Reimagining office spaces in 2022: how much space do you actually need?

Minute Read

So you’re looking for an office space and it’s giving you a headache. Finding a workspace in today’s climate is impossible without considering the implications of hybrid work.

With return-to-work policies being reinstated combined with mixed employee reception to those policies, it's time to think extra carefully about how much office space you will actually need. 

The stats are leaning towards a slow, but steady recovery – but reaching nowhere near pre-pandemic levels. With an occupancy rate of 40% in June 2022, New York City has reached a milestone in its recovery from the pandemic. Houston saw a record high return rate of 56.2%. 

So is it a good idea for managers to eliminate a portion of their office space in the long run? Should you run an open office layout? How much space should you dedicate to conference rooms?

These are all very tough questions we’ll tackle together in this article before you go out and sign your new office lease. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Determine your office policy

Before you even consider a new office space, you need to determine and communicate your return to work policy. It's impossible to find a solution that fits every organization. Just take a look at the world’s biggest companies and the policies they’re implementing today.

Source: hubblehq

Identifying the policy that works for you will determine not only the size of your space, but the layout and quality of it. Think about your employee’s greatest needs and incentives to bring them in consistently. 

Start by answering these key questions:

  • Is your business heavily reliant on in-person client interaction? 
  • Does your industry involve hands-on work?
  • What is the employee attitude towards returning to work?
  • How will you roll out the transition?
  • What is your expected capacity in the short and long term?
  • What are your plans for growth and expansion?

Step 2: Identify your needs

Modern problems require modern solutions. Employees today are looking for high quality locations that offer a community of their peers and human interaction. This may include:

  • Proximity to home
  • Proximity to public transportation and parking accessibility
  • Call rooms and meeting spaces for virtual meetings
  • Common areas for leisure and collaborative work
  • Effective and inclusive health and safety measures 

Further, wellness will become the newest metric that organizations can use to understand their employees. Gartner found that 49% of employees felt depressed as a result of the pandemic. In another study, they found that 94% of companies made significant investments in their well-being programs. This can include:

  • Standing desks
  • Wellness rooms
  • Company fitness benefits & gyms
  • Healthy lunch options
  • Ergonomic seating

Space guidelines

Now we’ve identified all your needs, let’s (finally) get to the meat of it. Here are general guidelines of how much space you will need for each room and employee:

  • Individual office space: 150-175 sq ft per person for small offices; 200-400 sq ft per person for large offices
  • Open office workspace: 100 sq ft. per person
  • Work group areas: 80 to 100 sq. ft. per person
  • Individual call rooms: 25 to 50 sq. ft.
  • Conference rooms: 15 to 30 sq. ft. per person
  • Reception area: 75 sq. ft. per person
  • File and storage room: 200 - 250 sq. ft.
  • Dining rooms: 15 sq. ft. per person

Step 3: Plan for growth

The last thing is to think about the future. How much are you planning on hiring in the next 6, 12, 24 months? Depending on your remote policy, this will help determine how much additional space to accommodate our growth plans. 

But if the pandemic taught us anything, things can change in an instant. Instead of locking in a lease for a giant office space with a two-year growth plan in mind, consider alternative lower-risk options such as:

  1. Negotiate shorter lease terms. If you’re in hyper-growth mode, consider signing a 6-month lease to accommodate your immediate needs and revisiting your plan in the future.
  2. Be first on supplemental space. Negotiate with your landlord to have priority if additional office space is available in your building.
  3. Rent out a shared space. If you’ve signed a lease for a large space, consider renting out a portion to another company to help with rental costs.

Find your office space today

Now that you have a clear understanding of how much office space you need, we can help you finance your move-in so you can put your cash towards building your business and not just your space. 

Aikito is a build-now-pay-later solution for commercial real estate. Through our fast and simple financing of office, retail, and other commercial build-outs, we make any space turnkey – helping bring the next generation of great brands to life.

Get started with Aikito today.