The office space market in 2016 is more varied than it has ever been before. With a number of top-notch options available, across most of the UK, there should be something for everyone: From the smallest enterprises to multinationals. But which is best suited to which businesses? Peter Ames, from workplace search site, OfficeGenie.co.uk, takes you through the major options:
The Old Ones Are (Sometimes) the Best Ones
The traditional rental, where you rent a space by the square-foot from a landlord, remains the most popular way in which to rent office space.
Traditional rentals can involve a lot of maintenance, which takes up often-valuable time.
They offer you the opportunity to rent a space, long term and build a base for your company. You generally will have a lot of control over the office, allowing you to design it exactly how you want. Perhaps most importantly, these remain, generally, the most cost-effective way to rent office space.
However,traditional rentals can involve a lot of maintenance, which takes up often-valuable time. There are also significant costs associated with furnishing and maintaining the space. All the little extras such as broadband, utilities and maintenance can make things costlier than they might first look. Finally, you will probably have to sign up for a minimum of 3-5 years, so you’ve got to be committed.
This means they are particularly suitable for established businesses, but something of a gamble for small startups, for whom life may be unpredictable. Also the smallest businesses, no matter how well-established, may find that in some areas (particularly sought-after parts of Central London), there isn’t always an abundance of space available.
Serviced offices are at the other end of the scale, they are high-spec, all-inclusive spaces where everything you need will be included in a single monthly fee. Everything from broadband, utilities and meeting rooms to (in some examples) on-site catering, gyms and even childcare facilities should come in the monthly price. Terms are also flexible: Generally, leases only involve a monthly, or a 3-monthly commitment.
Serviced offices are a great option for a cash-rich, time-poor enterprises.
All of this can come at a cost: Serviced offices are generally the most expensive way in which to rent office space. Also, you won’t have the control over your space associated with traditional rentals – this means you won’t be able to design your space fully (although some may permit minor customizations).
So, who are they for? If you want to focus on your business, and don’t mind the higher cost, then yes, certainly. They are essentially a great option for a cash-rich, time-poor enterprises. This makes them a great option for startups, as you really can’t put a price on your time when you’re getting established. The flexibility is also handy if you need a temporary space: no matter the size of your company.
Sharing Is Caring
Shared offices offer a cheap alternative to serviced space. These, where you rent space in another company’s office or a dedicated co-working hub, are by no means a new phenomenon but they continue to grow in popularity. They offer a lower-spec package than the serviced equivalent, generally limited to ‘the business basics’ (i.e. a desk, chair, internet access and perhaps meeting rooms occasionally).
For people who want flexible space, at a potentially lower price, office sharing could be a top option.
They also share many of the downsides of serviced office space; you will have very little control over design, particularly if you’re sharing another company’s office for example. Also do make sure you won’t be sharing with competitors, and that you generally get on with your co-workers and the vibe in the office.
But for people who want flexible space (generally offices are provided on month-to month contracts), at a potentially lower price, office sharing could be a top option. Again, it can be particularly great for startups – and you never know, sharing may prove to be the best thing you can do for your business. It offers the opportunity to work alongside other dynamic businesses, embrace their energy, and perhaps even find the occasional opportunity to skill-share.