Office design and the requirements of companies are always shifting. Changing working patterns, technology and economic factors all play a role in shaping how office design evolves. The Covid-19 pandemic and a greater shift toward home and hybrid working are facilitating significant current changes.
This means that managers, either of start-ups or established businesses, need to make decisions about the kind of office they need going forward.
The rise of hybrid working
Once a minority interest, hybrid working has become mainstream. The Covid-19 pandemic and the almost overnight shift to homeworking has supported the change, but the trend had been growing for a number of years beforehand.
Employees are increasingly prioritising work/life balance, are less keen to commute, and enjoy the flexibility that a combination of home and office working gives. As a consequence, hybrid working requires less office space and a different layout within that office.
Challenging economic times
There’s no getting away from the fact that we’re currently experiencing economic challenges. Inflation, cost of living and recession create pressures for established and start-up businesses, with the cost of office space coming into sharp focus.
Whether you’re looking for an office for your start-up, expanding into new office space or looking for creative ways to respond to changing working practices, there are a number of different office types to consider. Let’s explore some of the options.
Co-working spaces have been growing in popularity over recent years. Favoured by start-ups, small businesses and freelancers, these are shared spaces where resources are pooled. Workers can book a desk in the co-working space, as and when required. These are operated as private enterprises and will usually offer different monthly packages. Everything is provided for you to work effectively.
Co-working spaces will vary in price, from a basic monthly package that gives you access to a co-working space if available, to more expensive packages that might include live reception services or private offices within the co-working space. They will often allow you to book meeting rooms and conferencing facilities as well.
Cost per worker for using co-working spaces will differ, but basic packages begin at around £80 a month. This hot desking approach can be more cost-efficient if you don’t need regular access to office space.
Types of businesses that use co-working spaces include:
- Two or three-person businesses
- Business with no fixed office presence
- Communications, marketing and media businesses
- Easy to access
- No long-term rental contracts
- Shared resources and reduced overheads
- More costly per head for regular use
- Not your own premises
- May not be practical for larger companies
A serviced office is a straightforward and practical option. It provides a workspace with everything you need to get started, including phone lines, internet connections, and furniture. Because of strong competition in the sector, many operators will provide a range of other incentives such as organised events, collaboration zones, free beverages and a variety of online applications.
Serviced offices are frequently targeted at start-ups, companies moving into their own office space for the first time, or businesses looking to scale back on their office space. Short-term flexible licence agreements are normal practice. These are typically around 12 months, but they may be shorter.
Businesses don’t have to commit to a 5-year lease, so no complex lease agreements are involved, which saves both time and legal fees. If a business needs to relocate quickly, perhaps because of cashflow concerns, this swifter managed approach is ideal.
Initial capital expenditure that a business may spend on things like fit-out, professional fees and IT infrastructure is factored into the licence fee.
Types of businesses that use serviced offices include:
- Businesses that are downsizing/cutting costs
- Businesses that require flexibility
- Quick to set up.
- Less initial investment.
- Everything you need is included.
- Pooled resources
- Maybe more expensive in the long term
- Lack of personalisation
- Sharing facilities
Managed offices are a hybrid option between serviced and leasehold offices. They are leasehold premises that are managed by a third party, typically on a 2-3 year lease, but it may be longer term.
The aim of a managed office is to balance the flexibility of a serviced office with the security of a leased option. As with a serviced office, much less upfront capital investment is required. The operator will fit out the office to your specification and will tailor any additional services you require within the fixed cost to suit your needs.
Your outgoing costs are fixed so you’ll know exactly how much you will be paying throughout the entire term.
Types of businesses that use managed offices include:
- Smaller legal, accounting and professional services firms
- Growing small and medium-sized enterprises
- Businesses looking for greater flexibility
- Fixed costs/accounting simplicity
- Best of leased and serviced options
- Greater scope for personalisation
- Less flexibility than serviced offices
- Reduced amenities
- Can be more costly over time
When people think of traditional office rental they are usually referring to leased offices. Office space is leased from a commercial landlord over a period of time which is usually in excess of 5 years.
As well as the space, the leaseholder has full control over a number of internal aspects like decoration and room layout. This allows for personalisation but does mean you are liable for repairs, maintenance and security.
The business is in the driving seat and has full control over all the lease components. A lengthy contract means you have predictability and the ability to plan ahead. If you are looking for more space, then more suitable leasehold space will be available.
Types of businesses that use leased offices include:
- Larger well-established businesses
- Companies that need more space
- Larger legal firms, accountancy businesses and other professional services
- A long-term lease is usually cheaper than a serviced or managed option
- Control over the appearance of the office
- You have complete control over lease components
- Great availability for companies requiring larger spaces
- Ties you into a long-term contract
- The leaseholder has responsibility for upkeep and maintenance
- Risky for start-ups and smaller businesses
Every business is different and ultimately, your choice of office will reflect your own circumstance and particular requirements. It’s important to investigate different options and to see how they meet your needs now and in the future.
- Co-working: Find your local co-working space at Coworker.Com
- Serviced office: Regus provide a range of serviced office options across the country at different monthly price points.
- Managed office: If you’re considering a managed office, then Flow Office can supply the office furniture you’ll need.
- Leased office: If you’re opting for a traditional leased office, then Flow’s full office fit-out service can ensure your space fully meets your requirements.
To find out more about Flow’s office design, fit-out and furniture supply services, call 01922 453 488 or email email@example.com