How to calculate office space per person

Knowing how much office space you’ll need can be tricky to get right. Our guide details some rules of thumb you should consider when beginning to look for office space.

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Office space per person

It’s generally accepted to allow approximately 100 sq ft per person. This is based on 50 sq ft per desk in an open plan environment, and 50 sq ft towards communal areas, such as meeting rooms, kitchens and break out spaces. If your work environment is cubicle based, allow 100 sq ft per cubicle.

In areas where office space is expensive companies have been known to reduce space per person to around 70 - 80 sq ft. Alternatively depending on the environment you wish to create, and if budgets allow, you may want to consider increasing above the standard 100 sq ft per person.

Image of a desk with a monitor overlooking a window
The accepted standard rule of thumb is to allow 100 sq ft per person

Office space calculator

To provide an approximate guide, we’ve calculated the space required for common office areas.

Type of spaceNumber of peopleSq ft
Open plan desk150 sq ft
Small meeting room2-4100 sq ft
Large meeting room4-8150 sq ft
Board room15-20220 sq ft
Conference room20-30300 sq ft
Break out space200 sq ft
Kitchenette100 sq ft
Small office / cubicle1100 sq ft
Office with small meeting table1 + 2 for meetings200 sq ft
Office with meeting table1 + 4 for meetings250 sq ft
Small reception area1150 sq ft
Large reception area3350 sq ft


How much office space will I need?

While the above provides a helpful starting point when beginning your office space search, it’s important to consider a range of factors which will impact the amount of space you require. There isn’t really a standard office size that exists, even for companies with similar numbers of employees, as many things affect how much space is required.

Open plan office breakout space with table and seats around it
The amount of space you require will really depend on the environment you wish to create

Things to consider when calculating office space include

  • Company plans - are you likely to be increasing the number of employees, or downsizing?
  • How many employees work remotely
  • How far employees will be situated from natural light
  • How many meeting rooms and communal spaces you require - will this change as the business changes?
  • What sort of environment do you want to create?
  • The shape of the space - there may be unusually shaped spaces that will be difficult to use effectively.

An architect or space consultant can help advise you on the best use of the space, and we’d recommend you liaise with them before signing a lease.

References

Disclaimer

The content in this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace legal or specialist advice. Before making any decisions we recommend you seek professional advice.

Sarah Raeburn

Head of Marketing

Sarah is head of marketing at HARNESS. She’s been writing articles and content for marketing and communications for over a decade, and has a particular passion for property.