When you contact an office finder service to locate a new or different space for your business home, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is,” What size office are you seeking?” Knowing how to respond to that query will make all the difference in the effectiveness of your search for commercial space to lease and your satisfaction with the office that you’ll spend many hours inside conducting business.
Leasing an office which is too small can make you and your employees feel cramped, increase ambient noise levels to near-intolerable, and reduce productivity and employee satisfaction. On the other hand, a space which is significantly too large, beyond predicted near-term growth factors, will result in many extra footsteps during each workday, excessive rent for unused square footage, and give the employees in the workspace a feeling of loneliness rather than the comfort of feeling part of a team.
To select the right office size for your business, consider at these factors:
- Executive Offices: These offices are those which need doors that close for executive privacy, usually those which house upper management. Determine how many executive offices you need based on the number of people who require this type of space. As a general yardstick, between 150-300+ square feet should be allocated to each of these offices.
- Reception Area: Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need a lobby or waiting area in the front reception space. To determine the size of this area, consider the average number of people who may be waiting and allow space for seating, tables, lamps, and green plants. You’ll want your front office employee to have plenty of space to provide a professional first impression to those entering your office space. If you plan to place equipment such as copier, fax, and other items needing space for both the hardware and the person operating it, take this into consideration. Provide plenty of walking space around any equipment, furniture, and seating to prevent a feeling of crowding.
- Meeting Space: Do you hold small meetings in your office frequently and conduct large meetings rarely? If so, consider saving money by locating nearby meeting facilities which can be rented only as needed. If, however, you hold large meetings frequently, it may be more cost effective to choose to lease an office space with at least one very large meeting room. Also, consider how many meetings may commonly be scheduled simultaneously. If necessary, select a space with several meeting spaces, but you can save rental charge if you can schedule meetings so that fewer meeting areas are needed. Since the square footage taken up by conference rooms is calculated into your lease fees yet the space may be used infrequently, it can be wise to avoid excessive conference spaces.
- Useable Square Feet per Person: If your employee workspace is open plan using minimal partitions or desks separated by space only, you should plan for 90-125 square feet per employee for desks, filing cabinets, and other necessary furnishings. A closed plan requires more square footage of useable space per person for comfort, on average 125-200 square feet is needed for comfort. Take into account that you also need traffic areas for personnel and client circulation. Crowded walkways can lead to a sense of walking over one another and even result in accidents.
- Community Areas: Every office space needs a space which can be used as a break area or lunch room so that employees can safely store bag lunches in a refrigerator, provide a place for coffee service, and allow those who like to save money by avoiding restaurant lunches have a space to eat. Estimate the size of this area based on what conveniences you plan to provide such as microwave, water cooler, coffee machine, sink, tables, and chairs. You may also need a common area for shared equipment such as copiers, paper shredders, and other common office hardware.
- Sanitary Facilities: You’ll need to take into account restrooms if those are inside your leased space.
- Growth Factor: Look at your company’s plan for future grow and the lease period. Do you expect to grow significantly during the lease lifespan? If so, you’ll want to allow for space in which to grow since there can be stiff penalties if you need to relocate before you lease period has expired. Keep in mind that moving is an expensive proposition since business cards, letterhead, signage, advertising, and other associated costs really add up and if proper planning can prevent an unnecessary relocation, it is well worth the time to carefully consider the future.
- Seek Professional Advice: Choosing a qualified, experienced office locating service and seeking the advice of seasoned commercial real estate professionals can ensure that you choose the perfect office that is right-sized. Each business is unique and a trained professional can best assess your specific requirements. While you should use guidelines to do pre-planning, listen to the advice provide by your professional leasing advisor.
We also have some Online Tools you can use in evaluating how much office space you should rent:
The OfficeFinder Office Space Calculator will give you a fairly accurate idea of the square footage you need.
Our Conventional Office Space Rental vs Executive Suite Offices Rent Calculator will give you a price comparison between renting conventional office space compared to executive Suite Office space.
"How Much Office Space for This? How Much Office Space for That?" will show you the itemized sizes of different areas you may need.
To learn about how your office space should be measured to make sure you get all of the square footage you are paying for CLICK HERE.
Finally there is a lot of other good information related to office space design in other OfficeFinder Blog posts.
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