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How much office space do we need?

Posted by James Koussertari on 17th September 2019
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There is no one clear-cut answer to what seems like a simple question because the answer must deal with many aspects. Either too much, or too little space can be budget breakers, but you must accommodate your employees’ comfort and wellbeing.

Health and Safety regulations state that each employee must have at least 11 cubic metres of personal space. This can be difficult to calculate as office furniture, hardware, partitions, etc can encroach on this personal space.

Ideally, the Royal Institute for British Architects’ guidance recommends: ”space for a chair at a desk should be 900 millimetres from the nearest edge of the desk. Aisle widths in a small office should be 750 millimetres, in a “normal” general office, 900 millimetres and in a large general office, 1500 millimetres”. However, even without taking the trouble to measure an office, you only have to look at it and common sense will tell you if it is too squashed or comfortable to work in.

Comfortable office space is crucially important to ensure that you get the most from your workforce. Comfortable employees will undoubtedly be more productive and not dread ‘another day in the office’.

Thinking about the space you need

When thinking about the space you need, it helps to identify your top three goals for what you want to do with it. Possible responses could include preparing for future growth, increasing productivity and efficiency, projecting a more modern brand to internal and external audiences, instilling a sense of pride in your employees, and making it easier to attract younger talent. If that requires more space per person than the minimum regulation, it will cost your company more, but you may well make back that return on investment by attracting better employees who are more motivated and more productive.

If you need more space but don’t want to move offices until you’re sure the economics of your business is right, it is worthwhile renting out serviced office space which offers great working spaces as well as flexibility so you can expand or contract the space you need as and when you need it. It is a great, cost-effective solution for the short or long term.

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