Many employers miscalculate how much office space they need per employee. Not only does this lead to a failure in office space management, but it also increases costs. Learn how much office space you need per employee and how to make your office functional. 

Have you ever traveled first class on a plane? Aside from priority boarding and a more comfortable seat, you paid for something more – more space. The same goes for leasing office space. You can have your employees fly business class or squeeze them into a small space in economy.

Standard office space density

In the commercial real estate market, it is said that a good standard for office space is 100 sq.ft. (about 9.5 sq.m.) per employee. You can comfortably fit a desk and chair in that, and it serves as a market standard that helps you achieve a good balance between employee workstations, meeting rooms, common areas, and break rooms.

Of course, it all depends on the location of the office and your budget. If you lease office space in the city center, the rent will be higher. That’s why some companies decide to increase the density and limit the number of meeting rooms. Others use tricks like replacing individual desks with long benches and keeping storage space to a minimum. This helps save space and budget, but keep in mind that it’s like flying economy class.

How to calculate the office space per employee?

If you are aiming for a better-than-average quality of the workplace for your teams – the first-class flight – you can choose a more spacious option with more conference and meeting rooms, and more office space per employee: 135 sq.ft. (12.5 sq.m.) per person.

If you wonder how to calculate office space per person, there is some good news: You do not have to do it yourself. If you are looking for a new office for your business, we at ShareSpace can help you find the perfect space and customize it to your needs. All you need to do is specify your team, preferred location, and budget – and we will create a personalized office comparison for you – completely free.

You can also compare offices yourself and see the price differences based on density. Use our search tool to do so. 

How much office space per employee? A cheat-sheet

Here is a more detailed cheat sheet on how much space you should devote to different types of office space and the amount of office space per employee:

  • Open space (dense): 70 sq.ft. per employee (6,50 – 7,50 sq.m.)
  • Open space (standard density); 100 sq.ft. per employee (9,5 – 10 sq.m.)
  • Small meeting room (2-4 people) – 100 sq.ft. (9,5 – 10 sq.m.)
  • Large meeting room (4-8 people) – 150 sq.ft. (14 sq.m.)
  • Board room (15 – 20 people) – 220 sq.ft. (20 sq.m.)
  • Training/conference room (20 – 30 person) – 300 sq.ft. (28 sq.m.)
  • Kitchenette – 100 sq.ft. (10 sq.m.)
  • Manager’s office – 100 sq.ft. (10 sq.m.)
  • Senior manager’s office (with a small meeting table) –  200 sq.ft. (18,50 sq.m.)
  • Director’s office (with four-person meeting table) – 250 sq.ft. (23 sq.m.)
  • Small server room (1 server rack) – 40 sq.ft. (4 sq.m.)
  • Large server room (4 server racks)  – 120 sq.ft. (11 sq.m.)

Office space in the pandemic

Today we use office space differently than we did before the pandemic. Many companies operate in remote or hybrid mode, which means fewer people are in offices. To optimize your costs and avoid paying for empty space, you can choose one of the latest flexible lease options – providing better working conditions for your team and saving unnecessary costs. 

Here are three flexible office solutions that are becoming increasingly popular:

1. Hub-and-spoke

In this type of space, the primary hub office is usually located in a city center and serves as a venue for meetings, team collaboration, and events. The spokes are satellite offices in smaller cities or neighborhoods closer to employees’ homes. 

They include traditional and flexible office space or hot desks rented in a coworking space. Employees work from home 1-2 days a week and three days in the office that is in their neighborhood or travel to the headquarters for larger events. 

There are different variations in the hub-and-spoke model. For example, employees can get a coworking membership card and have access to different locations of the same office space provider. They can book dedicated desks on-demand or come without reservation to work at “hot desks” in the common coworking area.

Another solution is employee rotation, where a team of 50 uses 25 workstations in a serviced office space and rotates every one or two weeks. In case of team growth, the capacity can be increased according to the needs. The advantage is that you only pay for the actually used space which helps to optimize the costs.

2. HubOffice as a collaboration hub

This model primarily encourages collaboration. It has been used for years by Google, which encourages its employees to physically share the same space. Such an approach promotes productivity and allows employees to learn from each other.

The key elements of the office as a collaboration hub include:

  • Versatile space: Meeting rooms, private offices, informal social spaces, and de-densified zones for focused work.
  • Multiple common areas such as cafeterias, a central lounge, a large conference area, or even a ping pong or foosball area for creative breaks.
  • Convenient location near your employees’ homes to ensure a quick and short commute from home to the office.
  • Resources your team can not use at home (depending on the company and type of work), such as podcasting studio, printing capabilities, library, etc.
  • Flexible options such as mobile walls or movable whiteboards that you can quickly adapt to current needs.

Read more about office as a collaboration hub

3. De-densified office

This concept essentially involves limiting the number of employees in a room. It requires adopting safety policies such as reducing occupancy by 50% in all spaces – meeting rooms, common areas, and breakout areas.

Physical distancing primarily assumes reducing the number of people in a room and implementing physical barriers such as movable walls and screens. 

For example, if you have a 20-person conference room in the office, you might consider removing seats and adding screens or shields to limit exposure. 

Read more about three new office models

Flexible office solutions

Today’s market offers many flexible solutions that can help you find the best space for you and your budget. Apart from a specific office setup, you can opt for a model of office work – hybrid, rotating or “pay as you grow” – like Bitpanda. In the “pay as you grow” model, the space grows with your team and your needs, and you only pay for the space you actually use. 

You can read more about the “pay as you grow” model here.

No matter what type of office you choose – a traditional office or a coworking office – make sure your team is comfortable. The solutions available make the process of leasing an office smooth and not as time-consuming as it used to be. 

Remember that the workplace has an impact on productivity, creativity and motivation. If you care about long-term business growth, you should choose an office that will help you achieve your goals. Then you can be sure that your journey to the future will be a first class one.

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