Work space requirements for office work

For those who work in an office, the workstation or workspace is where they
sit, think, work, meet and, depending on the nature of the job, spend many of
their waking hours. So when you are designing or planning a workspace, there
are several factors to consider to best suit your employee and the work they
do. Office spaces must be designed and outfitted to enable employees to move
safely and freely in the space, accommodating storage requirements and visitors
where necessary, and allowing them to comfortably perform all aspects of their
job. But how much space does an employee actually need?

To answer this seemingly simple question, you have to consider many aspects,


If the employee spends most of the work day out of the office, in the field, or
away from their desk, a smaller office space may be just fine. However, for
office workers who spend most of their time at their workstation, a small space
may make them feel cramped, confined and uncomfortable. Some job functions,
just by the nature of the work (e.g. frequent meetings or visitors in their
office space) may need more workspace.


Our perception of "adequate size" is a matter of comparison. Employees
generally accept that people in higher management positions have larger
offices. The amount of our personal space is often linked with our status
within the organization, often signifying importance, respect and more
authority or power. However, regardless of how large an individual's space
actually is - if it is not as big as that of their peers - it will be regarded
as too small.


Actual office space requirements depend on the size and shape of employees
simply because an office has to accommodate them, enable them to move safely
and unhindered in the workspace, and allow them to complete their jobs.


The allocation of the amount of working space for offices, and for workplaces
in general, is complex. It is difficult to find standards that would apply to
all kinds of work situations, and this is why existing standards and guidelines
specify only the general requirements, if any.

Other considerations:

PRIVACY: Does the workspace provide the level of privacy required? Can people
talk in private, according to the level of confidentiality required? Do noises
and conversations interfere with concentration or make it difficult to hear (if
the work involves using the telephone)?

LIGHT: Does the workspace provide the appropriate type of lighting (natural or
artificial) required to comfortably perform the job tasks?

SPACE AND WORK SURFACE: Is there need for space for storage or equipment (such
as filing cabinets, or a second computer screen), or additional furniture such
as a visitor's chair?

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety