GSA executives won't need to daily stake a desk claim


General Services Administration executives won't be subject to a daily need to reserve space in the GSA headquarters as it moves to a bullpen style workspace for most of its employees.

Speaking at a Dec. 20 event on the redevelopment of Federal Triangle South, GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said GSA's headquarters will maintain its organizational hierarchies and "where there is a real, strong desire or programmatic need to maintain the classic office-by-office structure, we'll have that."

A spokeswoman clarified that GSA executives will not need to make office space reservations like average GSA employees and that recurring meetings will have space set aside for them.

Tangherlini said that the employees who have been working in the open-environment so far have enjoyed the transition. "There's actually a lot of enthusiasm and support for the [open] space they're in. There's little resistance now," he said, because "they've built relationships and habits" that work within the bullpen concept.

Privately, however, some employees have expressed concerns about the change, which start affecting most headquarters employees who start to return to the renovated building in large numbers this March.

Tangherlini said the bullpen concept and the space reservation system came from existing efforts to improve efficiency and building usage. For the GSA Regional Office Building at 7th and D street, he said "on any given day at least 40 percent of staff is not in the building, as they are teleworking or collaborating or meeting off-site," so there is little need to maintain space for every employee to occupy every day.

The press conference also touched on plans to change the presence of agencies in the Federal Triangle South, an area of Washington, D.C. heavy with large federal offices.

Tangherlini said that the Energy Department is the only agency in that location whose operations must remain there. Other agencies in those buildings may be moved to any part of the Washington D.C. metro area.

Tangherlini did not specify if agencies would be moved together or if agency employees may be spread across multiple locations, but he did note that cost would be a large driver of any final decision.

"It's natural that an expensive lease is one of the first places you look to cut," he said. Decreasing budgets and increasing costs will cause more agencies to look at changing their lease structure, and Tangherlini said "all of us need to recognize that this level of constraint isn't going away anytime soon."

For more:
- listen to the event (embedded audio)
- read a copy of Tangherlini's prepared remarks

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