‘How much office space do I need?’

This is something we hear a lot from our clients. And it’s no surprise - choosing the right office is important for any business, and size is a key factor.

You need to be confident there’s enough room for all your staff to work comfortably, to house your day-to-day operations and to accommodate your plans for future expansion.

So how do you make sure your office is the right size for your company? Here’s our complete guide to selecting a perfectly proportioned office.

The importance of enough office space

First things first - why is it so important to have the right amount of space?

In recent years there’s been a shift in focus towards employee wellbeing. Employers are encouraged to create a working environment that supports employees’ physical, mental, social and financial health.

Your office space can have a big impact on your employees’ wellbeing.

It’s important that everyone has enough room to work comfortably - but deskspace isn't the only thing to consider. Common areas, quiet breakout spaces and room to move around can all contribute to creating a positive environment.

This isn’t just beneficial for employees - the resultant boost in productivity benefits companies too.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that an increased focus on employee wellbeing improved employee morale and engagement, decreased sickness absence and created a more inclusive culture.

How much office space do I need?

So, how much office space per person do you need?

There’s no ‘golden rule’ about how much space is the right amount. The ideal size for you will depend on a variety of factors - what your company does, how you use your office and how much equipment you have, to name a few.

For example, a company with employees who work remotely or are often out of the office will need less deskspace, while a company that often entertains clients in-house is likely to need more space for meetings.

Company culture plays a role too. While some companies favour private offices, with larger rooms allocated according to a traditional hierarchy, others value a more agile, open-plan structure, which usually requires less space overall.

Here are some questions to ask when considering how much space you’ll need:

  • How many employees does the company have?
  • Do employees work remotely?
  • Do employees hotdesk or share workstations, or does everyone need a dedicated desk?
  • Is the company likely to hire more employees in the next two years?
  • How much equipment does the company have?
  • Which areas need to be private, and which are shared?
  • How many meeting rooms and breakout spaces does the company need?
  • Is any additional space required? This could be collaboration spaces, relaxation areas, store rooms etc.

The answers to these questions will be different for every company, so think carefully about your requirements.

As a general rule, we estimate that for most companies the amount of office space per person should be around 50-150 square feet, depending on how open-plan or isolated you want your workstations to be, plus any amenities you require.

how much office space do i need

How much space do I need for amenities?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to office amenities. Every company will have different needs, whether it’s a hefty supply of storage space or multiple kitchenettes.

But how much space do all these things take up? Here’s a rough guide:

  • Kitchenette: 25-50 square feet
  • Boardroom (15-20 people): 220 square feet
  • Small meeting room (2-4 people): 100 square feet
  • Large meeting room (4-8 people): 150 square feet
  • Small store room: 25 square feet
  • Large store room: 100 square feet

Again, these are estimates, so think about what your company needs and plan accordingly.

What’s the law on office space per person?

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 state that:

Every room where persons work shall have sufficient floor area, height and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety and welfare.

The associated Approved Code of Practice and Guidance elaborates on this:

Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to get to and from workstations and to move within the room, with ease. The number of people who may work in any particular room at any one time will depend not only on the size of the room, but on the space taken up by furniture, fittings, equipment, and on the layout of the room. Workrooms, except those where people only work for short periods, should be of sufficient height (from floor to ceiling) over most of the room to enable safe access to workstations.’

The regulations state that the total volume of the room (when empty) divided by the number of people who usually work in it should be at least 11 cubic metres.

When calculating this, any part of the room that is higher than 3 metres should be counted as 3 metres high.

In a typical room where the ceiling is 2.4 metres high, floorspace of 4.6 square metres (or 49.5 square feet) per person would meet the 11 cubic metre requirement.

However, this requirement is the minimum and may not be enough if the room has a lot of furniture or equipment in it.

Rooms may need to be bigger or have fewer people working in them depending on the layout and content of the room, or the nature of the work.

You can find out more about the regulations here.

Finding the perfect office space

Planning the ideal office space is a vital step in building a successful company. The right office can increase employee satisfaction, boost productivity and ultimately help your company grow.

Worked out how much space you’ll need? Check out our portfolio of small office spaces in London and find your ideal office today.

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