The right workspace can bolster employee satisfaction and productivity, convey the right image to clients, and help you create your desired company culture. Despite the importance of these factors, they are often overlooked when businesses move offices.
Companies now have more options than ever when choosing their workspaces. As well as conventional unfurnished leased offices, serviced offices and coworking spaces are also becoming more popular. With this is mind, you should think long and hard about what type of workspace is right for your company.
Serviced offices are seeing a period of remarkable success, with a gargantuan 157% rise in their usage between 2016 and 2017, making them an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional leased office. Also known as managed offices or business centres, serviced office spaces come ready-furnished with everything a business needs, like internet, phone lines and printers. With maintenance thrown in, as well as amenities like tea and coffee, they can be a highly convenient option if you need a ready-made workspace.
What’s more, serviced offices also represent a highly cost-effective workspace choice. Companies like Landmark offer flexible short term contracts for serviced offices in key locations across the UK, which ensure businesses aren’t bogged down with fixed long-term leases eating into their funds. Unlike coworking spaces (as we’ll later see), serviced offices also give a company legitimacy by providing them with a fixed address, and are typically very modern, slick workspaces in contrast to the sterility of some traditional offices.
However, there are some drawbacks to serviced offices. For example, there are limited opportunities for you to adapt the workspace to reflect your brand, which can be a disadvantage when trying to create an ideal company culture, or project your brand’s message to visitors.
Also, whilst some companies may like a serviced office’s flexibility, others may prefer the security of a longer term lease. It is unlikely that you’ll be able to secure a contract for a period of more than 24 months with a serviced office, whereas conventional offices typically have leases of 5 or 10 years (with break clauses included). For many, though, serviced offices are a perfect temporary workspace that can springboard a company to serious success—they are especially suited to startups looking for a flexible workspace that can accommodate their growth.
Coworking, where different businesses work in shared office spaces, is an increasingly popular option for new businesses. The coworking juggernaut no signs of stopping, with the number of coworking spaces growing by 200% in the past five years, and the number of individuals using coworking spaces expected to rise to 5.1 million by 2022. Restaurants, bars, and even nightclubs have been transformed into coworking offices, and they can be a fantastic option for burgeoning businesses.
Perhaps most saliently for up-and-coming companies, coworking spaces (just like serviced offices) are a cost-effective and flexible option due to the fact that entrepreneurs can use them as and when they want, without being tied down to long-term rent payments on a permanent office.
Another huge reason behind their mass take-up is the potential networking opportunities they provide, considering there are usually many different companies in very close proximity. This can be invaluable if you’re running a startup and seeking to broaden your network. Coworking spaces are also popular for their laid back atmosphere and the promotion of a work-life balance (for instance, some host fitness and meditation classes).
However, they may not be appropriate for larger companies wanting both more of their own space, and the legitimacy that comes with having their own address, something that both serviced and conventional offices provide. In addition, like serviced offices, using a coworking space again means you won’t be able to brand your workspace, which could also be off-putting.
Despite the variety of new options around choosing a new workspace, a conventional unfurnished leased office could still be the most suitable for your business. As discussed, one of the main drawbacks of using a coworking space or renting out a serviced office is the inability to make your brand’s mark on them, something that you definitely can do with a conventional office. Here you have free rein to choose whatever fixtures, decorations or office equipment you want. This can be extremely important in creating a strong brand image.
You’ll also have more choice when it comes to location—a coworking space or serviced office may not be available in your desired area, whereas there could be numerous office spaces for rent on the market. Like serviced offices, they also give businesses legitimacy through having a fixed address, and as previously mentioned, for some companies the option of a long term lease is potentially another attractive aspect of using a conventional office as a workspace.
On the flipside, as the sole occupant of a conventional private office, you will also be entirely responsible for its upkeep, and may have to splash out substantial sums on equipment and furnishings if it’s your first office. You’ll also be tied down to an inflexible contract that you may not be able to get out of if you want to either upgrade to a larger office or downsize. The cost and effort of a conventional office may be well worth it for your business, however, and they are particularly suited to more established companies wanting a permanent home.
Ultimately, your choice of workspace comes down to the particular circumstances of your business at the time you decide to move, as well as what type of company you run. Each type of workspace comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and all have the potential to be perfect for your organisation.