Do More with Less

Jan 14, 2020

We are constantly challenged to do more with less in the modern office environment. In major metropolitan markets around the world, vacancy rates are at historic lows and costs for leasing prime office space are at all-time highs. JLL estimates that a single desk in an office costs companies approximately $8,000 - $10,000 per year.

Beyond traditional workstations and storage, when employees are asked about the types of spaces they most desire in the modern office environment, they mention cafes, small huddle rooms, conference rooms or even a restorative meditation room. Unfortunately, offices aren’t getting bigger to accommodate these key attraction and retention amenities. It is absolutely critical that each and every space is planned with the highest levels of strategy and efficiency to maximize usable square footage.

When looking for ways to “find space”, planners and executives have now started to implement “Hot Desking”, “Hoteling” or “Unassigned” seating to reduce the number of fixed desks by about 20% in a work environment. In these more transient spaces, they can often look unorganized and unsettled if employees aren’t given easy access to items they would normally have in a workstation pedestal or on top of their permanent desk.

Here are 5 strategies to use storage more efficiently to save space and promote well-being in the modern office environment:

  1. The “Workbar” – Much like the kitchen island at home, this multi-use, collaborative high-top, provides an ultra large worksurface for an individual to spread out for a project, an ample meeting space for groups or even a central buffet table for events. All the while, providing a wide array of storage options from 3” drawers for office supplies up to cubbies and lockers for clothing and reference materials.
  2. 1.5” can save 25%! – Little things can make a big difference. Most traditional storage cases use 2” increments. Although that doesn’t seem like much, it makes a huge difference in 4 or 5 high laterals. Going to 1.5” increments can enable you to get 25% more filing capability in the same footprint!
  3. Seating = Storage – In a space-challenged environment, furniture must often do double duty. Leveraging cabinets with cushions on top as additional casual seating creates significantly more storage space for everything from books to winter gear.
  4. Have it your way – No two office spaces have the same storage needs. Some people need small drawers for office supplies. Some people need to reference periodicals and books. Some people need to store legal documents and contracts. And yet some people simply need to hang their coat. Rather than devoting an entire wall simply to lateral hanging files, mix and match different types of storage together to get something that works for everyone in the same footprint.
  5. Stylish Storage – The wide assortment of finishes and colors available these days makes it possible to create an esthetically pleasing bank of storage that adds value in more ways than one. Working with wood grains or playful colors enable the storage to become a featured design element in any space.

In the office of tomorrow, hard choices will need to be made to balance efficient use of space and employee well-being. Make sure to leverage the right storage strategies to keep spaces well organized and aesthetically pleasing. We can do more with less and reduce mess and the corresponding stress that comes with it.


David Gerson

Chief Brand Officer, Office Specialty