Finding a traditional office lease can be a complex, time consuming and costly task. Serviced offices or flexible workspaces, as they are also commonly known, enable businesses to establish a presence in any city quickly and with nominal upfront costs.
The serviced offices or flexible workspaces market is one of the fastest growing in the property sector today. The UK is home to over 6,000 of flexible workspaces and counting, while London contains over 14 million square feet of flexible workspace – making it one of the largest markets in the world.
What are Serviced Offices or Flexible Workspaces?
A serviced office is a fully furnished, ready-to-use office that is rented by the occupier on a pay-as-you-go basis. A serviced office building is managed by an operator and is typically split into a number of floors or offices that are rented by multiple business tenants.
As well as desk space, occupiers get access to the facilities required to run a business successfully, including reception support, access to meeting rooms, kitchen and breakout areas, printing services, events and networking opportunities.
Unlike a traditional office where the tenant signs a “lease”, the occupier of a serviced office signs an “agreement”. Agreements are simpler, shorter and there’s often more room for negotiation. There are usually no hidden costs, which makes it easier to budget.
Occasionally, services such as meeting room usage or internet will be charged separately. You can often rent a serviced office on a monthly rolling basis or sign up for six months to a year at a time if you’d like more security.
You can sometimes sign for a longer term (for example, year) if you know you’re likely to want to stay.
Unlike a traditional office, serviced offices or flexible workspaces agreements are flexible, allowing you to upsize, downsize or move out at relatively short notice. Short tenancies are ideal for company owners who want to minimise risk or those who are looking for a strategic move during lease negotiations.
The floor plan of a serviced office building is made up of some or all of the following:
- Private partitioned offices for SMEs
- Entire floors for larger companies
- Co-working space accommodating freelancers and small teams
- Meeting rooms and boardrooms
- Shared breakout space, such as a business lounge
- Shared WC, kitchen and printing areas
- A gym, library, yoga studio, wellness room and/or sleeping pod
What is a Serviced Office?
The serviced office industry is growing and evolving at a rapid pace and so is the lexicon used to describe its various features and solutions. Let’s take a look at a few key terms.
Flexible workspace is often used as a catch all term to describe offices with flexible contractual terms. Serviced offices, coworking spaces and managed offices can all be described as flexible workspace solutions. (Think of these entities as individuals that are part of the same family.)
A co-working space is an open plan office that is shared by multiple people, typically freelancers, entrepreneurs and very small teams that don’t require privacy and want to keep expenses to a minimum. Many serviced offices buildings also contain a co-working space.
Managed offices offer occupiers a similar level of flexibility as a serviced office but they are designed for larger companies that want to be able to brand their space and have a bit more long-term security. They are also referred to as “bespoke” office solutions.
The majority of managed office agreements last for a minimum of 1-3 years, however shorter terms are also available. More established businesses might be able to negotiate a longer contractual term to ensure stability and security.
What’s Included in Serviced Offices or Flexible Workspaces Licence Agreement?
Serviced offices are all-inclusive office solutions that are ready to move into. Office operators are responsible for the management and maintenance of the property. The fee includes desk space and the common amenities businesses need to operate well, such as meeting rooms, internet and a reception manager to greet and direct visitors.
All the services and facilities included in your package should be clearly stated in your licence agreement. As every serviced office operator is different, don’t make any assumptions or you might be in for a surprise when you receive your invoice!
Serviced offices are priced either on a per desk basis or a flat fee for the room. Let’s take a look at what typical services and facilities you can expect to benefit from.
Office space & furniture
Of course, one of the main things the monthly fee covers is the office itself.
As well as the actual square footage, this usually includes furnishings, i.e. desks, chairs and storage. Some operators might provide a bespoke fit out for your company as part of the price or for an additional cost. Others may let you bring your own furnishings with you.
Lighting and heating is often included in the price of a serviced office, as well as regular office cleaning.
Meeting spaces are usually offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, but some centres include meeting room usage as part of the overall package. You can book a meeting room at reception or using your operator’s app.
Telephone and internet
These are usually covered by the rent. However some operators will charge a separate reduced fee and others might cap your usage, leaving you to cover any excess.
The majority of serviced office centres have a manager and receptionist present. The former is responsible for the building’s operations and the latter for meeting and greeting occupiers’ clients and providing customer service and assistance to everyone in the centre.
In-house networking and industry events provide occupiers with the opportunity to meet, learn and even collaborate on projects together.
To rent Serviced Offices or Flexible Workspaces in Barnet click here.
The original version of this article was published in www.yourcityoffice.com