We often find that new clients are not equipped to begin their search for new London office space, because they haven’t addressed some basic questions, and have put off fundamental decisions until their search is well under way.

With that in mind, I’m writing a series of blog posts, each one identifying and addressing one of these fundamental questions.

In earlier blog posts I’ve dealt with the two big questions – location and budget:

We’ve established that there are five factors that will determine the best location for your business premises: your current location, communications and logistics, the nature of your business, your image, and cost.

We’ve also looked at the five factors that will allow you to calculate your budget. The one off costs that occur at the beginning of the lease, the recurring costs for the duration of the lease, the varying office space costs across London, the different types of office space available, and lastly some advice for reducing your costs.

In this post, we will talk about the amount and type of office space you need.

How much London office space do you need?

Office Space is traditionally measured in square feet (or sometimes in square metres). The trouble is, for many people, visualising say 2000 ft2 is very difficult, so the measurements aren’t of any real practical use.

How many people do you employ?

When you are calculating required office space, start with the number of people you employ, and how many desks you’ll need. In fact, serviced office space is helpfully measured in number of people or workstations (desks), as opposed to square feet.

Typically, a single desk, in an open plan environment takes up around 80ft2 – allowing for circulation space. However that doesn’t tell you the whole story, as office space is about far more than desk space.

Office Space Calculation

London Office Space Calculator

Fortunately, here at Find a London Office, we have built a great tool to help you calculate how much space you need using much more tangible units than square feet.

For serviced office space, simply enter the number of people you employ (or workstations you need).

For conventionally leased space, our Office Space Calculator asks you how many individual offices you need, how many people your meeting room needs to accommodate, and whether any open plan space should be small, normal, or spacious. Do you need a kitchen, reception, break out area, server room, or storage room, and how many of these spaces do you need?

It will then not only calculate the total amount of space required – in square feet – but also give you the approximate annual cost of renting (including rates and service charge), once you have entered a specific London District. London office costs vary dramatically across the capital.

And if you happen to know the amount of space in square feet you can simply add that instead and it will calculate the approximate costs.

If you’ve entered the details for both serviced space and conventionally leased space, it will give you a cost comparison between the two. NB. Be very careful with this raw data comparison. We’ve compiled an essential report analysing the cost differences between serviced and conventionally leased London office space.

If you want a permanent record of your results, the calculator will email you them.

Have a play with our Office Space Calculator when you have a moment…

What about office layout?

Many businesses prefer the communication advantages that open plan arrangements offer. However you might still need some private office space, say for directors. HR people may require private space, if they are interviewing, or conducting employee reviews regularly. These days, much of this sort of activity now takes place in general purpose meeting rooms, so you’ll need to decide how many people your meeting room needs to accommodate. Depending on the nature of your business you may need several meeting rooms, of varying sizes.

What will your business look like in 5 years time

The answer to this question will likely determine whether you plump for a longer-term, conventional lease or choose the more flexible, serviced option. We will be looking in more depth in an upcoming post about prioritising flexibility over control of your office space – and vice versa.

If you are signing a lengthy lease, you may be planning to stay put for some time. So what will your business look like in 5 years time, and will the space you are taking still fit the bill?

Are you planning to expand in the near future? Will you be recruiting heavily? If so, you may need to plan for that. Otherwise, you may find yourself running out of space very quickly, and having to go through the whole process of finding new offices all over again! Interestingly, clients often ask us about allowing for expansion, but the increased costs almost always put them off! That’s their choice, of course, we just need to make them aware of the consequences!

What style of office space are you after?

OK we’ve talked at length about how much space you are going to need, and how that might be laid out. I’d like to finish off with a nod to the style of office space you require.

Are you looking for traditional, contemporary, corporate, functional or creative offices. This will depend very much on the nature of your business, as well as its culture, values and – most importantly – your clients and their expectations. We’ve talked about how office location can be a very important factor in how your business is perceived. The same is true for the style of your offices.

Of course internal decor and layout can be altered dramatically by interior designers and fit out specialists, but inevitably making significant changes means adding to your outgoings. And if you are a tenant, you’ll need to weigh up the cost and benefits of making substantial improvements to a building owned by someone else. If you can, look for office space that already matches your preferred style and personality, because it will save you money.

How much London office space do you need and what type of space do you need?

So, summing up – we’ve looked at how to calculate the amount of space you’ll need, for both conventional and serviced office space. We’ve described the the various layout options. We’ve stressed the importance of planning ahead, and lastly we’ve touched on choosing the correct office style for your business.

If you need guidance making any of these decisions, we are here to help. A team of London office agents is ready to assist you. Please just tell us what you looking for.