Yes, Your Office Space Is Getting Smaller

Yes, Your Office Space Is Getting Smaller

As technology gets smaller, the space we are provided with to work also shrinks. In the 1950s, the typical office worker was assigned a total of 50 square metres of space. By the end of this decade, that figure will have dropped to 10 square metres.

Picture: Getty Images/J.A. Hampton

That figure comes from headset manufacturer Jabra, which mapped out the changes (based on US data) on this chart. Despite the percentage of office workers as a proportion of the workforce increasing, the available space for them isn’t:

Calculating an exact figure is obviously difficult — modern workplaces are less likely to have individual offices for everyone, but may have much larger communal areas. Nonetheless, the shift to cubicles, hot desking, people working from home and the ability to keep digital rather than paper files all contribute to smaller work environments.

Have you seen your own office space shrink? Tell us in the comments.


  • I’ve just measured my office: its about 15 sqm; my previous one was about 23sqm, so yes, my office is getting smaller! This is not because ‘technology’ is getting smaller (how can ‘technology’ get smaller? Maybe you mean computer and communications equipment is getting smaller)..its because I’m in a dumpy office!
    In the days when open plan office design started, privacy was afforded by space and plants. We’ve ditched that bit of the formula and have opted for a pscyhologically unsettling, if not stressful unprivate arrangement of cheek by jowl. Before you know it we’ll have early industrial toilets: no partitions at all!

  • I just wish I could have a cubicle rather than the disruptive and distracting open plan layout our current office uses.

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