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How Much Office Space Do We Need Per Employee?

October 8th, 2021

The interior designers and company owners have been thinking over the ideal office layout for years. Typically, the optimal room may vary according to the workers’ preferences. Yet, during the last decade, the average office space was highly prioritized on fitting as many people as possible in one spacious collaborative workspace.

But due to recent events, employers prefer to maintain as much physical distancing between their workers as possible. Thus, the strong need for smarter and more spacious workspace layout planning is only increasing. Nowadays company owners tend to precisely calculate the office space per employee.

What is the average amount of office space per employee?

The needed workspace may vary in accordance with the tasks given to employees. Many working team members require additional square feet per person if they meet their clients in a separate office. The ones, whose work demands plenty of cooperation with other employees, may need a sufficient area for meetings. Nowadays, a lot of employees prefer to work remotely from their homes, thus decreasing the need for workplace room allocation.

But in fact, there are no companies that have only one type of person. A typical business has a variety of workers executing different tasks and requiring different amounts of workspace footage.

The space allocation task can be greatly simplified by utilizing a special calculator, or just sticking to some predefined typical office sizes, including:

  • Common office – 80 – 100 sq. ft. / person (7.5 – 10 sq. m. / person) 
  • Conference rooms - 25 – 30 sq. ft. / person (2.3 – 2.8 sq.m. / person)
  • Reception zone – 100 – 200 sq. ft. (9.3 – 18.6 sq.m. / person)
  • Executive suite - 90 – 150 sq. ft. (8.4 – 14 sq.m.)
  • Open workplaces - 60 – 110 sq. ft. / person (5.6 – 10.2 sq.m. / person)
  • Recreation rooms - 10 – 100 sq. ft. / person (0.93 – 9.3 sq.m. / person)

Many employers may choose to experiment and optimize their available workspace to fit all of their workers. Moreover, business owners may also try surveying their employees, so they might express their opinions and requirements in terms of office planning. In such a manner it is possible to increase productivity and provide a better working experience for employees.

How do we allocate office space with physical distancing in mind?

Due to the current especially pressing worldwide problems, employers should provide their workers with a sufficient distance that will ensure proper physical distancing. It is advisable to increase the typical workroom dimensions per man to support people’s safety during labor. To allocate enough room for  a safe work process, employers are required to arrange the worksite, so the average working room per member will be extended by at least 50%.

In order to plan workplace sizes more efficiently and safely, business owners may use special software that allows for easy room workspace allocation. For example, after entering the room dimensions and the number of workers or workstations, the program outputs the optimal layout. Some software can even be used for employee seating mapping, shift scheduling, and building plan generation. Using such software greatly assists employers when they need to find and rearrange a potentially unsafe or overcrowded spot.

The workroom layout can also be manually arranged for better physical distancing. One of the main methods to keep in mind is to create special six-foot circular zones around each desk. The point is to create a safe distanced area that will enable a comfortable task accomplishment process.

What other office space requirements are important to consider?

While planning workroom interiors carefully and the calculation of the required standard workroom per worker is indeed crucial, there are still plenty of other factors to keep track of.

These include consideration of environmental, managerial, and social factors, as well as planning separate offices for different purposes and assigning as many workers as possible to accomplish their tasks remotely.

What other office space requirements are important to consider?

While all the cooperation demanding assignments are to be performed at the main building of the enterprise, most workers should work remotely from home. To upkeep employee efficiency at both places, employers tend to consider a lot of flexibility-related measures. And the most effective is to create a system of different remote workspaces.

Some workers may find it difficult to focus on their job while being at home. In such cases, it is advisable to open co-working facilities and remote offices. The employees may then be assigned to such rooms and work remotely from there. Notably, the satellite facilities also shouldn’t be too small, because even a single person needs at least six feet of free space for comfortable work.

In case when the firm needs to hold conferences or briefings regularly, the business owners may choose to rent a separate meeting hall at a hotel. This method may be of great help when the enterprise’s main conference room size is insufficient to fit in the whole workgroup.

The (new) purpose of your office space

While many workers are to accomplish their job tasks remotely now, the main working hub is vacant and thus requires to be repurposed, since leaving it empty is critically cost-inefficient. The business executives should take into account how often do workers come back to the vacant working spaces, considering the trend for remote jobs. 

The main occasion for the workgroup members to visit their job’s headquarters is communication and collaboration. Some tasks do require the workers to cooperate in person. Thus, the vacant office room can be optimized to ensure the employees’ collaboration is much more safe and comfortable.

Another example of altering the room's purpose is equipping the conference room so that it can accommodate fewer workers, but also let other working team members communicate via video call.

In such a manner, the most standard ways to repurpose workplace space include the refurbishment of an office for better collaboration efficiency, and upgrading the technologies for meetings, thus allowing for semi-remote assemblies.

Employee expectations

The actual efficiency of any office physical distancing measures is highly subjective and may vary among workers. For this reason, many business owners survey their employees, in order to fulfill their needs and ensure productivity. While one type of people claims to work more efficiently from home, others believe it is necessary to spend time in the main building. The latter mostly claim the main reason they want to stay at the workspace is to cooperate with their colleagues.

A lot of employees find combining their job and domestic tasks difficult, especially when it comes to childcare. Some workers may encounter supply and equipment-related issues, if their jobs aren’t fully digitized, or if they lack required equipment at home. 

The impact of physical distancing on the future standards of office workspace is a controversial topic. While many business executives believe they will need less room for workers, others plan to expand their minimum working space further.

But with the current workers’ needs taken into consideration, it is required to design the area, so that it will provide employees with enough quiet and comfortable places for collaboration.

How UnSpot Helps With Your Office Space Planning

By choosing to try out our booking software, you are getting a greatly customizable office planning solution that allows for easy seating arrangement and scheduling. Moreover, UnSpot helps gather crucial statistics that can later be used for much more efficient layout planning. The software can be installed in every conference room in the building and also allows you to map the occupied office space in real time.