Working out your agile office space cost per square foot: 5 key factors to consider

Office design used to be fairly basic – in a standard fit-out, business owners often spend their budget on chairs, desks, computer equipment – and not much else. However, modern businesses are increasingly considering ditching the standard in favour of more dynamic, agile spaces – which aim to utilise the office space to its full potential – down to every last square foot.

However, with an agile fit-out, you will have different cost considerations to think about. We’ve highlighted the most important costs in this blog, to help you better understand how the agile office space works, and how designing an agile office can facilitate better use of your budget.

1) Agile office space cost per square foot

Traditional office fit-outs are usually calculated by cost per square foot, and while the same method also applies to agile fit-outs, you will have some different cost considerations to think about. 

At Dale, this square foot ratio is based on the level of the products and materials we use in our Fit Out Cost Calculator. For example, a Bronze level fit-out (£35 per sq ft) uses standard, cheaper materials, whereas a Gold level fit-out (£55-60 per sq foot) will use more expensive, bespoke materials. When it comes to an agile office fit-out, these calculations are roughly the same, as choosing to implement an agile design doesn’t necessarily mean you need a bigger budget – it simply means your money is used in a different way to a traditional office fit-out. 

Your agile office fit-out doesn’t have to be expensive. Often you’ll find that by adopting an agile environment, you can actually better utilise your budget. Find out how in our guide to financing an office fit-out below.

2) Desk space

Agile working can be summarised by the idea that work is an activity, not a place; so employees are encouraged to work where they feel they work best. Whether this is at the office, at home or in a coffee shop, employees can work wherever they need to – meaning that less assigned desks are needed in the office. 

This means that the portion of your budget that may have initially been spent on desks is available to be used elsewhere, offering potential to reduce the amount you spend per square foot in your office. It’s important to note however that this isn’t necessarily a saving – it’s simply using your budget in a different way, and purchasing agile furniture instead of basic desks and chairs. By having less assigned desks and seating, you’re able to better utilise your budget in a smaller space – your office space cost per square foot may remain the same, but you’ll have more creative freedom over the way you use the space.

3) Workzones

With the space you gain from removing assigned desks, you’re able to dedicate more of your budget to different types of working zones that support the agile work style. Examples of these include:

  • Touchdown spaces 

These are perfect for casual or short activities that require a desk, and they offer a more relaxed approach to work than traditional assigned seating plans. An added benefit of touchdown spaces is that they can actually save you money and better utilise space, by doubling up as meeting areas. This is definitely something to consider when financing your agile office fit-out.

  • Focus spaces (booths)

These areas are great for individuals wanting to do focused, solitary work at any given moment during the day. While booths can be somewhat expensive, you can better utilise your budget and office space by having them, as they offer an alternative working space for your employees.

  • Formal meeting rooms

Many organisations need private, more formal meeting rooms, and they can sometimes take up a large portion of an office fit-out budget, especially if you want better finishings per square foot. That is, unless you take a more agile approach and utilise the space to its full potential; for example, you could use operable walls to divide the meeting room into two smaller areas, which make for more private space to be used all year round. 

Tip: Thinking about how you can use one space for multiple activities is at the core of an agile office, and can reduce your office space cost per square foot if done effectively.

As previously mentioned, whether you choose to implement workzones or not, your office space cost will still be calculated in the same way (per sq ft). When you choose these kinds of spaces over traditional seating areas, this initial cost may seem high. However, you must think about the value and ROI agile workzones can provide over traditional workspaces. For example, purchasing one booth may cost the same as purchasing multiple desks when worked out per square foot; however, with the option for solitary working, you may find the ROI for the booth in terms of productivity is much higher.

4) Tech

In order to be successful, agile workspaces need tech. Therefore, it is an additional cost you need to consider that you may not have otherwise had to think about in a traditional office fit-out. Tech is crucial to ensuring that employees are able to take advantage of the different work zones. At the basic level, this means increasing the amount of plug sockets and USB ports around the office and investing in strong and consistent WiFi. 

However, if you want to truly implement an agile work environment, you may even consider more advanced technologies such as desk and meeting room booking systems, interactive screens and cloud-based infrastructure. While these technologies will come at a higher price, you’ll often find that using them to enhance the employee experience at work will be worth the investment.

5) Change management

A major factor business owners must consider when planning their agile office fit-out (but many don’t) is the cost of change management, or actually training your employees on how to move around and use their new office. It’s likely that not all employees are familiar with an agile work style, and some will need more help than others to adapt to the new environment.

While training may not come with an outright cost, it could impact the overall ROI you gain from your new office. If people don’t know how the agile office works, they won’t use it properly – so it’s worth dedicating some time, budget and resources to getting all employees on board with the agile office.

When switching to an agile office, these are just some of the costs you need to take into consideration. Your office space cost per square foot won’t necessarily increase by going agile, but you will utilise your budget in a much more efficient, forward-thinking way.  

At Dale Office Interiors, we specialise in creating agile workspaces for businesses wanting to make this change, as well as helping business owners get their employees using the space to its fullest potential after the fit-out is done. 

For more information on how we calculate your office space cost per square foot, and what level of office fit-out is best for your business, check out our office-fit out cost calculator.

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