How to Estimate Office Space Requirements

By April 5, 2019Market Insights

Keel CRE Tenant Advisor – Blog

How Big Does Our Office Space Need to be?

Tips for Leasing Commercial Real Estate

The best way to determine how much office space your company may need, when planning to expand or relocate, is to work with an experienced tenant representative like Keel CRE in McLean, VA. While most commercial real estate agencies can help companies locate office space available for lease to meet their budget requirements, fewer have the working knowledge and hands on experience needed to really manage space planning. While there are plenty of assumptions and guidelines, best practices and tools available, one of the most significant factors in calculating office space and commercial lease requirements is the number of employees the company is expected to have over the lease term. Typically, commercial leases extend over 3 to 5 year periods for short term leases and longer periods of 15 to 20 years.

It is estimated by the CCIM Institute, for example, that the average office space per worker in the U.S. is 270 square feet.  But that number will vary based on geographic location, market conditions and of course, the type of business.

Planning for New Office Space

Benefits of Space Planning

A key benefit of allocating the optimal amount of space per worker is productivity.  Hiring a professional tenant representation will make it easier for CEO’s, office and human resources managers to determine the best rental properties available, based on your office environment criteria. For example, computer programmers and IT professionals might prefer work spaces that foster communication and collaboration while law offices normally have larger, more isolated office spaces that yield more privacy and security.

When evaluating office space requirements for commercial leases,  real estate leasing professionals may also estimate how much space will be needed by taking into account the number of offices, work spaces, workstations, group work areas, break rooms and reception areas that will be required. A medium size office might be 200 sq. ft., for example, while workstations can take half as much space.

Calculating office space purely by the number of employees and types of space required provide a good basis for further estimating office lease space requirements. However, business relocation and tenant representatives like Keel CRE in Northern Virginia who advise companies planning to lease office space in Northern Virginia and Washington DC are likely to suggest taking other space utilization factors into account. Here are some examples:

Collaborative Workspaces

  • Utilize up to 90% of lease space, but can require 35% less space

Employee Retention Rates

  • High staff turnover prevents high space utilization

Determining office space requirements and the number of employees per sq. ft. yields other benefits as well. Specifically, commercial real estate experts and office space planning professionals may also use these figures to estimate amenity and parking requirements.

It is estimated, for example, that densely populated office workplaces may require as much as 100% more parking per 1,000 s.f than common dedicated office spaces. Where public rail transportation is available–like in Northern Virginia where the WMATA Metrorail silver line spawns new major multi-use real estate development projects in Tysons, Reston in Fairfax to Dulles airport and beyond to the data center alley in Loudoun County VA–it is anticipated that less parking may be required.

In summary, it is an excellent idea to estimate how space and the type of space your company may need now and in the future over the term of its lease. That is usually the first step as well as determining timing, location and budget when beginning to explore options for leasing commercial space for a corporate office, flex space or industrial warehouse. Next consider consulting with a professional tenant representative like Keel CRE in McLean who can assist further with space planning and analysis based on your needs, the current leasing rates and the available properties in your area.

About Keel Commercial Real Estate

Keel CRE is an agency of tenant representatives led Rick Henneberg who has over 30 years of commercial real estate experience.  Business owners and company representatives who seek real estate for lease in Washington DC or Northern Virginia are discovering the Keel Commercial Real Estate Advantage by working with Rick and his experienced team of office leasing experts.

For a free consultation, call Keel CRE at 703-625-3666.