When it comes to choosing work premises, there are many factors that come into play. Aside from the cost of rent to the most suitable location, there is also the issue of much space you need you will need for your employees to be able to work efficiently.
Not many employers realize until they come to leasing or renting their office space in Derby, that there are set rules and regulations, as well as a code of practice, that guide how much space people need in their work areas.
Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
Ample space is a must. The feeling of being ‘on top of each other’ is not good for a pleasant working environment. However, having a sufficient amount of space to work in so not necessary for productivity and a pleasant work environment, it is also a legal requirement.
Regulation 10 of the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 is for employers to follow when it comes to physical dimensions and space requirements in the workplace. It states;
Every room where persons work shall have sufficient floor area, height, and unoccupied space for purposes of health, safety, and welfare.
In other words, workspaces must offer enough free space for people to get to and from their workstations and move within the room with ease, according to the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance.
What this means is that as well as an adequately sized workstation, your employees also need to have ‘free space, such as a canteen or staff room where they can relax away from their desk’.
The code of practice goes on to suggest that it isn’t just the dimensions of the room that will dictate how many people can work in it, but also the furniture, equipment, fittings, and layout of the room too.
It also goes on to talk of sufficient floor to ceiling height too. In older buildings, the height of the room may not be as high as we expect in a modern, purpose-built office space. Thus, where there are beams or arches, these need to be clearly marked.
How much room is ‘sufficient’?
The answer is that every worker should have, as a minimum, 11 cubic meters in which to complete their work tasks. To work out if a room is sufficient in the size you need to divide the total volume of the room by the number of people working in it.
However, this is a guide figure because employees in some industries may need more space thus the amount of space your worker need will depend on what they are doing, the equipment they need to do it with and so on.
There are instances where the 11 cubic meters minimum workspace does not apply. For example, in retail sales kiosks, attendants’ shelters, machine control cabs and other similar structures. Neither do they apply to rooms used for lectures, meetings or similar purposes?
As a guide, a room with a ceiling height of 2.4m and a floor area of 4.6m² will provide 11 cubic meters of space. A room that has a higher ceiling of 3m but a smaller floor area of 3.7m² will provide enough space for one person. Both of these would be similar to a very small ‘box bedroom’.
So how much space do you really need?
You need office space that is large enough to offer enough to accommodate the creation of individual workstations but not for the room to be so packed with equipment, furniture, and people that it is an uncomfortable place.
You also need breakout spaces, rooms where people can socialize and move away from their desks. You want – and need – your staff to enjoy working for your business because they are the most valuable asset of your company.
It may be that you need a larger room with fewer people, or smaller spaces with break out rooms, canteen areas and socializing spaces.