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A row of workstations in an office next to a wall with colorful blocks on the wall.

How to Figure Out How Much Space Your Office Needs

One of the most significant questions that comes with finding the right office is whether or not the space is the right size for your company. While you certainly don’t want to risk having a space that is too small and leaves no room to grow, having too much space can be a problem, too. Commercial real estate is expensive, so you don’t want to be paying for more space than you actually need. Not only would you be paying money to rent/own space that isn’t being used to its full advantage, those underused spaces add to your utility expenses every month. 

As we continue to adapt to the changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the workplace, many companies have started reconsidering the overall space of their offices. With so many adopting hybrid work models, they may be wondering if their spaces are now too big and should downsize. But at the same time, many companies have fully returned to the office and may be thinking about expanding their teams. So how can you figure out how much space you really need?

L-shaped computer workstations in an office.A good place to start is by figuring out how much space is available for each person by dividing your total square footage by the total number of people. JLL reports that the average square footage per employee in 2020 was 196 square feet per person. However, the right amount of space per person can vary depending on the workplace model. Aquila recommends 150-250 square feet per person for open spaces with cubicles or desks, 80-150 square feet per person for high density environments where many people work closely together, and 250-500 square feet per person for spaces with many private offices. But if you’re among the many companies switching to hybrid work, keep in mind that having one workstation for each employee will likely lead to space going underused, so you’ll need to consider things like how many people work in the office full time and how many people come in on a part-time basis. 

Chairs around a table in a conference room.

With that figure in mind, you also need to consider space for common spaces like conference rooms, lounges, break rooms, and reception areas. This involves balancing how many people use the space with factors like how large meetings typically are and how people tend to work. For example, are conference rooms in your current space in high demand and more need to be added? Do people tend to meet in smaller groups or are large conference rooms essential? On average, how many people do you need to accommodate in your reception area? For conference rooms, Aquila recommends a rule of thumb of 50 square feet of space with an additional 25 square feet for each person for conference rooms and 100-200 square feet for each person you need to accommodate in reception areas. 

Don’t forget to think about where you expect your company to be in the coming years. If you’re expecting significant growth, you’ll want to make sure your space is able to accommodate that growth. Will your new team members need anything extra from your space, such as more meeting areas? 

For more insights into how people interact with your space, doing a survey among your employees can be helpful. This gives you a chance to learn things like which spaces people say they spend the most time in, how much time they spend there, and why they prefer some spaces over others. For example, this could help you learn that one meeting area is most popular because it has a good setup for video displays while another one isn’t as popular because glare from the sun makes it uncomfortable at times. This would also be an opportunity to learn about which features people are most interested in having. Could an underused space be turned into something people would get more use out of?

Ready to create a space that better supports your company’s needs? Contact Premier Construction & Design. With experience creating spaces in the Metro Detroit area for businesses in a wide range of industries, we would love to design and build out a space for you that meets your needs both today and the future. Be sure to check out our portfolio and case studies for examples of projects we’ve worked on.