How Much Space is Enough Space?

­ If you know you need a physical space for your business, and you know what features you need in that space, then your next question is probably, "how much sp­ace do I need?" According to OfficeFinder.com, in typical office scenarios, you can estimate 175-250 square feet per employee. If you know, however, that you'll need a couple of large executive offices then you need to estimate more square footage for those. Typical "presidential" offices range from 150-400 square feet. Secretarial and administrative space, on the other hand, will range from 60-110 square feet.

Don't forget about meeting room space. Conference rooms should allow 25-30 square feet per person for a traditional conference room arrangement. If you're using it in a classroom (or theatre) style setup you can estimate 15 square feet per person.

Your reception area should accommodate your receptionist, as well as the average number of people you would expect to enter at any given time. If you expect to routinely have groups of 6-9 people arriving and waiting in your reception area, then make sure you have at least 300 square feet. For smaller groups of 3-5, you need at least 200 square feet.

Other space requirements, like filing areas, library space, break rooms, mail rooms, and general storage should not be left out either. The space requirements for these types of areas will vary depending on your use and needs. Here are a few more guidelines:

  • For filing cabinets, allow 7 square feet per cabinet.
  • In your library, remember to account for people as well as your media shelving.
  • People-space can typically be estimated at 15 square feet per person for sitting at tables for break rooms, libraries and meeting rooms.

Remember to plan accordingly for telecommuters and other "transient" workers. If a large portion of your workers telecommute, or are out of the office for a majority of their time then set up non-assigned workstations that they can use when they come in. In most cases, designated office space is not necessary for employees who work from many locations. You can save tremendously on your square footage by using this type of system. It may mean that more filing cabinets, printers, etc. are necessary in employee's homes, but you'll still come out better in the long run.

These are just a few guidelines for determining your space needs. Many web sites offer space calculators. The Links section of this workshop provides links that will take you to more of those sites.

To ensure that space is measured on a consistent basis, most building owners follow the Building Owners and Managers Association Guidelines (BOMA) Standard Method for Measuring Office Floor Area in commercial real estate buildings. Make sure the property you are interested in has been measured using these guidelines so you don't end up paying for space you don't have.

Next, let's move on to your time frame. How long is this whole process going to take? Probably longer than you think!