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Facility management

Office space size: a quick guide for modern workplaces


April 4, 2024


April 8, 2024

Do you plan to move to a new office or downsize your current one? Our ways of working have drastically changed over the last couple of years, and so has the role of the office. This impacts the office space size you actually need. Many professional buildings are not optimized and do not meet workers’ evolving expectations. This results in half-occupied open spaces, deserted single desks, and unused meeting rooms. Working from the office becomes less attractive than working virtually from home. This makes organizations waste money on rent and other costs while having a physical workplace that doesn't make their staff thrive.

So, how do you find the actual amount of square meters you need to meet your workforce's requirements without compromising your CRE (corporate real estate) budget? Like our new ways of working, your office layout must be flexible and agile. This article gives you useful insights to determine your office space size needs and create a people-centric work environment that makes your employees thrive.

How do you determine the ideal office space size? 

1. Know the amount of space per person officially required in an office in your country

Before starting to calculate anything, you must consult your national regulations concerning the minimum square meters per employee. This legal benchmark ensures your office space meets safety, health, and ergonomic standards, protecting employee well-being. Ignoring such requirements can lead to legal penalties and compromised working conditions. Therefore, understanding and applying these criteria is vital for determining the necessary size of your future office while ensuring compliance and fostering a productive work environment. For example, in Germany, you need at least 8 square meters per employee. In France, the legal office space size is 6 square meters per worker. In the U.S., each team member must have at least 10 square meters.

2. Check your employee satisfaction regarding the current office space

Before calculating the size of a new office, you should engage with your employees and collect feedback about the current space. Understanding whether they find the existing office too cramped or excessively spacious can guide the sizing of your future workspace. Gathering preferences on collaboration areas and specific workspace types also informs how to allocate and design areas effectively. By doing this, you ensure the new office aligns with your workforce's needs and desires for optimal productivity and satisfaction. No need to mention that this step is essential to get it right! 

3. Consider your working model and your team members’ roles

When determining the size of a future office, you must also consider your working model. Working on a four-day-a-week basis, in hybrid mode, or with a flexitime setup can make a difference in the size you need for your office. The same goes for the nature of employees' roles and their contract types (full or half-time, freelancers, etc.). A hybrid model may require less space due to rotating in-office presence, while roles demanding collaboration might benefit from more communal areas. Flexible hours can increase the need for a hot desk office. Considering all these factors helps you design a space accommodating the company's unique workflow and workforce dynamics.

💥 Discover how deskbird helps you boost hybrid work productivity and maximize efficiency!

4. Study your workplace analytics reports

Looking closely at your workplace analytics is crucial to determining the size required for your business. Data on current office occupancy and usage patterns serve as a gold mine of information, offering actionable insights into space utilization. By examining these valuable reports, you can accurately forecast your spatial needs and ensure the new office is neither underutilized nor overly congested. Moreover, using these analytics can enable you to save costs, tailor an office environment that mirrors actual demand, and enhance operational efficiency.

5. Evaluate your scaling plans

How many employees do you have today? How many do you think you will collaborate in one year? You won’t move your office every 6 months, will you? When calculating the size of your future office space, including scaling plans is crucial. You must anticipate company growth trajectories to ensure your facilities can accommodate increasing staff, functions, and potential new departments. Providing space for future expansion avoids the disruption and expense of frequent relocations. Proactive planning for growth not only demonstrates foresight but also contributes to a more seamless evolution of the business's physical environment as it develops.

Large office space
Large office space

How do you reduce office space without compromising employee well-being and productivity?

Design a shared-desk work environment

Have you realized you don't need a big workspace but are worried that a smaller office wouldn't answer your workforce's needs? Implementing a desk-sharing system enables you to reduce office space and its associated costs efficiently. This approach takes advantage of flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid schedules or flexitime, to maximize the use of available desks. You significantly decrease your real estate footprint by having shared desks rather than maintaining all assigned seating. But this isn't the only advantage. It also fosters both financial savings and a dynamic, collaborative work environment that adapts to modern working styles.

👋 Find out what your best desk-sharing ratio is to make hybrid work!

Design agile and multifunctional spaces

As we've discussed earlier, modern workspaces must consider flexible and agile office design. They adapt to new ways of working and your employees' evolving needs. This versatility is a great opportunity to create multifunctional workspaces. These adaptable environments can serve various purposes throughout the workday, from individual workstations to collaborative hubs or meeting areas. By investing in flexible furniture and smart design, a single area can be transformed to fit immediate needs. This enables you to minimize the total space required and encourage a more efficient, cost-effective, and agile use of the workplace.

Be careful not to over-downsize your office

Keep in mind employee experience and satisfaction should remain your main priority. Therefore, we highly recommend not downsizing your office at all costs, as this can have a serious boomerang effect on your operations. If you cut down too much on your square footage, there is a high chance that your employees' experience, satisfaction, and productivity will be impacted. This can ultimately have consequences on your staff performance, talent retention, and, eventually, the company's growth. On the other hand, if your office has the right size with a layout that satisfies your team members, this will not only benefit them but also have positive outcomes on key corporate aspects. For example, it can foster in-person collaboration, office attendance, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

How does flexible work influence how much space per person you need in your office?

Employees no longer spend every work day in the office

Have you also adopted flexible work arrangements? Then you've probably noticed that your office is half-empty most of the time. With this new work flexibility, people no longer arrive all together at 8 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. Your team members might come only once or twice a week. They might also come every morning and work from home in the afternoon. This has drastically impacted the use of the office and needs to be considered when looking to save costs and create a workspace matching employees' expectations.  

The role of the office has changed to become a hub for collaboration

Flexible work has transformed the office from a daily requirement to a purposeful space for specific interactions and collaboration. Its role has shifted towards facilitating team-based activities and nurturing company culture rather than housing employees for traditional, desk-bound work. This shift has created a need for an office layout that supports hot-desking, communal lounges, and meeting rooms over rows of permanent desks, often resulting in reduced usage. Consequently, the need for expansive office space decreases. It forces companies to turn offices into agile environments that adjust to irregular attendance while fostering interaction and innovation among employees who choose to work on-site.

The home office is sometimes more attractive than the office itself 

The surge in remote work has revealed that the home office sometimes answers employees' needs more than the office itself. It might be due to more ergonomic furniture, the ability to avoid distractions and focus, the opportunity to go out for a few minutes and get some fresh air, etc. This challenges traditional office spaces to remain relevant. Recognizing this, you must rethink office environments to offer unique workspaces and resources that a home setting cannot provide. By considering these factors, you create an attractive office space, which draws employees back by ensuring that every workstyle and requirement is thoughtfully accommodated. This not only makes your workplace more enticing but also boosts employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity.

🌿 Learn more about the impact of office layout on productivity and biophilic office design.

Employee at desk
Employee at desk

Why is deskbird a key ally in finding the right office space size and optimizing it efficiently?

The deskbird team is an expert in hybrid workspace management

Since 2020, deskbird has been a European leader in hybrid workplace management. We support companies in embracing modern work practices such as flexible work and improving employee experience on-site. With our intuitive platform, you can adeptly optimize your physical footprint, which enables you to align office capacity with fluctuating on-site demand. This facilitates an efficient use of your space, ensuring you maintain a vibrant, appropriately scaled workplace that adapts to the evolving needs of your hybrid workforce.

Our office analytics feature enables you to make data-based decisions to improve your office layout

Figuring out which office space size you need and how to optimize it efficiently cannot be done without relevant insights. The deskbird app also delivers valuable data-driven insights thanks to its office analytics. This enables you to make informed decisions about your workplace size and layout. You can create an employee-centric and thriving work environment by analyzing space usage patterns and identifying peak occupancy times. This feature guides the reconfiguration of workspaces to suit your teams' needs better, streamline operations, and enhance employee satisfaction. This helps you ensure that your office layout evolves with your company's dynamic requirements.

📊 Read out the full guide about workplace analytics!

Our hybrid office space calculator allows you to reduce overhead costs

To help you find out how much office space you actually need, we have created the hybrid office calculator. This free tool is available on the deskbird website and precisely estimates your required office space. It provides tailored space recommendations by inputting your workforce size and operational practices. This helps identify the actual size needed to support your hybrid workforce, optimize costs, and ensure efficient use of your corporate real estate. Thanks to this instrument, you can make a smarter allocation of physical resources and make the most out of them.

Our workspace booking software ensures your employees have access to the workspace they need

When changing the size and the layout of your office space, guaranteeing that all of your team members can have the workspace they want when they need it is paramount. The deskbird app helps you make sure this key employee expectation is met at all times. With our seamless booking system, people can reserve desks or meeting rooms in advance, matching their schedules. The app adapts to varying attendance and personal preferences (favorite desk, table by the window, preferred meeting room, etc.). By enabling your team members to book the workspace that matches their needs best, you boost productivity and maximize employee comfort and efficiency in a well-managed office environment.

The deskbird app helps you optimize and make the most of your office space

Finally, the deskbird app stands as a crucial ally in enhancing and optimizing office space, offering a range of user-friendly features that cater to dynamic workspace needs. From efficient booking systems for desks and meeting rooms to analytics for informed space planning, deskbird streamlines office management. It assures that office space is utilized to its full potential, fostering an adaptable, productive environment that evolves in tandem with a company's hybrid work requirements.

Determining the right office space size involves careful consideration of your current needs and future growth, employees’ habits, working model, and the nature of your operations. Calculating the ideal square footage is made simpler with tools like deskbird's office analytics feature and our hybrid office calculator, which understands the complexities of a modern,  flexible workforce. Factors such as the number of employees, their schedules, workspace utilization rates, and room for amenities should be part of your calculation. By weighing these aspects, you can figure out how much space per person you need in your office and not only meet today's demands but also adapt for tomorrow's evolution. Are you ready to take your office space a step higher? Start a free trial of the deskbird app and discover all our user-friendly features made for modern and innovative businesses!

Office space size: a quick guide for modern workplaces

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

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