July 23, 2018 7:00:00 AM EDT  |  Facilities Support Services

Space Planning Alternatives: Delivering Work Space Outside of Area 51

Sometimes, supporting building and renovating federal space seems like a trek across the fence line of Area 51, outdated and cloaked in mystery.

Light green outdoor sign, slightly crooked, on black chain-link fence by dark red steel wall AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLYThe U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) still processes Request for Space Standard Form (SF-81), a form last updated in 1989 – a far different time and place from 2018 – when planning the requirements for agency usable square footage.

The process from initiation through move-in is not always direct and is highly influenced by the needs and wants of today’s dynamic workforce.

Consider how the workplace has changed nearly 30 years after this form’s last update: traditional work schedules, large offices, and the inflexible desktop computers have given way to employee centric work-spaces for highly mobile, experience craving individuals. To be competitive, even corporate benefits packages seek to augment what’s outlined in the annual health plans or leave policies. Companies are being asked to provide an employee experience, and the federal government is not excluded from these current recruitment and retention pressures.

Can the employee experience be boiled down to free dry-cleaning and shorter commutes?

Probably not – but it may very well be about creating harmony between work and life. During a recent interview, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discussed why he doesn’t like the term work-life balance, instead preferring the term work-life harmony. Bezos explained that balance implies an equal, rigid division between two parts. Imagine for a moment what that subtle shift in terminology means for the built environment, not just for the employee.

If harmony between work space and living space was the goal, what would it look like? What would it take to create that harmonious experience?

Creating a great employee experience is a meaningful, collaborative undertaking by the business groups and solutions within an organization: leadership, facilities, finance, IT, and acquisitions. Working with Markon Solutions, you have the collective support of those experts every day. But today’s federal employee experience shouldn’t be just a box on an outdated form - nor should it be an exploration for extraterrestrial life forms…or should it?

About the Author

Erin Crooks

Erin Crooks