New Problem for Workers: Cubicle Graveyards.

Posted by truecreek on May 25, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Eve Tahmincioglu

The blogosphere has begun to chronicle a disturbing phenomenon in offices around the country — endless stretches of uninhabited desks and cubicles where friends and colleagues used to sit.

“I was wandering around the office, as I tend to do when I need to look busy but need a break, and I noticed that we have a lot of empty cubicles around,” writes Office Scribe in her Asleep Under My Desk blog recently. “… I think we need to start renting these empty cubicles out. I made a crack on my way back from lunch how we need a doctor who can see patients in one of the cubicles.”

Even though she’s trying to joke about it, Office Scribe admits she’s bummed out by the emptiness.

Office Scribe, who didn’t want her name used for fear of losing her job as a sales assistant for a major travel company in Chicago, has seen about 60 of her co-workers get the axe since December.

“When the economy tanked, we had two sets of layoffs, and the people we were sitting next to are gone,” she says. With so few people left, there are now large swathes of empty cubes between departments. “You have to go searching for people. It’s kind of like we have little tribes now.”

Alas, Office Scribe may feel lonely, but she’s far from alone.

Mass layoffs throughout corporate America have created cubicle and desk graveyards in office buildings from coast to coast. After years of shrinking office space for employees, the recession has brought about a new trend — more room for workers to stretch out.

The average square foot per office occupant has risen to 435 square feet so far this year, from 415 square feet in 2008, according to International Facility Management Association, or IFMA, in a soon-to-be released report.

“There is simply more space per person in the workplace, meaning there are fewer people occupying a greater amount of space, and this is just over the course of a year,” says George Deutsch, a spokesperson for the association. “We attribute this to the economic downturn and layoffs our nation is currently dealing with.”

It’s creating morale problems for employees, not to mention logistical nightmares for companies and the facilities maintenance staff.

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