How much office space do you need?

If renting by desk isn’t for you, or you're looking for a more conventional space, you will find that office space is most commonly advertised in square feet.

 

At times it can be hard to visualize what 1,000 sq ft actually means in terms of space, and what the right amount of space per person is - this can be especially confusing if you have previously dealt in terms of the number of desks you require.

This guide is designed to take some of the pain away and help you work out exactly how much space you will require.

How much space on average per person?

In London, 100 sq ft per person is accepted as a good approximation for the total space required; half of which is allocated to actual desk space and the other half for communal areas. However, some offices will consider 70-80 sq ft per person as standard, to try and keep costs down.

Guidelines for desk space

Use the following suggestions as a guide for how much desk space you'll need:

  1. Efficient space: 45-55 sq ft per person
  2. Medium-sized space: 65-75 sq ft per person
  3. Generous space: 85-100 sq ft per person

How many square feet do I need for general office space?

Reception

A small reception with one receptionist would equate to about 150 sq ft, and a large reception with three receptionists would require 350 sq ft.

Meeting rooms

You would require approximately 120 sq ft for a small meeting room fitting up to eight people. A large meeting room for up to 25 people would work out at approximately 350 sq ft.

Kitchenette

Your average kitchenette without any seating would be approximately 100 sq ft. If you want to have a little more space that incorporates a break out area, you'll need about 200 sq ft. This would provide your employees with a breakout area to sit down and have informal chats over coffee or lunch.

Server room

Your company may need a server room too. The amount of space you'll require for this will obviously depend on how many servers you have, but generally speaking, a small server room with up to five racks would take up just 40 sq ft, and a large server room with up to 30 racks would need 120 sq ft of space.

A company of ten people looking to be efficient with space would need around 1,170 sq ft. This amount of space could comfortably get you an open plan working area for ten people, with a kitchen, breakout area and a meeting room for up to eight people. If you have a private office but share communal areas with other companies, then you would only need 750 sq ft.

If you're looking for more space for your staff of ten, then you might want to look for a space that is around 1,640 sq ft. This could provide you with a small reception area, kitchen and breakout area, generous open plan space, a meeting room for up to two people and a meeting room for up to eight people.

How can I maximize my space?

Given that office space is expensive, particularly in London, it makes sense to try and make the most of what you have. By creating an open plan space, you'll require less space overall due to the open layout.

Various surveys have also indicated that employees actually prefer an open place working space, as it provides a great working atmosphere and the collaborative environment can help aid productivity.

An open plan office can therefore be a great option. However, it completely depends on the type of business you run as to whether this will be the right choice for you. Open plan offices have less privacy and also tend to be noisier, but a good way to get around this is to ensure you have meeting rooms or a quiet area for more sensitive discussions, or if you just want to get away from the main buzz of the office.

Try and source furniture that is clever in design so it doesn’t take up space but still provides your employees with the functionality they need. This will help maximize space and also reduce clutter on desks – allowing more floor space that can help to make the office feel more spacious.

Keep an eye out for multifunctional office innovations - this will not only help you make the most of your space but will also ensure you stay on trend.

Things to bear in mind

There are a few other things that you will need to take into consideration when calculating how much office space you need. One of those is that square feet is of course not always ‘square’. Some offices may have shapes that mean some of the space is actually unusable as a desk area.

Additionally, make a note of where windows are and if there are any areas with low ceilings. It's important to check where is actually feasible to host a desk when you visit the office.

Another consideration is whether you'll have room to grow. You don’t want to move offices only to outgrow it in a year or two, so look at your projections and work out how many additional people you plan on hiring in the next few years.

If you would like some impartial advice on your office requirements, or assistance with finding the right space for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Workthere, the flexible working space experts. Workthere, being part of Savills, is perfectly placed to provide impartial advice on finding the right office space for your business.