U.S. Workers Waste 160M Days Per Year Seeking Workspace

Four in 10 office workers spend up to 60 minutes every week searching for available desks, conference rooms, or colleagues, finds a new Senion survey.

It may be hard to believe, but a recent Office Worker Survey sponsored by Senion found that four in 10 office workers spend as much as 60 minutes every week searching for available desks, conference rooms, or colleagues. With 41 percent of the estimated 150 million U.S. workers in offices with 500 or more employees, that translates into some staggering 160 million days every year wasted – or approximately one day per worker every year — in these searches across the U.S.

office workersWith the average pay for U.S. office workers at $859/week, the value of those cumulative unproductive hours is $27.5 billion each year, the equivalent of full-time salaries for an additional 616,000 office workers or roughly 12,300 full-time jobs for every U.S. state.

More than one third (36.3 percent) of survey respondents say the companies they work for use a combination of permanent assigned desks and hot-desking (in which employees choose non-assigned available desks when they are in the office). With this trend on the uptick, and with more than half of the respondents saying their office uses a “first-come, first-served” method for assigning hot desks, workers are spending a lot of time finding a place to work and, in many cases (as much as 30 percent) they are enlisting help from others to find a seat.

Also disconcerting is that more than 37 percent of survey respondents reported that between 25 and 50 percent of the desks in their buildings are unoccupied on any given day. With an average of 151 square feet of office space per employee at an average of $39 per square foot per year, companies with 500 employees that have 25 to 50 percent of their desks unfilled are overpaying by as much as $736,125 to $1.47 million each year; companies with 5,000 employees are potentially overpaying as much as $7.36 million to $14.72 million each year for that unoccupied space.

Productivity is a hot button in corporate America, resulting in cost-saving trends such as free lunches and dry-cleaning services on-site, part-time telecommuting options, and hot-desking. The survey asked employees if they would be willing to use a location-based app to make hot-desking and finding colleagues and conference rooms less time consuming, and nearly half said they would; about 60 percent of those respondents also said they would install a location-based app on their personal mobile devices to help them save time.

The Senion Office Survey was conducted via Survey Monkey during October 2017, and had approximately 350 respondents who self-identified as U.S.-based office employees working full- or part-time in an office with at least 500 employees. The full survey results are available online.


  1. This is actually a real hard hit area when it comes to productivity. If you aren’t comfortable in your space you cannot be productive. I am reading currently Create More Flow by Camille Preston and this is by far the best resource I have come across about creating an environment of optimized productivity in the work place and in the home. It’s excellent.

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