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    I am just enquiring if there is a regulation or standard as to the minimum size of an office area. I have a secretary who is concerned that part of her office area is to delegated for another secretary, thereby reducing the amount of space that she has to work in. If anyone could give me some sort of idea, I have checked various sites on the web with no luck.

    Thank you.




    Hi Gordon. 

    You may find this helpful.


    Section 5.5 Work (floor) space


     (73 of 222)2009/03/31 12:48:15 PM

    Z412-00 Guideline on Office Ergonomics

    In general terms, each office worker should have sufficient space to carry out his or her tasks safely and

    comfortably. The amount of space needed will depend upon the types of tasks performed and the equipment

    and furniture for the workstation. Other considerations include whether meetings with co-workers or

    supervisors occur in the work area and whether there is any need for movement. Space is necessary for

    access to the workstation and movement when opening filing cabinets and desk drawers.

    Three types of space are important in the overall layout of a floor plan:

    1. primary space: for amenities, meeting rooms, elevators, lobbies, etc;

    2. secondary space: for corridors, walkways and storage;

    3. tertiary space: for each workstation to accommodate a desk, chair, storage (drawers, filing cabinet),

    and other necessary equipment.

    The amount of tertiary space needed for any one individual is determined by considering:

    – various tasks performed (see Step 4 for task description);

    – overall size of the work surface;

    – other furniture required, such as visitor’s chair, filing cabinets, etc;

    – storage needs; and

    – how the furniture will be arranged and put together.

    The Treasury Board of the Canadian federal government, for example, has a minimum space standard, or

    footprint, which is an 2438 × 3048 mm cubicle (eight foot by ten foot cubicle), based on accommodating an Lshaped

    work surface with overhead shelving, an office chair, a visitor’s chair, and a file cabinet.




    I have to admit, I haven’t seen anything in standards anywhere.  I suspect I haven’t because there are going to be differing needs based on:

    • The storage requirements at that workstation
    • Desktop space requirements (drawings versus standard paper)
    • Furniture style
    • Cost/square foot of the real estate
    • Special needs accomodations
    • The job of the person siiting there
    • The style of the office (open, semi-open, closed)
    • The geometry of the workstations (90 degree corners versus 120 degree or even more unique)

    Practically I have seen company standards/guidelines as low as 49 square feet (7’x7′) that was quite reasonable for the task and needs of the employees, but I have also seen as large as 10×10 based on some older furniture.  There are always of course unique positions in the company that get more.

    In a general sense, I have found that system’s furniture that is all designed to fit together uses the space more efficiently and allows a smaller footprint to still be effective (systems furniture has other issues, that is just a comment on the space utilization).  The older furniture I find leaves corners relatively unused and often requires more floor space to achieve the same functionality. 

    My suggestion is that if your company doesn’t have something in place setting minimum or standard footprints (maybe by job class, or function), it might be a good time to set them.  Generally I find most people adapt reasonably well to what they’re given in terms of floor space, but feelings of frustration surface pretty quick if there is perceived inequity.  Company standards or norms head this off pretty quickly.  


    Jeff Budau, CEA

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