The amount of square footage your business needs depends on a number of factors. It is important to consider how many people you employ, what type of work space each employee needs, whether or not you will be adding staff members in the next few years, and what type of work space those additional employees will require. With this information you can make an informed decision about how much office space does your business need.
In recent years the average office square footage has been decreasing. In 2010, the average size was 225 square feet per worker. In 2012 this dropped to 176 square feet per worker. By 2017 it had decreased even more to just 151 square feet per worker. Small tech and startup companies often lease space with around 100 to 150 square feet of usable office space per on-site employee.
The general range for office space is between 150 and 350 square feet per employee. An open space plan with no private offices will fall on the lower end of that range. This type of floor plan is usually found in sales offices and call centers. Workers typically have workstations or desks that are placed in groups. Buildings with private offices fall on the higher end of this square footage range. This type of layout would be found in a law office with private offices, conference rooms, file rooms, etc.
The floor plate of the building is also important to consider. If the building has many angled corners it will not be as efficient as a typical rectangular space.
You must keep long-term plans in mind when determining how much office space does your business need. You need to factor in how many employees you plan to have for the expected term of the lease. It is best to lease enough space so that you reach the occupancy limit about two thirds or three quarters of the way through your term. If you have plans to grow your business, consider subleasing, pursuing a termination option, or exercising expansion rights on nearby space. It is far easier to grow into an adjacent space than it is to relocate your entire business.
Parking also needs to be considered when leasing space. Most buildings have parking ratios set in their leases to prevent over parking. In Texas this ratio is commonly between 3 and 5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet occupied. This may or may not be enough depending on how much office space you dedicate to each employee. Some landlords will be flexible if there is more parking readily available but be sure to get this in writing on the lease contract.
Calculate How Much Office Space Does Your Business Need:
Large Office = 200-400 sq. ft.
Medium Office = 150-250 sq. ft.
Small Office = 90-150 sq. ft.
Open Space Work Areas = 60-110 sq. ft. per worker
Group Work Areas = 80-100 sq. ft. per worker
Reception Area = 100-200 sq. ft.
+10 sq. ft. per person waiting
Conference Rooms = 50 sq. ft.
+25 sq. ft. per person sitting
Mail Room = 125 sq. ft.
File Room = 200 sq. ft.
Lunch or Break Room = 75 sq. ft.
+25 sq. ft. per person sitting
Corridors within a suite can take up about 20-30% of the total usable square footage. There is also a difference between usable and rental square feet when comparing the space that you are using versus the space that you are paying rent on.