What is the average square footage of office space per person?

How much office space do I need?

By 2017, North American offices will average 151 square feet per worker, according to real estate data provider CoreNet Global. That’s down from 176 square feet in 2012 and 225 square feet in 2010. The rule of thumb for creative open space that startup and small technology companies seek has been decreasing from 200 to 250 square feet to as low as 100 to 150 square feet of “usable” office space per person.

What are typical sizes for…?

The following office space allocations can be used to help estimate the amount of usable office space required for your business based upon uses. Any common area load factors (typically range between 10% and 20%) will need to be added on to determine the “rentable” area.

  • Large Office – 200 to 400 sq. ft.
  • Medium Office – 150 to 250 sq. ft.
  • Small Office – 90 to 150 sq. ft.
  • Open Space Workstations – 60 to 110 sq. ft. per person
  • Work Group Areas – 80 to 100 sq. ft. per person
  • Reception Area – 100 to 200 sq. ft. + 10 sq. ft. per person waiting
  • Conference Room – 50 sq. ft + 25 sq. ft. per person seated
  • Mail Room – 125 sq. ft.
  • File Room – 200 sq. ft.
  • Lunch/Break Room – 75 sq. ft. + 25 sq. ft. per person seated
  • Work Room – 125 to 200 sq. ft.
  • Halls/Corridors within the space – 20% to 30% of the total usable area

Or, how do you lease the right amount of space?

Make sure that you are accounting for planned growth. Make headcount projections for the expected term of the lease. Then, lease space so that around 2/3 or 3/4 of the way through the term you start reaching the occupancy limit.

Keep in mind that no two spaces are alike. Look for spaces that are more efficient, like rectangular spaces versus angled corners of a building. No two spaces with the same square footage are the same. Floor plan and layout matter.

If you are planning to grow, minimize the disruption to your business by seeking termination rights and expansion rights on contiguous space. Growing into adjacent space is far less disruptive than relocating your business to another building.

Over the years we’ve developed a roadmap for our startup and small business clients to help navigate the process of finding office space. For our complete roadmap: How Do I Find Office Space?