Telework breaks down workspace walls

Monday - 2/14/2011, 4:00am EST

The word "cubicle" is derived from the Latin word for bedroom, which is sort of ironic, considering the cubicle size of the future.

Most people wouldn't be able to stretch out in one.

CNN reports design firm Gensler, which has renovated spaces for 70% of the Fortune 500 companies, estimates those companies have downsized the cubicle from an 8-by-10 foot area to a 5-by-5 foot work space.

The incredible shrinking workspace has whittled an average office worker's 90 square feet in 1994 down to "75 square feet in 2010, according to the International Facility Management Association, a professional network for the facility management industry."

GSA's administrator, Martha Johnson, tells CNN many federal employees don't mind their smaller work spaces. "It's not about making it smaller," Johnson says. "It's about making it more flexible. People don't all want their own space."

At their own headquarters building, GSA's Cathy Kronopolus tells Federal News Radio, "we're going to be moving...three people in where one person sat in the past."

The federal workspace of the future, said Kronopolus, is designed with "interior space to make it as adaptable as possible, and what that does is it really drives and supports alternative work strategies and mobility where you can go to the extreme of free-addressing in a building where no one has an assigned seat to where you have assigned seats, but you have much smaller square footage used by each employee because they're out mobile working in different locations or teleworking."