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Workspaces Reimagined For Oregon's Hybrid Workforce

Agency Space Design and Utilization

Paradigm Shift in Office Utilization
The State of Oregon’s widespread adoption of remote and hybrid working presents an opportunity to rethink how agencies plan and utilize office space. A 2023 survey of state agencies and their current office utilization practices revealed the following:  

  • 45% of state employees are designated as hybrid or remote workers, meaning they are typically in the office 0-2 days per week, on average.  
  • 51% of all agencies report utilizing less than 50% of their dedicated office space, with most utilizing less than 25%.  
  • Only 31% of agencies are utilizing their office space at pre-pandemic levels.
With the permanence of remote work, DAS believes we can reduce and right size the statewide office footprint by at least 30% by 2027. 

Rightsizing Roadmap
Because the hybrid/remote workforce model is new and based on flexibility, there isn’t an industry rubric to program it.  Nationally, both private and public organizations grapple with this as well.  DAS believes we can begin to clarify the enterprises’ opportunities by calibrating around three foundational actions to achieve measurable goals and outcomes:

  1.  Adoption of a uniform lexicon in how we describe space.
  2.  As solid understanding of how employees interface with the office, at the program level, for all state agencies. 
  3.  Adoption of a new space utilization policy that reflects a changed workforce and provides optimal space for agencies to carry out their missions.  

Updated Space Planning Policy and Guidance
While statewide reduction of office space is necessary, agencies must also rethink the purpose of the office.  In what ways can agencies re-think their office space so that all employees benefit, while simultaneously aligning with other statewide policies and goals that benefit all Oregonians?  
    The Office Utilization and Design Guidelines are intended to support agencies while they rethink current and future office space planning. Design principles focus on office agility and prioritization of employee needs through inclusivity, adaptability, sustainability, and employee health and wellness. The guidance also provides agencies with the rationale, framework, and tools for implementing the new Space Planning Policy. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution and not all recommendations will work for all agencies. Since these workspace practices will be new to most state agencies, they will need to be validated through implementation and updated regularly to incorporate lessons learned.