If you have an office job in post-pandemic times, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with the concept of free address seating. You might even be “free addressing” at this very moment. The adoption of this space-saving model, where desks in the office are unassigned, has grown to a scale that would have been unimaginable several years ago. According CBRE’s Spring 2023 Office Occupier Sentiment Survey, only 25% of corporate real estate executives said they plan to keep a 1-to-1 seating ratio in the office, while 67% are targeting a 2-to-1 or even 3-to-1 employee to seat ratio.
If hybrid work continues at its current level, desk-sharing makes good financial sense; reducing the seat-to-employee ratio usually means significant space (and cost) savings. There are other advantages, too, like freeing up space for amenities, communal areas, and meeting rooms. But desk-sharing comes with challenges for employees, not least of which is losing a “home base” at the office. Companies want workers to rebuild their office habit, but it can be challenging to draw employees back when a desk of their own is no longer on offer.