The U.S. agency that manages nearly 35 million sq. meters of federal office space is moving back to its newly renovated headquarters in central Washington, where its employees are finding that their personal real estate footprint has been radically altered.

They now have to work in less than half the space they once had. The long corridors, closed-door offices and high cubicles that have always defined the culture of the federal workplace have given way to open spaces filled with industrial white desks that most employees must reserve like hotel rooms.

Workers badge in at the lobby turnstile so their bosses know where they are. They touch down at desks they must leave without a trace of clutter if they want to avoid a scolding. "Teaming Rooms" are "leveraged" for meetings, and attendees are electronically logged in by a "room wizard" on the wall outside.