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How Much Office Space Do You Need Per Person?

The quest for a new office fitout begins with one critical step: accurately assessing your organization’s space requirements. But how can you know what number that is? And where do you begin?

The average office space per employee has been a shifting target for years. Over the last decade, it has shrunk as flexible workspace concepts have advocated for reducing private offices and cubicles in support of more open, collaborative spaces.

Employers’ emphasis on keeping a proper physical distance between office tables is growing. While there are some recommendations to consider, the decision on the amount of office space to provide depends on your business and your personnel requirements.

How Much Office Space Does The Average Employee Need?

Depending on their tasks, workers have varying needs for workspaces. In a legal company, for instance, lawyers often work alone or have meetings with high-profile clients at their desks. They may require more space per individual.

Before COVID-19, salespeople and consultants often spent less time in the office since they were on the road more often. The requirement for meeting space may outweigh the necessity for individual desks among employees who undertake a high volume of creative work.

But since most companies employ a wide variety of workers with varying responsibilities, it’s smart to provide a range of workspace options.

According to JLL, workplace design research conducted in the past found that the typical amount of office space per individual was between 75 and 150 square feet. With a global outbreak underway, JLL estimates that the average office size in 2020 will be 196 square feet per worker.

This should not just comprise private office space but also the amount of space available in conference rooms and communal spaces.

Find Out How Much Space You Need for Each Employee

Building a mental picture of your future office will help you determine how much square footage you’ll need per worker. Think about what it might be like. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to optimize the space for each employee, or do you want to fit as many workers as possible into the area?
  • Do you want a lot of separate offices, or do you want open spaces with staff in cubes or work areas?
  • Is it necessary for each employee to have their workstation, or may they share?
  • How many individuals will work part-time there in the office? Permanently?
  • How many staff will you have working remotely?
  • How much room does each department require to function effectively?
  • Just what is the company’s end game for using this area?

We can turn them into figures if you can envision them in your mind.

  • High-Density Workplace (80 to 150 square feet per worker)
    • The tables are in rows, although there is a lot of open seating. Possibly a handful of private offices. Useful for sales, tech, coworking, customer service teams, and enterprises that host many workgroups under one roof.
  • Average Density (150 to 250 square feet per worker)
    • A combination of private offices and open cubicles. This density necessitates a more conventional workplace design.
  • Spacious (250 to 500 square feet per worker)
    • There are mostly sizable individual offices that take up most of the floor plan. Typically, You may find these fitouts in legal service providers.

How Much Room Do Workplace Amenities Require?

When deciding how much room you need, you should also consider how much area your amenities require.

Although an additional 100 square feet is needed for a small kitchen, your company may also benefit from installing a boardroom, conference area, or other similar space. The number of expected users will dictate the minimum size for these conveniences. Still, as a rule of thumb, you should strive for the following:

Amenity Space Required
Conference Rooms 15 sq. ft. / person (Theater Style)

25 – 30 sq. ft. / person (Conference Seating)

Reception Area 150 – 200 sq. ft. (Receptionist + 2 to 4 people)

200 – 300 sq. ft. (Receptionist + 6 to 8 people)

Small Meeting Area 100 sq. ft.
Large Meeting Room 150 sq. ft.
File Room 7 sq. ft. / file + 3′ to 4′ aisle width
Quiet Rooms 10 – 100 sq. ft. for every ten open/workgroup stations
Lunch Room 15 sq. ft. / person, exclusive of the kitchen

Prepare for Future Expansion

You should account for potential expansion when figuring out how much office space you’ll require. Lack of office space is a costly problem that might arise if you don’t anticipate expansion.

Early lease termination fees and the costs of locating and moving to a new office can add to a significant financial burden. For this reason, it’s often a good idea to add 10% to 20% to the total square footage you estimated to make room for expansion. If you account for that expansion, you may expand your company with fewer hassles and expenses.