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2022 British Council of Office Density Recommendations: how much office space do I need per person?

Short answer: 10-12m2 per person.

One of the most common questions we get asked by the organisations we work with is “How much space do I need to allocate per person?”

The recommended answer to that has changed recently, although we’ve always been advocates of a healthy amount of space for everyone in the workplace. Shifts towards flexible working and an increased focus on sustainability have led the British Council of Offices (BCO) to recommend more space per person in the workplace.

In their October 2022 report, The Future of UK Office Densities, the BCO used a new method for calculating their ideal space per person, netting out at 10-12m2 per individual.

This has changed considerably from the 2018’s recommendation, which proposed a base level occupancy of 8m2.

It’s a move driven by several overlapping issues – with some employees working from home and others hot desking, a space-per-desk metric is no longer accurate for many organisations. Similarly, a renewed focus on wellbeing, personal space and sustainability means a move towards more space per individual was inevitable.

UK energy and carbon reduction metrics have also played their part: as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems contribute embodied carbon in a direct correlation with the amount of people using a building, a lower density workspace results in less embodied carbon.

More questions about the perfect office fit-out? Download out Ultimate Office Fit-Out Guide here.

Need to understand how your workplace can drive your ESG strategy? Read our Guide to ESG for Ambitious Businesses here.

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