How to Calculate the Square Feet Needed for Office Space

May 5, 2014

Where to Begin?

When you are starting a new business, or your business is in need of some reconfiguration, you may need a new office space. But where to begin the search? Before you sit down with your real estate agent, it will behove you to do some basic calculations for office space so that when your agent asks what your requirements are in square footage, you can give a rough estimate. Now, it should be said that the process of calculating the amount of office space you need is not a precise science, though there are many online sites that provide downloadable spreadsheets with equations meant to guide you toward the next closest thing.

But why do you need to calculate space? That is simple. The same way that a family of three knows they will need at least two bedrooms (one for the parents and one for the child), an office needs to know what amount of space its employees will require. This helps the real estate agent find properties which are within the ball park of what your company wants to spend and what amount of space you require. If you do not calculate the amount of space you need ahead of time, you will be faced with visiting property after property, some that are too small, some that are too large, until you find one that is just right. Having estimates not just for the square footage, but the number of permanent offices/rooms you require will save you quite a bit of time.

The estimates that are listed below are average for each of the listed personnel and/or situations. They can of course be adjusted upward to provide more spacious offices, or adjusted downward to make better use of limited office space.

The first thing you should consider is the employees requiring a physical office. Most companies will have a president, a vice president, and a manager. President offices should be an average of four hundred square feet. Vice president offices should be an average of two hundred square feet. Manager offices should be an average of one hundred and fifty square feet.  The next thing to consider is employees that require a cubicle. Secretaries will require a cubicle of one hundred and twenty five square feet. Customer service representatives will require the same. Accountants will require one hundred and fifty square feet while accountants while engineers need one hundred and seventy five feet, and programmers need one hundred and twenty five feet. You might need open areas for your employees, including one hundred square feet for temporary employees, and one hundred and twenty five square feet for data entry positions and clerks.

Also account for other requirements such as a mail room which needs one hundred and twenty five square feet, a reception area which will need about one hundred square feet plus an additional ten square feet for every person that is waiting in it, and a conference room that is about fifty square feet. You might want to include one hundred and twenty five square feet for a mail room and workroom, and two hundred square feet for the storage room and file room. You should also account for a lunch room or break room.

Do not forget to account for future growth when you are looking into various office properties. Add between ten and twenty percent to the total square footage you have calculate to accommodate future growth. It is better to add a bit more to your expenses at present than it is to have to terminate your lease early and move your entire office after a short period of time.

Before you sit down and begin searching, it will benefit you to do some basic calculations to see what your requirements are in square footage. Now, it should be said that the process of calculating the amount of office space you need is not a precise science, though there are many online sites that provide downloadable spreadsheets with equations meant to guide you toward the next closest thing.

Why Calculate Space?

But why do you need to calculate space? That is simple. The same way that a family of three knows they will need at least two bedrooms (one for the parents and one for the child), an office needs to know what amount of space its employees will require. This helps the real estate agent find properties which are within the ball park of what your company wants to spend and what amount of space you require. If you do not calculate the amount of space you need ahead of time, you will be faced with visiting property after property, some that are too small, some that are too large, until you find one that is just right. Having estimates not just for the square footage, but the number of permanent offices/rooms you require will save you quite a bit of time.

Estimate

The estimates that are listed below are average for each of the listed personnel and/or situations. They can of course be adjusted upward to provide more spacious offices, or adjusted downward to make better use of limited office space.

The first thing you should consider is the employees requiring a physical office. Most companies will have a president, a vice president, and a manager. President offices should be an average of four hundred square feet. Vice president offices should be an average of two hundred square feet. Manager offices should be an average of one hundred and fifty square feet.  The next thing to consider is employees that require a cubicle. Secretaries will require a cubicle of one hundred and twenty five square feet. Customer service representatives will require the same. Accountants will require one hundred and fifty square feet, while engineers need one hundred and seventy five feet, and programmers need one hundred and twenty five feet. You might need open areas for your employees, including one hundred square feet for temporary employees, and one hundred and twenty five square feet for data entry positions and clerks.

Also account for other requirements such as a mail room which needs one hundred and twenty five square feet, a reception area which will need about one hundred square feet plus an additional ten square feet for every person that is waiting in it, and a conference room that is about fifty square feet. You might want to include one hundred and twenty five square feet for a mail room and workroom, and two hundred square feet for the storage room and file room. You should also account for a lunch room or break room.

Growth

Do not forget to account for future growth when you are looking into various office properties. Add between ten and twenty percent to the total square footage you have calculate to accommodate future growth. It is better to add a bit more to your expenses at present than it is to have to terminate your lease early and move your entire office after a short period of time.