Working out how much office space your business needs used to be a pretty straightforward calculation. All you needed to do was work out how many members of staff you had and ensure there were enough desks and space for everyone. But things have changed and we’re here to help with this ultimate office size guide.
The old model of working in an office for five days a week is disappearing. While some companies have stuck to office-based nine-to-five hours, many are moving towards hybrid solutions or remote work entirely. In fact, two in five companies are now actively implementing hybrid work. And whilst there are many benefits to hybrid working, it can make it tricky to work out how much office space you need. If your team works flexibly, it’s challenging to find the balance between too much space (which can be expensive in a city like London) or too little (which is impractical).
To help you get the right size office space for your team, we’ve put together this office size guide that’s complete with real-world practical examples. It’ll help you search for new office space and give you tips on how to optimise your existing space. Alongside that, it’ll help you find an office space that adapts to suit the needs of your business as things change in years to come.
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Office size guide: key considerations
The last few years have been pretty tumultuous for any business with office space. While offices have been evolving for the last twenty years with a movement towards remote and hybrid work, recently, those trends have been forced to accelerate for all companies. Now, businesses are faced with the dilemma of how much office space they need and whether they need it at all.
Office space, particularly in London, comes at a premium. Every unused desk is a loss to a business. And considering that, for many businesses, working from home has been the norm over the last couple of years, the costs can (and have been) racking up quickly.
So, whether you’re thinking of returning to the office, finding new serviced office space or updating your existing space, it’s a prudent step to choose the right size office for your team. But it’s a difficult one to take. There are some key areas you’ll need to consider…
Office desk space
The number of desks you’ll need in your office is undoubtedly one of the most significant considerations for office space. You’ll need to work out how many people will be working in the office regularly and add an allowance for any hybrid workers, freelancers and contractors. This is far easier said than done.
Miscalculating the amount of office space is needed for a team is a common pitfall for many businesses. Unfortunately, there’s no exact science behind choosing how much desk space you will need, but you’ll need to consider:
– How many employees do you have?
– Out of these employees, how many are full time office based?
– How many are hybrid?
Once you have the numbers in front of you, you’ll have a better idea of how much desk space you’ll need.
One of the best ways to work out how often your hybrid staff will come to the office is to ask them. Create a company survey to get their feedback on how often they would like to go to the office.
Once you’ve got their feedback, you should be in a better position to calculate how much desk space you need. (You may also want to look into a system for your staff to book a desk so that everybody is guaranteed a desk.)
Meeting rooms and other office facilities
While giving each of your team members a place to work is essential, an office is far more than just desks. The best offices are about more than just sitting at a desk for eight hours; they’re about boosting teamwork and collaboration. For that, you’ll need a collaborative office space and meeting rooms.
Meeting rooms vary in size from a 2 person booth to around 20 people in a conference or training room. When considering how much space you’ll need for meetings, it’s worth considering:
– The number of meetings you have (internally and externally)
– How many of these meetings overlap
– The maximum number of team members in a single meeting
Alongside meeting rooms, you’ll also need to consider a kitchen, server rooms and private offices for management and directors. But there are ways to save on space by combining spaces in your office.
For example, one of our international clients with an office space on Oxford Street has halved their office footprint by 50%. They’ve done this by rotating their team’s attendance and creating spaces with dual-use. Their executive’s offices double up as meeting rooms, meaning that they not only save money but the space is constantly being put to good use.
Another alternative is to consider an office provider with separate bookable areas and meeting rooms. This means that if you ever need larger team meetings and company-wide events, you can access them without adding too much to lease fees – some even offer meeting rooms for no extra charge.
Flexibility in your office space contract
Once you’ve worked out your business’s office space requirements, you’ll need to start looking for office space in London. There are a vast number of office space providers available, but they’re not all created equal. One of the most important things to look for when selecting an office space provider is flexibility.
Regardless of how well calculated your office space requirements are, they can change at the drop of a hat. This could be because your business is booming and you need more office space for your growing team, or it could be because more of your team is now working remotely and you need to downsize.
Often, office space providers have rigid contracts so if your circumstances change; you’re stuck in your contract until it expires. This can be costly and inefficient. But some office providers offer flexible contracts. Flexible office spaces often include the ability to scale up or down your office space so that it works for you.
Take the time to find an office provider that wants your business to succeed. Plus, it’s always a good sign if there’s flexibility as it’s more likely they’ll be able to accommodate any other requests you have during your lease.
Getting the right office space for your business doesn’t always mean finding a new one.
Rather than moving office, there may be ways that you can convert your current one to suit your team better. You can do this by switching to a more open-plan office layout, changing furniture and making the space more practical.
One of our clients in our Mayfair office space, did precisely this. They changed how they use their office to get the most from the space. When they first came on board with us a few years ago, their office was separated into different departments. But now, with the change in how their staff use the office, they’ve adapted it to their needs. They adopted a more open-plan and collaborative design and their business is thriving – without needing to move anywhere.
Office size guide: finding the right office for your business
At Canvas Offices, we have a range of offices that are perfect for hybrid work in London. While our offices are usually set up with 70% desks and 30% collaborative spaces, we are more than happy to tailor an office to your needs.
We have office spaces around London, including Mayfair, Shoreditch, Old Street, Clerkenwell and Dalston. We also offer access to meeting rooms in 11 buildings across the city. Our offices are designed for collaboration, creativity and productivity and come with flexibility, making them an ideal HQ for your business.