WASHINGTON D.C. – The trend among companies to offer less office space per person can influence the way we think about hotel room size, according to John Sikaitis, the Washington-based managing director of research for investment advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle.
Bottom line: As the average office space shrinks, we could become more accepting of small hotel rooms at a time when the hotel industry is embracing the concept.
I called Sikaitis recently to talk about the relationship between the USA’s office market, which is heating up, and the already hot hotel industry, and we wound up discussing real-estate use trends for the places where we work, live and sleep.
Here’s a recap of our chat – and I invite you to add to the conversation in the comments section below!
It turns out that the average office space per person in in the U.S. is now 150 square feet, down from about 250 square feet several years ago, he said. The decline has come as companies – as well as the federal government – have torn down walls to meet Millennials’ demands for collaboration and flexibility.
“More and more industries are embracing open work space,” he told me.
The federal government recently adopted this concept in some buildings in Washington D.C., including the General Services Administration, which should further drive the trend. The trend has taken hold enough to the point where even conservative banking and law firms – where “big” offices still mean “important” – are slashing their use of expensive real estate, Sikaitis told me.
“You’re seeing firms in those two sectors give up 20% to 25% of their space (on a per-person average basis) when relocating to a new building,” Sikaitis said, citing a recent study. The average office is about 500 square feet per attorney, which is still high most industries “but for them, aggressive,” he said.
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The apartment business is going through a similar change.
“The new Millennial generation renter is saying, ‘I don’t need a 700-square-foot bedroom in Boston or DC. I can do well with a 400-square-foot unit.,'” he said.
These new style apartment buildings have more common space including a gym, living room and roof deck, since Millennials also crave outdoor space. It’s space that increases collaboration and socializing.
“It’s me space vs. we space,” he said. “Do you want to be stuck in 300-square-foot room with one window? I’d rather be stuck in a communal area,” he said. “hat’s where we’re going for the rest of the real estate industry. The hotel industry gets there eventually.”
While Sikaitis admits he’s no hotel-design expert, he expects that hotels will mimic trends already seen both in the office market as well as the apartment market, where the amount of space offered to a tenant is also on the decline.
Of course, many hoteliers have already figured this out. Brands such as citizenM, Marriott International’s Moxy (poised to open its first hotel in Milan next month) and Yotel were designed with the premise that a growing number of people want “we space” instead of “me space.”
Readers: Does your work environment influence the way you think about your hotel space?