The final frontier: how much office space do you need?

When it comes to choosing a new business premises, selecting the right size is paramount. As the hub of all your business’ operations, it needs to be big enough for all staff to feel comfortable and safe, as well as spacious enough to comfortably house any specialist equipment, appliances, and stored documents your business needs.

Deciding just how much office space you need is not always as easy as it sounds and it can be a high-pressure decision.

After all, if you made the wrong call you could be faced with safety, productivity and even budget problems. Key factors to consider when making these decisions include the industry you operate in and what equipment your business needs in order to function, any ambitions for growing your business in the near future, and crucially, how many people your business currently employs.

Here at Viet Studio, this got us thinking – just how much office space is needed per employee, what is the most effective and efficient way to space an office, and is there a minimum space allowed between office desks? For the answer to all these questions and more, read on.
How much office space do I need per employee?

If you know exactly how many staff currently work for your business, as well as a rough idea of what this number could rise to if you are planning to expand in the near future, one way to help you decide on the perfect-sized office space is by knowing how much room you need per employee.

Although this method is far from an exact science, and other factors such as specialist equipment, community areas and other facilities you wish to be included in your office space need to be accounted for, it can still act as a good starting point. All you need to do is decide if you want to prioritise efficiency or give your staff a more generously spaced working environment. To do this, you’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, such as :

On average, how many employees are going to be using the office at one time? I.e. how many are permanent/part-time/temporary and how will this affect the average number of staff you need to accommodate?
Do you want to maximise the space each worker enjoys or do you want to fit as many employees in as possible for efficiency reasons?
What will the layout of your office look like? WIll you use lots of individual offices, cubicles or workstations, or have an open-plan layout?
Does each worker require an individual desk or is ‘hot desking’ possible?
Can any employees work remotely and, if so, how frequently will these employees need to work in the office?
Do different departments require different amounts of space to function properly?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can then decide on what you want to prioritise when looking for the perfect office space and how much of it your business needs per employee. There are three ways of looking at this based on the plan you have created.
High Density

Space per employee:

75-150 sq ft per employee

Suggested Layout:

Open-plan seating with rows of desks/workstations. A limited number of individual offices reserved for management only.

Example Workspaces:

Call centres, Telephone marketing, customer services industries, etc.