How to Right-Size Your Office Space and Save Costs

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In the UK, it is reported that 822,000 workers suffer work-related stress, anxiety or depression due to unsafe work environments. As office trends come and go, you can not underestimate how impactful the office environment is to tackling this statistic and improving employee well-being and health.

A right-sized office space should be flexible to accommodate different work styles, aligning the physical footprint to the needs of your employees and your business. Your office environment should encourage social interactions. This plays a huge part in defining company culture.

Ultimately, what you have to do is strike a balance between over and under-allocating space for your staff. Getting it wrong either way can have negative effects on employee satisfaction and productivity as well as the bottom line of your organisation.

Here’s how to figure out the right amount of space needed in your workplace.


What is the Average Size of an Office?

The size of your office space will depend on the number of staff. The average size of floor space varies from 18,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet in big cities. Office spaces in smaller cities are smaller depending on the workload handled, mainly due to the increased cost per square foot.

On average, the optimal size for an office should range between 100 to 150 square feet per employee. It’s even common to find office spaces smaller than this size as businesses look to minimise space and offset costs.

Nowadays, more businesses are introducing creative office spaces to improve productivity. These creative spaces offer highly desirable and unique spaces for work, improving wellbeing. They measure around 215 square feet per employee. But this is dependent on how practical space is used in your office. Although many businesses feel they may not have the space for breakout areas or places for their employees to relax, the reality is that they do. They just don’t see it because they don’t have a data-driven understanding of how their office is used.

Whatever the case may be, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to office spaces. Every office is unique to the needs of your employees and your business.


How Much Office Space is Needed for Every Employee?

The minimum office space needed per person in the UK ranges from 150 to 300 square feet. Note that this figure considers the entire office space, including ancillary rooms.

High-density offices like call centres can be smaller depending on the workload. Offices used for professional services such as law and accounting need more space.

A good tip is to design your work environments to feel bigger, with plenty of open space. They should also have more breakout rooms to improve employee wellbeing. This in turn boosts productivity.

If you’re designing an office space for creatives, choose airy and open designs. This type of work environment allows the staff to move across different parts of the office building freely. All in all, find out how many employees are working part-time and full time to know the amount of space needed.

Allocate 100 square feet of space for small meeting rooms and 150 square feet for large meeting rooms. Board rooms should be 200 square feet in size, while conference rooms should be 300 square feet in size. The kitchenette should measure 100 square feet.


Modern open office space right-sizing


Planning Your Office Space

Consider the business requirements as you place your office space. Have an organisational strategy for the spaces to reflect your brand. The space needs to support your business objectives and consider your future needs as discussed below:


1. Listen to the Employees’ Wants and Needs

Hold discussions with the staff during their free time about the right size of the office space. Give each one of them a chance to air their opinion on the matter. When you give them incentives to participate, their ideas can be featured in the designs.

The employees may want an office environment with reduced desk space. They may also want more spaces for collaborative and individual work, or even unrestricted space to work wherever they feel most comfortable.


2. Incorporate Nature into the Work Environment

Tap into your employees’ need to connect with nature when choosing the right size of the office. It’s proven that spending time surrounded by nature can relieve anxiety and blood pressure. Green spaces are also full of clean air and can benefit the respiratory system. It might seem simple, but plants make a huge difference.

Besides adding plants, you should also regulate the amount of light entering the office. Workplaces should have access to windows and lighting to stand a chance of attaining an AAA rating for sustainability. Natural light can give the body Vitamin D, which improves cardiac rhythm and sleeping patterns. Conversely, too much artificial light can have a detrimental effect on wellbeing. Some businesses are adopting workplace sensors to measure light, intending to find the optimal level for employee productivity.


3. Set Workplace Zones for Specific Tasks

Separate the workspace into individual zones for different tasks. The staff may use these zones to work, handle complex tasks or collaborate. They also have the freedom to choose a work environment that is suitable for the task at hand.

The employees should have enough room to rotate between spaces. Through this approach, they are free to move from one task to the other, space to space, with little impact on productivity. You can also separate informal meeting spaces from private zones to improve concentration.


4. Experiment With Different Ideas

Explore ideas for your office space arrangement and size. You may start with small tasks like refurbishing the floor or repurposing conference rooms. Adding multimedia technology may also breathe new life into the workspaces.

Allow some space in the workplace if new employees are about to be hired. Borrow from what competing companies are doing with their offices. Draw influences from different office space designers and use them to guide your work.


5. Declutter the Office

Decluttering can help save space in the office and allow you to keep only the items you need. Organise the office items based on their practicality. You should also store bulky paper-based files in a file room and digitise all the paper-printed notes.

When decluttering, remove all office items and assess each of them. Use shelves and dividers wisely and keep the floor clean at all times.

Decluttering helps save space and time. Employees won’t have to spend more hours looking for items when they have other important things to do. A decluttered workplace can also improve productivity and mental wellbeing.


Optimise Your Office Environment Today

Your office environment should be appropriately sized and configured for your employees to be happier and more productive. Take the time to understand what your business needs in an effective workplace and use this to your advantage. Caring for your employees’ wellbeing can benefit a business’ bottom line to no end, while at the same time greatly improving employee retention.

At Beringar, we help businesses optimise their office space, whether that’s just one property or a multi-site portfolio. We achieve this through cutting-edge workplace occupancy sensors that track space utilisation in your workplace, telling you if you have wasted or unused space. 

If you would like to understand how your office is used to save costs on employee churn, wasted space and utilities, the insights and information collected by Beringar sensors will help you make informed data-driven decisions.

Get in touch today and we’ll show you how.


Picture of Mark Sorsa-Leslie

Mark Sorsa-Leslie

A Chartered Surveyor with a passion for technology. Developed a range of computer applications to support my work in real estate in the UK and 5 business start-ups so far. Over the last 25 years I have developed solutions ranging from eLearning platforms to IoT sensors and have been the bridge between business people and technology people throughout my career.

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