Leasing Office Space: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Finding the right work environment for your business may seem challenging, especially if this is your first foray into leasing office space. 

Ideally, it will provide an atmosphere that encourages productivity and teamwork. 

Therefore, selecting a suitable office space may appear daunting for project beginners. 

But have no fear: If you’re actively searching for your first office space for lease, this guide will take you through every step.

#1 – Identify the Ideal Office Environment

While adequate square footage is a primary factor, others are equally important. 

What office will encourage your business and staff to thrive as a team? Will they be happier in an open-plan office, or do some require privacy?

If your staff enjoys an informal, collaborative atmosphere, consider office space that can easily adapt to new projects or teams.

While everyone will need access to reliable, fast internet service and a computer network, your new office may require the following as well:

  • Private offices for staff who spend their days on the phone or in video meetings. This may include salespeople and executives who conduct confidential calls and meetings.
  • Suitable areas for staff members who require additional desk space for blueprints or graphics.

Spending time to visit each potential location in person is crucial to correctly identifying your ideal office space.

How much room will you need?

While you may be able to visualize your usual workspace setup, your staff needs room to move. 

A solid room of thumb: It’s best to keep at least 150 square feet of office per person.

After your employee headcount, you’ll need to determine your minimum square footage requirements for the entire office.

Office Space Square Footage Checklist

Here’s a checklist with the necessary square footage for the following areas. 

Choose the ones you recognize as essentials and add up the square footage. Finally, add your employee square footage (aka open space) estimate when you’re through.

  • A small meeting room (2 to 5 people) has between 100 and 200 square feet of space.
  • A large meeting space for 4 to 8 people: 150 square feet.
  • Boardroom or conference room (15 to 25 people): 2230 to 3050 sq. ft.
  • Kitchenette: 100 sq.ft. 
  • Manager’s office: 100 sq. ft. 
  • Upper Management (relatively small table): 250 sq. ft. 
  • Small server room (1 server rack): 40 sq.ft. 
  • Large server room (4 server racks): 120 sq. ft. 

Smaller meeting rooms are more than economical … they often make it easier for staff to share ideas.

Lastly, when leasing office space, think mega long-term.

Will your business and staff grow significantly during the term of your lease?

If so, make an approximate estimation of staff hires. These might be helpful when deciding the ideal size of meeting rooms and other common spaces.

#2 – Begin Your Search

Since you have done the research on the type of office space you need for your company, it’s time to start looking at available properties. You can browse for Philidelphia office properties for lease on sites such as 

Here are some things to remember and to discuss with staff before making an appointment to view:

  • If your business ships items to customers, you’ll need convenient access to mail or shipping services. This can be in your new office building or close by. 
  • What locations are most convenient to your staff? Check out public transportation if you’re in a larger city. If not, speak to your commuter staff to ensure your new office doesn’t put anyone on the road for too long.
  • An area with well-reviewed, popular amenities, such as cafés, restaurants, and shopping, can be a big hit with your staff.

Recognizing the specific requirements of your team will help you identify suitable office spaces.

Creative staff often find inspiration with an occasional change of venue, such as a café across the street from their office.

Make Security a Priority

Security and safety should be a top concern when looking for office space. 

Both you and your team members should feel protected at work and when traveling between the office and their vehicles or public transportation.

  • Ask plenty of questions about security measures. These may include key card access, security cameras, after-hours security guards, and a “panic room” in case of an emergency. 
  • Areas that provide safety during weather events, such as tornadoes, should be clearly identified.
  • Make sure to inquire about how the building is managed and who is responsible for overseeing its maintenance.

When you’ve visited several potential offices, reviewed your notes, and chosen the winner, it’s time to make it legal.

#3 – Signing the Lease

Read every word of your lease agreement before signing it.

You should ideally be able to take the signed contract to an attor­ney before finalizing the deal; if this isn’t possible, ask someone who has relevant experi­ence to review the contract for you.

If there is anything unclear or if you feel uncomfortable discussing something, talk to the owner or manager of the building.

Don’t worry too much about the lease; it’s not final yet. If you want to make any changes, you always have the option to do so.

You should always be asking for discounts. Long-term leases will usually give you an opportunity to receive a discount. 

#4 – Customizing Your New Office

Adding a few inexpensive floating shelves to office spaces can make it easy for full-time staff and long-term contractors to personalize their area with items from home.

Once your leased office has been fully-furnish­ed, give your staff some time to personalize their new workplace.

  • Since a new office means something special, why not make a big deal out of it?
  • Ask your employees for ideas on how to decorate common spaces, such as the break rooms and/or meeting rooms

Now you’re ready to settle down, enjoy your new office space, and look forward to expanding your business to new heights of profitability.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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