How Many Desks Do You Need in Your Office?

How many desks do you need?

Ever wondered how much office space your business really needs? Calculating how much space your business needs is not an exact science. Few offices have all their workstations occupied at any one time, yet desks still dominate the floor plan in most workplaces. Given that work is now a thing we do rather than a place we go, the rise of flexible and mobile working has provided more choice in terms of where and how we work.

One of the biggest overheads a company incurs is property. Considering that the cost per desk in a central London office is between £12,000 and £14,000, it is easy to see how empty desks can have a costly effect on a company’s bottom line. The general accepted rule in London is 100 sq. ft. per employee. What this means is that the actual desk space will be around 50 sq ft and the other 50 sq ft is an aggregation of the kitchen, meeting rooms and other communal areas normally seen in an office.

The term ‘people to desk’ ratio refers to workplace density and the proportion of people per desk. Freeing up space once designated for traditional workstations opens up a world of possibility. It creates space that can be used for more activity based working. Below is a guide showing approximately how much space is needed for various areas throughout the office:

  • Small Meeting Room (fits 2-4 people) – 100 sq ft
  • Large Meeting Room (fits 4-8 people) – 150 sq ft
  • Board Room (15 – 20 people) – 220 sq ft
  • Training/Conference Room (20 – 30 person) – 300 sq ft
  • Kitchenette – 100 sq ft
  • Small Server Room (1 server rack) – 40 sq ft
  • Large Server Room (4 server racks)  – 120 sq ft
  • Manager’s Office – 100 sq ft
  • Senior Manager’s Office with small meeting table –  200 sq ft
  • Director’s Office with four person meeting table – 250 sq ft


Every square foot in your office should be put to work. When work was a place we went to, a people to desk ratio of 1:1 was very likely because employees sat at the same desk every day. However, with increased mobility and technology a 3:1 ratio has become much more common. This is as a result of more and more employees choosing to work from other locations in and out of the office. If the population of your office never exceeds two-thirds of your workforce, why provide a desk for everyone? As the number of employees who work away from their desk increases, the number of required desk space should be reduced.

Space-Saving Solutions for your Office

One way to accomplish this is through space saving solutions such as bench desks as opposed to individual desks. Also, work out how many of your employees are in the office at the same time. Desk sharing can be a valuable office space saving solution if you have field workers. Conducting a workplace study that monitors the behaviours of your employees and how work is done can determine what components you need to create an effective and efficient workspace. It takes into account the flow of employees through your workspace and notes the use of desks, meeting rooms and other shared spaces.

The most successful businesses are those that have embraced flexibility and mobility, creating spaces that support how work is done and the people who do it. If you need help optimising your office space, contact us today. We are your office space design specialists.