Jan 23, 2013

Tactical CRE: How Much Office Space Do I Really Need?

By Don Catalano



When it comes to running an office, cutting down on unnecessary expenditures is very important. One of the two or three most expensive aspects of any business is real estate. When looking for a new office space it is important to go with the right building providing the right amount of space. A cramped work environment reduces productivity and limits the company's ability to take on more in-house support, but any excess square footage certainly can prove costly. There is a delicate balance to find in considering all of the factors of office absorption, and today we are going discuss some of the more basic ones.

Questions to Ask

There are different questions an office manager or business owner must look into before defining project requirements. These questions include how many people are currently employed, anticipation of future growth (and rate of growth when looking at shorter term leases), and what sort of office layouts would be conducive to the greatest productivity for that office’s operations.

Square Footage Per Person

A general rule of thumb for any office is about 150 to 250 square feet for every person employed. This gives enough room for the necessary office equipment, executive offices (typically larger than 250 SF, but the average also takes smaller cubicle space into account), conference rooms, etc. Companies that require just standard cubicle work often  look at the smaller square footage allotment, while those businesses that value more creative space and open layouts are usually on higher end of that 150 to 250 SF range. 


The kind of staff member hired on and working is also a necessary consideration. Managers, owners and department leaders generally need a larger workspace than general hires. This is due, in part, to the need for upkeep of appearances, and, of course, the perks of being management.


The overall kind of office plays an important role in the size of office space needed for the business. Sales and call centers typically do not need a great deal of space for each sales or customer service rep.


On the other hand, if the business centers around a hard-wall layout, more room is needed. Offices that house employees, whose job functions include face-to-face consultations or just generally require more privacy, often utilize a hard-wall layout.


View other CRE articles:

Four Tactical Commercial Real Estate Must-Dos

How to Manage Your Commercial Real Estate Portfolio

3 Must-Haves for Today's Commercial Office Space


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Topics: Tactical Commercial Real Estate

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Don Catalano

Don Catalano