How to Determine the Right Amount of Office Space

Choosing a new location for your office is a difficult task. One of the most common concerns in selecting a location is how to calculate the amount of office space you will need. If you end up with too much or too little space, it can break a budget and make it difficult to operate. Here are a few guidelines on how to get the right amount of space for your office’s needs.


American offices average about 150 square feet per employee, according to real estate data provider Office Finder. That number is down from 225 square feet in 2010. This number refers to “usable” square feet. While an employee’s actual workstation may only measure about 50 square feet, the rest of the “usable” space is allocated for storage, copiers, meeting rooms, private offices, break rooms, and walk ways throughout the office.


It is expensive and time-consuming to move an office, so be sure you plan for projected growth. However, you don’t want to pay for unutilized space. Make additional staff projections for the expected term of the lease. Then, choose the amount of space so that around 3/4 of the way through the lease term, you reach full occupancy. The rule of thumb is to factor in 5% space increase for growth per year the company will stay in that office space.


The space you choose must suit your employees’ needs. Poor space planning and usage will result in lost productivity. That’s why it is imperative to consider this when finding a new space. Consider these additional factors when identifying your space:

  • Does your staff continually need a space for face-to-face meetings?
  • Do you use your space to receive and impress frequent visitors?
  • Does your staff change seasonally?
  • Do your employees work best in an open office environment or do they function better in private offices?
  • Does your reception area need to accommodate groups of people arriving?
  • Do you need copy/filing areas, mail rooms, and general storage areas?
  • Do you have telecommuters and other “transient” workers?

There are many factors that impact how much office space your company will need in order to meet the needs of the business while making the most efficient use of your employees’ time. These guidelines will help get you started on narrowing down your space requirements.

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