Workspace feeling cramped? Blame broadband.

Flexible office locations and teleworking reduce the need for as many square feet per employee, according to a real estate broker that specializes in flexible work space. Broadband is also changing the workforce in other ways, by altering the definition of work and ideas about how productive an employee could be, according to Your Office Agent, a real-estate consultancy that helps businesses find space for remote workers and flexible offices.

As a broadband lover and remote worker, I’m intrigued with how broadband changes the way people work, so a blog post on the company site yesterday caught my eye. It said:

Companies have traditionally strived to have between 100 and 200 square feet per employee but, by employing alternative workplace strategies such as teleworking, smart working and outsourcing, this can be brought down to as low as 50 square foot per employee. Yes, we are talking about serious savings here.

At GigaOM, about two-thirds of the editorial staff are remote, with most of us working from home or from co-working spaces. Our home office is also devoid of real cubicles, and I would guess that our overall square footage per employee is on the low end when all of that is taken into account. The down side of this flexibility is that it can leave employees without an “office” and feeling distant from colleagues. Another issue is who pays when the employee doesn’t have a home office and wants to work from a co-working venture or a traditional office space?

For example, if someone doesn’t want to work by themselves at home, does a company that is willing to hire them have to suddenly invest in office space? I’ve seen it happen both ways, where a company made the investment and actually saw the business grow and where a company decided not to hire the employee. That’s pretty binary, which is why I think Your Office Agent or companies like LiquidSpace, which is like an AirBnB for office space are so interesting. If you’re interested in these kinds of questions too, we have an entire conference on how broadband is changing work in December called Net:Work.