Ready to shop around for office space but not sure how much room you need? We’ll help you correctly estimate how much space you need to keep your employees working comfortably and efficiently.
We’ll help you quickly:
Determine the office space density that’s right for your business
Estimate the size of offices, open work areas, and common areas
Calculate your overall square footage needs
Ensure your space isn’t too small to support business growth
A Few Pointers for Planning Your Office Space Effectively
The best way to maximize use of the office space you choose is to do a little planning for the 3 biggest factors that will impact your square footage: workstations, common areas, and overall density.
How Will Workstations and Common Areas Be Used?
Every square foot doesn’t offer an equal amount of working room. For example, 500 square feet could house a single lawyer or 6 call center workers, depending on how a space is laid out. So before you can determine how much space you need, you must determine how you’ll use that space.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
How many employees will be in the office full-time? Part-time?
What type of workstation does each department need to work comfortably and efficiently?
Will each employee require a dedicated desk or workstation? Will part-time or hybrid workers use hot desking to save space?
Which employees need private offices or larger working areas?
What communal spaces, such as waiting areas or conference rooms, are needed?
How many break areas and bathrooms do you need to provide for your employees to be comfortable?
Will you need to accommodate clients who visit your office, or is it rare to host visitors?
Do you envision large, sprawling conference rooms, or do you prefer more conservative space planning?
Are collaborative areas crucial to your business, or is it more important that employees stay focused on tasks at their individual workstations?
How Dense Will Your Office Space Be?
Once you’ve determined the different workstations and communal areas you’ll need, consider how your office space will be divided to best suit your business model and systems.
There are 3 common density levels for office spaces:
Low density: 250–500 square feet per employee. A spacious layout commonly seen in law firms, which often consist of a series of large private offices.
Average density: 150–250 square feet per employee. A traditional mix of private offices and open cubicles or communal work areas.
High density: 80–150 square feet per employee. Few private offices with the majority of space being used for rows of small desks, like a call center might have.
Keep in mind that the square footage isn’t split evenly among your employees. Private offices will absorb more space while open cubicles will absorb less, and a percentage of the overall square footage will be leveraged for common areas like lobbies or breakrooms.
Here are some general guidelines when considering how much space you’ll need:
Open work area requirements:
Cubicles or communal desks: 60–110 square feet per person
Enclosed office requirements:
Small private office: 90–150 square feet
Medium private or shared office: 150–250 square feet
Large private or shared office: 200–400 square feet
Don’t Forget to Allot Space for Common Areas
If you opt for a high-density setup, you’ll want to allot a larger portion of your square footage for common areas. Open office environments typically require more areas to conduct meetings, calls, or collaborative sessions than low- or average-density offices.
For high-density offices, it’s common to have 1 conference room, private call room, or common area for every 10 employees—whereas an average-density office would only need 1 for every 20 employees.
Here are some general space requirements for common areas:
Reception or waiting area: 100–200 square feet per person waiting
Conference room: 50 square feet plus 25 square feet per seated person
Breakroom: 75 square feet plus 25 square feet per seated/resting person
Mail or file room: 125–200 square feet
Hallways: 20–30% of the total usable square footage
How to Estimate Your Office Square Footage Needs
Now that you’ve leveraged our guidelines to determine density and estimate how the space may be divided, it’s time to calculate square footage.
When calculating square footage, remember to consider future hires. If your company is growing quickly, you’ll want to opt for more square footage so you don’t outgrow your new office space before the lease is up.
Calculating Square Footage Needs
To determine how much office space you need, multiply your employee head count by the square footage that fits your density needs.
Here’s an example to help you:
Isabelle leads a 25-person company with average density needs. The nature of the business calls for a large reception area, but internal common areas can be small. 5 new hires are forecasted in her hiring plan for the coming year.
Using the average density guideline of 150–250 square feet per person, Isabelle should look for a 4,500–7500 square foot office [150–200 sq ft x 30 people]. Since small common areas are suitable for her business’s needs, Isabelle can narrow her range down to the lower end of 4,500–5,500 square feet.
That’s it! Now you’ve got an estimated square footage to share with your real estate agent.
When the Math Ends, the Furnishing Begins
You’re looking for your new office space, but have you thought about how you’ll furnish it?
We can help with desk, chair, lighting, and storage options for office spaces of all shapes and sizes. Check out our digital catalogs or buying guides to cross one more item off your to-do list.