efficient ways to adopt the trends of the future of work while saving costs. It becomes the best strategy to stop losing money on real-estate expenses.

The search for office cost-saving ideas is always a priority

If you’re a CRE (Corporate Real Estate) manager, your main goal is to find ways to optimize real estate costs. Downsizing the office is one of them. Organizations can spend less money on rent by analyzing the office use and reducing the facilities’ size. Their expenses for office equipment, bills (electricity, water, etc.), and other costs related to hosting all workers on-site daily also decrease.

They can either look for a smaller workspace to lease or rent the surface they no longer need to other businesses. This is an intelligent way to manage corporate real estate and create more income.

A new opportunity to reinvest your budget somewhere else

Thanks to hybrid work, saving money on real estate costs is taking a new turn. This is a unique opportunity for companies to invest this money into building a stronger workforce and business.

For example, downsizing the office space can weaken positive corporate culture, team, and workplace connection. Yet, it can also increase your budget to implement team bonding ideas or workplace well-being initiatives

Skills development and training are core aspects for businesses and employees too. Millennials and Gen Z are particularly receptive to organizations that allow them to enhance their skill sets. 

For companies, reinvesting the money they save by downsizing their office space is a great opportunity to lower costs and build a more performant and successful workforce.

👉 Discover how your team can easily find their colleagues and book a desk in their favorite office area thanks to our interactive floor plan feature!

large office space with big windows
Large office space

Information to keep in mind before implementing this cost-reduction technique

Remote work statistics confirm that there is no going back to the old way of working

Some companies are still doubtful about the future of hybrid work. They believe this trend will slow down and become a working style that concerns only a minority of businesses. Remote work statistics say otherwise. In a multigenerational workforce, almost 3 out of 10 employees would reject a new career opportunity if it requested them to return to a full-office working model. 

Regarding young generations of workers, having flexible work arrangements opportunities isn’t a “nice to have” option. It is one of their top priorities when examining a job opportunity. For Millennials and Gen Z, not being free to work from anywhere usually leads them to two choices: leaving the company or quiet quitting.

Having a smaller office shouldn’t affect collaboration and team bonding

When considering reducing your square meters, rethinking how to promote collaboration and team bonding is crucial. Most employees need to meet in person to maintain a sense of belonging and feel connected to the company. 

With the rise of hybrid work, the purpose of the workplace has changed. Workers don’t only go to the office to work. They also come on-site to socialize and share moments with colleagues. They can discuss a common project in meetings or talk about more personal matters during their break.

Redesigning your office layout is essential when creating a smaller workspace. It helps boost human interactions, genuine relationships, and a positive workplace culture.

Some employees need more time to adapt to change

While hybrid work is the best and the most requested model by employees, some people require more time to adjust to new ways of working than others. Reducing the office space is another step and can be perceived as a negative sign for some workers. 

You must keep an open ear and remain available for team members struggling with this change. Listen to them, discuss any fear or issues, and try to find solutions to make this transition smooth and successful for everyone.

💡 Are you willing to improve how your staff feels in the workplace? Discover how to measure employee satisfaction!

Group of employees bonding
Teams should still bond after downsizing

Essential tips for downsizing your office space efficiently

Analyze the current use of your physical workspace

The first step when downsizing your facilities is to analyze their current use. Workplace analytics can give insight into this aspect and your staff’s working habits. For example, deskbird’s analytics feature shows you who works from where and which parts of your workspace are used the most. 

This enables you to define your company’s and your employee’s needs. Millennials tend to favor collaborative spaces such as coworking areas and meeting rooms. Gen Z workers are more in demand for in-person interactions but prefer to work individually and book a single hot desk. These characteristics must be considered before changing anything in your workplace.

Determine how the office space should look to meet the company’s and employees’ requirements

Office data is key but not the only aspect to consider. Including your coworkers in this process is also fundamental for a smooth and successful transition to a smaller office. Conduct surveys, discuss in person, and analyze their needs and ideas.

Do you need to keep some dedicated desks? Are they using the coworking spaces? Which equipment or elements of the office boost their productivity and need to be kept? Gathering all this information will help you better understand your needs and make smart choices regarding the office layout.

Calculate your real office space needs

You can calculate your actual office space costs according to all this information, your business, workforce, and hybrid work policy. To help you do so, we create a hybrid office calculator. It couldn't be easier to use.  You only have to enter your parameters. The system gives you a detailed breakdown of how to save money in your hybrid work environment.

Redesign and downsize your office smartly

The goal of downsizing your office is to create a workspace that better matches your company's and workforce's needs. Therefore, it shouldn’t enhance stress and frustration. To avoid doing so, we recommend rethinking your office design as you reduce the size of your workspace.

Now that you know which type of workspaces your team members use and require the most, you can create a work environment that boosts employee happiness and productivity. Take this opportunity to provide them with the right amount of shared meeting rooms, single desks, and coworking areas. It’s maybe time to review the physical atmosphere as well. 

➡️ Have you heard about the famous Chinese art of creating an environment promoting calm and focus? Read our article about how to create a Feng Shui office!

Man working on laptop
Equip employees with the right technology

Take care of your old equipment and document

Less office space means less room for furniture, equipment, paperwork, and other company belongings. Your physical documents can be digitalized. Not only it enables you to save space, but it also makes you reduce e-waste. Regarding furniture and tech equipment, you have several options. You can either:

  • offer your staff to buy it for a discounted price;
  • sell it to a company that restores second-hand devices;
  • donate to a local NGO or association;
  • rent a storage space to keep in case you need it one day.

Equip your team with the right hybrid work technology

Last, switching to a smaller workspace requires being perfectly organized. It shouldn’t impact your employees’ work or make achieving their tasks more difficult. When workstations are limited, scheduling conflicts can arise. The use of hybrid work technology has therefore become a must. Solutions such as desk booking software or a weekly planning system help leaders and employees manage their time on-site and at home without issues.

Do you work in a hybrid company? Have you also realized that office usage has changed, and the workspace size needs to be reviewed? This can be a great opportunity for office space downsizing, cost saving, and investing in other aspects of your business to make it grow. Take the time to analyze your facilities’ current use, discuss this cost-reduction technique with your workers, and determine how to improve your work environment. Don’t hesitate to use deskbird as a support tool to manage and optimize your hybrid workspace

Are you still considering adopting a coordinated hybrid work model? Request a free demo of the deskbird app to discover how it works and helps you get the most out of hybrid work!

Office space downsizing: a cost-saving strategy that matches our new way of working

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

Read more