What are Serviced Offices?

The office market has changed considerably over the past 20 years. The shift towards more agile business practices has led to the growth of serviced office space in most major towns and cities across the UK.

But despite their success, there is still some confusion about what is meant by the term serviced office. This is partly because they are known by various names, including business centres, co-working spaces, and managed offices. However, while these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to specific services.

So we thought it would be a good idea to look at what a serviced office is, the services they provide and what type of facilities you should look for when choosing one.

Serviced Office vs Business Centre vs Co-working Space

What is a Serviced Office?

A serviced office is a facility which provides offices to rent on a flexible pay-as-you-go basis. Typically the office space comes ready-to-use with furniture and telecommunications equipment pre-installed. Utility bills, IT support, maintenance and security are also included in the price.

In a traditional serviced office the amount of space available varies from a single office – suitable for one or two people, to a complete floor with capacity for hundreds. In most cases, business rates are also included in the price, but this will depend on the size of the office you require. So always check with the centre before signing-up. 20 Victoria Street, London is a great example of a modern serviced office space.

Business Centre

Business centres typically provide services such as co-working spaces, meeting rooms, conference rooms, manned reception areas, kitchens and breakout spaces. A serviced office doesn’t have to contain these value-added services but in practice many of them do.

In many cases, business centres are aimed at specific industries. So you will find lots of business centres aimed at creatives and technology companies in trendy up and coming areas such as the Stanley Building in Kings Cross.

Centres in traditional business districts such as 1 City Square, Leeds, are aimed at professional services firms and Fountain House, Leeds traditionally for recruitment firms.

Co-working Space

Co-working spaces usually form part of a business centre. They are large open-plan offices which offer single desks for employees to work from. Most co-working spaces also provide access to meeting rooms and superfast Wi-Fi but no desk phone.

Co-working spaces are popular with freelancers, but they are not suitable for everyone. Some people find them too noisy and there is very little privacy. So if you work on sensitive data, co-working spaces may not be right for you. 123 Buckingham Palace Road is a great example of a modern co-working space.

In summary, if a facility only offers meeting rooms, co-working spaces and breakout areas, it’s a business centre. If it provides separate brandable office space then it’s a serviced office.

However, in practice, most facilities provide a combination of serviced offices and business centres with co-working spaces included.

Now you know what a serviced office is, what are the benefits of using them?

Why Serviced Offices?

1. Flexible short-term contracts

Serviced offices offer flexible short-term contracts from as little as one month. This makes them ideal for fast-growing companies who may need to increase their office space at short notice.

2. Allows quick access to new markets

Because serviced offices come fully equipped with office furniture and IT equipment, occupants can move in at short notice. With offices available across the UK this allows companies to create a presence in new towns and cities quickly.

3. Excellent networking opportunities

One major benefit of serviced offices is the exceptional networking opportunities they provide. A typical serviced office or business centre is full of like-minded fast-growing businesses, making them great places to build partnerships and work on new projects together.

4. Reduced overheads

Because occupants only pay for the space they need, there is no need to commit to extra space for future expansion. This reduces overheads and frees up capital for more productive activities such as marketing.

5. Fully furnished

The average office fit-out cost in London is between £73 sq ft to £140 per sq ft, depending on the finish. So even a moderately sized office will cost many thousands of pounds to fit out with furniture and IT equipment. With a serviced office, the fit-out is done for you. So you can move in quickly and save money in the process.

What do serviced offices provide?

In addition to cost-effective office space, most serviced offices provide additional services such as telecommunications equipment, access to meeting space and the use of stylish breakout areas. These services are typically shared between occupants helping to reduce costs.

The following services are provided as standard in most serviced offices:

What type of companies use serviced offices?

Serviced offices are popular with companies of all shapes and sizes from large multinationals to startups and freelancers. It is not uncommon to find a large international software company rubbing shoulders with independent freelancers in the same facility.

Startups – It is critical for companies in the embryonic stage to limit capital expenditure and not get tied down by long-term contracts. Serviced offices provide the flexibility startups need while helping to reduce monthly overheads. Serviced offices also provide great networking opportunities, making them the perfect place for startups.

Companies expanding into new areas – Companies seeking to develop new territories can use serviced office space to develop a presence in a new town or city in a matter of weeks not months. With the basic infrastructure provided, all companies have to worry about is finding the right staff.

Companies experiencing rapid growth – A fast-growing company needs access to office space quickly. With serviced offices able to provide space from one to one-hundred people, it is easy for companies to find interim space for employees without having to worry about extended leases, fit-out costs and IT support.

Project-based teams – Companies which develop local projects often need access to short-term office space. Such companies include construction contractors, IT service providers, TV production companies and architects. With fully furnished office suites and short-term contracts available, serviced offices are ideal for this type of work.

Freelancers – Many co-working spaces have been developed with freelancers in mind. They provide everything a busy working professional needs to get the job done, from IT support to meeting rooms and breakout areas. But perhaps the best thing about co-working spaces is the excellent networking opportunities they provide.

How to find the right solution?

When looking at the benefits serviced offices provide it is easy to see why the serviced office market is set to double by 2025. With more than 2300 serviced offices currently operating in the UK, providing space from one to more than a hundred employees, companies are sure to find a facility to help support their growth no matter what stage of business they are at.

To find the most suitable space, companies should choose a centre which compliments their type of business. Professional services firms should be located in established business districts, while creative freelancers, design agencies and technology companies may prefer a centre located in an up and coming area such as the Kings Cross regeneration zone.

If you would like help finding a serviced office for your company, give our team a call on 0800 611 8150.

Alternatively, check out the spaces we have available in top locations across the UK here.

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Hannah Eustace
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Oliver Jones
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