The future of federal jobs has been updated.
On January 25th, the General Services Administration announced the new Workplace Innovation Lab. This is his 25,000-square-foot coworking space that resembles a temporary shared office leased by companies like WeWork.
The lab is divided into six distinctly equipped suites with private rooms, meeting rooms, comfortable seating and colorful mottos lining the corridors to encourage collaboration, whether alone or with an entire team .
Located at GSA headquarters in Washington, DC, the project is a pilot project for agencies to test workplace furniture and technology trends that reflect a hybrid workforce. Any federal employee can reserve a space through a digital platform called PlaceOS.
“Federal agencies and their teams are kicking the tires with new furniture and technology that address the growing need for flexibility and purposeful collaboration in their workspaces,” GSA administrator Robin Carnahan said Thursday. tweeted during the space’s grand opening.
Flexible space has grown at an average annual rate of 23% since 2010, according to a report by commercial real estate servicer JLL. The pandemic has caused agencies to rethink their real estate needs, especially as many of their employees have started working from home.
According to the latest survey of government-wide employees, only one in three civil servants were fully back in the office as of October. The same survey reported that 25% telework her 3 or more days a week. Many agencies now operate in hybrid environments and decide telework agreements on a case-by-case basis, but Republicans, who recently took the lead in the House of Representatives, have said they want their employees back.
In 2021, the District of Columbia will have the highest percentage of remote workers in the country, according to Census data.
The lab allows employees to try out gadgets and fixtures from multiple participating vendors, including Allsteel, Cisco, Haworth, Price Modern, Miller-Knoll, Kimball International, Swiftspace, and VOE.
Labs on the second floor of the GSA building are also protected by an access control system and on-site security personnel. According to the GSA, there will be no cost to use the lab during the 2023 pilot period, and no contract is required.
GSA, the nation’s largest property owner, also built sustainability into the space, using PoE cables to eliminate expensive steel cables and using solar-powered lighting fixtures to make it a net zero carbon facility. support the goals of
This space is part of GSA’s Workplace 2030. It is a long-term plan to identify and implement real estate strategies and new or reimagined services that adapt to the different ways federal agencies work today. Distributed work, shared spaces, and customization are key elements.
“While real estate helps maintain and strengthen human connections, technology will be the primary force that brings work together,” the plan said. “During the pandemic, agencies have discovered the positive impact of telecommuting.
Agencies were directly involved in shaping priorities. Federal employees from Denver, San Francisco, and the District of Columbia participated in a commercial coworking trial week to familiarize themselves with the concept.
Participants liked the ability to work with other institutions, the energizing and motivating environment, the contemporary feel of the space, and the choices regarding location and availability.
They hated the lack of monitors, the noise, the security concerns of government facilities, the lack of inconvenience or expensive parking, and the fact that commute times were about the same as their normal routine.
Editor’s Note: If you’ve tried out the new space and have any feedback or thoughts to share, the Federal Times would love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for the Federal Times, covering labor, policy, and contracts related to the government workforce. She previously worked at USA Today and McClatchy where she worked as a Digital Producer and The New York Times as a Copywriter. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.