Assess your space

How to measure how much office space you need

So you’ve made the decision to move out of your home office and into a commercial space, but now you have to tackle a whole new list of questions. No need to enroll in a yoga class to find your zen, we’re here to help you work through the tough bits. First things first: balance that chequebook, determine your budget, and find out how much office space you really need.

Do the math
While measuring office space isn’t an exact science, there are rough guidelines you can use to determine the amount of floor space you need. Bear in mind that this number has steadily been decreasing over the years due to changing work arrangements.

• If you’re arranging your office in a more conventional manner, you might require a separate president’s office (200-400 sq ft, averagely 250 sq ft)
• Staff workstations average 150 sq ft (cubicle layout), although open plan workspaces require less space at about 80-110 sq ft
• Need a reception area? Apportion at least 150 sq ft to accommodate a receptionist and waiting room for 2-4. Larger waiting rooms for 6-8 people require at least 250 sq ft
• Conference rooms need 25 sq ft per person (seated conference style, not theatre style) + 50 sq ft
• Pantries are 15 sq ft per person with 75 sq ft allocated to preparation areas

Layout matters
You’ve crunched the numbers, but now it’s time to assess the math on a holistic level. Not every employee requires the same amount of workspace or set-up, so spatial designers often think about the following and scale up or down accordingly:

• What type or work does this employee do? How often will they be at their desks?
• How much storage does this employee need?
• What is the culture of this office? Are there efforts to foster collaboration or do employees feel more comfortable with assigned permanent seating arrangements?
• What materials will the employee use at the desk? Does it require a larger workbench?

Accommodate growth
Commercial leases tend to run for at least 2-3 years, so it’s important to think about how your company will be growing during this time. Approach your lease with a medium to long-term mindset by asking yourself these questions:

• Are you considering acquiring or merging with other firms?
• What are your preferred work settings and how much time do you foresee your employees spending at their desks?
• Are you considering alternative seat arrangements, such as non-assigned seating or activity-based working? Do you see your team sharing desks or does each employee need an individual workspace?
• How large will your team be in 3 years and what roles will your employees have (executive, administrative, sales)?
• Do you need to have a data centre onsite?

Generally, most agents will advise adding 10-20% of what you think you currently need to accommodate future growth.

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