How much office space does your business need?

 

Whether you’re looking to expand, rent new office space, or find inspiration on what you can achieve in the workspace you currently have – there’s lots to consider. And thinking about the right office size and space can leave you with lots of questions: How much workspace does your business really need? How much office space do you need per employee? How much desk space do you need? How much workspace do you need for your equipment and operations? You might even go as far as questioning if you need to consider the office dog(s)…

While there are no finite rules for how best to layout your office, or indeed how much space will be optimum for your business, here we’re taking a look at office size guidelines and directions that can help you evaluate and find the best workspace for your business. If you’re wondering if the office space that you have is large enough for your team and operations, you can also find out more with our signs it might be time for bigger office space blog.

In terms of minimum regulations, HSE states that “The total volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres.” However, this baseline may not be enough to meet your business needs.

How much workspace does your business need?

It depends. It depends on what you do, how you do it, your staff and how they work.

Below we’ve put together a helpful process to guide you through working out how much office space you need for your business, but before we get adding up and playing ‘Office Tetris’, first we’ve collated some office space size guidelines for you to use.

Office Space Size Guidelines:

People:

  • Desk space (desk plus seating area) – 35-50 sq. ft per employee* (efficient-comfortable)

– Nb: For each person’s desk space you should factor for dwelling space in communal areas – This should be approximately double desk space* This needs to be considered when looking at size guidelines for areas and rooms below.

  • Casual or ‘hot desk’ space – 35-50 sq. ft

Areas and Rooms:

  • Small Meeting Room (2-4 people) – 100 sq. ft*
  • Large Meeting Room (4-8 people) – 150 sq. ft*
  • Board Room (15 – 20 people) – 220 sq. ft*
  • Training/Conference Room (20 – 30 person) – 300 sq. ft*
  • Kitchenette – 100 sq. ft*
  • Small Server Room (1 server rack) – 40 sq. ft*
  • Large Server Room (4 server racks) – 120 sq. ft*
  • Manager’s Office – 100 sq. ft*
  • Senior Manager’s Office (with small meeting table) – 200 sq. ft*
  • Director’s Office (with four persons meeting table) – 250 sq. ft*

Equipment:

Every office requires different equipment of different sizes. Here’s a list of some office necessities to get you started. Factor in approximate square footage for these when calculating your space needs. (Remember space is 3D, for example storage units within a meeting room, or dog beds under desks does not equate to a greater total space needed. However, you may need a larger meeting room to fit in the storage need)

  • Storage units
  • Printers
  • Fridge
  • Coat storage
  • TVs/Projectors

*credit hubblehq.com for these figures

Calculating the office size that you need to look for

Tot-up your needs from the above and then consider the following…

  • Space for business growth – ??? sq. ft

– Take a look at your growth projections and factor contingency area needed for this growth. For example:

– How many new staff might you have?

– Will you need additional meeting space?

  • Space for business growth – ??? sq. ft

– Offices are rarely perfectly rectangle, so consider areas like alcoves or eves, walkways, doorways or windows and other features, and decide on a figure too.

Add these on to your total from above and you have an approximate square footage to guide you. Now, play ‘Office Tetris’…

Office Tetris

Whether an office is a clean rectangle or characterised by shapes and features, the reality of fitting your square footage needs into the total area that you have calculated, is never a perfectly tessellated beehive…

So, draw out a rectangular grid of squares representing the total area that you have calculated above (Excel can be useful for this and you can use your current office or a known office shape if you would like, but using a rectangle is sufficient for gauging how much office space you need or what size it is that you need to be looking for) and now try to add inside the square footage of different elements needed in approximate required shapes/layout.

You might find that whichever way you look at it, you can’t quite fit everything in, or, that everything seems to fit. This will help you gauge if the figure that you calculated above is appropriate or if you need to add a little more contingency in order to find the right sized office for your needs.

The most important factor when considering how much office space you need

It’s important to remember when looking at space (and compartmentalising your equipment and employees into sq. ft…), that your office is more than a venue for desks and bums on seats – it’s the space that facilitates your business output, and it’s the space where your employees, often the catalyst to your business output, spend on average 34 and a half hours a week, or 1,795 hours a year (Source).

It’s no surprise therefore, that your office space directly effects the happiness and productivity of your staff. The environment where they spend their working time can influence mood, focus, satisfaction and more, which all translates to their output and effectiveness. If you’d like to find out more here’s our guide to making employees happy with office space, but however much space you choose, however you assign and layout your workspace, prioritise creating an environment that is comfortable and conducive to a happy work-life for your employees.

Make sure Gerry from accounting doesn’t wind up in a dark corner, or that Louise from sales isn’t crammed into less space because you’ve only looked at square footage and not the position of features, angles or windows.

Office space showcase

Your office space is also more than a place to work. On top of being a space for operations, if you have guests, customers/clients, or colleagues visiting your offices, the space you bring them into says a lot about your business, your company values and how you operate. Look at your office as an opportunity to showcase your business and it’s values. You may even want to factor features that promote your business into your office space calculations; seating areas, award cabinets, wall space for marketing materials or a live feed of key metrics for your business on a screen.

Office Space to Rent

At Tanshire Park we have a range of large and small Grade-A office spaces and meeting rooms to rent and are proud to cater to growing businesses. Talk to us about how we could provide the right size office for your business in our idyllic Surrey business park.