It’s been a while since anybody found Dilbert particularly incisive in its once barbed portrayal of corporate life. And of course the cartoon’s depiction of North American cubicle dwellers was always a bit of a curio for Europeans. Now news reaches us from across the pond that the days of space hungry cubicles are limited for US offices too. Data published by property trade association CoreNet Global at the end of February showed that for the first time the average allocation of space for each office dweller in many North American companies will drop below 100 sq ft (approx 10 sq m) for the first time over the next five years. According to the research, over 40 per cent of the companies responding indicated they would reach this all-time low benchmark of individual space utilisation by 2017.
Of course, this has been the case over here for some time. In the eyes of some organisations, 10 sq m per person might even be considered a bit roomy. What is telling is the reasons behind the increase in space densities in both the US and Europe reflect a convergence in thinking as a response to similar challenges and changing working cultures. Even the comparative affordability and availability of land in the US have been unable to staunch the tide of cost cutting initiatives and the need to make buildings more collaborative.
More proof that when it comes to office design, we Brits are the true pioneers.