Technological advancements have already changed the way work is done; the General Services Administration is now changing the where.
In response to the Office of Management and Budget’s March 2013 guidance on freezing the federal workspace footprint, GSA began trying out new approaches to optimize government office space. One solution is to use hoteling technology to make existing federal workspace in D.C. more efficient.
Hoteling works by doing away with the personal office and instead allowing employees to reserve their daily workspace using booking software. Booking software designates workspaces by class to be booked on demand. Depending on availability, feds can reserve conference rooms, small collaborative spaces or individual cubicles each day. In addition to workspace type, employees can select the location of the workspace based on their work and the size of their group.
“We are confident in this approach because our research indicates that offices are utilized at about 50 percent on a given day due to normal factors such as leave, travel and out-of-office meetings,” Casey Coleman, GSA’s chief information officer, wrote in a recent post on the Around the Corner blog. “Hoteling works best in flexible space that can support it – so GSA’s headquarters building is open and collaborative, with multipurpose furniture that is easily movable and adjustable.”
Hoteling technology will allow GSA’s renovated D.C. headquarters to support more than twice as many workers, Coleman said. Other benefits include increased collaboration, decreased real-estate costs and energy savings and optimization.
GSA is not the only federal agency pioneering hoteling technology. Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released the “Patent Hoteling Program is Succeeding as a Business Strategy,” reporting the program resulted in real-estate cost savings and productivity increases. More than 2,600 patent examiners participated in the program, spending 66.3 more hours a year examining patents, because “they use less sick and administrative leave and charge less time to administrative tasks,” according to the report.
Private-sector companies like GlaxoSmithKline, PricewaterhouseCoopers and American Express are hoteling too, reaping the cost savings and productivity benefits.