Academic Medical

Unassigned Space at Colleges and Universities

Is Academia Coming Around to Free-Addressing?

Published 8-18-2021

Faculty in higher education often spend less than 20 percent of their workday at their assigned desks, so why do they still have them? It is a question that academic administrators are asking, as they look for ways to provide building occupants with the spaces they need to do their work and the autonomy to select the right space for the right task, all within an increasingly constrained campus footprint. Corporate offices have been making the transition to unassigned seating for years now, and despite trepidation, there are signs that academia may be following suit: In a recent survey of 88 U.S. colleges and universities (conducted by the Society for College and University Planning and brightspot, a Buro Happold company), about 62 percent of respondents said they are pursuing more flexible or unassigned workspaces for administrative staff, and 54 percent are planning to do so for academic work facilities, as well.