If you’re buying or renting a new house, the phrase “make a house a home” can sometimes feel a bit redundant: you need somewhere to live and although you’d like it to be nice, cost and location generally come first. It’s much the same with an office for a business. That said, there are many types of space available and some will be more suitable than others. Lilli Hender from OfficeGenie.co.uk is here to tell you what you need to know to make the best decision.
One of the first major considerations should be the size of the space you’re after. This will involve weighing up plans for expansion, reduction, and retention of the number of employees in the business.
If you’re in your very early days with few employees and no expansion plans yet in the pipeline, finding a shared office can be a great place to start. This involves a company renting out spare desks available in their office, acting as a host to your business.
For smaller teams set to grow, coworking hubs can be the office-space solution: desks come on a per-person basis and, if the property is big enough, will allow for expansion. If there is a large number of staff members to cater for, a serviced or traditional lease will usually be the best option. These are generally bigger offices and the space is rented out solely to one company to occupy.
Company culture considerations
Many startups want their office to reflect the innovation that has gone into setting up the business. This will more often than not involve envisioning slides, ping pong tables, bean bags and the like. A few coworking hubs will offer this sort of office-based fun (WeWork have beer on tap, for example) but generally this can only come with private offices and a lot of cash!
If you want to be able to customise to suit your brand and culture, you’re in need of a traditional-lease office. Renting this type of space involves outfitting the property yourself: desks, chairs, computers, (slides) and all. You can make it exactly how you want it but it requires time, effort and money.
Serviced offices are the opposite: everything is set up and ready to go. They generally look nice and function well, and coworking hubs and shared offices are thankfully much the same – even if you do lose a bit of artistic license.
If the price is right…
When it comes to the cost of office space, it is both dependent on the type and the whereabouts of the property. I’ll start by saying if you want an office in London, it’s going to cost a small fortune regardless of what kind of space it is.
Serviced offices are generally the most expensive option: they come fully equipped with everything a business could need and often include added extras such as a reception and security personnel. Coworking hubs and shared offices can include similar services but needless to say, the more basic the offering, the cheaper it will be. Desks in London can be anything from £200 per desk per month to in excess of £1,000.
Traditional spaces are usually the most cost-effective option but due to the fact the occupying business is responsible for the initial outfitting, you can feel the pinch when first taking on the property. You will also be responsible for the maintenance of the space which means preparing to fork out cash when faced with unfortunate and unexpected events like leaks or broken windows.
Last but not lease
If you’re after flexibility or a short-term let, coworking will provide you with what you need. Contracts are generally on a rolling, monthly basis. Serviced offices are starting to become more flexible too, with contracts appearing on a one-to-three-month basis.
For longer-term lets, a traditional space is what you’ll want: contracts tend to be anything between three-to-ten years. This marks quite a significant commitment however and you need to be confident in the longevity of your business.
It’s worth adding as a final point that there are plenty of alternative spaces if you’re just starting out or need a quick fix: libraries and cafes will happily host small teams, freelancers, and budding businessmen and businesswomen! One will provide peace and quiet and the other one lots of coffee – it’s really up to you!
When you’re unsure of what the future holds for your business, choosing an office to suit your needs can feel like a difficult task. Rest assured you’ll make the right decision – just take enough time out to consider the various options and what it is want from the space.
Lilli Hender writes for OfficeGenie.co.uk: a desk and office space marketplace for every kind of business. She primarily writes about workplace wellbeing, productivity, and making the most of your workspace.
Trying to Expand Your Business?
If your business is taking off and you think it’s time to start expanding to bigger offices – or maybe open a whole new one – you might want to make sure you have the right systems and processes in place.
Otherwise, you could end up with more complexity than you bargained for, and that growth can quickly take a downturn.
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