The office has been a fundamental institution of human society for centuries, serving as a place where people can come together to work and collaborate on delivering their product or service. Over time, the office has evolved significantly, reflecting changes in technology, social norms, and economic conditions. This evolution continues in lock step with the march of humanity.
Planning the location, design, and equipment of a multi-person, multi-function workspace involves considering various factors. When making decisions and determining the direction, some aspects, such as when, may already be pre-ordained. Once the major decision regarding the where has been confirmed, determining howto proceed with the office design and equipment becomes much easier.
This page and its resources are intended for those who are venturing into a new office build out or undertaking an office redesign. The downloadable PDFs presented here are the result of extensive experience in the field of office space planning and design. We offer these resources based on the belief that relying on tried-and-true methods is preferable to reinventing the wheel.
Each of these PDFs represents a diligent and dedicated effort to bring modern office design ideas to fruition. Our goal is always to earn the trust of each customer we serve and become their go-to provider of office furniture solutions.
You are invited to get inspired and find a modern office design that you and your office mates will love.
• Envision the possibilities for your new office space.
• Browse our extensive collection of office space plans to see what is possible.
• Simplify your decision-making process by drawing inspiration from our successful past projects.
• Help establish the office square footage requirements for your project.
• See different office furniture styles and gain insight into what may work for you.
• Explore completed office design concepts and find unique options for your own office.
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THE SQUARE FOOT (ft2)
To answer the how you will surely ask yourself how much officepace per employee does our company really need and will surely go beyond simple math.
Office Square Footage Calculation
Determining the amount of office space needed per employee goes beyond just ensuring adequate physical space for movement and safety. There are numerous other factors that must be taken into consideration.
Although there are no explicit regulations in the United States that prescribe how much space per employee you must allocate, there are established standards, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fire Codes, that must be adhered to. These standards can serve as a foundation for developing your office space planning guidelines.
Consulting the office space planningguidelines produced by the US Department of Commerce can provide an unbiased perspective on office space planning to plan. Despite its original publication in 2016, its validity remains relevant today, save adjustments it to suit your needs and evolving post pandemic office design trends.
The average office space per employee in the US varies widely, but typically lands somewhere between 100 to 175 ft2. To help calculate your specific office space requirements per employee you will likely consider:
The Geographic Location of your office will have a significant impact on the square footage allocations per employee. For example, the cost of office space in San Francisco may necessitate a lower allocation of square footage per employee than offices space in Tulsa.
Since office density is directly affected by the amount of square footage allocated per employee, such allotments will inevitably impact your office space design ideas and dictate the specific types of office spaces and/or workstations required, i.e. micro desks, hot desks or private office cubicles, etc.
Office Space Utilization
Office Space Efficiency is directly correlated to its utilization and the various elements that can affect its use. Here are some of the main factors that can impact office space management and its utilization:
Office Layout: Your Office Layout Ideas should be grounded in, and optimized for, the specific needs of your organization. Factors such as the size of the workforce, the type of work performed, and the need for collaboration and visitor accommodation will influence the layout.
Office Furniture: Furniture should be designed to maximize comfort & productivity. Ergonomic chairs and desks can help employees stay comfortable & focused throughout the day.
Office Technology: Modern technology is an ever-expanding ingredient and has a significant impact on how office space fulfills its purpose. Tools such as video conferencing can reduce the need for physical meeting spaces. Electronic document sharing and storage can reduce requirements for physical office filing systems.
Office Storage: Adequate storage is essential for keeping the office organized and clutter-free. Efficient storage solutions can help reduce the amount of space needed for filing cabinets, personal storage towers, and other types of storage units.
Traffic Flow: The layout of the office should be designed to facilitate efficient traffic flow. This includes minimizing congestion in high-traffic areas and ensuring that employees can move around the office without disruption.
Office Lighting: Adequate lighting is essential for maintaining a productive and healthy work environment. The use of natural light and energy-efficient lighting solutions can help reduce energy costs and improve employee well-being.
Office Acoustics: Proper acoustic design can help reduce noise levels and create a more productive work environment. This includes using sound-absorbing materials, such as carpets and curtains, to reduce noise levels.
Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing needs is critical in today's fast-paced business environment. Flexible office space can help organizations adjust to changing business conditions and stay ahead of the competition.
Workplace Utilization (Office Layout Planner)
The study titled “Workplace Utilization & Allocation Benchmark” performed by the GSA (US General Service Administration) provides snapshots of different uses of square footage. GSA conducted telephone interviews and e-mail surveys with several public, private, international, and US Governmental organizations to develop workspace benchmarks. Unsurprisingly, while conducted in 2011 its findings remain worthy of consideration today.
The survey was conducted in companies with a range of different activities, and it covered various aspects related to the functional spaces within contemporary offices, such as circulation areas, collaborative spaces, storage areas, and the average workspace allocated per staff position.
Survey results and extensive research findings have consistently shown that organizations have been gradually reducing the allocation of office workspaces over the years, a trend that continues to the present day.
Building facility managers in both the Federal Government and private sector, as reported by the GSA, used to believe that 200-400 square feet per person was necessary to create an effective office environment. However, in the 2010s, this was reduced to 190 square feet per person, and there were projections that the allocation would decrease to a mere 60 square feet per person in the 2020s, which is a significant reduction from previous standards.
The following Workplace Utilization and Allocation Benchmarks refer to industry standards for how much office space should be allocated per employee and how much of that space is typically utilized on a regular basis. These benchmarks can vary depending on factors such as the type of industry, the location of the office, and the size of the organization. By tracking workplace utilization and comparing it to industry benchmarks, organizations can identify opportunities to optimize their office space design layout and potentially reduce real estate costs (a key motivator in reducing office space size.
Each benchmark shows the USF (Usable Square Footage, the metric used to measure the space needed to work in a comfortable and productive way), it also shows each job position and the possible office configuration.
Business Activity: Business Services/Consulting
The above chart shows how usable square footage is distributed per job position, on average, in the Service Business Consulting sector. Obviously, the shared workspace model allocates the least number of USF per person irrespective of job position or industry sector.
Business Activity: Telecommunication
Predictably, the telecommunications sector has a greater reliance on cubicle workstations as its primary office furniture solution. It’s allocation of private offices demonstrate lower USF per job position as compared to other surveyed industries.
Business Activity: Manufacturing
It is not uncommon for office space allocation to be based on employee hierarchy. Senior-level employees may be allocated larger type private cubicle office space, while junior-level employees may be assigned to smaller cubicles workstations.
This is often done to reflect the level of responsibility and decision-making authority that comes with senior positions, and to provide them with a small conference table for office meetings and private discussions. However, it's important for companies to ensure that such allocations are fair and reasonable, and that all employees have adequate space and resources to perform their work effectively.
Business Activity: Domestic Government Organization
Choosing the right office furniture and storage solutions is essential to creating functional and efficient office space. It's important to consider factors such as the size, the office layout design, the type of work being done, and the needs and preferences of the employees who will be using the space whenever furnishing an office.
Choosing furniture and office storage solutions that optimize available office space can help maximize productivity and minimize clutter, while also providing a comfortable and convenient work environment. Additionally, choosing furniture that is ergonomic and supportive can help prevent workplace injuries and improve overall employee health and well-being.
Business Activity: Media Conglomerate
This surveyed media conglomerate’s business spans the spectrum from television to the internet. Here again workspace allocation differs depending on job position. Roles include senior and mid-level executives along with managers and support staff. Typical differentiators within executive office spaces are the office furniture packages and the interior office design ideas deployed.
Business Activity: Academic Institution
Academic Furniture encompasses numerous types, including administrative office furniture and application-specific institutional furniture such as classroom library furniture, etc. Unsurprisingly many areas of institutional environments were not included in this survey. Coincidentally, these are areas easily defined or distinguished by their furniture classification, i.e.: classroom furniture, cafeteria furniture, library furniture, etc.
Many universities have established guidelines for office space planning that dictate workspace allocation and distribution. Fortunately given the open nature of academic research publications, such guidelines are readily available for review. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County published this office space allocation schedule on https://umbc.edu/.
• 125 to 200 ft2 for a receptionist and 2 to 4 people
• 200 to 300 ft2 for a receptionist and 6 to 8 people
There is a wealth of office receptionarea ideas and a wide selection of furniture for office reception buildouts. Finding inspiration when designing your reception is easy. Today’s modern reception desk design options include everything from the spacious U shaped reception desks, to the familiar L-shaped reception desk and even the avant-garde circular reception desk.
If you are looking for a customized reception desk to match your office's style and/or space requirements, or if you need affordable reception area seating you have landed in the right place!
7 Office Reception Design Tips
When designing your reception area there are several key factors to keep in mind. Here are 7 to consider:
• Functionality:the reception area needs to be functional and practical. It should be clearly identifiable and ideally located at your main entrance. It should consist of sufficient square footage to accommodate visitors and staff. Its main focal point should be the reception station or the place where you want visitors to first head upon arrival.
• Branding and Aesthetics: your reception area should reflect your company's values and imagery. It should aspire to be visually appealing, with artwork, signage and colors that align with your corporate messaging.
• Comfort: visitors should feel comfortable while waiting in the reception area. Consider the lighting, temperature, and reception seating arrangements to create a welcoming environment. Offering beverages, while not without cost, adds to the “mi casa es su casa” vibe.
• Security: your office waiting area is often the first point of contact with visitors, so it's important to ensure that it's secure. This may include installing security cameras, access control systems, and/or screening procedures if appropriate for your operations.
• Accessibility:the reception area should be accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. This may include ramps, elevators, or other accommodations, the easiest of which is wide doorways, and sufficient circulation space.
• Technology: the reception area should be equipped with the necessary technology to facilitate communication and information-sharing. This may include computers, phones, or interactive displays.
• Staffing:it's important to have qualified staff to manage the reception area and help visitors. This may include receptionists, security personnel, or customer service representatives.
Executive Office Space
Within the category of executive office suites there are distinctions in square footage allocation:
• For a President’s office or Chairman: 200 to 400 ft2
• For a Vice-President' s Office: 150 to 250 ft2
• For an Executive' s Office: 90 to 150 ft2
As with all areas of the office, executive office design ideas will be guided first and foremost by the unique dimensions of the specific executive office space to be provisioned. There is a plethora of executive office furniture sets to choose from. Executive u-shaped desks and L shaped executive office desks are great options when maximum work surfacedesk area is essential.
No executive office design would be complete without strategically placed office storage solutions that are elegant in their design and, when possible, coordinated with the other office furnishings. A consistent winner in the realm of executive office ideas includes a wood veneer desk positioned in front of a luxurious black leather executive office chair flanked by an executive lounge area that includes black guest chairs arranged around a chic, modernoffice coffee table.
Other options to consider can include a credenza with glass doors and/or a bookshelf credenza. The best executive desks can be specified with or without integrated storage in the form of a built-in deskdrawerpedestals. A mobile pedestal is also a great solution for maximum maneuverability. Ultimately, the bestexecutive office layout is the one best suited for its occupant.
Office Space Workstation
• Open workstations: 60 to 110 ft2
• Benches or cubicles: 60 to 110 ft2
• Work group areas: 80 to 100 ft2
If you’re thinking of maximizing available office square footage you will no doubt, consider open office floor planideas.
Open office layouts are popular for their cost savings and open office spacefurniture options for them are plentiful. If your intention is to create the most collaborative officeworking environment, benching cubicles are ideal for their complete openness with no furniture related visual obstructions. Some think this option is conducive to maximum collaboration.
Benching workstations also brings a clean, modern office look to any open office layout. Other office furniture options include cubicles with doors for a greater degree of privacy and/or cubicles with glass for their perceived openness and visibility.
A smart open office layoutplan can also include L-shaped cubicle desks or L-shaped workstations with a spacious desk surface, especially suited as managers workstations.
Conference Room Design Ideas
The research behind office space allocations suggests one conference room for every 10 to 20 full-time office occupants. Approximately 25 to 30 square feet per person is the average. Your conference room furniture will naturally be guided by your specific conference room layout dimensions.
Standard Conference Room Sizes:
• Small Conference Room: at approximately 100 ft2 with conference room seating suitable for 4 occupants. Design Tip: To create the best affordable small conference room layout, consider a small meeting table with a round laminate top, paired with black task chairs.
•Medium Conference Room: at approximately 250 ft2conference room seating ideal for 8 seated individuals, consider a conference table with power outlets integration, for easy access to electrical network connection points.
•Large Conference Room: 375 ft2 with 16 to 20 conference room seating space. This size of conference room design layout might feature a powered conference table with executive ergonomic chairs for longer meetings.
These are just a few basic guidelines of various conference room setup styles based upon conference room design standards and typical space allocations given the average office space available for such use.
Office Space Planning
A few Office Furniture Options for Versatile Office Environments
• Consider including open office space: open areas in the office can nurture information flow and aid in the creation of the ideal collaborative office. Within these open spaces you can create workstations with cubicle panels or modular office walls for more focused work.
• Within your open collaboration spaces consider specifying a few meeting tables for impromptu brainstorming. Table options are varied and plentiful. Ask one of our project managers for options to fit your vision and budget.
A contemporary article published in the MIT Sloan Management Reviewmagazine highlights studies onoffice density and its effects on performance and productivity in the modern office layout. It cited that commercial real estate companies CoStar and Cushman had estimated that over the past two decades office space allocation per employee has diminished significantly from 250 ft2 to less than 135 ft2 per person.
The relationship between employee perception of the workplace and employee performance is significant. If common sense doesn’t make the case, a 2015 landmark study by IFMA concluded “perceiving your workspace as satisfactory leads to greater job satisfaction. … This in turn, leads to increased engagement.”
Moreover, other findings have stated that there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction in the workplace, especially with the possibility of access to private office space.
Open plan officespaces have their advantages, as we know, they facilitate interactions and have the potential to create a collaborative officespace with its inherent benefit of shared knowledge. However, there has been a noticeable rise in the demand for office privacy options. A more private workspace offers an environment that is more conducive to focus work when an open plan office might feel a little disruptive to some.
Office furniture design options, such as traditional cubicle workstations may, in some instances, be the office furniture solution to the issue of privacy. As a matter of fact, before the cubicle there was the desk, in the open office.
The Survey Says
In today’s highly competitive corporate world, companies are not only contending to find the best quality hires, but also to have a high employee tenure. To have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, improvements in the workplace means stepping up from providing only basic employee requirements, to catering for their comforts. Happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees (Forbes).
Corporates who are on top of new office design trends are perceived to be more dynamic and generally tend to attract a better talent pool. If the design goal is an aesthetic office that does not account for the behavioral, cultural, and well beings of inhabitants, then it’s likely to be problematic.It’s a matter of turning the workplace into an oasis while optimizing for human interaction, behavior, culture, and wellness.
“Great workplaces create more engaged employees; and more engaged employees are the key to business productivity and profit.”
From: U.S. Workplace Survey - Gensler Research Institute
The U.S. 2019 Workplace Survey carried out by the Gensler Research Institute uses two proprietary indexes: Their - Workplace Performance and Workplace Experience indices - to analyze how they affect employee engagement and performance. Since Gensler Architects are leaders in office architecture design services, their survey and the metrics expressed therein provide valuable information to designers and clients alike.
According to Gensler, by quantifying workplace effectiveness and experience, a higher percentage of worker commitment, job satisfaction and peer recommendation, is attainable (see above graph). Preferences regarding openness or privacy may vary between industries and work functions, but there is a general tendency among employees that lean towards an office space design that offers the best of both worlds. Privacy when required. Openness when desired.
The above chart depicts workers experience of their current workplace versus their considered ideal as it relates to office space “degrees of openness”: Totally, mostly, or somewhat open and/or shared offices, mostly private or totally private office space.
The Gensler Research Annual Survey clearly indicates that most employees strive for balance between an open office space design and private workspaces. This best of both worlds office configuration affords managers the opportunity to decide what works best for the work at hand and the individual facilitators.
The following office space designideas offer multiple office design layout solutions. You are bound to find one with the degree of “openness” you are looking for. If not, just ask and we’ll design one specific to your needs.
• Totally Open: there are many open office designideas for a completely open space.
Benching desks, comprised of low wall cubicles are the epitome of open office workstations.
Just add workstation chairs and open office storage solutions, like a box box filepedestal, and you’re in business.
The key to these open office layouts is to consider the open office area dimensions and any potentially restrictive building elements, such as columns, sprinklers, windows, common aisles, etc. and use them to make the most of the office space available.
•Mostly Open: these types of spaces start to feature some kind of privacy aspect, albeit minimal. The natural choice of office furniture solutions for these open office spaces could include items from our modular office furniture collection that offer a variety of configurations and panel heights.
For an on demand office space solution, our mostly-open-anywhere office desks on wheels option is a popular, full-featured movable office that can be carted around and stationed, where needed.
• Somewhat Open: this office configuration often consists of semi-private workspaces. We regularly equip workstations with a cubicle door to offer a considerable amount of privacy, at the slide of a door.
Office partition panels offers as much, or as little privacy as you desire. These modular panels come in two heights and three widths for virtually endless layout possibilities, providing you the freedom to define the workspace your way.
• Shared Offices: this office space design layout has shared offices or “team rooms” for 3 to 6 people. This configuration has a balance of privacy and collaborative office space but is isolated from other areas.
However, if this is perceived as a disadvantage, it can easily be bridged by introducing a medium to large conference room to hold collaborative team meetings. These office conference rooms can be equipped with a conference table with power outlets for quick and easy network connectivity.
• Mostly Private: these office workspaces have a high concentration of private offices, often set against the perimeter of an open plan office achieved by the implementation of any one of numerous well planned and executed cubicle ideas.
The open plan typically employs cubicles workstations with low panels, but in keeping with a mostly private approach, can be created by specifying high wall cubicles. If your needs dictate a mostly private approach throughout you can turn to high wall office cubicleswith doors.
• Totally Private: these spaces feature enclosed offices for most, if not all employees. These office environments have “office privacy” as the prevailing office design concept and is typically determined by the industry type, i.e., Financial Planning.
There are various private office layouts, each with their own unique design potential, such as:
Executive office suites equipped with a high-end traditionalexecutive furniture. Think rich wood veneers on executive U shaped desks or an L-shaped executive office desk.
If traditional is not your desired aesthetic, a modern executive office desk along with similarly modern executive seating can achieve a contemporary counterpart.
Regardless of style, executive office lounge meeting tables have become popular for small, private discussion sessions. This office lounge area can also include an office coffee table and perhaps even an executive office sofa for an extensive executive office setup.
So, which “degree of openness” works best?
"Mostly open environments have the highest effectiveness and experience scores,
driven by a high level of choice, variety, and balance."
From: U.S. Workplace Survey - Gensler Research Institute
The possibilities for office design ideas (5400/3.42/8100/76) are abundant, but the main inspiration for any office design should ultimately be the people who will be working there. Creating a great team experience is key to unlocking the human potential that is at the heart of your enterprise and the possibility that exists within the walls of your office space, wherever it might be.
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