‘People work from home. Should we reduce square meters or not?’ If only it were that simple

Is it a realistic idea that organizations could reduce their square meters?
3 juni 2021 | 3 minuten lezen

There is an idea that organizations could reduce square meters because employees will work 1,5 till 3 days from home. This would result in millions of square meters just in the Netherlands. Luckily, the reality shows a sign of nuance. Wednesday the 26th of May FMN,  DFM netværkNorges Bygg- og Eiendomsforening and IFMA Sverige organized an international debate about the topic Square Meters. Under the lead of FMN board member Renske van der Heide Mary Doe (ISS), Jakob Moltsen (Ørsted) and André Salomonson (Wundershift) shared their opinions.

To work from home

Already since the 90’s working from home is debated and developed regarding to the type of working area, company and function. At the same time we are aware of the fact that aspects like control and being together make ‘working at the office’ necessary. The period we live in right now forced us to implement and accept working from home – and all the (future) side effects.


The debate ‘People work from home. Should we reduce square meters or not?’ brought us nice insights which show us that the focus will shift to the organization and organizing. Do we still talk about facilitation? 

Some insights:

  • Home service
    In many organizations people talk about ‘home services’. Does this mean that the catering company will compete with the home delivery companies? And against who will the cleaning company compete?
  • Home office
    We look at this subject from a Northern Europe perspective and from a pretty luxury position. But what about the people with small houses and big families? Do they have to move to a bigger house or can we learn from other countries and cultures? For example the Asian way ‘to work in bed’? And will the furniture companies have to compete against the IKEAs of the world?
  • Role employer
    The employer can expect a bigger role regarding rights and duties for the home office (costs, square meters, services). But is that something we desire? Think about the law to be ‘unreachable’ outside working hours. 
  • Temporarily trends 
    At the moment we are keen to join in hybrid activities – which can feel a bit forced though – like digital cooking, hybrid meetings, digital tea breaks, quizzes et cetera. 

Clearly we didn’t find our way yet.

And now?

Some chances that are worth a try:

  • To approach the situation holistic (company)
    How does the several employers handle this? And most important: what is the goal of the business process? 
  • To collect input (wide approach)
    How does the several providers handle this? Do not only take a look at the global players in this process. The local players can be interesting as well. 
  • To experiment (pilots)
    Start pilots with a package of HR, ICT, FM, real estate and marketing tools and learn from comparable situations. Also define the place where business processes will take place.
  • To do (to experiment and implement phased)
    Freedom of choice is key. There is a diversity of people (culture/social/type) and employers (goal/culture/phase) which you have to keep in mind during this process.

The conclusion? Nobody knows the answer. However, the good news is that this situation offers a lot of opportunities. Both on national and international level. How valuable would it be if we could share more content with each other and share our thoughts and ideas?

And the reduction of square meters? Also that is still uncertain. The expectations variate from -30% till +10%. So this discussion will definitely be continued!

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