How Much Office Space is Needed Per Employee?

When your business is going through a period of rapid growth and expansion, one of the most important and effective things you can do as a company is move into new premises which provide your team with the space they need to work collaboratively and efficiently on your new and ongoing projects. And with a great range of different options available in terms of finding new office space to move into, you can be sure that obtaining the space and facilities you need to thrive does not have to be difficult.

If you are thinking about moving to new premises, one of the most important things to keep in mind is providing the right amount of office space for each employee. The space available in which for your employees to conduct their work plays a huge role not only in their overall happiness and wellbeing in and out of the workplace but also in the long-term success of your company.

Many studies have shown that failure by businesses to provide the right space and facilities for their staff is one of the leading sources of discontentment and lower productivity in the workplace, with dramatic detrimental consequences for employees, employers, and customers alike. Furthermore, when members of your team do not have the space they need to do their jobs properly and in a way that is comfortable and productive, they are far less likely to be retained as loyal staff in the long term.

Of course, there can be no final and definitive answer to the question of what the right amount of space per employee really is. The nature of the work being done, not to mention the personal preferences of the individual staff member, will all contribute towards what the right answer is in each particular case. But this is not to say that general guidelines cannot be followed which will provide your business with a strong foundation for keeping staff happy, comfortable and productive in the office.

The South African National Building Regulations stipulate that the minimum amount of office space should be around 15 square metres per person. This recommendation is consistent with other locations around the world, with 40 to 50 feet (12-15 metres) being the normal advice in most countries, with more space potentially being required for employees performing work that requires them to multi-task or move around a lot. Some employees, such as those with certain disabilities, may also require more space regardless of the activity being performed.

Cutting corners and providing less space than employees really need may seem like it could save you money, but for the reasons discussed it will almost always prove to be a false economy. By ensuring that your team have got the space they need to do their jobs well, you will be making an investment that significantly improves the overall success and profitability of your company in the long term.

And finally, it is important to remember that while it is vital to provide enough space for your staff, more and more space alone is not everything. It is far better to provide a small office space that is uncluttered and equipped with all the right tools and infrastructure your team need to perform well than it is to offer a huge working environment full of obstacles and void of the necessities your staff need.

As long as the space you have is well maintained, organised and equipped with quality ergonomic furniture and up to date technology, you can transform even a modest office environment into the ideal place for you and your team to grow your business in a safe, comfortable and rewarding way.