Start-Up Solutions is a series that explores some of the common problems I’ve encountered in three years of designing offices for start-ups - and provides practical pointers for constructing work spaces that, well, really work.
Problem: For start-ups in the process of planning a first office, it can be difficult to know how much space to look for – go too small and you'll settle for uncomfortably cramped quarters; too big, and you risk wasting precious company funds.
Solution: A good place to start is to estimate 100 square feet per person – this doesn't mean, however, that every staff member will have a 10 x 10 foot office! That allotment includes breakout space, phone rooms, quiet areas, permanent desk space, and room to roam. Also, if you're like most start-ups, your growth within your first two years of operation might be bigger (or faster) than you expected. For that reason, plan for an extra 20% of space to accommodate any increase, on top of what your total employee goals are.
Finally, now that you have all of this space to fill, you might find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed – especially if you still have another 50 people to hire before your two-year lease is up. But don't fret. A great trend that I've noticed is start-ups renting out space to other start-ups. Not only does this lessen the financial burden for everyone, it's also great for networking. Who knows? Your new tenant might just become your next co-founder!