When it comes to finding the right office space, you might be asking yourself, “How much office space do I need?”
The hybrid working model has risen in popularity in recent years. In fact, a recent survey by consulting firm Accenture found that 83% of employees consider a hybrid workplace model to be their ideal working environment.
With more and more employers recognizing the benefits of a hybrid workforce, finding the right office space for such an arrangement is important. Here, we share tips and guidelines on how to calculate the amount of office space you’ll need for your employees.
The amount of office space you need depends on your specific requirements, such as the number of employees, room for amenities, and desired layout. As a general guideline, many businesses allocate 100-150 square feet per employee, but it’s essential to consider factors like meeting rooms, break areas, and collaboration spaces when planning.
Office space is important for the hybrid workspace because the office environment still plays a pivotal role in facilitating collaboration. For instance, some tasks, such as those that involve problem-solving and teamwork, are more effective when done in person.
Also, spending between 58% and 68% of a typical work week in the office is the sweet spot for productivity.
But getting that amount of space right requires a balancing act.
Too much office space and your employees can find themselves working in what feels like a ghost town, which you’ll be paying for through the nose.
Employees may feel isolated if there’s an abundance of unused desks, potentially lowering morale and productivity. An office that’s too spacious can also make it difficult for employees to interact and collaborate effectively.
Too little office space, on the other hand, and your employees can end up with no desks to work at — not to mention all the health and safety risks associated with such a cramped space.
In our upcoming webinar Evolving Workplaces: Top Hybrid Work Trends in 2024 you can find out more about what’s coming up next year for proper workspace management. Sign up here.
The exact answer to the question “How much office space do I need?” depends on a lot of factors.
However, National Business Furniture breaks this down by density:
So, with that general rule in mind, here’s what you need to consider to calculate the right amount of office space for your needs:
Different businesses require different amounts of office space, so the first thing to do is assess your current situation. Here are some questions you can ask to determine how much square footage you’ll need:
How many employees do you currently have? What types of employees are they?
The number of employees certainly matters, but so does the type since different roles require different amounts of space.
Senior executives, for example, typically need private offices, which means more space. Other staff, such as customer support or admin, generally require less office space since they usually work in an open office layout.
How many employees are working full-time vs part-time in the office? Do some work 100% remotely?
Certain departments, like HR, may be required to work in the office on a full-time basis, while others may not need to come into the office at all. And since the workplace is hybrid, the vast majority of employees are likely working part-time in the office and part-time at home.
What kind of hybrid work policies are you using in your organization?
Some companies require employees to return to the office on certain days while working remotely the rest of the week. For models like this, you’ll need enough space for your busiest days, but not so much that the office is deserted on quieter days.
Others follow a model where certain departments or teams work for a specified amount of time on-site and in remote spaces for another predetermined duration. In this case, you’ll need enough office space for the biggest department in your company.
Some managers might even allow their employees themselves to choose when to come in — as long as they’re on-site for a certain number of days. Just like the first scenario, you’ll need enough space for your busiest days.
While each of these factors impacts the amount of office space you’ll need, we’ve found that offices with a 1:2 desk-to-employee ratio have a nearly 90% occupancy rate on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursdays, while being close to 50% occupied on Mondays and Fridays.
Even with only half the number of desks, you can easily maintain a thriving office environment without the burden of excessive empty seats. Read more about that in our hybrid work cost savings article where you will even find a calculator.
Knowing the policies that drive your hybrid workplace will help you determine the amount of workstations you need. While those who must be in the office every day might require dedicated desks, you can implement a desk-sharing system for those who only pop in occasionally.
To learn more about hybrid models and see them in action, check out our article, “6 Hybrid Work Model Examples from Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and more.”
How an office is laid out impacts its employees more than many people think.
A poor office layout can isolate employees, make it difficult for them to concentrate, deter collaboration, and, worst of all, increase the risk of transmitting diseases.
Here are some questions you can ask to help you find the right office layout for you and your team:
Which employees need private offices, which need dedicated workstations, and which should use shared desks?
Certain types of employees, such as senior executives, may need their own offices. Others, however, only need dedicated workstations. For everyone else, hot desking or desk hoteling might be a practical space-saving solution.
OfficeRnD Hybrid offers a convenient way to book desks and meeting rooms, helping you save as much space as possible.
What type of communal areas do you need for your team members to do their best work? And how many of each type?
Communal office areas might include:
Keep in mind that the higher the density, the more communal spaces you’ll need.
How many employees — and what types — are you planning to hire in the next few years?
While it’s wise to assess your current situation, you also want to make sure that you have enough space for new hires should you decide to scale. You don’t want to move into a new building only to move out immediately because it no longer serves your needs.
As moving offices is expensive, it’s worth adding 10–20% to your estimate so you can accommodate for future growth.
Let’s say your hybrid business is in the financial or IT/tech industry and requires an average-sized office space.
You have around 500 employees, and your hybrid work policy states that everyone must be in the office three days a week.
Our data suggests that the ideal desk-to-employee ratio is between 3:10 and 7:10 — meaning that for every 10 employees, you need 3–7 desks. For the purpose of this example, let’s say a ratio of 5:10, or 1:2, is the sweet spot.
For an average-density office, that would mean 150–250 square feet per employee. If you decided to go with 200, in a traditional setting, that would amount to 100,000 square feet of office space (200 square feet x 500 employees = 100,000 square feet). Since we’re talking about traditional offices, that also means each employee gets their own desk.
But since your employees work remotely some of the time, you don’t need a desk for every employee. So, using your desk-to-employee ratio of 1:2, you’ll need only 250 desks instead of 500.
That can potentially halve the amount of space you need, giving you a new total of 50,000 square feet (0.5 x 100,000 square feet = 50,000 square feet).
Of course, this calculation assumes everyone is working from home at least part of the time, and you don’t plan on hiring new employees anytime soon.
If you’re unsure about getting an office space, let’s look at some of its pros and cons.
If cost is your primary worry, OfficeRnD Hybrid’s space management software can help you cut real estate (and other) expenses.
Use the steps above to determine how much office space you need for your hybrid workplace. But regardless of how much space you decide to go with, you still need to be able to manage and monitor its utilization.
OfficeRnD Hybrid offers a simple yet powerful solution that can help you streamline your workplace management processes. From desk booking and conference room scheduling to advanced utilization analytics, you can ensure your team gets the most of your office space. And best of all, you can start at no cost!
How much office space you should have depends on a variety of factors, including:
The answer to this question will depend on your office’s density. Here are some general guidelines:
Depending on the density of the office, 2–12 people can fit in 1,000 square feet.
To calculate the amount of office space you need, start by determining the number of employees and the space each will require, typically 100-150 square feet per person. Next, factor in additional areas like meeting rooms, break spaces, and reception. Finally, add some buffer space for future growth and flexibility. Summing these figures will give you a rough estimate of your total office space requirement. For example, if you have 20 employees and need two meeting rooms, you might estimate (20 x 150) + (2 x 300) = 3,600 square feet, plus a buffer.
In a 1,000 sq. ft. office, typically 6-10 people can fit comfortably, assuming an average of 100-150 square feet per person. This allocation includes individual workspace, shared amenities, and walking paths. However, the exact number can vary based on the office layout and the nature of the work.
For 50 people, you’d typically need between 5,000 to 7,500 square feet, assuming an average of 100-150 square feet per person. This space accounts for individual workstations, shared amenities, and common areas. The precise requirement can differ based on office design and specific needs.
For 20 people, you’d generally require between 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, using the guideline of 100-150 square feet per person. This estimation encompasses individual desks, shared facilities, and communal spaces. However, the exact space needed may vary depending on the office layout and organizational preferences.
For 30 people, you’d typically require between 3,000 to 4,500 square feet, using the guideline of 100-150 square feet per person. This estimation includes individual workstations, shared amenities, and communal areas. The exact space needed might differ based on the office design and specific organizational requirements.
The average office size varies based on the type and function of the space. For individual workstations, sizes typically range from 60 to 150 square feet. Private offices often span 100 to 400 square feet, while meeting rooms can range from 300 to 500 square feet. However, these figures can fluctuate based on design trends, company culture, and specific needs.
Budgeting for office space depends on several factors including location, type of lease, and amenities offered. Generally, you should research local rental rates per square foot in your desired area. Then, factor in additional costs like utilities, maintenance, insurance, and potential fit-out or renovation expenses. It’s also wise to include a buffer for unforeseen costs and future rent increases when setting your budget. For example, if the average rent in your area is $25 per square foot annually and you need 2,000 sq. ft., your base rent would be $50,000 per year. Adding estimated utilities, maintenance, and other costs might bring your total to $60,000 or more annually.
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