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Important Dimensions & Space Standards To Consider In Your Office Layout

Important Dimensions & Space Standards To Consider In Your Office Layout

There are numerous factors to consider when designing an office layout, including the number of people the space needs to accommodate, furniture and desk spacing, and the circulation path between different areas of the office.

In this article we will provide some helpful tips to create an office layout that works.

Seating And Movement

When considering dimensions for an office layout, seating and movement should be taken into account. Depending on the number of people, the seating should be spaced to allow enough room between workstations for people to move around easily.

The size of the workstation should also be taken into consideration, as it should allow enough room for people to work comfortably and move freely within their station.

For larger offices, it is necessary to plan for adequate aisle widths, which should be wide enough for two people to pass each other without bumping into one another. The layout should provide enough of a gap between desks so that people coming and going are not disrupting the workspace of others.

Desk & Chair Spacing

According to British Standard (BS5588) fire regulations, the minimum recommended distance between the desk edge and the back of the user’s chair should be 60 cm, with 90 cm distance between desks for wheelchair users. However, for practical reasons, the space is usually closer to 100 cm.

When desks are back-to-back, the recommended minimum distance is 200 cm between the desk edges. Check out our guide to how many desks you can fit in an office for further information about how much space in general each employee should have when calculating volume.

Guest Chair Space

It's necessary to provide adequate seating for visitors and clients, as this makes them feel comfortable and welcome.

Depending on the number of visitors you typically receive, you should consider the size of the chairs, the spacing between them, and the overall size of the area. A common rule of thumb is to allow for approximately 60 cm of space between each chair. This helps to ensure that your visitors have enough space to move around and sit comfortably.

It's important to choose chairs that are the right size for the area, as chairs that are too large can make the room appear cramped.

Filing Cabinets

When planning how an office will be organised,  you should take into account the space needed for filing cabinets.

Filing cabinets are typically wide and deep, so they require a lot of floor space. The standard depth of a filing cabinet is approximately 50 - 65 cm, while the width can vary from 45 to 90 cm.

The best placement for filing cabinets in an office is against a wall, preferably in an area that is away from high traffic. They should also be placed in a location that is easily accessible to the employees that use it.

It's important to make sure there is enough space around the filing cabinet to allow for ease of use and access. Ideally, there should be at least 90 cm of space in front of the filing cabinet to allow for any drawers to open and close fully.

Meeting Room Space

Meeting room space should be one of the main considerations when designing a workspace layout.

A typical meeting room should be large enough to accommodate the typical number of employees that regularly use the meeting room, as well as a meeting table, chairs and any additional furniture or equipment necessary for the meeting.

Each person sitting at a meeting or conference table requires 80 cm of space. For instance, if you need a table for 6 people, we’d recommend a rectangular table of 200 x 100cm, or a round table that is 160cm in diameter.  For 12 people, a rectangular table of 400 x 120 cm would be adequate, or a round table 300 cm in diameter.

It's also important to consider the purpose of the meetings. The meeting room layout should allow for everyone to easily communicate and engage with each other. For example, a round table might be preferable for small groups, whereas a U-shaped or theatre-style setup may be more suitable for larger groups. Additionally, the furniture should be arranged in a way that encourages collaboration and free-flowing conversation.


A workflow is the sequence of steps that are required to complete a task. When considering the layout in an office workspace, workflow is an important factor to consider.

You should design pathways that are short and efficient. Also think about common areas, such as breakout rooms and conference rooms, so that they’re easily accessible and placed in convenient locations.

For employees that frequently enter and exit the office, ensure that the route from their desk to the door is easily navigable. For visitors, the path from the entrance to the seating area should be easy to find.

Items such as printers and filing cabinets that are used often should be kept close to those that use them, either behind their desk or in a nearby area. If these items are used less frequently, they should be placed further away, with clear access paths for when needed.


If individual workspaces are important in your office environment, it’s important to consider the spatial dimensions of the area.

Cubicles and office screens can be used to create distinct workspaces and define the boundaries of each workstation. It is also helpful to incorporate soundproofing material, such as acoustic panels, to reduce noise and provide an extra layer of privacy.

Additionally, careful placement of furniture and desk arrangements can help to create an area that is separate from the communal space.

Anticipating For Future Growth

It is also important to consider the layout of the workspace and how it will accommodate future growth.

This could include designing more open areas for collaboration, or the type of furniture you buy. Will there be additional desks necessary? If so, the type of desks and storage you consider buying might be impacted.

For example, bench desks typically take up less floor space than rectangular desks since they don’t have as many leg frames and therefore do not require as much space for each chair. This makes them ideal for use in open-plan offices, where space is often at a premium. Additionally, they can be easily reconfigured to accommodate different numbers of people, making them great for teams that are constantly changing in size.

If privacy and separation between users is important, radial desks can be a great solution. While they take up a little more floor space than bench desks, they can seat plenty of people and can be easily reconfigured and added to. They can also be helpful for making use of each corner of an office space.

For a growing office, it is also important to invest in flexible storage solutions that can accommodate the increasing number of files, documents, and equipment. Modular systems are a great option, as they can be easily adjusted to fit the changing needs of the office. Additionally, wall-mounted storage systems are a great option for creating additional storage without taking up too much floor space.

Temperature And Airflow

When considering layouts in an office workspace, temperature and airflow are two major factors to consider. Temperature has a huge impact on the comfort levels of your employees, and if it is too hot or cold it can make them feel uncomfortable or even unproductive. To create a comfortable temperature, it is important to consider the size of the workspace, the number of people in the office, and the amount of natural light that is present.

Ensuring that there is enough air circulation to keep everyone comfortable is important and  can be achieved by using ceiling fans, open windows, and strategically placed air vents.

The furniture should be arranged to maximise air circulation and allow for air to move freely around the workspace. This can be done by grouping furniture together to create open spaces that allow air to circulate freely. Additionally, placing furniture away from walls and windows can help to improve air circulation, as well as ensure that natural light can enter the office.

Health And Safety

Office design should also prioritise safety first and foremost.

All entrances and exits should be clearly marked and wide enough to allow for two people to pass each other comfortably; around 36 inches.

Fire extinguishers and first aid kits should be easily accessible in case of an emergency, and all cables and cords should be tucked away from foot traffic to avoid any potential trip hazards.

The office should also have adequate lighting to ensure that all areas are well-lit and visible.

Need more guidance? Ask our experts

This is intended to be a very basic guide to what you should consider when planning your office space. For any further help or advice with regards to office furniture options, please call for expert advice and guidance.

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