There is an important debate occurring in the commercial real estate world today - shrinking commercial office space for lease, as the price continues to rise. While this is going on, many employers are combating costs in ways that may not be beneficial to their bottom line, despite perceived savings. Open office space, initially touted as the next best thing in commercial real estate, is not always the panacea it is assumed to be. Rather than settling for the open air concept, a company might be better off by hiring a good tenant rep instead.

Higher Costs Mean Smaller Spaces

As commercial real estate lease rates continue to climb in today’s booming business economy, companies are feeling the crunch. For many smaller organizations, the remedy is to relocate to a smaller office space, or  a less desirable location. With the average corporate work space now totaling approximately 122 square feet per employee (down from 137 square feet from just a few years ago), this does not leave much room for things such as individual furnishing, walls, and other “non-necessities.” Although this will obviously save a company money, is it really more practical?

Do Open Offices Actually Save Money?

While it may be true that from a strictly square footage viewpoint open offices cost less, is that savings being lost in lack of privacy? Privacy in the work place is an important consideration. This is not only for employee privacy, but for business matters as well. Unfortunately, what many companies that jumped on the open office bandwagon are discovering is that lack of privacy is costing money - not saving it. Between the distraction of noise and movement, the concern of being overheard, and drowning out all that noise with headsets, productivity is suffering overall. Open offices may be a preferred environment for some people, but for more, the lack of privacy is a real concern, as it is affecting the work product of the employees.

Work with A Tenant Representative

A better option for companies in need of “downsizing,” is to work with experienced tenant reps. These skilled representatives can offer a company a workable solution, without requiring a move to an open office. They can successfully help a company to negotiate a lease renewal in ways that help them save money -  whether this means lower rent, or increased amenities that save money in other ways. If a relocation is necessary, tenant reps not only know the best available spaces to suit a company’s needs, but have the vision and experience necessary to take those spaces and convert them into efficient, useful spaces at a lower cost per square foot. They can also help a company determine real numbers, and whether sacrificing space by renting an open office will really save that much money. It is a tenant rep’s job to find the best property, with the best work environment, at the best possible rate.

Companies that need to cut expenses may easily fall into the trap of assuming an open office is the answer. Open office environments do work, but for a select group of people who all work in similar ways. To find other, less “restrictive” ways to reduce rent expenses, a company needs the skill and ideas of great tenant reps on their side. By working with these commercial real estate professionals, a business can expect to pay a lower cost per square foot, without sacrificing privacy and other important things that help keep employees productive!

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