How to calculate space for your commercial office design?


How to calculate space for your commercial office design?

Start with ‘people’ not ‘things’

Despite the essential role that technology, paint colors, and furnishings play in commercial office renovation or relocation, businesses today are re-focusing on their employees. Making the old adage “our people are our greatest asset” much more relevant.

The commercial office space calculation in 2017 looks a little different than it has in the past. Your office space design is no longer as clear cut as identifying how much square footage each employee requires, the number of desks needed, or your staffing growth plan for the next two years. If you are relocating your office, remodeling your workspace or completely renovating your commercial office space then you may want to consider this:

Employee Well-Being, Recruitment & Retention


Business Objectives


Office Space Needs



  • Don’t limit each employee to just ONE workstation. ‘Activity Based Working’ (ABW) has become somewhat of a norm, with collaborative work spaces becoming an important element of commercial office design not to be ignored. The ability to efficiently and effectively work from a different or remote location every day, even if it is just in the conference room down the hall or the soft seating in the lounge, is important to recruiting the best talent. This physical workplace flexibility, not only attracts great people (cough, millenials), but lends to keeping that talent engaged and energized while in the office.
  • Include ways for employees to stay healthy while at work (yes, while working). From standing and walking desks to natural light and putting the coffee in one centralized location to get people moving and socializing,  So you gotta factor that in.
  • Roll out the welcome wagon. With partnerships, freelancers, and blended workflows playing a huge part in many business models, building dedicated, functional, and welcoming spaces for contractors or visiting partners is critical to your office planning calculation. The opportunity for everyone to come together in one space and feel like a true team can mean a lot for achieving and maintaining success.



  • Ummm so what is it exactly that you do? Incorporating bottom line business objectives into planning your workspace is essential.  The timing of new product or service launches, lease renewals, seasonal sales promotions, staff recruitment goals, fulfillment mandates, and just straight up sales goals should be identified when completing your office space planning equation. These factors could greatly impact how your employees work while in the office, as well as their overall productively.


Office Space Calculations



When your calculation is based on adding the elements of employee well-being, retention & recruitment plus your overall business objectives together, you can easily solve for the hard numbers of your office space needs equation. The Balance, Human Resources offered a great article outlining a list of office planning questions for your team. Questions like:

  • Employees Requiring Offices
  • Employees Requiring Cubicles
  • Employees Open Area
  • Other Office Area Requirements
  • Future GrowtH
  • Factor in Cost ($ per sf)

There are also some great tools you can use to help you “do the math” for your commercial office space design. Check out this great office space calculator from Lease Matrix. And here are a few other tools we like:


And, if you can just keep the simple idea of your ‘people’ are more important than ‘things’, you’ll probably create a pret-teey cool space for your team and your business.

At AURA we include workplace strategy creation and space planning as a fundamental part of our process. We’re always excited to chat about our process and to learn about how we could help with your commercial office relocation or renovation in Greater Vancouver.


Recent Articles

Commercial Office Leasing Guide


Key Considerations Before Signing A Commercial Lease

Discover the ultimate guide designed exclusively for decision-makers, providing insights and tips before signing commercial office lease.