By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

How do you know if you’re outgrowing your workplace? More than a cramped feeling, there are many indicators that signal it’s time for a change. Lack of space creates disruptions for employees and before long, they’ll start to hit you where it hurts: the bottom line.

Here are five signs you’re outgrowing your current setup and what to do next. Don’t worry, not every solution involves spending more on a larger office with more square footage.

There aren’t enough desks

If you’re growing your workforce over time, it can be hard to find places to put everyone. Nothing says this more than bringing on a new employee—only to realize there isn’t anywhere to put them.

While some companies order more desks and cram them into every available space, this isn’t the best approach. Paying out the nose for a larger office isn’t the solution either—unless you plan on continuing to expand.

The real solution is better use of the desks you have. Hot desks are a smart way to instantly repurpose space. Employees who work different shift cycles can use the same desks, which eases overcrowding. If growth continues even with hot desks, allowing remote work or using coworking spaces can both be cheaper alternatives to taking on a larger lease.

The conference room is constantly occupied

Nothing says you’ve outgrown your workplace like having a conference room that’s never available. Too many meetings, nomad employees, and lack of collaborative spaces will take away the value of meeting rooms at times when you need them most.

One solution is to create agile or activity-based workstations. Transform an office into a shared space for small groups or collaborative project teams. Those spaces can be used as temporary workstations on busy days.

Freeing up meeting rooms allows them to be used for their original purpose: meetings. Plus, you’ll likely reduce friction amongst employees battling for conference space.

Privacy is a thing of the past

Look at your office and ask yourself, “If I had to make a private call or have a one-on-one conversation, where could I do it?” If you can’t find a secluded area, chances are your employees can’t either. This is a problem.

If you lack private spaces for employees to meet, handle personal business, or even just get away, look for ways to convert existing offices or meeting rooms into private phone booths or work areas. The key is to offer closable doors, sound-proofing, and visual privacy.

If adapting existing footprint isn’t an option, allow for flexible work hours, remote work, or outsourced co-working space.

People are bumping into each other—literally

Does your workplace look more like a maze than an office? Wall-to-wall and back-to-back desks is a sure sign of growing pains. Space utilization may be awesome, but morale and productivity are likely suffering. People need their space.

Desk neighborhoods are a great compromise. Hot desking is another fix, if you’re willing to introduce flexible hours and remote working. Or, even consider different desk layouts in an open office format. Introduce organization to your workplace with clear walking paths, coordinated desk groups, and strategic partitions.

For as much harm as a cramped, disorganized desk layout causes, a well-arranged, well-managed layout has equal, opposite benefits. Keep in mind, employees need about 40 square feet to call their own. This number is flexible, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of productivity.

Productivity is plummeting

Speaking of productivity, if you notice a drop in yours it’s time to check your floor plan (read the best office layout for productivity). Cramming as many people as you can into the workplace will drag productivity down. Likewise, taking away personal spaces or taking away private work areas will do the same.

If options are limited or non-existent, it might be time for a move. Watch your numbers closely and ask yourself if a larger office is the answer.

If any of these issues resonated, don’t wait to act. The longer the delay in finding creative ways to increase workspace, the more constricted and confined employees become. If the time is right, make the move to a larger space to accommodate your growth now and for the future.