How much meeting space do I need for my business?

Posted by: Julia van Ramshorst
Big meeting space in Amsterdam at the Amstelveenseweg 500

A question many business owners struggle with is, how much meeting space they need for their business.

In an ideal world, there would always be a meeting room available, in case a few of your employees wanted to discuss something with each other or with outside parties. However, in practice it is far from ideal.

Many managers prefer to schedule a team meeting on Monday morning. So that, the team can turn action points into results on the following days of the week. But then again, if every team wants to meet at the same time, you need a lot of meeting space. On the other hand, there will be a chance that the meeting rooms are empty for the remaining days of the week. A shame, because every square meter of meeting space will cost you money.

Determining how much meeting space you need for your company is, therefore, searching for the right balance.

What does the legislator say?

The NEN1824, an elaboration of the Dutch Working Conditions Act, determines how many square meters are needed to work safely. This standard not only applies to workplaces, the NEN1824 also sets a standard for the amount of meeting space you need for your company. This is very simple: a meeting room needs at least 2 square meters per participant. Do your employees have many 1-on-1 conversations? Then you will need meeting rooms of 4 m2 or more.

Do you give courses to groups of 10 participants? Then you need at least 22 m2 (10 students + 1 course leader). Do you want to celebrate a free lunch with all 50 employees in a meeting room? Then you need a meeting room of 100 m2.

Note: these are legal minimums. In some cases, when your business provides many courses, you will need more square meters.

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Vergaderruimte Eindhoven Kastanjelaan 400

Meeting space on Kastanjelaan 400 in Eindhoven

Differences per sector

The NEN1824 is clear, but that doesn't answer the question: “How much meeting space do you need for your business?”. Firstly, you need to know how many people actually hold meetings. And how often do they meet? That depends on different factors.  

The amount of meeting space you need varies by industry. After all, some sectors require more consultation than others.   

For example, within a project organization, such as a consulting firm or a marketing agency, people work with multi-disciplinary teams. Depending on the assignment, professionals from different disciplines cooperate to produce a good result. This requires a lot of coordination and meetings. In that case, the organization needs many different meeting rooms.   

In other sectors, such as an insurance agency, less consultation is required. The insurance agents often work for a fixed client portfolio that purchases standard products. Therefore, an insurance agent works independently and one shared meeting room will be enough.

Size of your company and company type

A company with a meeting culture needs more meeting rooms, that is logical. On the other hand, a start-up company is often still searching for the right way to work. This means that more meeting space is needed, compared to large companies that work according to fixed procedures.

Production company, office garden, cubicles or traditional office?

Even within one sector there can be large differences in the amount of meeting space that is needed. The way, in which your company is set up, plays an important role here.

If you have an old-fashioned office building, with smaller rooms, then you don't need a special meeting room for the smaller consultation situations. People, who often need to consult, can be placed in one room with each other. In this case, the office is also a meeting room. Only for the larger groups do you will need a separate meeting space.

Many companies choose an open-plan office because it is cheaper. However, the disadvantage of an open-plan office is that it becomes more difficult to have a brief discussion. Colleagues can get easily distracted and some meetings are confidential. Holding a good meeting in an office space is just as difficult as in a production warehouse. Therefore, you will need some meeting rooms for smaller groups in addition to the larger meeting rooms.

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Werkplekken aan de Marten Meesweg in Rotterdam

Open office space on Marten Meesweg 8-10 in Rotterdam

Do you also have meetings with outside parties?

Many companies receive external visitors, such as suppliers and customers. Normally, you receive them at the "front" of your company. This prevents distractions and ensures that unauthorized persons cannot gain access everywhere.

Do you often have external visitors? Then reserve a few meeting rooms for your clients, while also maintaining a few meeting rooms for internal consultation. Also, do you expect your business to grow? If so, take that into account and provide additional meeting rooms.

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Kleine vergaderruimtes Sint Jorissteeg 2 in Amsterdam

Small meeting rooms on Sint Jorissteeg 2 in Amsterdam

So, how much meeting space do I need for my business?

Firstly, start with an inventory of the number of meetings. Ask others for help. Your executives can show you exactly how often team meetings take place based on their schedules. Your account managers can tell you how often they receive clients.

Keep asking. So that you not only get the answer about how often people are meeting now, but also try to get information about number of meetings per period. After all, there are fewer meetings in the summer, while in February-March auditors come to do their audit for many companies.

Next, try to spread the meetings out as much as possible through time, so that you can maximize your meeting rooms. Start with the large groups and then the smaller gatherings.

In addition, you can read more about how many square meters of office space you need per workstation for your business here.

Can't figure it out?

Even with the explanations above, it is still difficult to determine how much meeting space you need for your business. Can you not figure it out? Take advantage of our 10+ years of experience with office spaces and meeting rooms. Contact us for a no-obligation inventory.