RESEARCH: If You Were A Private Office, You’d Only Work 1.84 Hours Per Day

If you worked as much as the average workstation, you’d only have to work 3.2 hours per day. If you put in the hours of a typical private office, then you’d clock in at a sparse 1.84 hours. And of course, if you were a conference room, you’d almost never show up.


While I wish I had that kind of schedule, most employers would be pretty upset at that set up as I’d basically be taking advantage of them. But according to the numbers, it seems like your office space is probably taking advantage of you

Though these numbers might not reflect your organization perfectly, it is easy to imagine that your real estate is being underutilized.

If you conduct your own usage study, you can use the data to:

  1. See which spaces are underutilized and where work actually happens
  2. Identify ways to improve space utilization and increase efficiency, usually resulting in significant real estate cost savings
  3. Develop strategies to improve employee satisfaction and productivity based on their needs and the way they work
  4. Align spaces to meet overall organizational goals and objectives

#3 took me a second. Basically, low use shows that your workspace doesn’t actually reflect the needs of your workforce. If you design a workspace with the perfect ratio of components that your employees actually need and use, their satisfaction will go up.

Herman Miller researchers also noted that their data showed:

  • Mobility is becoming more important
  • People like to work in “social” spaces and will choose them over less social spaces
  • Smaller meeting spaces are used more than larger spaces
  • Rooms with technology are used much more than those without
Now while it might be easy to quickly jump into action and consolidate workstations, you might find other outcomes you weren’t looking for. One anecdotal story from the study showed that small employee groups would use the large conference rooms because the smaller ones weren’t equipped with proper equipment.
Are you making the most of your real estate?

Herman Miller conducted the space utilization studies over 2 years using chair sensors to test when chairs were actually in use.

Source: [1] Making Real Estate Work Harder (pdf)