how much space do i really need?

tl:dr (too long, didn’t read)

● Your starting point should be about 100 sqft per person. For a more detailed and specific breakdown for your business, one of our advisors can help.

● Before you make any decisions, you should think about company culture and office inspo.

● Always plan for the future and make sure you have the flexibility to pivot if needed. Don’t forget about the practicalities of what you need now and in the future.

● The office space your business needs, shouldn’t put you out of business.

It sounds simple doesn’t it?  

But no one wants to end up paying for space that they don’t need or don’t have enough room for growth. Getting it right needn’t be a challenge with our comprehensive guide.

What practicalities should I consider when deciding how much office space I take?

Check the floorplans: not every square foot in an office is created equal. What sounds like generous square footage can be filled with unusable space so check the floorplans for awkward corners or lack of windows. Natural light is proven to impact on productivity and wellbeing so make sure all workstations are well lit.

Be space efficient: making the move to cloud and external server storage can significantly reduce the space you need. If you can’t minimise your equipment needs, get creative with storage and wifi enabled solutions.

Look at the legals: official guidance says “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.” That’s approximately 55 sq ft per team member. Doubling that will accommodate essential office equipment.

Set your budget: Office space is sized and rented based on its square footage. Set your budget based on the most cost-effective space you can afford based on specification and cost per square foot. Make sure you assess different solutions case by case based on your criteria

So how much office space do i need?

Whilst the general guideline for office square footage is 100 sq ft per employee, this can reduce to 60-70 sq ft where rents are high. The overall model is based on an open plan office allowing 50sq ft per person and 50 sq ft for a workstation. More isolated working styles may need up to 200 sq ft per person.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule as the way your office space is configured will play a part in the physical space at your disposal. For example, by law, you’ll need to leave a minimum clearance around lifts and fire doors.

Visualise it this way:

– 2 people = single garage = 130 sq ft
– 6 people = double garage = 300-390 sq ft
– 10 people = fifth of a tennis court = 450-650 sq ft
– 12-15 people = one fifth of an iMax screen = 550-970 sq ft

– The ratio of breakout space to working space should be roughly 40:60
– Allow around 15 sq ft per person for meeting rooms
– Your reception area adds another 150 sq ft

What factors will affect the space I need?

Your office inspo: 

Inspired by Budweiser’s new office space? or Adidas’ new London office? The way you think about your office will influence the space you want to create and the square footage you need.

Employee happiness can be directly affected by the amount of office space and light available. Space to move, sit and stand are psychologically proven to promote office productivity and creativity.


The kind of working environment you need:

There are very good reasons why open plan has become the office layout of choice. There are cost savings to be made on sharing light and equipment. 

Openness can foster creativity and collaboration. And 100 sq ft of space per employee is generous.

But close proximity has its own issues including lack of focus and productivity. Open plan may not fit with your office culture or the ‘new normal’. In this scenario, you can double the amount of space you’ll need.


Your type of business:

No two businesses are the same. You might be an agile startup that would kill for a podcast studio. Or you could have an increasing number of remote workers who need somewhere to hot desk.

The world of work is changing and you need office space that is responsive to that change. That could mean open collaborative spaces for creativity or productivity pods for innovation.


Your growth trajectory:

You don’t want to pay for space you’re not going to use but limiting your space can make business growth difficult. Add in a relocation under pressure and getting your office space wrong can be a costly business.

It’s worth factoring in extra space to meet your growth trajectory, usually 10-20% for a growth in headcount. Opting for flexible office space can head off any issues by letting you expand when you need to.