News & Research Archive

The New Sales Office Layout

Oct 13, 2009

A common theme I am hearing from sales organizations is "where is everybody?" Sales offices involving outside sales are seeing their offices go quiet during the day. With the advancements in remote access software as well as the emails on cell phones, more salespeople are staying mobile instead of coming into the offices. A number of sales offices use their offices today for weekly meetings and training but often times during the day they are simply empty.

Back in the late 80s the idea of "hoteling" was introduced. Firms did not offer private offices or workstations for individual employees, but shared spaces where people could simply plug in the laptops and work on at any desk that was available. The concept failed for a variety of reasons. First the loss of synergy and connection to the company was a major problem. Second, the loss of a personal space that belongs to each employee was another.

Today things are different. First there is a broader acceptance of mobile business. Next with the expansion of new communication tools such as IM services, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and text messaging people have more ways to stay connected.

Back in 2001 Microsoft and the Korean government agreed to create a brand new city called the Digital City in Korea. This city would be created from scratch studying new ways on how to do business with the introduction of new technology. Instead of traditional offices, the offices in Digital City would look more like a hamburger stand.  Booths instead of desks are provided where employees can collaborate while "wirelessly" hooked up. Offices are colorfully decorated with flat screen televisions throughout offering updated news and entertainment. The idea of an office is to offer a place to work as well as a place to collaborate with fellow employees in a relaxed setting. In a way it offers what a convention usually provides, a chance for employees to get to know each other better while allowing firms the ability to educate

As the sales office's leases start coming up, expect the sales offices to get smaller. Sales offices have to meet today's marketplace and the next generation of salespeople that are far more accustomed to be on their own and mobile. Yet firms have to still create an environment that will bond their employees to them. Otherwise firms will have a difficult time holding employees long term and facing a constant revolving employee base.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 24 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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