Do shared work spaces increase the bottom line?

An employee for Google works at the internet company's office space inside the historic Chelsea Market in New York City.

In less than two hours, the Labor Department will release its all-important monthly jobs report telling us how many jobs were created in the U.S. last month and what the new unemployment rate is.

The numbers are not expected to be great, which means companies will have to squeeze even more productivity out of their existing employees.

Marketplace economics correspondent Chris Farrell says one way to do that is to put workers in the same physical space which may allow for increased creativity and cheaper, more flexible workplace layouts.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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Brilliant!! You've captured the essence of an enormous anthropological shift in just a few simple observations that any listener can relate to. Knowledge workers can now choose how when and where they work because technology enables mobility and accountability. Meanwhile, companies are aggressively slashing office space obligations 30% to 50%, and are reinventing their remaining space to support innovation as a competitive advantage.

What is not new, is that face-to-face human interaction leads to unexpected discovery (serendipity) and valuable innovation. Finding the right mix of space, that allows workers to collaborate, cogitate and connect when they need to, means offering more than one design typology, not just rows of open plan picnic tables.

Cities may not fall, but we can certainly avoid millions of unnecessary commutes, achieve better work-life integration, and allow the best ideas to flourish when we all move away from our Mad Men ways and into the new world of work.

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