Your first office space: Size matters

Your first office space: Size matters
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Wed 31st Jul 2013

If you're moving your business out of home or looking for better premises, there are plenty of factors to consider, from location to cost. Last week, we looked at factors to consider when choosing a location. This week, Cathie Sellars, head of marketing at Workspace, considers the importance of floor space"¦

Cathie Sellars of Workspace

When choosing your first office space it is important not just to consider your immediate floor space requirements but your needs in the medium term to allow for expansion, writes Cathy (left). Here are some of the main considerations for floor space before putting pen to paper on that exciting first lease:

- Does your chosen office space have a dedicated reception area to entertain clients and customers? If it doesn't, you may need to pencil a reception area into the floor plan before you even begin to consider office layouts.

- You may, however, not even require a reception area - in which case you can put this extra space to good use.


Some cables will require raised flooring in order to meet health and safety standards.

- Find out whether there are any elevated structural floors to allow you to plan for the passage and routing of mechanical services and cables.

- Consider the proximity of workstations to plugs and connectors. It could be a health and safety hazard if you have bare wires lying across the floor.

- Rather than elevated structural floors, you could avoid trailing cables by placing equipment away from walkways and use cable guards to cover leads or pin them along skirting boards.

"The shape of the floor plate will influence the number of desks you can fit into each room. An oddly-shaped space can increase the cost per employee per square foot. "

Choosing an office | Floor plan

Remember the toilets!

Most floor plans include toilet and kitchen space. For example, if an agent informs you of an office with 3,000 sq ft of floor space, this may not mean you have the full amount to play with. Alternatively, you may be renting office space in business centres that include communal toilet and kitchen facilities; in which case you will not have to worry about factoring this into your available floor space.

Floor plate shape

Would you prefer an office with space on one floor or multiple storeys? The shape of the office floor plate will influence the number of desks you can fit into each room. An oddly-shaped space potentially increases the overall cost per employee per square foot.

Fire exits

Do your chosen premises have up-to-date fire plans? Ensure the property has the correct number of fire escapes in the event of an emergency. If it does not, ascertain whether major structural changes are required in order to get the office up to standard.

"An increasingly important factor to consider is whether the building meets Disability Discrimination Act (DDA ) regulations. This is particularly significant if you already employ disabled staff members."

Choosing an office | Wheelchair access sign

Disabled access

An increasingly important factor to consider when selecting your first office space is to ensure the building meets the current Disability Discrimination Act (DDA ) regulations. This is particularly significant if you already employ disabled staff members. The DDA regulations ultimately improve access and circulation within working environments. A floor plans with good disabled access in mind does not need to be a static document; instead it should be regarded as something that evolves throughout the occupancy of your office space. Cathie Sellars is head of marketing at Workspace, one of the UK's leading providers of commercial space, offering new and expanding businesses with attractive premises in prime locations throughout London. This post is taken from the Workspace guide 'Taking the plunge', which is available as a free PDF in the Workspace Help Centre.

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Photo credit: Digital Cat (office block), REVIVAL the digest (floor plan),  Scott Akerman (wheelchair sign) via Compfight cc

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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