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Space Guidelines

Over the past several years, significant changes have occurred in the office environment. The most significant changes are in the technological revolution, work culture (e.g., private offices vs. open plan), staffing trends and occupant expectations. These Space Guidelines are intended to assist the agency and the designer in the development of a functional and effective work environment to accommodate these significant changes.

  • Purpose
    Space guidelines for individual employees and auxiliary spaces are intended to provide the employee and the entire agency adequate space to work efficiently.  The past practice of designing work spaces based on job title, position description, specifically for one individual or space needs allowed very little flexibility in reconfiguring existing furniture and had large economic repercussions, i.e., purchase of more furniture to create a workable environment, physical location of employee(s) not efficient, and moves/leasing of additional space.  Work spaces designed for the task and function of an individual’s job have been found to be more efficient, both for the individual and the associated space.
  • Individual Spaces
    To determine the most efficient use of space for these guidelines, we toured many existing state work environments.  Upon extensive analysis, a design based on an 8’ X 8’ footprint was found to offer the greatest flexibility and benefit for most employees and agencies.  This footprint is subject to variation depending on the task and functions unique to the individual’s job, agency and/or the complete office area.  Features of the space, i.e., existing walls, column size and configuration, the spacing of windows, location of mechanical vents, office workflow requirements, etc., are taken into account and may prevent exact adherence to the footprints.  Certain tasks and functions may also require alternative design solutions.

    The typical 8’ X 8’ footprint incorporates very basic office environmental needs.  As stated above, the 8’ X 8’ footprint may not meet all individual and/or agency needs.  We also developed smaller (6’ X 8’) and larger (10’ X 12’) footprints.  The smaller footprints may be used for individuals whose task and functions determine the smaller area, i.e., part-time, telecommuting, hoteling and data entry functions.  The larger footprints may be used for individuals whose task and functions determine larger meeting areas within their space, and can also be used as a layout for a private office.  The footprint layouts are enclosed in Appendix A of this document.

    In order to determine options to cater to specific tasks and functions, criteria was established to address these needs.  The criteria was developed by using sound design and ergonomic principles and practices focusing on the individual and/or work unit tasks and functions. 
  • Criteria
    Computer Use
    High – greater than 4 hours per day
    Low – less than 4 hours per day
    Worksurface Use
    Storage Needs
    File – high, moderate, low
    Reference – high, moderate, low
    Yes – writing space, chair
    Multiple users
    Personal Preference
    Right/Left handed
    Facing entry
    Height of work surface – standing vs. sitting, reading vs. computer
    Privacy Needs
    Open Office – panel heights, white noise, acoustic panels
    Private Office - door
    After the criteria and footprints were established, we developed the following table to assist the employer in determining which footprint would work best for each employee.  The table can be used, one for each group within an agency, as a check sheet in which criteria apply to each employee.  If a particular footprint does not meet the employee’s tasks and functions, please list the additional needs as necessary.
  • Special Areas
    Agencies will require additional spaces that are not considered individual work areas.  These are for equipment and other functions and will be referred to as “special areas”.  Conference rooms, reception areas, file areas, libraries, shared work areas are examples.  Allowances for special areas are calculated independently of individual work areas.  During the layout phase of the project, special areas and individual work areas will be incorporated. There are no specific square footage guidelines for this area as each can be unique in its own right dependent on the agency’s needs and the space available.
  • Special Use Areas
    Space for special use areas, i.e., laboratory space, library space, concentrated filing systems, etc., is estimated by using specialized industry standards.  Distributors and/or manufacturers representatives of this equipment will be required to provide information on space or any other requirements particular to the equipment.
  • Unfinished Storage
    The need for separate storage rooms used for bulk storage of furniture, equipment, and supplies will be considered after evaluating the agency’s overall space needs and taking into consideration warehousing techniques and options.
  • Circulation Space
    Circulation space is the space required for the movement of people and equipment.  This is most commonly considered aisle/corridor space. There are no specific square footage guidelines for circulation. It is determined by the space available, features of the space (i.e., existing walls, columns, window and mechanical locations, etc.), work flow requirements, and furniture layouts.  Circulation space must adhere to all state and local codes and ADA accessibility requirements.
  • Layouts