April 2014 - Office Space (Not the movie!)

When our clients are shopping for office space, they make a pretty good guess as to how much square footage they will need in their next space based on what they lack in their current space.  This can be a good start.  It can also be very misleading.  Read below for some tips that can help you determine how much space to look for when shopping for commercial office space.

A large number of businesses are moving away from having private offices, but we mention them anyway for those of you who have a business model that requires private office space.

Traditional office sizes are as follows:

President's office:  250 - 500 square feet

Vice-President's office:  175 - 250 square feet

Executive office:  120 - 150 square feet

Standard office:  80 – 120 square feet                                                                                                   

Open office cubicles:  48 - 120 square feet

When considering how many square feet per person you need for cubicles remember to factor in circulation.  The basic rule of thumb is to factor 35% of your space for circulation.  This number factors in lost space for building columns, corridors or floor plate inefficiencies.  If you have a standard cubicle size of sixty square feet per person you should allow eighty to 110 square feet per person once circulation is factored in.

Conference rooms - The basic rule of thumb is to allow fifteen square feet per person.  For example a conference with a 48" table and four seats should be at least 8'-0" x 8'-0" which is just over sixty square feet.

Collaboration spaces - These spaces can be multi-functional so providing enough space is imperative.  It is a good idea to allow eighty square feet per person so that there is plenty of room for layout space and presentation space with a seated audience or a large team working together.

Mail room - Most businesses don’t have a need for mail rooms anymore, but if your company does, here is the rule of thumb you should follow.  Allow for a thirty inch deep counter and a room that is nine feet deep to allow adequate space for an employee behind the counter and for someone on the opposite side of the counter.  The length of the room will depend on the functions taking place in the room and how many mail boxes will be necessary.

Kitchen - The kitchen should be 120 - 200 square feet plus another fifteen square feet per person for tables and seating.

Break rooms - These rooms can be as small as thirty square feet. The quantity necessary should be determined by the size of the floor and how many employees it will be serving.

Server room -  If your company is not cloud computing and you need space for a server room, keep in mind that the square footage required depends largely on the nature of the business.  Allow a minimum of eighty square feet for a company that is not technological in nature. 

File rooms – These rooms are becoming less of a necessity, but we recognize that some company types have filing needs.  Once you know how many file cabinets you are using allow for another three feet in front of each cabinet to allow room for a person to stand at an open drawer.

Reception area - Allow 120 to 200 square feet if you are going to have a receptionist and seating for two to four people.  Allow 200 to 300 if you want to have seating for six to eight people.

Restrooms - The number of fixtures that must be provided depends on the occupancy of the space.  Many buildings provide restrooms, but if they don't and you have more than fifteen employees assume you will need to provide a minimum of two ADA compliant restrooms at a minimum of forty-five square feet each.  If you have a staff of fifteen or less employees, at least one ADA compliant restroom will be required.

When you have a space in mind, I would advise you have a design professional provide you with what we call "fit plans".  Fit plans are a test of the space to see how well your requirements will fit into the size and shape of the floor plate.  Some buildings will be more efficient for your needs than others.  It is worth investigating prior to signing a lease.