Microspeak: Occupant compression

Raymond Chen


This is not so much Microspeak as it is Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities-speak. The following notice was displayed in one of the buildings:

Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities will be converting lab 1234 to a team space. The new space will ease occupant compression.

Occupant compression? Ouch, that sounds painful.

The term compression appears to be an actual term of art in the Real Estate and Facilities department. I found a presentation that was rich in citations.

Power/HVAC programming in per seat basis at #### W/SC results in risk given observed compression behavior.

We determined the frequency and magnitude that teams in neighborhood spaces compress.

Some neighborhoods always compress regardless of loading, likely caused by business drivers for proximity.

From what I can gather, compression is the term used to describe how close together people’s workspaces are.

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

Follow Raymond   

David Walker 2019-04-16 12:40:29
As you have noted before, Microspeak (and other terms of art for different professions or occupations) often make up words when there are perfectly good words already.  I would say "The new space will ease (or reduce) overcrowding" instead of "ease occupant compression".   
Michael Entin 2019-04-16 12:52:16
Google calls this "densification".
cheong00 2019-04-16 18:14:57
At one of my ex-company, after we return from office re-partitioning, we found our partition reduced by 5cm in width in order to squeeze space for 2 more desks for new hires.
gumpyx gus
gumpyx gus 2019-04-17 06:33:29
At a certain workplace, when all the available working space was all used up, and every parking space was filled, management hired a consulting company to figure out how to squeeze in another 10% more staff.  They charged a lot of money and after two months they suggested we open up a lot more open hallway and cafe space and turn up the lights to "European" standards.   Us techies pointed out that you  couldn't put more  people in less space and more cars in the same space.   The consultants said they were "working on those aspects".  And oh, the programmers rebelled en masse at the idea of more lights, too, also.  
Michael Ratanapintha 2019-04-18 11:41:58
When I first saw that sign, after thinking over it a bit, I ended up concluding that "occupant compression" might actually mean "occupant mental stress"! In other words, the change would let people who were previously crowded together elsewhere in the building relax more by giving them more personal and open space, that is, the change would let them "decompress". I think that interpretation makes some sense because it helps stress that, from the point of view of Microsoft Facilities, this change would be a significant improvement in people's lives. Opinions might vary, of course...