Office Space Planning Guidelines to Maximize Your Workspace

When it comes to employee retention, efficiency, office dynamics, and budget-savviness, the right office space planning can make all the difference in the world. It's not even a matter of aesthetics only. And yet, not enough Facility Managers and Human Resources professionals give office space planning a real chance.

That's taking into consideration that innovative companies are five times more likely to have smart office plans that foster collaboration and communication. Even more, nearly 70% of green offices that maximize space for a minimal environmental footprint report that their employees are happier and more productive at work.

Wondering how to really maximize your workspace with minimum financial investment, in as little time as possible, and without exerting yourself?

Read on and learn more about the best practices in office space planning.


  • Office space planning is the process of allocating the right amount and type of space to employees and departments within an organization.
  • Office space planning can lead to several benefits, such as improved employee productivity, reduced operational costs, increased employee satisfaction, improved communication and collaboration, reduced need for office expansion, and easier adoption of the hybrid work model.
  • The main objectives of office space planning include allocating the right amount of space to each employee and department, ensuring that the office layout is conducive to the type of work being done, maximizing the use of natural light and fresh air, improving communication and collaboration between employees, and creating a flexible office layout that can be easily reconfigured as needed.
  • Facility Managers play a crucial role in driving office space planning and should assess the current office space situation, see how much space the organization really needs, sync with each team individually, analyze what type of space would be best suited for the team's needs, draw a plan on how office space goals can be achieved, get stakeholder buy-in, and drive the plan to fulfillment.
  • Guidelines for office space planning include open space, designated quiet areas, integration of collaborative spaces, and maximizing the use of natural light and fresh air.

What Does Office Space Planning Mean?

Office space planning is the process of allocating the right amount of space and the right type of space to employees and departments within an organization. It’s a complex process that takes into account a wide range of factors, including the type of work being done, the number of people working, the need for collaboration, and the amount of storage required.

Office space planning is a crucial part of any office design or relocation project, as it helps to ensure that the new space is both functional and cost-effective.

When done correctly, office space planning can lead to a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved employee productivity
  • Reduced operational costs-Increased employee satisfaction
  • Improved communication and collaboration
  • Reduced need for office expansion
  • Easier and more financially sane adoption of the hybrid work model

Blog post photos 2 (10)

What Are the Objectives of Office Space Planning?

Some of the main objectives of office space planning include the following:

Allocating the Right Amount of Space to Each Employee and Department

To make sure your office space planning starts on the right foot (and serves your team's needs), you need to take into account the type of work being done and how many people are working. You also need to consider the amount of storage required, as well as the need for collaboration and how many people will be in the office at a given time (particularly important if you've embraced a hybrid work model.)

Ensuring That the Office Layout Is Conducive to the Type of Work Being Done

The office layout should support the type of work being done. For example, if you have a lot of employees who work on computers, you'll want to make sure they have enough space and that the layout allows for easy movement between desks.

If your team needs to collaborate frequently, you'll want to create a space that encourages that, such as by having meeting rooms and breakout areas. And if you have staff who are frequently on the phone, you'll want to make sure they have enough space and privacy to do their work without disturbing others.

Maximizing the Use of Natural Light and Fresh Air

Natural light and fresh air can have a positive impact on employee productivity, so it's important to make sure they have access to these things in the office. Studies have shown that natural light can boost employee productivity by 2% -- which, translated for 100 employees, can mean $100,000/ year in terms of monetary value.

Improving Communication and Collaboration Between Employees

When employees have enough space to move around and talk to each other, it can lead to better communication and collaboration. This is particularly important if your team is working on projects together.

Having a well-designed office space can also help to reduce noise levels, which can make it easier for employees to concentrate on their work.

Creating a Flexible Office Layout That Can Be Easily Reconfigured as Needed

As your team grows and changes, it's important to have an office space that can be easily reconfigured to meet your changing needs. This might mean adding or removing walls, or changing the layout of the furniture.

Flexibility is also important if you're planning to adopt a hybrid work model, as you'll need to be able to accommodate a varying number of people in the office at any given time.

colleagues analyzing data

Your Facility Manager’s Role and Office Space Goals

As a Facility Manager, you have a crucial role in driving the office space planning (and replanning). You likely already have some idea of the goals you want to achieve with your office space and how to do it, but keep in mind that it will be your job to:

  • Assess the current office space situation
  • See how much space your organization really needs
  • Sync with each team individually
  • Analyze what type of space would be best suited for your team's needs.
  • Draw a plan on how your office space goals can be achieved
  • Get stakeholder buy-in and drive your plan to fulfillment

Factors to Consider in Office Space Planning

What are the key factors to consider when planning your office space?

Budget Constraints

Planning the perfect workspace involves striking a balance between desires and available resources. The budget is critical in determining the scope of enhancements you can afford. But remember - money invested smartly today can yield countless productive hours tomorrow!

Available Space

Appreciating your existing office footprint is vital to making intelligent decisions about office layout design, furniture arrangement, and overall capacity. Be creative and think beyond conventional cubicles; modern offices thrive on flexible spaces that adapt to changing scenarios.

Capacity Requirements

Consider your current staffing level and future expansion plans while allotting space within the office. Providing ample area for every employee ensures comfort and promotes health benefits related to ergonomics best practices, too!

Desired Concept or Design

The aesthetic appeal of your workspace matters as it impacts employees' mood and brand perception among visitors or clients. Whether going for an open-plan design or opting for partitioned workstations - align the setup with company culture.

Market Demand & Trends

Just like any sphere of business, keeping up-to-date with trending designs or technology advancements relevant to office setups can provide innovative ideas that offer unique advantages over traditional alternatives.

Fixed Features or Restrictions

While planning around flexibility is excellent, some features remain fixed due to structural constraints or assets such as heavy equipment. A good plan acknowledges these limitations without compromising functionality.

Compliance With Regulations

Safety should never be compromised! Ensure all layout plans adhere to regulatory standards for fire exits, emergency procedures, accessibility requirements, and more. Always remember that a safe workspace makes for a confident workforce.

Guidelines for Office Space Planning

Alright, so now that you have at least a broad understanding of why space planning for offices is important, what your goals should be, and what your main attributions as a Facility Managers will be, let's jump straight to action: how to make a new office space plan happen.

Because every situation is different, we can't give you a step by step recipe for planning office spaces (and running the projects associated with it). However, here are some guidelines to help you in this process:

Open Space Is Still a Must

Open spaces are still very popular. They promote collaboration, innovation, and a sense of community in the workplace. They also tend to be more cost-effective than traditional offices, since you don't have to build as many walls.

Plan for Quiet Areas

You need to give employees some quiet time, so they can achieve maximum focus. This can be done by designating specific areas for quiet work, such as phone booths or meeting rooms.

Integrate Collaborative Spaces

Make sure to include spaces where employees can gather to brainstorm and collaborate. These could be meeting rooms, lounge areas, or even just open areas with comfortable seating.

Light Matters -- A Lot

Good lighting is crucial for employee productivity and well-being (as shown in the stats cited earlier in the article too). Make sure to include plenty of windows and skylights in your office space plan, and use light colors on walls and floors to reflect light.

bright meeting room

Make Good Use of Plants

As also mentioned before, plants can help to improve air quality and make the office feel more inviting. They also help to absorb noise, so they're a great way to reduce noise levels in the workplace.

Bring Touches of the Outdoors In

Your office space's natural touches don't have to be limited to plants. Using certain materials, like wood, special natural fabrics, or stone can also help to bring the outdoors in and make the office feel more connected to nature.

Be Mindful of Budget

Believe it or not, an office space replan/ redesign doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are many ways to save money during the space planning process. For example, you can use existing furniture and fixtures instead of buying new ones, or you can opt for a more modular design that can be easily reconfigured as needed.

Use Every Inch of Space Available

Another way to make sure you maximize your entire office space (even when you're on a budget) is by making sure all space is used: walls, mountings on the desks and under them, doors, and so on. There are many ways to get creative with storage and organization, so make sure to explore all the possibilities before making any final decisions.

Practice Desk Hotelling

If you want an office space plan that's efficient, budget-savvy, and doesn't require a superhuman effort on your end, consider hybrid work and desk hoteling, which allows employees to "hotel" or book desks ahead of time, depending on their needs and whereabouts. Doing this will help you save space, since employees won't have assigned desks, and it will also save you money, since you won't have to buy as much furniture (or rent a space as large as otherwise.)

Use Smart Hybrid Work Software

Hybrid work software is one of the smartest things you can do for your business, as it allows you to manage both remote and in-office employees with ease, save money, save space, and collect important data to help you make better choices for the future.

Using Workplace Software to Plan Office Space

Not only does this type of software make it easier to keep track of who's in the office and who's not, but it also helps to improve communication and collaboration between team members. Plus, it will provide you with invaluable data analytics that can help you make better decisions about your office space going forward.

For instance, Yarooms Workplace Experience Platform can act as a check-in tool, a hybrid work tool, and an office space analytics tool all rolled in one, to create a one-stop-shop for all hybrid work needs Facility Managers and Human Resources professionals might have.

See the platform in action - Watch the 3-Minute Demo Tour

Best Practices for Effective Office Space Planning

In crafting a workspace that meets everyone's needs without unnecessary waste or expense, following best practices ensures that no detail goes overlooked. Let's explore these golden rules one by one.

Assessing Available Space

The journey to creating your ideal workplace begins with understanding what you have to work with:

  • Measure your total available area accurately.
  • Evaluate how each portion is currently utilized.
  • Consider natural light sources, entry points, and traffic flow.

An honest assessment untangles the complexities between current usage and potential optimization. Sometimes, it takes a keen eye to see beyond existing structures towards what could be — perhaps removing rarely used filing cabinets to make room for collaborative spaces is all it takes to inject new life into the office.

Utilizing Proper Tools and Software

The right tools can turn a daunting task into a manageable project:

Utilizing technological aids in space planning brings imagination closer to reality by allowing visualization before physical changes occur. This foresight helps prevent costly re-dos and ensures every piece fits just as intended within our greater vision.

Engaging Employees in the Planning Process

A dynamic workspace isn't designed in isolation; input from those who use it daily is invaluable:

  • Solicit feedback through surveys or workshops.
  • Create representation across departments for diverse perspectives.
  • Encourage open discussion about needs versus wants.

When employees contribute ideas toward their workplace design, they inherently feel more valued —this leads them naturally towards helping maintain its effectiveness once the transition is completed.

Documenting the Space Plan

A documented plan stands as the blueprint for execution:

  • Record decisions regarding furniture placement and equipment allocation.
  • Update as changes occur, ensuring everyone has access to current layouts.
  • Include emergency exit routes, maintaining safety priorities alongside productivity considerations.

Documentation establishes clarity around our office space vision, enabling stakeholders at various levels—from architects to team leads—to stay aligned throughout the implementation phases.

Monitoring and Iterating the Plan

Lastly yet importantly:

  • Implement regular check-ins post-transition, assessing the functionality of new arrangements. 
  • Stay agile, ready to adjust aspects, nurturing continuous improvement within workspaces. 
  • Recognize shifts in workforce dynamics potentially prompting spatial redesigns down the line.

Space planning isn't set-it-and-forget-it; monitoring outcomes paves the way for ongoing evolution, aligning physical spaces ever closer with organizational aspirations. Bold exploration melded with methodical strategy defines outstanding office space planning guidelines poised not just for present agility but future growth scaling equally with business climbs forever reaching broader heights—where will your plans lead?

Managing Costs in Office Space Planning

Whether setting up a new office or revamping an existing workspace, effective office space planning is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency. A well-planned workspace can not only drive productivity but also significantly reduce costs. Let's delve into different ways how these guidelines apply in managing costs.

Assessing Long-Term Maintenance and Operating Expenses

The first step towards effectively managing costs within your office space involves carefully assessing long-term maintenance and operating expenses. Start with analyzing all potential costs tied to your workspace – including routine daily expenses like utility bills and cleaning fees, as well as future expenses like equipment upgrades or structural repairs that might arise down the line.

When considering these expenses, you should also account for fluctuations in market rates and inflation over time. Creating a comprehensive financial model around this information will provide valuable insights about where most of your resources go while highlighting areas where cost-saving measures could be implemented.


Evaluating Energy Efficiency Measures

Energy-efficient offices are no longer just part of a sustainability agenda — they're becoming crucial components in cost-effective office space standards. Efficient energy use directly translates into reduced utility bills, constituting a significant chunk of operating costs.

Consider implementing strategies such as installing energy-efficient lighting systems, harnessing natural light optimally, and regularly conducting energy audits for conservation. Even small steps like encouraging employees to switch off lights when leaving rooms can contribute enormous savings over time.

Exploring Cost-Saving Strategies

Creativity and innovation are critical when crafting effective, superior, cost-saving strategies. For instance, adopting an efficient office space layout may substantially decrease facility costs. Also, consider embracing flexible work arrangements such as hot desking or remote working policies, which can significantly cut real estate requirements and associated overheads.

Emphasize having plants in the workspace, too! Research shows that teams working in sight of even a single plant are more productive than those without, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

In the ultimate analysis, successful cost management while planning office space is about thinking long-term, being energy-conscious, and staying open to innovative strategies. These facets combined can create an optimal workspace that fosters creativity, bolsters productivity, and, most crucially, controls costs effectively.

Office Space Planning: FAQS

How Much Space Do You Need per Employee?

As a general rule of thumb, you should plan for about 175 square feet per employee. This number will obviously vary depending on the type of business you have, the size of your employees, and the amount of space you have available, as well as what level of seniority your employee is at.

How Many Conference Rooms Do You Need per Employee?

This number will also vary depending on the type of business you have, but as a general rule of thumb, you should plan for one conference room per every 10-20 employees.

What’s an Ideal Mix of Quiet and Collaborative Spaces?

An ideal mix of quiet and collaborative spaces will usually be about 60/40, with 60% of the space being dedicated to quiet work and 40% being dedicated to collaborative work. However, this number will obviously vary depending on the type of business you have and the needs of your employees.

How Do You Plan Office Space?

A solid office space plan starts with a situational assessment and an inquiry into what each team needs from their office space. Furthermore, aside from the good planning, you might also want to consider hybrid work software if only part of your employees are at the office at any given time, as this will help you save money, optimize your office space, and make the team happier.

What Factors Must Be Considered When Planning Office Space?

Some important factors to consider when planning office space include:

  • The type of business you have
  • The size of your employees
  • The amount of space you have available
  • What level of seniority your employees are
  • How many conference rooms you need per employee
  • The ideal mix of quiet and collaborative


Topics: Facility management

Still using makeshift workplace
management tools?

Join the thousands of forward-thinking companies that use YAROOMS
to manage their workplaces.

Still using makeshift workplace management tools?
Join the thousands of forward-thinking companies that use YAROOMS to manage their workplaces.
Schedule a demo Platform Tour