How Much Office Space Do I Need Per Employee?

Finding a suitable office space is no mean feat. You need to consider location, budget, facilities and – most importantly – space. Ideally, your office should offer ample room for employees to work and break out, but finding the complete package is difficult.

Flexible and serviced offices are a great solution because they’re often in centralised locations with excellent transport links, and they come complete with administrative services so you don’t need to pay additional staff to answer the phones or man the reception.

In addition, they’re often cheaper than leased offices as you’re paying for the desk space rather than the entire space, but there is access to toilets, break out areas and meeting rooms included. That being said, you still need to think about exactly how much space you need per employee. It’s essential that too much space isn’t sacrificed to the detriment of staff productivity and comfort purely to save money on rent costs.

The amount of space required pre-pandemic and post-pandemic are likely to be different, with social distancing measures in localised areas potentially meaning more than double the normal amount of space is needed.

How Much Office Space Do I Need Per Employee?

If you’re looking at starting a business and renting out your first office space as so many are post-Covid, you need to make sure you provide your employees with enough space to do their jobs in comfort.

As a standard (pre-pandemic), it was widely accepted that in traditional leased offices, each employee needed 100 square feet: 50 square feet for their desk, and 50 square feet of communal space. Due to rising rent costs in cities like London, it was not uncommon for companies to provide each employee with as little as 70 square feet. This was achieved by cutting down not on desk space, but by restricting the size of other areas such as break out spaces.

Serviced and flexible offices are different because they come with meeting rooms, break out areas, toilets and kitchens as standard. Oftentimes, these will be spacious, modern facilities and the automatic inclusion means employers only need to account for the 50 square feet of desk space they will be hiring. No skimping or cutting down on space required.

In terms of pricing pre-pandemic, conventional leased offices in London costed approximately £47 per square foot per month. That’s £4,700 per 100 square feet. By cutting on communal space and cutting 100 square feet down to 70 square feet per employee, businesses could save upwards of £1,400 per employee, per month, but it would still cost £3,290.

In contrast, serviced offices are a lot cheaper, and you don’t need to compromise on space. It’s possible to hire an office in Zone 1 for £1,000 per desk (per employee) every month. That’s calculated on a 55 square feet average. Even if leased office space were calculated at 55 feet square feet, it would still cost £2,585 per employee per month, and you be sacrificing massive amounts of communal, reception and break out space, but what effect does this have on employees?

How Office Space Impacts Employees

The space in which your employees’ work can greatly impact their productivity and wellbeing. For example, one of the biggest factors you need to consider is light. Employees positioned more than 10 feet away from a window are 84% more likely to experience eye strain, vision problems and headaches. This will inevitably lead to health issues and the need for time off to accommodate said issues.

You also need to consider the air quality. The more people you have in a smaller area, the poorer the air is likely to be. Poor air quality has been linked to a reduction in attention spans and productivity, resulting in worse cognitive function and therefore a lower work output and quality. If you do choose a smaller office space, you need to ensure there is apt ventilation for each employee, especially post-Covid.

Social distancing restrictions are continually changing to account for infection rates, and if they continue to be imposed – even on a localised level – you may need to double the amount of space per employee. This is difficult in leased office space because you may be stuck in a long-term contract and you can’t expand easily, but in flexible offices, you can. This means you can give your employees all the space they need to work comfortably and safely.

Find a New Working Space

Here at Future Squared, we specialise in finding businesses workspaces that provide their employees with enough room to work in comfort in a way that boosts productivity and encourages a higher level of employee wellbeing.

To find out more, please contact us.