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Leasing New Space? How Much Office Space Will You Need?

So you’re ready to expand your business to a new office, or perhaps you just need to get out of your current location. One of the first questions you’ll need to answer is how much office space does your business need to function at its highest efficiency. Employees need enough room to avoid feeling cramped, but too much could lead to paying for real estate you can’t utilize. Below are some general tips for deciding how much office space you should plan for.

Consider Your Industry

Regardless of current economic factors, your business’s industry will likely be the greatest influence in determining the size of your new office. According to commercial real estate information provider CoStar, industries stay fairly stable in their relative needs for space per worker. Consider the chart below:

The absolute numbers will change over time due to economic conditions, rental rates, etc., but law firms and architects will always require more space than call centers. That’s unlikely to ever change. Understanding the needs of your industry—tabletop requirements, room between employees, etc.—is integral before calculating your total needs. Before anything else, determine where your business falls along this spectrum.

Consider Trends

In general, a variety of different factors are coalescing to reduce the amount of space needed per worker in America. Younger and more international employees simply expect tighter quarters; greener mentalities want buildings that don’t waste space; and communal work areas are in vogue, utilizing less space per worker. Because of this, you may actually consider leasing less space than you had forecasted, or even less space than you occupy now.

Consider Company Growth

Another factor to consider is the company’s growth trajectory. If you’re planning on near-term expansion, you may find it beneficial to lock in additional space to achieve better lease terms. The decision will likely come down to your budget but could save your company valuable dollars in the long run. Try to find office space that was previously used by businesses in your industry as it will likely be closely configured to suit your needs requiring minimal remodeling.

Consider Company Turnover

Do you anticipate higher turnover rates among your employees? It’s not optimal, but if the reality is that you will be spending a considerable amount of time recruiting and hiring, this means space will go unutilized as employees are being located. Keep this in mind as it could be a reason to reduce the amount of room you need if you plan on some shuffling among the employees during transitions.

Experiment with Office Space Calculators

Finally, when it comes down to your final decision, you’ll have to compute your own numbers yourself. Thankfully, there are a number of calculators online that can help you out. LeaseMatrix has a free, flexible option that allows for extensive customization that we think is very helpful and easy to use. Check it out.

Keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to hit the target on your office space goals.

Written by Kevin Zimmerman
Kevin is a former Certified Public Accountant with experience consulting small businesses and Fortune 500 companies on state and local tax matters. Previously a senior associate with PwC in Seattle, he is currently a freelance writer on a host of topics residing in Brooklyn, NY. You can find him on LinkedIn.
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