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FCW : July 30, 2013
Walking through the General Services Administration s remodeled headquar- ters, you d never imagine the building was built nearly a century ago. Natural light oods across an open-plan design through oor-to-ceiling windows more evocative of Silicon Valley than Feder- al Triangle. Rows of of ces have been replaced by low-walled cubicles, punc- tuated by enclosed "huddle rooms" where employees can work quietly or meet with a colleague or two. "GSA has tried to make this a show- case of 21st-century workplace design, to maximize our productivity, to under- stand how to employ open and collab- orative workplaces, and to help our customers do the same," said Casey Coleman, GSA s CIO. "The nature of work is more collaborative than ever, and people are more mobile than ever." The headquarters redesign was driv- en by the desire to use GSA s of ce space more ef ciently, facilitate col- laboration and serve as an example for other federal agencies whose real- estate needs GSA serves. Across the U.S. workforce, employ- ees are at their desks only about half the workweek, thanks to travel, meet- ings, time off and work-from-home arrangements, said Janet Pogue, a prin- cipal at Gensler, which led the redesign of GSA s of ces. "People are mobile given the tech- nology and how work gets done today," Pogue said. "That has been a driver of how we make the real estate work better." A whopping 65 percent of GSA employees now telework at least one day per pay period, up from 28 per- cent in 2011, said Charles Hardy, GSA s chief workplace of cer. To maximize the use of the new headquarters space, some GSA employees no longer have assigned desks but instead use a cubi- cle, huddle room or conference room depending on their needs --- a practice referred to as hoteling. As a result of the increase in shared, exible space, the new headquarters will be home to 3,300 employees, com- pared with just 2,500 before the rede- sign. That consolidation in of ce space will save GSA $24 million in lease pay- ments each year. Accommodating a mobile workforce The experiences of GSA and other agencies at the forefront of work space innovation offer valuable lessons for federal leaders across government who are looking for ways to save money on of ce space and utilities, encourage telework, and stimulate innovation and collaboration. Executives who have been through the process emphasize the importance of thoughtful planning and implementation with a team that includes stakeholders from real estate, facilities management, technology, environmental sustainability, human resources and other areas. They say it is important to empha- size the bene ts the new design pro- vides in terms of exibility and cost savings, and take steps to alleviate any concerns when employees are asked to give up their designated of ce space. "This was a real-estate strategy to begin with, but now it s become a busi- ness model," said Richard Kadzis, vice president for strategic communications at CoreNet Global, a professional asso- ciation for corporate real-estate execu- tives. "Government executives could add a lot of value to taxpayers by get- ting their employees more involved in the decision-making process as it relates to real-estate and workplace practices." A year ago, employers typically allo- July 30, 2013 FCW.COM 15 BY KATHERINE REYNOLDS LEWIS
July 15, 2013
August 15, 2013