The Ultimate Guide to Office Space

Discover the benefits of office planning, how HubSpot has designed their own office space, and how you can do the same for yours.

Written by: Allie Decker


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HubSpot’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts is one of my favorite places to be.

I actually look forward to my time there. (I work remotely right now … but I’ve considered moving simply to get to go into the HubSpot office every day.)

I genuinely enjoy time with my coworkers thanks to HubSpot’s office spaces which are designed to cultivate quality time — whether that time is spent collaborating or simply catching up.

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HubSpot has put a lot of thought into their office aesthetics, design, and layout, which, in turn, has made it easier for their employees to prioritize work.

Whether you’re looking for your first office or redesigning the one you have, we’ve built this guide to help you help your employees — by giving them an awesome place to get work done.

Keep reading to learn more about designing and organizing a gorgeous, productive office space, or jump ahead using the chapter links below.

Office space keeps your employees productive.

Think about it. The whole purpose of your office is to equip people to get work done. It should be responsive to the employee’s needs, not the other way around. Office spaces that require an out-of-the-way commute or have poor acoustics can hinder your employee’s ability to get work done … and do it well.

Office space encourages collaboration.

Your office is also a collaboration hub. Why do offices exist when everyone could just work from home? So that people can work together. If your office doesn’t foster a collaborative environment, what’s the point? (Working from home is becoming more and more popular, though, and we talk more about that later.)

Office space makes growth easier.

A well-designed office space is designed with the future in mind. Sure, it does the job for your present team and goals, but it also serves as a way to anticipate growth and physical scaling. Planning and organizing your office is a lot of work … you don’t want to go through that every two to five years as you grow.

Office space boosts employee morale.

A great office space doesn’t just escalate the output of your employees; it also boosts morale and positive feelings toward your company and one another. Your office should act as a “mascot” of sorts for your business, showing off its colors, logo and other business “swag.” It should also act as a bridge between home and work … providing coffee, snacks, a gym, or other amenities that keep spirits high.

Office space manifests your company culture.

Your office is the heart of your company and the manifestation of your brand. It’s what your employees see every day and what your customers and clients experience when they visit. What message do you want to send? How do you want people to feel when they leave? Office space planning can help you answer these questions.

Now you know why your office space is important. Let’s dive into how to create an amazing office space for your company.

Tips for Choosing Your Office Space

Are you looking for your very first office space? Perhaps you’re looking for a new one as your company grows. Regardless, let’s talk about some things to keep in mind when setting up an office space for your company.

Location and Accessibility of Your Office Space

First things first, where is your office?

Your office should be accessible for all types of commuters — whether traveling by car, train, or bus. A 2017 CareerBuilder study confirmed that almost 50% of employees are late to work due to traffic or gridlock. While you can’t accommodate for everyone’s commute, you can make sure your location isn’t too far out of the way or in the center of traffic chaos.

It’s also helpful if your office space is near conveniences such as malls, restaurants, gyms, nature centers, or coffee shops. These additions can contribute to employee happiness and make it easy for them to grab lunch, get some errands done, or workout after work (if you don’t have a gym yourself).

Lastly, consider if the location is convenient for customers and clients to visit. Is it near major highways or airports? Can local, day-to-day customers visit it easily? If your office doesn’t often entertain clients or see customers, this might not apply to you.

Price of Your Office Space

Office space is probably one of the biggest investments your company will make. But it’s a tricky undertaking: too expensive, and your office can cut into your reserves and net profit; too inexpensive, and you might be left with a cramped, inconvenient space for your employees and clients.

Only you can decide what budget is appropriate for your business. As you research locations, keep an eye out for hidden fees and costs, such as maintenance and housekeeping fees, parking fees, association fees, and other charges. Also, make sure the overall lease price matches the location and amenities included.

Technology in Your Office Space

It’s the twenty-first century. Your office needs internet, and fast internet at that. Some office spaces include internet in the lease or rent price. If yours doesn’t, bring in an expert to make sure it can support fast Wi-Fi … and can scale with your company as you grow.

Consider other technologies, too. Does your office need a technology-based security system, where employees can get in with a specific pass? Are the air conditioning and heating systems run through a digital system? Technological infrastructure can make tasks easier and keep your employees productive.

Amenities in Your Office Space

For eight (or more) hours a day, your employees will be living, breathing, and working at your office space. Amenities help break up long days and provide touches of home at work.

As you consider office locations, preview the bathrooms, kitchens, closets, and more. Think about nursing rooms and other private spaces your employees might need. If there’s a gym (or you’re considering building one), take a look at that, too. Workplace wellness programs have been proven to lower healthcare costs, and almost 80% of employees say they’d work out more if their office had a gym.

Layout and Design of Your Office Space

Some components of your office space layout cannot be overlooked. Features like lighting, ventilation and air quality, proximity to nature, acoustics, and general aesthetics are vital to employee productivity, morale, satisfaction, and health. Like we said above, the look and feel of your office impact both your employees and clients. Make sure the space you lease reflects well on your business and the people in it.

Company Size and Potential Growth in Your Office Space

The size of your office space needs to match the size of your company. Rule of thumb states that every employee should have at least 70 square feet, but businesses will vary based on industry and how they conduct day-to-day work. While you don’t want to overspend on your office, it’s better to have more space than to cram your employees into a tiny space.

Your office can either hold you back from or be your best tool for growth. The office space you secure now can dictate how quickly and efficiently you scale in the future. If you foresee your business growing and hiring more people, consider that in the investments you make now.

Company Culture and Brand in Your Office Space

When they walk into your office, how do you want your employees to feel? What do you want your customers and clients to see when you host them for meetings or celebrations? Visitors will get a first impression of your business from your office alone. What image does your space portray?

You can alter this impression through redesigning and updating your office (which we’ll talk about below), but consider what message you want your office to send when choosing a location.

Open vs. Closed Floor Plan of Your Office Space

Ah, one of the biggest debates in offices today: open vs. closed floor plans There’s no right or wrong answer … you must choose what’s best for your employees, clients, and business.

Lots of Americans work in open floor plan offices … but are they happy with it? Research says not as much as we thought. As much as open floor plans contribute to collaboration, they also lead to distractions and lack of privacy.

This isn’t to say having an open floor plan is a bad idea. There are pros and cons for both options: open floor plans are less expensive and easily modifiable; closed plans are great for privacy and concentration. Again, the decision is up to you. It might help to consider what type of work your employees are doing … which we dive into next.

Industry Needs of Your Office Space

Not all offices are made equally, and not all companies do the same type of work. Some businesses might need lots of collaborative space, and some might need a plethora of independent, quiet spaces. If your company boasts a variety of teams, consider what each might need.

For example, an advertising agency has lots of day-to-day meetings that involve brainstorming, conversation, and lots of white-boarding and presentations. Conference rooms and collective spaces might work best for this type of office environment. On the other hand, an office full of lawyers, accountants, and financial managers might need closed-door offices that offer privacy and concentration for things like client meetings or intense work.

Consider what your employees will be doing every day in the office space you choose.

Remote Workers in Your Office Space

Remote work is the new norm … even for employees working in the same city as their office. According to recent research, only 7% of employees say they're most productive in the office. Over 50% said their home was their preferred place to work.

If your company includes remote employees, your office space should take them into consideration (even if they’re not around every day). Whether you bring them back into town for annual meetings or monthly visits, they need a space to set up and work. Consider adding a few extra desks (equipped with the necessary technology!) or setting up a few lounge spaces for remote workers when they return.

Tips for Designing an Innovative Office Space (Taken from HubSpot’s Own Office)

1. Make desk space comfortable.

Personal desks should be like second homes. No, they can’t quite compete with that Tempur-Pedic mattress and down feather comforter … but they should be comfortable enough to nurse your employees’ bodies, minds, and productivity for eight hours per day. Comfortable, back-supporting chairs, stand-up desks, and plenty of space to work are necessities.

HubSpot offers Herman Miller office chairs, stand up desks, magnetic cubicle walls, and adjustable, moveable filing cabinets that also serve as benches for your desk visitors.

2. Add coworking and lounge areas.

It’s important to develop great desk areas, everyone needs a change of scenery once in a while. Adding “co-working” and lounge spaces around your office can help your employees change it up while remaining productive and focused. Consider sprinkling booth spaces, high-top tables, or comfy couches around your office space.

HubSpot has tables, booths, couches, chairs, and every other kind of co-working space available. When you walk through our office, you see people collaborating in a variety of ways. HubSpot also organizes “desk swaps” every few months so that employees get to mix up their work environment and meet new people within the company.

3. Infuse (on-brand) colors.

Like we said above, your office is the heart of your company. It’s your brand’s home … and it should look like it. Sprinkle your brand colors around your office, and have your logo at the front and center.

HubSpot has orange on its walls, office chairs, and conference rooms. (Other great colors for productivity include red, blue, yellow, and green.)

4. Make it easy to book rooms.

Conference and meeting rooms are just as important as great desk space. They cultivate conversations and presentations, foster brainstorming, and provide a different workspace in which to collaborate. But if you don’t make it easy for your employees to book rooms, they probably won’t use them.

HubSpot simplifies this process by giving each room its own name, calendar, and check-in system. As we schedule meetings, we can check out which rooms are available for the given time slot … and when we arrive, we check-in to let others know the room is taken.

5. Provide amenities.

The amenities you provide your employees will depend on your space and budget, but the more the better. Nowadays, work and life blend more than ever before, and making work more comfortable and relatable can encourage your employees to work harder and stick around longer. Consider adding semi-stocked kitchen areas, stocked bathrooms, gym space, and more — if your building doesn’t already include them.

HubSpot’s list of amenities is a long one. Employees enjoy a couple fully-stocked kitchens (with separate kitchens in each team’s office area), a gym, nursing rooms, stocked bathrooms, coffee and smoothie baristas, and more. (Our office is pretty sweet!)

6. Incorporate nature.

Biophilia suggests that we have an innate impulse to be in and connect to nature. It’s been proven to increase work productivity by 15%. Simply adding natural light, fresh plants, and outdoor workspace can bring about the benefits of this phenomenon.

HubSpot provides two large atriums (one outdoors, and one with skylights) that provide “nature breaks” for employees. They also have outdoor tables where people can work when they feel like getting some sun or fresh air.

7. Supply private workspaces.

A great way to combat the open versus closed floor plan debate is to offer both. Consider offering open, cubicle-like offices paired with private rooms for two or more people. This meets the needs of both types of employees — the ones who like loud, collaborative environments, and the ones who prefer solitary, quiet workspaces.

Hubspot provides a blend of open and closed areas. The main office rooms have low-walled, three-sided cubicles but tend to be loud with lots of conversation and phone calls. This benefits groups like our Sales team who like to learn from one another’s conversations and our Marketing teams, who often talk through ideas. HubSpot also offers private rooms for independent work or small group meetings, as well as meditation and nap rooms sprinkled around the office.

Over to You

Look around you. Are you happy with your workspace? If you aren’t, chances are your employees aren’t either. It’s your job to create an environment that fosters collaboration, productivity, and high morale … and doing so doesn’t have to be difficult. Tap into some of the advice above and create a place to which you’re proud to come every day.

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Topics: Office Space

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