How much office space does your new business need?By Angelica Malin
It looks like such a simple question, and you might not even consider it that difficult to answer. Indeed, it’s possible to start various businesses from just a spare room of the house, as Small Business Trends highlights. However, what if you will be taking several people with you for the ride?
Yes, that’s a reference to employees – and you should aim for not just a sufficient, but also a comfortable, amount of space for each of them. Here’s how you can calculate it.
Time for a bit of number-crunching
To an extent, the “ideal” amount is already enshrined in UK law. In 1992, regulations were passed stipulating that businesses should provide at least 40 square feet for each member of their offices.
The regulations, as quoted by smallbusiness.co.uk, read: “Every room where persons work shall have sufficient floor area, health and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety and welfare.”
Further provisions specify: “The total volume of the room, when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it should be at least 11 cubic metres.” This is a “minimum” figure and assumes that any room or part of one over three metres high is deemed exactly three metres high.
That “minimum” figure is so-called, the regulations continue, because it “may be insufficient if, for example, much of the room is taken up by furniture etc.” That “furniture etc.” could include machinery, desks and filing cabinets, along with other furniture you expect your firm to need.
It’s better to have too much than too little
Of course, the size of the office space on which you do settle could be influenced by other factors. For example, if it is imperative for your business to be based in Manchester or Bristol, this could limit your options somewhat. Still, Bplans cites a “very general rule” to heed on size…
The site says that “it’s normally recommended to have 70 square feet per person”, but acknowledges that “you know your business best.” Therefore, you shouldn’t afraid to be flexible with the figure. Besides, you’ll need separate meeting and rest space, not just workspaces!
Then there’s the subject of how you anticipate your business growing over the years. The word “years” should be emphasised here, as committing to a physical office space – other than, of course, your humble abode – is obviously expensive. Therefore, you need to think long-term.
Keep your eye on the future
Of course, only you know your company’s growth projections. Therefore, only you have an idea of how you would need to add to your staff in line with those projections. All the same, it isn’t entirely inescapable that you could end up exceeding those projections.
Therefore, you could potentially hold off an office move for a little longer by investigating how your current office could be laid out more space-efficiently. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. An experienced workplace design company like the London-based Maris could help you with planning your new office space. Your staff will be grateful!