How much does hot desking increase spatial efficiency?

According to a 2017 article by Skogland, from in the Journal of Facilities Management by implementing hot-desking environments businesses can gain an additional 20-30% out of their spatial footprint.

From a business standpoint this can easily make the difference between needing to upgrade the size of one's footprint and being able to hold off until the organisation grows further.

To understand what this means in terms of physical floor space it is necessary to define a few terms.

The below definitions are taken from the International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS).

Definitions of Building Areas:

Office Space Measurements: Gross External Area

Gross External Area (GEA) - The GEA is the floor area contained within the building as measured to the external faces of the external walls.

Office Space Measurements: Gross Internal Area

Gross Internal Area (GIA) - The GIA is the floor area contained within the building as measured to the internal dominant face (the inside finished surface comprising 50 per cent or more of the surface area for each vertical section forming an internal perimeter). In lay terms you can think of this as the inside of the outermost walls.

In both of these measures, clear voids are not included in the total area, however atria are included at their floor level. Additionally, enclosed plant rooms are included in all gross measures.

Office Space Measurements: Net Internal Area

Net Internal Area (NIA) - The NIA is defined as the GIA, minus the floor areas taken up by the services and structures of the building. For instance:

  • Foyers and lobbies that are common to a building but not an individual business
  • Enclosed plant rooms
  • Escalators, elevators, and stairs
  • Mechanical & electrical ducting, services, and plants
  • Structural elements such as columns
  • Toilet and washing areas
  • Any other services contained within a buildings "core".
Office Space Measurements: Net Internal Area

Net Office Area (NOA) - The NOA is the NIA minus any primary emergency circulation/egress routes (any routes to get to workstations not on the main corridors)

Because of the number of services and the space required to accommodate the structure of a building, offices are never 100% efficient.

Spatial Efficiency:

When talking about getting additional spatial efficiency from a building, we are talking about Net Internal Area (NIA), which typically comprises 80-85% of the office floor space. Across the NIA typical organization will see approximately 9.5m2 per desk to 10.5m2 per desk, however this can be higher or lower depending on the layout of the spaces. (Source: Metric Handbook, 6th Ed 2018).

Spatial efficiency in terms of dollars:

If we take an average of 10sqm per desk we can extrapolate out what the annualised cost saving might be for a small sized organisation of 100 employees. Using the Q1 2022 figures from statista we can see what that equates to across a variety of cities:

City Annualized cost
(USD)/ m2
Total Annualized Cost
Potential Savings
London (west end) $2,883.01 $2,883,007.01 $864,902.10
Hong Kong $2,742.86 $2,742,860.83 $822,858.25
Tokyo $1,818.24 $1,818,240.53 $545,472.16
New York (midtown) $1,809.74 $1,809,737.04 $542,921.11
London (city) $1,696.93 $1,696,931.21 $509,079.36
Singapore $1,491.13 $1,491,125.15 $447,337.55
Shanghai $1,390.59 $1,390,590.19 $417,177.06
San Francisco $1,223.10 $1,223,103.67 $366,931.10
Delhi $1,138.39 $1,138,391.66 $341,517.50
New York (downtown) $1,135.05 $1,135,054.84 $340,516.45
Paris $1,118.05 $1,118,047.86 $335,414.36
Dubai $1,010.30 $1,010,301.07 $303,090.32
Seoul $999.21 $999,214.23 $299,764.27
Los Angeles $964.23 $964,231.51 $289,269.45
Mumbai $915.69 $915,686.25 $274,705.88
Dublin $893.08 $893,082.03 $267,924.61
Washinton DC $852.18 $852,179.15 $255,653.75
Chicago $811.81 $811,814.47 $243,544.34
Toronto $776.83 $776,831.75 $233,049.52
Frankfurt $670.05 $670,053.71 $201,016.11
Amsterdam $651.54 $651,539.78 $195,461.93
Berlin $631.09 $631,088.34 $189,326.50

Annualised Cost (USD) per square metre from:

How much does the unoccupied office space cost my business?

Exactly how much your unoccupied office space costs your business will depend on a variety of factors, including your rental payment,  crowding, and usage patterns. Fortunately, we've built a calculator to help you estimate how much your unoccupied office space is costing.