Offices are becoming a tighter fit for public servants as the Coalition government marches towards its goal of reducing wasted building space.
The federal bureaucracy has fewer empty desks and less unused floor space than before, as tighter control over leases bears fruit for the government.
New figures also show Canberra, which has the lion's share of the public service's leases, is behind in Coalition attempts to reduce wasted office space.
Six years after the government said it wanted the bureaucracy to have only 14 square metres of office space per occupied desk, nearly a third of the public service's offices meet the target.
The number of tenancies hitting the target in 2018 climbed from 25 per cent the previous year, and 12.9 per cent in 2014, when the Coalition started intensifying monitoring and control over the public service's leases.
Colliers International national director of government services, Paul Powderly, said the changes would save money for the bureaucracy as it kept reducing wasted space.
"Are they there yet? No. There's still a lot of work to be done, but they continue to do that through their Commonwealth office space strategy," he said.
"While the number of public servants may not fall, they will occupy space more efficiently and that's a good thing from a taxpayer's perspective."
The federal bureaucracy had fewer leases, less office space, and more staff in 2018 compared to the previous year, figures from the latest Office Occupancy Report show. An average public service office had one occupied desk every 16 square metres last year, down from 17.1 square metres in 2017.
Desks in the public service were more likely to have bureaucrats parked behind them last year, as the percentage sitting vacant dropped from 16 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent.
The Finance Department overseeing the bureaucracy's leases said more would meet density targets as older tenancies expired.
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Canberra, with nearly a third of the Commonwealth's tenancies, performs worse than the rest of the country in meeting the Coalition's 14 square metre target. About 32 per cent of federal bureaucracy offices have achieved the goal nationally, compared to 23 per cent in the ACT.
While the territory appears a laggard, one-fifth of its tenancies are on the cusp of meeting the target, at densities between 14 and 16 square metres for every occupied desk.
The Finance Department suggested longer public service leases in the ACT had put Canberra behind in meeting the targets.
Among the Commonwealth's largest departments, Services Australia was the most efficient user of office space, having one occupied desk every 12.9 square metres across its massive spread of 130 tenancies.
The Health Department, with 15 leases, was among those with the most waste at 18.6 square metres of space per used desk.
University of Sydney associate professor of work studies, Susan McGrath-Champ, said the Finance Department's report appeared to focus on cost, rather than balancing savings with productivity.
Attempts to rearrange workers in office space created better productivity if they also made staff happier.
"If it's seen as cost cutting, it may not produce productivity benefits," Professor McGrath-Champ said.
The Coalition expects $322 million in savings over ten years after multiple agencies moved into unused spaces leased by the Commonwealth. The program, called "Operation Tetris" and beginning in 2015, is part of broader government efforts to reduce wasted office space.
More than half of the ACT's office market is tenanted by the Commonwealth, according to the Property Council of Australia.
The council earlier in 2019 said it expected a busy year in leasing as the federal government continued reducing its unused office space.