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How Much Office Space Do I Need Per Employee?


One of the most detrimental aspects of starting a business is that they can cost a fortune, and when it comes to the leasing of space, making a bad decision and underestimating how much space is needed can lead to unnecessary and expensive expenditures. Often commercial property and office space is one of the biggest costs for a business, and business owners are left with the question, “How much office space do I actually need?”

How Much Office Space Do I Need Per Employee?

UK standards suggest an average of 11 cubic meters, or 5 square meters, as the minimum space required per person in an office, but this is just a guide. To determine how much space a business needs, we need to look at things like how much work employees produce, the size of the company and more, including:

  • Number of staff including remote workers
  • Potential company growth
  • Ceiling height
  • Furniture and equipment considerations such as the amount of space these will take up
  • Overall lower cost of doing business
  • Office layout
  • Other space considerations such as meeting and lunchrooms

Even though there's no specific square footage established for the areas mentioned above, most office-based businesses have 1 meeting room for every 10 employees. Add to that, reception areas usually take up 100 square feet (9 square metres) per person and break rooms and storage (filing) areas take up 75 square feet (7 square metres) and 200 square feet (20 square meters) on average respectively.

Renting Too Much or Too Little Office Space

Leasing too much space puts you at risk of paying for areas which could potentially be empty. Office wastage refers to costs being paid unnecessarily on rent, business rates, service charges, utilities and more. Having too many desks which are unused can also have an impact on employee motivation and their perception of the business. If you have clients in the office, too much empty space doesn’t necessarily create the right impression of a successful business. We’ve seen empty walls show empty rooms, empty desks show little work is being done, and empty space around empty plants show no life in your office.

On the other hand, renting too little space can limit business growth and hinder staff expansion. Fitting out new space to accommodate new people or relocating prior to lease expiration can be costly and can lead to higher office costs due to the size of the property.

How To Plan Your Office Space

When planning your future office space, you need to consider your business requirements. These include:

Understand your organizational strategy

Consider what your office space says about you and your company. Don't underestimate the importance of a good first impression; it's part of the branding process. From the moment you walk into your space, there should be a mix of space and energy that will put employees and customers at ease and make them feel like they're in the right place.

Business objectives

You need an office space that supports your business objectives. That could include reducing costs, fostering greater collaboration between teams, or improving productivity. You may also be looking to create a desirable office space to attract and retain top talent.

Future needs

When you rent office space, don't just sign up for a long-term lease- have a conversation with your landlord about flexible options! Are your teams growing or shrinking? Will more employees be working remotely in the future?

Type of layout required

The space you need will depend on what type of business you are in and what type of work you do. Do you need to provide private offices and spaces? How many meeting rooms and common areas do you need?

What types of spaces are required for different employees?

Some employees may benefit from open spaces allowing easy collaboration and communication between team members, while others may need more private spaces for meetings and phone calls. Employees working in creative departments might prefer to work in several different spaces, rather than the one allocated desk. While those in legal or finance industries may require cubicles or personal desks for private phone calls and meetings.


Thriving in the office is essential. If you want to be able to thrive in the office, provide your team with an office space that they can thrive in. Of course, the best office space would be one that provides your team with the ability to thrive. Additionally, an office space that has the right balance between the amount of value and the size of the office is one that can be attractive to both your team and outside talent. The amenities in the building are also important to consider.

Finding the Right Office Space for You and Your Employees

With all things considered; the minimum amount of office space needed in the UK will range from 150 to 300 square feet per person (14 to 28 square metres per person). Having all this information clear in your mind will improve your office space planning and help you make the best decision for your business. To discover a whole world of serviced offices, including locations, prices, facilities and more, visit us at Servcorp.

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