New office trends like hot desking don’t just take place at The Edge, Deloitte’s fully-optimized building in Amsterdam. At home in Houston, Texas, one company took a good look at their procedures and decided it was time to maximize their time and space more effectively.
Accenture, a business management consultant in Houston, partnered with Steelcase’s Applied Research team to reevaluate their entire office. Not only was hot desking introduced, but also every area within the office was made into a recyclable resource that served more than just one purpose.
WHAT MADE ACCENTURE EMBRACE THE TREND?
In a video summarizing Accenture’s new space-maximizing initiatives, Bill Mearse, Accenture’s Houston Managing Director, laid out the problem that made Accenture want to use space more wisely. “In our previous location, you would see people reserve an office, and there would never be a person in the office,” Bill said, “So the briefcase and the PC and the coat had one of the best views in town.”
Problems like what Accenture encountered are taking place all throughout the country. Companies like Citigroup in Manhattan realized their real estate dollars weren’t being maximized and made the switch to open layouts that would use less space to accomplish even more work.
“YOU’D SEE PEOPLE RESERVE AN OFFICE, AND THERE WOULD NEVER BE A PERSON IN THE OFFICE..THE BRIEFCASE HAD ONE OF THE BEST VIEWS IN TOWN.”
Accenture brought in Steelcase’s Applied Research team and began to see areas where the same square feet could be used more efficiently. Not only were workstations transformed, but entire collaboration zones were reconfigured. The kitchen area, for example, was remodeled to resemble a modern café that doubles as a collaborative meeting space.
Dan Johnson, Global Director for Accenture’s Workplace, talks about how Accenture’s Houston office reassessed the 3 floors and 66,000 square feet. “What we wanted to do was make sure that people were booking the type of space they needed for that period of time and then move into another place.”
The result? 41,000 square feet were saved as excess furniture and unnecessary areas were removed. This brought the ratio of seats to people in the office down to 1 chair per 8 employees. In areas where bulky desks used to take up far too much room, Steelcase’s C:scape benching system was brought in to help make every space multi-functional. Furniture elements with lower sight lines and high-density storage empowered Accenture employees with autonomy and easy collaboration in the same area, while offering access to natural light. Overall, the company went from using 3 floors to only 1, from 66,000 square feet to only 25,000.
FROM 3 FLOORS & 66,000 SQ. FT. TO1 FLOOR & 25,000 SQ. FT.
HOT DESKING AND THE GENERATION GAP
As a company ventures into hot desking, studies like those done at Deloitte and Accenture demonstrate that it’s usually not very long before the same manner of thinking is applied to other resources within the office. The gateway into more efficient resource management makes sense when you notice Johnson’s breakdown of Accenture’s generational demographics.
At the time of their workplace transition, 55% of Accenture’s Houston employees were members of Generation Y, 40% were a part of Generation X, and only 5% were boomers. It’s clear that the shift in age groups is also causing a shift in the way one thinks about the workspace. It seems that as more millennials enter the workforce, they bring with them ideas that help eliminate excesses of all kinds. Judging by the innovators at Deloitte in Amsterdam and Accenture in Houston, that appears to be the case.