Office Space Planning

An efficient office space planning is crucial to the running of an efficient company. During the formulation of an office space design, it is worth planning ahead.

The following few references are the most common standard that can be employed to approximate the amount of usable space required for your business.

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The general rule of thumb is to allow 150- 250 usable square feet per person depending upon the type and style of the business. This range can change to cater special needs such as extra-large conference rooms or storage requirements, but will include normal amenities within a general use office. Though, it is highly recommended to consult an office space planner for an accurate determination of space requirements.

For Reference Only:


For Reference Only:



For References Only:


Critical Choices To Make While Space Planning

Once there is an understanding of what we want a space to do for the overall office and its staff, there are several critical choices to make in order to properly plan and design a office space:

  • Use: What purpose do we want a space to be used for? In an office, there are many types of spaces to choose from, ranging from meeting spaces, such as conference rooms to work spaces, such as an open office or cubicles. Establishing use for a space is the very first step in creating a functional space that meets the overall objective.
  • Layout: The layout of a space should compliment and support its use. A layout is often times composed in the form of a floor plan. This will show where everything goes, whether architecturally or furniture placement.
  • Appearance: Once the layout is understood, the design comes into play. How should the space look and feel? Design has been proven to be a critical factor in the success of a space. Studies have even shown that color in the work space can impact employee productivity and mood.
  • Filing: Most offices still require space for storing important paperwork or supplies. These spaces also need to be accounted for in the layout. If it is a medical office, filing is crucial to the everyday functioning of the business and becomes a primary element within the space.
  • Standardization: For large-scale implementation of an office space layout and design, it is important to consider which elements can be standardized. For example, should all the cubicle spaces and conference rooms look the same? What elements of the layout or appearance of the office apply to the entire office space?

With these basic questions, space planning becomes more strategic and a workplace can be transformed into space that is both functional and pleasant.

Nine key factors to creating an efficient and productive space:

1. Evaluate and Detail Wants and Needs

Space planners should take detailed note of wants, needs and requirements for each space of an office. A well-designed space will feel natural to the occupants. The space will adapt to the needs of the workers and not the other way around. For example, if a company is highly collaborative, they are most likely in need of open spaces for employees to work and meet together. Creating a space with cubicles for an office that requires employees interact through out the day may not be the best fit.

2. Consider Technology and Equipment Requirements

It is also important to consider required technology and the equipment needed for each space. Space planning for technology can also come in the form of not locking the space into a technology or equipment that may change in the near future – for example, many desks in the past were planned around phone jacks, but now many workers use mobile phones for day-to-day communication. Discuss technology in depth with IT and management and get a deep understanding of current and projected needs.

3. Make It Personalized

While space planning, consider areas that allow workers to individualize their work environment. Ask yourself, in what areas can workers make the space their own? This kind of consideration creates a sense of ownership that is critical to productivity and loyalty, and creating a space that employees will actually want to work at.

4. Promote Positive Change

While change is hard for anyone, it is important to motivate employees and promote the new and improved space. Maintaining an enthusiastic attitude and sharing your excitement goes a long way. It also helps to get feedback from everyone involved and remain approachable during the process. We like meet with our clients regularly to discuss each step of the space planning process to be sure that there is general agreement for the plans. We also recommend holding a company meeting to discuss the changes and get everyone excited for the “new.”

5. Remain Budget and Time Aware

During the conceptual design process, often times it’s easy for a space planner to envision an “award winning” space. That vision can sometimes be at odds with the budget and schedule, however. Before developing a design scheme, it is crucial to discover what is appropriate and cost effective. Remember, the most important thing to any client is time and money.

6. Design for Daily Operations

A good space plan must take into account the day-to-day operations of an organization. Where will departments be located? How will people within each department interact? If your marketing department interacts with sales on a regular basis, you wouldn’t want to place the two departments on the opposite side of the building. Considering these types of things in advance will ensure a layout that helps increase productivity and efficiency, rather than deter or hinder it.

7. Different Parts, One Whole

Rarely does a company require one type of space to complete an office. Each department often requires a completely unique type of space to work in. Sales may want cubicles or offices due to being on the phone most of the day and requiring less sound, while other departments would rather work in an open plan. A solid space plan will work the different space types required into a cohesive and logical design.

8. Allow for Growth

In any design, leaving room for a company to grow is almost always needed. Consider the future outlook and how rapidly growth will happen. Will the company need to accommodate more employees in the near future, and if so where will they be place? As mentioned earlier, reducing costs is usually a motivator in utilizing a space more efficiently. Planning for growth can help the plan scale as the company does.

9. Incorporate Adequate Storage

Each company has it’s own unique storage requirements. A legal firm will have very different needs from that of a medical office. In both cases, storage and filing is a crucial part of the workflow and plays a central part in the space planning. Incorporating adequate storage is important for any successful design. Be sure to consider all storage and filing needs in the beginning of a space planning project. Leaving it until the end can create an awkward space, or worse, not enough space.

Space Planning is Great for Business

These tips can be used to plan a great space that is also great for business. A well-designed workspace has been proven to boost productivity and increase the happiness and satisfaction of a workforce. If a company has an office, than they should certainly consider utilizing a space planner to maximize the potential of their space. With some careful planning and creativity, every office can be an inviting place to work.

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