Bisnow.com had an article on their website today which started by citing a study by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). It said that “office utilization peaks at 42% on any day, forcing an overhaul of how efficient spaces are designed.” The article goes on to talk about how this is changing the way offices and office campuses are being designed.
But what caught my attention was the 42% utilization. They don’t define what that means exactly so we are left to make our own assumptions. It makes me think that only 42% of the space is being used at any given time, or that only 42% of the people the office was built to accommodate are actually there. I’m not really sure, but either way, it sounds like office spaces are not being used to their full capacity.
This is consistent with something I heard at a lunch presentation today by Robert Jimenez of Granite Properties. Robert told a group of commercial real estate professionals that they are building 3.7 parking space for every 1,000 square feet (SF) in their suburban office buildings. But their own study of Granite Park in Plano shows that only 2.2 parking spaces per 1,000 SF are actually occupied on average. This would seem to support the HBR findings.
The takeaway for me is that landlords can allow much greater density in their buildings than previously thought and tenants could lease much less space for the same number of people. Perhaps it would be feasible to lease only 10,000 SF for 75 people instead of the 15-18,000 SF as previously thought. Of course, this will depend on the corporate culture, how many people get private offices, and, most importantly, whether the landlord can be convinced to allow this.
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Bob Gibbons is a Real Estate Advisor & Tenant Advocate with REATA Commercial Realty, Inc. which is a tenant advisory firm based in Plano, Texas. Bob serves companies in Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Richardson, Addison, Dallas and the surrounding areas and specializes in companies which lease or buy office and warehouse properties.