How much office space does my business need?
Settling on how much office space you need can often feel like shooting at a moving target. You don’t want a space cosier than your grandma’s living room, but you definitely don’t need it to feel like the underground during rush hour. However, defining your office space involves more than just square meters and square feet—it's a nuanced dance of balancing regulations, city dynamics, and your company's unique needs.
The real challenge arises when you factor in the diverse and dynamic nature of cities like London. Central locations may offer prestige, but they often demand a premium for limited space. Conversely, venturing beyond the city centre opens doors to more expansive options at better deals.
Beyond the numbers, crafting your office space involves a multidimensional approach. It's not just about complying with regulations; it's about creating an environment that aligns with your team's work style, embraces your company culture, and nurtures productivity
With all the above in mind, calculating how much office space you need is the aim of the game today. In this guide, we’ll run you through the factors you need to consider, from legal requirements to the norms in different industries. And, by the end, if you still need help, our office space experts are a call away.
How to calculate the office space for my business
Who remembers when working out how much office space you needed was as simple as multiplying square footage by your number of staff? These days, it’s not as simple.
Let's kick off with the basics - square meters and square feet. We're not building a rocket, but understanding these metrics is the first step to deciphering your office space needs. Although, it's not just about the standard metrics; it's a delicate balance between adhering to safety regulations, meeting business needs, and creating an environment conducive to productivity and growth.
As a rule of thumb, UK regulations often recommend a specific allocation per person, suggesting 100 sq. ft per person, ensuring a comfortable and productive workspace.
See below how much space is typically needed for different office team sizes:
For a serviced office:
- 1 – 5 people – 100 – 300 sq ft
- 6 – 10 people – 300 – 600 sq ft
- 11 – 15 people – 600 – 800 sq ft
- 15+ - 800 sq ft
If you want to lease an office space and your work demands greater privacy, utilise cubicles or smaller, individual offices, you will have to account for more than 100 sq ft per person. It will be worth doubling that figure, so you have enough space for your staff.
Beyond individual workstations, you must also consider the space required for shared facilities and essential equipment. While the specific guidelines may vary, here’s a list of some of the most commonly included facilities and approximately how much space they require.
See below how much space is typically needed for each office layout:
• Small meeting room (2-4 people) 100 sq ft
• Large meeting room (4-8 people) 150 sq ft
• Private office 100 – 250 sq ft
• Front of house 160 – 900 sq ft
• Print and mail area 64 – 215 sq ft
• Tea/kitchen 61 – 187 sq ft
• Breakout area 200 – 1000 sq ft
One of the benefits that coworking spaces and serviced offices have over the traditional office is that they include communal facilities such as private meeting suites, conference rooms, breakout areas, kitchens and more. So, when you’re calculating how much office space you need per employee in these spaces, you only really having to consider how many desks you need. If you think your business is best suited to a coworking space, take a look at our handpicked list of best coworking spaces in London right now.
What to consider when choosing the dimension of my office space
While standard metrics offer a measurement baseline, considerations must be made for safety rules and the unique requirements of your business. Sometimes, it's about finding a compromise that ensures both compliance and functionality.
Office Layout: The layout plays a significant role. An open-plan design may allow for higher density, while a more compartmentalised layout could prioritise personal space. Consider the flow of work and communication within your team.
Type of Office: Different office types have different space needs. Coworking spaces might focus on high density, inspiring collaboration, while corporate offices may lean towards more spacious layouts for a formal atmosphere.
Required Amenities: The amenities you provide impact space requirements. Spaces with extensive facilities may require more room, whereas a minimalistic approach could allow for a more compact design.
Expansion Plans: Future growth should be factored in. Ensure your office space can accommodate potential expansions, allowing your business to scale without the need for frequent relocations.
Hybrid Working: Consider if your company embraces hybrid working. Balancing remote and in-office requirements can influence the need for flexible and adaptable office layouts.
Legal Standards: Adhering to legal standards is non-negotiable. Be aware of UK regulations regarding space per employee to ensure compliance and a safe working environment.
Future of Office Space: Lastly, consider the evolving trends in office space. As the future of work continues to transform, staying inline of innovative designs and flexible work arrangements is essential.
What office density could better fit my business?
Determining the ideal office density for your business will be influenced by factors such as the type of business you run, the atmosphere you’re looking to provide, and how your team’s working style. These will help you choose one of three office densities—high density offices, average density offices, and spacious offices— let’s take a look at each and understand which type your business might find most suitable.
High Density Offices: High density offices are characterised by open-plan layouts with multiple small workstations. They often feature rows of desks in a shared space.
Industries such as sales and customer support, as well as coworking environments, often thrive in high density offices. The collaborative nature of these spaces just cannot help but encourage interaction and teamwork.
Average Density Offices: Average density offices strike a balance between open-plan layouts and designated workspaces. They typically offer a mix of communal areas, meeting rooms, cubicles, and private offices.
Creative agencies, software developers, and tech firms are examples of businesses that gravitate to average density offices. The layout allows for collaborative work while providing individual workspaces.
Spacious Offices: Spacious offices are known for providing ample room per employee. They are often seen in law firms and financial services companies, offering large private offices and plenty of open space.
Businesses that prioritise personal space and require larger, more private offices may find spacious offices more suitable. These environments offer a sense of exclusivity and room to manoeuvre.
Ultimately, each office density type caters to different working styles and industries, so assessing your business needs will guide you toward the most fitting option.
How can you optimise the office layout to make it more usable?
When trying to get the most out of your office space, it is important to look beyond simply rearranging furniture. Try and create a space where your productivity will thrive. Here are some practical tips to help you design a functional yet modern business environment:
Finding the Right Balance: Consider the balance between open spaces and private offices. while open layouts encourage collaboration, private spaces stimulate more focused work. Strike a balance that suits your team's dynamics.
Smart Design Choices: Invest in comfortable and ergonomic furniture to support your team's well-being. Think adjustable desks and supportive chairs for a healthier work environment. Also try to maximise space with smart storage solutions. Use vertical shelving and practical storage units to keep the office clutter-free.
Embracing Flexibility: Opt for furniture that can adapt to various needs. Versatile pieces make it easy to transition from collaborative sessions to individual tasks. But be sure to design the layout with remote work in mind. Ensure that your office accommodates both in-house and remote collaboration seamlessly.
Harnessing Natural Elements: Bring in natural light and greenery. Well-lit spaces and a touch of nature enhance the overall atmosphere, contributing to a positive and refreshing workspace.
Collaborative Planning: Involve your team in the planning process. Their insights on preferred work environments contribute to a space that caters to everyone's needs.
Hopefully you’re feeling much more informed and confident in choosing the right office space size for you. As we mentioned earlier, should you have more questions or require further advice, our dedicated specialists are only a phone call away. Feel free to get in touch at any time.