5 Expert Tips – How much office space do you need

Looking for a New Location for Your Office? Don’t Miss These Expert Tips for Determining How Much Office Space You Really Need!

Are you a business owner who needs office space — and quick? Are you looking for a new office space to accommodate a growing employee force?

Has your building manager recently gone up on your recent and you need a more financially viable option? Have you realized that your office is just too big for your workforce and you need to downsize soon?

How much office space do you need
How much office space do you need. Photo David Wall (Flickr)

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re in a common conundrum that many business owners have found themselves in at some point in their business journey. Your first step in the process is to figure out how to determine how much office space you need.

Read on to get our five top tips for figuring out the perfect amount of office space that provides an efficient working space and comfort all at the same time:

Tip #1: Do Your Homework

The first step in answering the question: “How much office space does my business need?” is getting to work doing a little homework.

You need to compile some data by finding out the following:

  • How many employees do I have?
  • Do each of my employees need a dedicated workspace?
  • Can some of my employees share workspaces — such as in fluid, open-space office designs?
  • Do plan to hire more staff?
  • If I do, what is my timeline for hiring those new employees and what will their office workspace needs be?
Spend a few dedicated hours doing your own personal inventory of your workforce, your envisioned workspace setup, and your future plans for hiring. When you do this, you begin to chart a path for your office space needs.

You may realize, for example, that your workforce could adapt a more open-floor working space with communal tables and working stations — but it’s going to take a culture shift to get everyone on board and familiar with the new office setup.

You may determine in this discovery process that you really do need dedicated offices with walls because you’re trying to recruit top level executives and administrators. So take some time, evaluate your current and future needs and then use those details as a foundation for determining the amount of office space you’ll need.

Tip #2: Try This Simple Calculation

Industry standards for office space square footage per person are around 150 square feet to 350 square feet, depending on the workforce needs and roles.

Once you know your current and future employees needs you can multiply the number of employees you have plus the number of employees you hope to employ within the next three years by a median of that square footage as follows:

(# of employees I currently have + # of employees I plan to hire in the next three years) X 250 = A rough estimate of the square footage you'll need for working space in your new office

Now, this estimate does not make room for giving more office space to top-level executives or include extra amenities, such as bathrooms, copier rooms, kitchenettes, etc.

However, it does give you a rough estimate to begin envisioning what offices are too small for you.

Tip #3: Consider Bathroom Amenities

Depending on the size of your workforce, you’re going to want to have a bathroom that will accommodate at least one person and typically multiple people.

You’ll also want to consider whether having one bathroom for each sex or having gender neutral bathrooms are important to you.

Helpful advice!
If it’s the former, then you might want to consider having more than one bathroom for each sex with multiple stalls. This helps because if one bathroom is being cleaned or goes off-line, there’s still an option for other people in the office.

The amount of space you’ll need in your office will be determined in part by the amenities, so think through how many bathroom stalls you need and how many bathroom units you need in the office to accommodate both the current workforce and the workforce you plan to have in the next three years.

Tip #4: Consider Kitchen Facilities and an Eating Area

If you want your employees to try to enjoy good work balance — which then promotes productivity in the office — then you’ll want to encourage them to take a lunch break if they can.

One way to help make it easier is to select an office that has a kitchen and an eating area. You don’t necessarily need a break room.

You really might just need an area with tables where employees can sit down and eat their lunch for a few minutes in the company of other staff members.

This is not only healthy for them as people, but it’s helpful for the overall health of the staff.

So measure the amount of square footage you’ll need for your kitchen and eating area — and add that to the base number you started with at the beginning.

Tip #5: Do You Need a Copy/Mail Room?

A copier and/or mail room is going to add a little more square footage to your office space needs — but it’s an important part of the office, especially if you have heavy copy/fax needs and get a good amount of mail for your staff.

This is an easy way to stay organized and to reduce paper clutter all over the office. You’ll create a singular, central place that all of your employees can congregate in to get their copies and to receive their mail. It reduces having to put up multiple copiers in different areas of the office and creates a more streamlined workflow for the office.

Measure this space, and then add it to your square footage number to get the total square footage that is ideal for your next office space.

Ready to Find Some New Real Estate?

If you’ve made it down to the end of this quick guide of office space tips — then you may be ready to start your real estate search for your next office. Does it begin with what can be a perplexing question: How much office space do I need?

However, it can end with finding the perfect space to help your business and your workforce thrive.

Find Some New Real Estate
Find Some New Real Estate. Photo Harald Groven (Flickr)

In addition to remembering these tips to help you determine exactly how much space you need, remember to keep your options open, set your budget ahead of time to avoid falling in love with any one space too quickly, and look at several offices before making your decision.

It’s true that you can always move in the future — but you want to try to avoid the upheaval and the financial expense that comes with having to move a second time. Do your research and take at least a little time to weigh your options as you begin your search for the perfect office work space for your company.

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