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How Much Office Space Do I Need?

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How much office space do I need

Finding or searching for the appropriate amount of office space is critical for growing businesses.

How much workspace is required is dictated very much by the direction and strategy of an organisation, rather than a ‘cookie-cutter’ solution.

All too often, organisations see their physical space as less important than their mission and overall strategy, yet unless the physical space is fundamentally aligned with this, businesses leave themselves open to large amounts of wastage which impacts the bottom line, and risk a negative reflection on their corporate image.

There are 7 key factors that determine the amount of space an organisation should look for:

Number of staff

Obviously, this is the most straightforward indicator. Rule of thumb for office space is to allow for anywhere between 10 and 17.5 square metres per person in an office. For example, if you have 25 staff, you should look at between 250 and 450 square metres. That is a considerable range, so what are the key points to consider?

Role of staff

Not only do the number of staff impact the size of the required space, but each staff members role within the business is also important. A receptionist, for example, may only need 10 square meters of space, whereas a business development manager may need additional space to cater for the expanded client facing requirements, so may need the full 17.5 square metres.

Business growth plans

As your business grows, naturally your workspace requirements will expand. So the question is, what is your best case, worst case and average scenarios for business growth over the next 5 years (or whatever your potential lease term is). Are you going to find yourself short of space, or will you end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on rent for space that you will never use? You should also consider the roles of the people that will be joining the organisation over the next 5 years as this could play a part in the amount of additional space required.

Lease costs

Along with business growth plans, you need to look at the lease costs of the workspace that allows for your predicted business growth. If lease costs are high, it may be prudent to claim first rights over another space within the building than to pay for workspace that you may never actually occupy.

Impact of Work from Home and flexible working

During the last 2 years of the Covid response we have seen an unprecedented shift into WFH arrangements for millions of workers around the globe. Whilst this shift has forced many businesses to re-asses their office requirements, we will almost certainly be moving back to more traditional office based work. Current predictions of permanent WFH arrangements for the majority of office workers we don’t believe are accurate, and we will see a steady rise in in-office work industry wide. Businesses that allow for increasing rather than steady or decreasing in-office staff hours will be best placed to predict office space requirements over the next 5 years.

Office space uses

Some companies like to utilise their office space to hold training events, offer staff recreation facilities, or to hold client functions. If this is the case, naturally you will need to factor in additional work space. Likewise, if your workspace is merely a branch office for example, with no reception or external meeting rooms required, then the 10 square metres per person rule will probably be more appropriate.

Image and branding

Depending on your target market, and whether prospects and your clients attend the office at all, will determine how much public or front of house space you will require. This depends a great deal on your image. If you are a high end organisation, you will need to ensure you have an almost oversized reception area, large boardroom and many meeting rooms. Alternatively, if you deal with many direct clients, such as an educational services or a job searching organisation, you will also need a large reception area and many common meeting rooms to cater for your clientele.

As we have seen, there are many factors to consider when identifying how much office space to look for. A rough guideline is to allow for the average of 14 square metres per person. However, each factor listed above needs to be considered carefully, and strategically aligned with your business growth plans.

To help you gain insight into your requirements, Contour offers a Workplace Strategy Session, where we can look at your future office space requirements, and how a new or refurbished office space can move your business forward.

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