SHARING RATIO. One of the most basic questions when designing an ABW office is how many workspaces there should be. If there are too few, people will have difficulty finding a workspace to their liking, and quickly become frustrated. If there are too many, people are likely to settle at fixed positions. The key figure here is the sharing ratio, which expresses the degree of sharing. Sharing ratio = the available number of workspaces / the number of employeesFor example: a ratio of 0.8 means 8 workplaces for every 10 employees. It is also possible to turn the ratio upside down. In that case 0.8 becomes 1.25 (12.5 employees for every 10 workplaces), which obviously amounts to same thing. It is a simple enough metric, but only if the terms workspace and employee have been clearly defined. The number of workspacesWhen counting workspaces, the question is whether to count desks only or to count any place where people can open their laptop and work? The ABW philosophy argues for the latter, but for the sake of clarity, the recommendation is to focus on the first and to count proper workstations only (those with an ergonomic chair, a height-adjustable work surface, a monitor and daylight access). Those are the kind of workspaces that employees are most interested in and that still have the largest impact on the space requirement. The many other, informal workspaces (e.g. booths, soft seating) are relevant, but they are seats rather than workstations. The number of seats is typically much larger than the number of workstations (double or even more). The number of employeesWhen it comes to the number of employees, the question is whether the figure includes external workers such as freelancers and contractors. These groups seldom feature in organizational charts, but they may still need a workspace. So the recommendation is to include them, although it can be difficult to get accurate numbers for these categories. Another question is whether employees are counted in terms of heads or as fulltime equivalents (FTEs). When a headcount is used, each employee is counted as one. With FTEs, people are counted according to their working hours (e.g. a person working half time is counted as 0.5). 63