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Desks are getting smaller, but that may help your social media

08.13.2013
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It’s estimated that the global population rises by 200,000 people per day, which given the planet itself is not growing means we’re getting slowly more cramped together.

Research by the corporate real estate company CoreNet Global has found that this is certainly the case in our workplaces.  They found that the average employee has 75 square feet less space than they did back in 2010, representing a fall from 225 square feet to just 150.  What’s more, this is predicted to fall to just 100 square feet within the next five years.

Does such tight clustering matter?  There are obvious implications with regards to noise levels, with numerous studies suggesting it is increasingly difficult to focus on work in the lively hubub of a modern open-plan office.  The survey suggested that people are beginning to feel that openess at work is harming their ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

“Through this survey, and anecdotally, we are hearing of a collaborative-space bubble,” said Richard Kadzis, vice president of strategic communications for CoreNet Global. “Just as we have escaped the ‘cube farms of Dilbertville,’ some employees may start to feel that the open-space pendulum has swung too far, at the expense of a worker’s ability to concentrate without interruption or distraction.”

An interesting side effect of a smaller workplace was found by some Dutch research recently.  It explored how our workspace impacted the kind of data we disclose about ourselves via social media.  It found that people tend to be much more open when they are sat in large offices with large desks.  They suggest that the sense of space translated into fewer inhibitions online.

The research also suggested that many of our social gaffes occur because we conduct much of our social media lives via mobile devices, which in turn are often used when we’re on the move and in open spaces.

So maybe, if nothing else, the snugness of our workplaces will reduce the number of social media gaffes we commit whilst at work.

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