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Need your office to look busy? Hire some seat fillers

Between telecommuting and remote work, today's workplaces might sometimes run short on warm bodies at desks. Working in a mostly-empty office isn't a problem, unless a big, potential client wants to stop by later this week for an in-person meeting. Oh, no!

Suddenly, the mostly-empty, 21st-Century office space can seem filled with perceived promotional pitfalls. Will the client think that we look too small to take on a big project? Will they wonder where everyone is? Will we lose the deal because we look like a dinky, fly-by-night operation? You need help looking bigger, and busier, stat.

Or maybe a company just has too much space, and many employees who work remotely. Instead of bringing them back to the office -- which could hurt morale -- the company looks for other ways to fill the space.

Space Fillers For Hire
Innovative staffing firms such as Desk Camping and LiquidSpace are able to match freelancers with employers that have a lot of empty space to fill. Like extras on a film set, these freelancers can be working quietly in the background, presumably on their own stuff. They can lend calming continuity to a workforce that is in flux -- or is on a delayed flight from Houston, as the case may be. And scene!


For the average freelancer, this situation could be a win-win. The freelancer gets work space in somebody else's office that might offer free cups of high-end, organic coffee. It's also a change of scenery, and an opportunity to remember why they went solo in the first place. Both can spur a freelancer's creativity. As reports:

In the age of flexible and remote work, headcount at the office is in flux. And sometimes, companies want their offices to appear as if they are busier. An editor here at Quartz says that when she worked as a freelancer, she was on the shortlist of a small advertising agency that would ask her to work from its office when clients came in for meetings.

Other times, companies want to appear leaner. Another Quartz staffer reports having worked at a startup that asked certain employees to stay home on particular days in the off-chance that investors dropped by, to appear as if it were leaner.

So headcount could increasingly be an illusion until we figure out whether or not we can disappear into the Cloud once and for all. Will the average office go the way of the average mall? Is a 150-person capacity office space with only 15 employees regularly on site really just a waste of space?

There's no app for that yet, but if you need more people at work, then you can make it happen. Or you can simply make everyone on staff report to the office from now on (groan). Remember to look busy when you get there, and leave the athleisure wear at home.


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