Office Real Estate Needs Continue To Shrink. Here’s Why …

NEWTOWN SQUARE PA – Here’s the kind of news that probably causes commercial agents, specifically those dealing in office real estate, to break out the antacids.

Citrix – the company that developed “GoToMeeting” software that lets team members in distant locations talk and see each other in virtual meetings on the web – completed a study late last year (September 2012) which concluded that, by 2020, organizations worldwide would need almost 20 percent less office space than they use now. That’s how big Citrix expects what it calls “workshifting” to become.

One reason is cloud-computing, the ability to put work-related applications and other services online and make them accessible to employees via the Internet from almost any device: a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet, or a smart phone. The result? More workers will do their jobs from home, or the local Starbucks, or anywhere else. The Citrix study anticipates future workplaces will average only seven desks for every 10 employees, each of whom likely will use up to six different computing devices.

By the time 2020 arrives, only seven years from now, some companies will have been able to rid themselves of one more seat, lowering their overhead to six desks for 10 workers. The chief beneficiaries of these savings, Citrix reports, will be firms in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Singapore and the Netherlands.

Employees themselves are driving the demand to work wherever they are. To that end, according to a January 2013 article in HR Magazine, companies increasingly allow employees to bring their own devices of choice into their offices. It also cited a Ventana Research report that claims nearly 70 percent of organizations are already buying smart phones for their employees for work purposes.

These tech effects on real estate may have even broader implications, too. Take employee relocation, a real estate business niche that fell off dramatically when the market most recently began to wither and possibly may take an even bigger hit to come if the Citrix figures are correct. The upside, on the other hand, may be in residential sales. Everyone who is asked to, or wants to, work from home will anticipate having comfortable, properly outfitted home offices from which to complete their tasks.

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