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Space that suits you: pinning down your optimum office size in a hybrid world

It could be said that hybrid working has been a positive outcome of the pandemic. Traditional working practice has been spun on its head and employees handed an opportunity to improve their work-life balance. After a year of proving that the job can still be done remotely without productivity levels dropping, you might find your employees desire a blend of the office, home, co-working spots, or cafés. For business leaders, this has led to tough and potentially confusing decisions around how much office space is needed to support a hybrid working model. Good news. Pulse’s expert team is here to support you in translating your new needs into space that suits you.

Your workplace, your needs

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when considering how your employees’ current needs will affect your real estate decisions. Whether it’s time to thrive or stabilise, to scale up or down, workplace consultancy is the best place to start. Our own in-house workplace team takes a human-first, design-led approach to understanding how people and organisations behave in space. This will help identify if you need less space, or more, and what office to home working ratio is best for you and your team.

Finding sq ft that’s right for you

Now you’ve taken the time to understand how your people and business functions best, try to work out how much space per employee you would envisage within a full office. As a rule of thumb, each employee will need between 80 – 130 sq ft and the exact figure will be dependent on the type of space you need.

  • 80 sq ft per employee would suit companies that house a number of teams in a smaller
  • space with rows of fixed desking and some meeting spaces but will leave little room for spaces such as kitchens and breakouts.
  • 100 sq ft per employee would suit a mixed floorplan of fixed and hot-desking areas, private offices and meeting spaces.
  • 130+ sq ft per employee is spacious and typically seen in more corporate sectors with the need to have more private and cellular office space.

Before the pandemic, a healthy office environment in London usually calculated around 100 sq ft per employee when taking both desk space and communal areas into consideration. Things such as fresh air, fire exits and building control are all legal requirements that eat into this figure too. Taking into account trends towards more collaborative spaces and allowing individuals more personal space despite social distancing no longer being mandatory, that figure is likely to increase. Multiplying your actual employee headcount by the number of square feet per employee will give you an idea of how much space you’ll need in full capacity. You can then compare it with your workplace analysis data to help pinpoint space that’s right for you.

Evolving design

As we begin to experience a new evolution of business culture and ways in which we work, the changes to our physical spaces will need to follow suit. This will influence what your future floorplan will look like and what your employees might expect from their future office. To accommodate the new pace of hybrid working, more immersive, high performing and tech-savvy spaces are being introduced to allow both remote and in-person individuals to collaborate effectively. Zoom rooms, for example, are meeting rooms designed with the best tech, acoustics to help ease any potential disconnection – further allowing employees to have an equal experience wherever they’re working from. Hot desking, meeting booths and collaboration spots are additional things you should consider to enable a hybrid office.

Over to you

What this looks like for your company depends on your sector, the roles and functions of your people, and your business plans for the coming years. Now that the flexible office market is taking off there are plenty of workplace options to suit all sizes, industries and budgets. By choosing to partner with Pulse, we can determine the type of space you need now – and in the future – and find an office that’s right for you. Speak to one of our team today to find out more.