Among the finalists of our Work Design Now series sponsored by Haworth is the GSA’s Rocky Mountain Regional HQ, the Denver Federal Center.
We at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) are changing the dynamics of staff collaboration in our physical space. The Rocky Mountain regional headquarters at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colo., is an example of our efforts to use space more efficiently and support productivity.
The impetus for this change arose when two of GSA’s business lines decided to consolidate into one building. Bringing the Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Buildings Service into the same office meant reducing the size of workstations and increasing the amount of flex-use space.
Moving away from traditional “cube” offices, our project team created one mobile work environment for the two groups. The space leverages technology to allow employees to collaborate and work more efficiently from any place, at any time.
In today’s workplace, mobile work environments are cutting costs, saving taxpayer dollars, and letting us reshape our workforce. This results in increased collaboration and efficiency.
We decided to increase the amount of small meeting areas and collaborative space. As part of phase one, our team was able to modify and reconfigure much of the existing furniture into unique stations that would accommodate different types of work styles. Although individual stations decreased in size, the mobile work concept provided employees with an innovative way of working that was far less restrictive.
The new configuration bolstered productivity, and employees began to collaborate in new ways as they gravitated away from their assigned cubicle.
As users selected work spaces that supported both their job and how they like to work, they began interacting with new people, exploring new ideas, and gaining additional insights.
The Rocky Mountain regional office has reduced space per employee by 48 percent – from 145 square feet per person down to 100. When compared to the traditional 8’x8’ cube layout, the new designs cuts the real-estate footprint, material consumption, and overall cost of each workstation.
Fewer square feet per person allows for a larger workforce in the same envelope, and when a workstation’s cost-to-build can be halved, it becomes easier to grow.
During phase two, we established nine different mobility areas to suit different work styles. They are built to facilitate a variety of work-styles, including:
- Highly mobile working styles with minimal storage
- Workspace that is comfortable and allows for very high level of collaboration
- Stations that are intended to provide a feel that is quiet, peaceful and neighborly
- Areas where employees can work while being healthy on walking stations
- A conference area that allows employees to collaborate using video conferencing and screen sharing
The project involved a number of furniture manufacturers; with them, we created nine different mobility areas as a showcase to other federal agencies. We created these stations based on the feedback from our employees and what they needed to accomplish their jobs, while at the same time having to be frugal.
As the federal government’s landlord, the GSA owns or leases about 9,200 buildings across the country. We are breaking the mold of the government office. We are looking to use space more efficiently with open floor plans, collaborative work areas, and mobile work.
The GSA is shifting the way we think about the collaborative environment to how people work, and away from how they should work.
The two GSA business lines are now able to operate effectively in one building, instead of two.
- Space-per-employee reduced by 48 percent
- Real-estate footprint and material consumption are both decreased
- Workstation’s cost-to-build is halved