This is how many square meters of office space you need per person

  • By Joost Lansink
  • Thursday February 21st 2019
  • 10

You have taken it upon yourself to find an office space for your company. In your search you have to keep in mind several factors. To start with, the location and the appearance of your new office. Furthermore, you want to find the lowest rental prices, in order to keep the fixed costs as low as possible. But you also need to find out what the ideal office size would be for your company! How many square meters of office space do you actually need in order for your company to operate efficiently?


After reading this blog you will find the perfect combination of square meters required and the number of people that will occupy the office now and in the future. Using the SKEPP m2 Office Calculator you can calculate exactly how many square meters of office space you will need. You can find the SKEPP office space calculator later in this blog.

Keeping your monthly fixed costs as low as possible is a priority for every company

Legal requirements for office space sizes

In the Dutch Working Conditions Decree (Article 3.19),’ the sizes and room necessary to freely move around in are discussed. As well as what it takes for office space to be considered safe and ethically responsible. We have summarised the most important points in 3 different parts below.

  1. The sizes of a workspace (office space) are such that the employees can work without this posing a danger to their health and safety;
  2. In addition to the first provision, all of the employees must have enough room to move around in;
  3. In case the requirements stated in the second provisions can't be met because of the nature of the work activities, then there have to be other rooms in the vicinity of the workspace that have enough room for the affected employees to freely move around in.


The positive side of these requirements is that your fellow employees have enough space to perform their work without unnecessary risk. Luckily, regardless of your choices, it is unlikely you will break the law regarding the minimum number of square meters required. At this point in the blog, you still don't know how many square meters of office space you actually need. However, in the "NEN 1824" from 2010, we can see how many square meters of office space you need per person’ and we will discuss these recommended standards a bit later.

IMG 7530
Working using Economyclass dimensions

The minimum amount of square meters required according to the NEN standards

  1. At least 4 square meters per person;
  2. 1 Square meter for a monitor (flat);
  3. 1 Square meter for reading- and writing activities;
  4. 1 Square meters for an office desk (movable or not).

In the "‘NEN 1824:2010 nl"’ it is described how many square meters of office space you need per person. Some requirements you must meet according to these standards are shown above. Adding this up you will notice that your colleagues/employees will need at least 7 square meters per person. Aside from that, there are some additions, like extra space for explaining plans (useful for architects, designers, interior stylists etc.) and extra room for business meetings. Based on the recommended 7 square meters you will need the following amount of space:

Number of people

Amount of square meters

1

7

2

14

3

21

4

28

5

35

10

70

20

140

40

280

60

420

80

560

100

700

Table 1. Number of square meters per person

7 Square meters per person: sometimes it’s not enough, sometimes it’s too much!

The difficult part of the table shown above is that 7 square meters for one person are usually enough. But for 100 people, 700 m2 is not enough space. For example most offices with 4 people rent around 20 square meters of office space. The number required also depends on the grid of the office.

Nearly every office building in the Netherlands, built after 1970, exists out of a grid size of 1.80 meters or a multitude of that (3.60/5.40/7.20). Because of that, a space for 4 people almost always has the grid sizes 3.60 (width) x 5.40 (length). This amounts to a total of nearly 20 square meters of space. Following this rule, the tenant would meet the necessary requirements for the NEN office space standards. There are some additional standards relevant to the number of square meters required per person. These additional workplace standards you can find below:

  1. At least 2 square meters per person for meeting space;
  2. 1 Square meter for discussing plans;
  3. 2 Square meters for another type of monitor (instead of 1 m2 for a flat monitor).


Please note (!) this is not space you necessarily need for your employees or colleagues. Not every company, for example, needs room to explain plans. Furthermore, you could rent spaces/rooms in a Business Center. Meaning that you do not always need to permanently rent these spaces yourself.

Renting less space than described in the NEN standards? You can!

For example, the Dutch government sees standards as a means of meeting legal requirements. This means that there are landlords who offer less square meters of office space for rent than what is legally required. But how is that possible? And is it allowed to have fewer square meters per person?

The answer is “yes, that is allowed”. The aim of the government is to create safe and healthy office environments for employees. That a minimum number of square meters of 'office space' is is logical but not required! Many landlords now ensure that there is a central social hub, that there are meeting rooms and that there are shared silence and/or (flex) workplaces.

The aim of the government is to create safe and healthy office environments for employees

Because of these shared facilities, as a tenant, you will ultimately need less square meters of office space to operate. You rent less square meters of space but get the opportunity to work in shared areas. This trend, which started a few years ago, is expected to continue in the coming years. This results in tenants having fewer rooms but in turn have more office space available to them.

The choice is yours, freedom of movement or a cosy workplace? Do you want to use shared facilities or do you want to have all the facilities (kitchen, toilets, meeting room, etc.) yourself? In the rest of the blog provide more in-depth information about the various considerations you must take into account when starting to calculate how many square meters you will need.

Restaurant 2Shared facilities such as a coffee corner or company restaurant

Do you want a spacious environment or a cosy environment?’

Some employees want a lot of freedom of movement, others like to work with 10 colleagues on 20 square meters (net). As you can imagine, that is quite difficult. Of course we also need to consider the net square meters and with net amount of rentable square meters.

You guessed it. The perfect amount of how many square meters of office space you need per person for you and/or your colleagues to work in is never an exact number. Are you looking for office space and do you want to make the right choice in terms of square meters, then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I looking for spacious workplaces or is it fine we sit a bit closer to each other while not being crammed into a room together?‘
  2. Do you want your own kitchen, toilets, reception and social space or are you willing to share these facilities with other tenants?
  3. In case you opt to have your own facilities and spacious workplaces, is there a budget available to actually make this happen?


As you might have read in previous parts of this blog, there are no exact regulations regarding the minimum amount of square meters which a workplace must have. There are NEN guidelines, which state a minimum of 7 square meters of space per person. However, these guidelines do not always proof sufficient, as 7 square meters can be too much for one person and 700 square meters can be insufficient for 100 people.

IMG 6094 1Working in an office using Comfortclass

How do you choose the right number of square meters for your company?

We realize that this blog requires some patience on your part. But to determine how many square meters of office space you need per person in practical terms, you will need a little bit more background information regarding metrages in office buildings. As mentioned before, most office spaces for 4 people have the dimensions 3.60 x 5.40 (2x 1.80 * 3x 1.80). The net sizes of such a space is 19.44 square meters.

The dimensions 3.60 x 5.40 are not a coincidence. An office desk is on average 80 centimeters wide while the movement space for a single person has to be 1 meter including an office chair. This is where the 1.80 m2 dimension comes from. So if it is the case that you need 2 desks placed opposite of each other, you will need a space that is 3.60 meters wide. Tip: It could be wise to position office desks at a 90-degree angle to windows.

IMG 0418 1
You could put your office desk at a 90-degree angle to windows in order to keep the sun out of your eyes while working

Using the SKEPP’s calculator you will always choose the right amount of square meters for your office space

Alright, now you have arrived where you really want to be. You just want to know how many square meters of office space you need per person to house all of your colleagues and/or employees. Firstly, it is important to choose whether, as a company, you want to choose Economy-, Comfort- or Businessclass. The difference between these categories is shown in the table below.

Number of people

Economyclass (m2)

Comfortclass (m2)

Businessclass (m2)

1

4

6

10

5

20

30

50

10

40

60

90

15

60

90

120

20*

100

140

180

25

125

175

225

40**

240

320

400

50

300

400

500

60***

420

540

720

75****

600

800

1000

100*****

1000

1250

1500

150

1500

2000

2500

250

2500

3000

3500

Table 2. Number of square meters per category

* Calculating with 5 m2 p.p. in Economyclass
** Calculating with 6 m2 p.p. in Economyclass
*** Calculating with 7 m2 p.p. in Economyclass
**** Calculating with 8 m2 p.p. in Economyclass
***** Calculating with 10 m2 p.p. in Economyclass

As you can see, how many square meters of office space you need per person varies depending on how many people are in need of a workplace. Which is logical, considering that scale-ups and corporates often choose to have their own facilities. Private meeting rooms, toilets, pantries, et cetera. This means that you no longer need to share facilities as a larger company.

Calculate the number of square meters required with the SKEPP Office Space Calculator

Now it's time to calculate how many square meters of office space you need per person. A useful tool for this is the SKEPP m2 office space calculator. It consists of a number of steps that you have to go through so you can see exactly how many square meters of office space you need.

  1. How many workplaces do you need? For how many employees/colleagues are you looking to find office space? Do you have any plans to hire new people in the near future? Here you fill in for how many people you will be needing office space.
  2. How spacious do you want your office space to be? You can choose between the different categories: Economy-, Comfort- and Businessclass. The difference between these three is that there is a different amount of square meters allocated to each person. Check out the previous table to make a choice.
  3. Do you need any extra space? What else do you need in your office? Possibilities could include spaces such as meeting room, coaching space and your own reception.


The SKEPP office space calculator does its job after you answered these three questions. After that, you will find how many square meters of office space you need per person. Try it out for yourself, calculate how much office space you will need. Click on the button below this text and start calculating right away!


Calculate m2 office space

Working Businessclass using Comfortclass prices with the interior design of Officeplanner

We understand that when renting an office space you want to keep your costs as low as possible. Also, you would like to spend as little as possible on the interior design of the office. To achieve that, you could choose for a flexible interior design from Officeplanner!

What are the advantages of renting an interior design using Officeplanner? Firstly, there are no initial investment costs and furniture is both sustainable and ergonomic. Furthermore, SKEPP takes care of both the transportation and the assembly of the office interior for you to a location of your choice within one week. In addition to that, you will have the possibility to rent extra workplaces that can be ready in no-time!

The Officeplanner consists of two unique office interior designs: URBAN Scandinavian and URBAN Industrial. The flexible office interior design of Scandinavian is simplistic and minimalistic, while Industrial uses though materials and darker colours. Which Officeplanner interior design style will you choose?

URBAN kantoorinrichtingWorking Businessclass with the interior design from Officeplanner

Fiscal advantages when renting office space

You arrived at this blog because you are planning to rent office space. That’s why we want to give you a heads up about the advantages of renting in certain countries. For example, in the Netherlands, it could be advantageous to rent using VAT. This could result in your company paying fewer taxes overall.

Aside from advantages in the Netherlands, there are also fiscal advantages when renting in Spain, Germany and Belgium. These fiscal advantages can help you keep your monthly expenses as low as possible. Hence SKEPP regularly brings out blogs with cost-saving tips and general advice when renting office space!

Do you have any further questions regarding how much office space you need?

Let our experts give you personalised advice. Our real estate consultants help to find suitable office spaces for hundreds of companies every year. Whether this office space is in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland or France, SKEPP always has a large number of options available.


Find office spaces for rent

Do not hesitate to ask us a question on our website or give us a call! We would love to help you and any assistance provided by us is entirely free of charge. The search for your office space starts after calculating how many square meters you need, start your search at SKEPP and find your perfect office space for your company including a great office interior design. We hope this blog has helped you to find out how many square meters of office space you need per person.

Can I help you?

Kas
Real estate agent


Why SKEPP?

  • No obligations
  • A response within the hour
  • Customer rating 9.2/10

Download our magazine: Offline

In our magazine you will find tips, amazing offices, latest furnishing trends and the most unique offices in Holland. Get some inspiration!