Serviced offices are fully furnished, fully equipped, managed office spaces, where the leasee has a ready to use space from the moment they move in, and access to the shared facilities in the building. Unlike conventional office spaces, there is one fixed monthly payment and no hidden costs associated with running and maintaining the building. Also, unlike traditional office spaces, the serviced office is usually available for a shorter period, from as little as one month in some cases, with rolling rental contracts the norm.

What’s included?

Of course this depends on the owners of the business, but typically you can expect your office to be furnished, heated/air-conditioned, cleaned for you and so on. Naturally you’ll have a phone-line and high-speed broadband. Access to facilities like the reception area, kitchen, toilets – and business services such as printing, mail handling, as well as tea and coffees. There is often access to meeting rooms, although these may incur an additional charge. Generally speaking access to breakout areas is common – be they something as simple as a couple of sofas and easy chairs, or something a bit more sophisticated like a games room.

What’s not included?

Lease holders will be expected to bring their own computers and will be responsible for their upkeep. Access to the premises during conventional office hours only is not uncommon, so if you’re looking to operate outside of these confines, you need to check this with your provider before you commit.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are numerous and wide-ranging. The rise of serviced offices is aligned to the rise of the freelancer, startups and entrepreneurs. We’ll go through a few of the obvious ones next.

Flexible, short term leases

For a fledgling business, not looking to commit to a long term lease or raise a substantial deposit, the serviced office provides the perfect solution. The barrier to entry is far easier to hurdle for a startup looking to make their mark. As we said earlier, leases can start from as little as one month and are flexible in their nature.

Turn up and start work

You agree a date to move in and you start work on that day. Moving in day is a breeze. You’re connected from the moment you arrive and ready to go. Even the coffee is pouring.

Being with other business owners

Whilst more conventional office spaces are sometimes shared, being in a serviced office, often with like-minded and similarly positioned businesses, has its own advantages. You might find you’re not just sharing facilities, but also ideas, skills and more with the people with whom you share a roof.

What are the disadvantages?

Serviced offices might not be for everyone. Or at least not for everyone for ever. Let’s look at the other side of the argument.

Costs associated with convenience

Having everything done for you does have a cost attributed to it of course! We’re not going to generalise here as the price you pay will be dependent on many factors – which we’ll briefly explore later in this article – but you’re likely to find your monthly rent is going to be greater than in a similarly-sized, conventional office.

Lack of choice

Unless you live and work in London – or a capital city elsewhere in the world – you’re not going to have many serviced offices to choose from. It might be that if you decide a serviced office is what your business needs – you’ll have to take what’s on offer in your location.

Lack of availability

Aligned to the last point, since they are generally few and far between, it is quite likely that even if there is a serviced office in your location, offices to rent within it are going to be snapped up fast. The counter to this is that short term leases mean opportunities will come up, but you’ll need to keep in touch with your operator and move quickly should something desirable present itself. That might mean paying rent in more than one place, if only for a short period.

Who are serviced offices for?

As we said earlier, serviced offices are perfect for business owners at the start of their journey, as there are few barriers to getting started and no hidden costs. But it’s not just startups and freelancers. In fact the latter may opt for a coworking package rather than a serviced office – but that’s one we’ll thrash out another day. The serviced office proposition is perfect for many business types. They can also solve a problem for a smaller team within a larger organisation. Here are a few scenarios where access to a serviced office provides the best solution.

The fast growing business

A business can sometimes grow faster than office space allows. Whilst waiting for larger conventional office space to become available used to be the norm, nowadays, serviced offices can be used to house employees in teams that have no room to grow in their existing locations.

Teams that need access to a location for a short period

Serviced offices can accommodate small teams that need to operate away from the office for an extended period.

How much do serviced offices cost?

This of course will depend on many things, not least the location. There tends to be a sliding scale for offices within a managed building, influenced by the size and desirability of the space. The view on one side of the building may command a higher price than the other for example. The monthly fee is also likely to be influenced by the length of the contract you agree, as well as the services and facilities available in the location.

What about Freshmill?

So there you have it, we hope we’ve enlightened you a little and provided a balanced argument for and against serviced offices. It would be wrong for us not to extol the virtues of our offering here at Freshmill whilst we’ve got you though right? First up, we’re independent, second we’re new and third we believe we offer something a little bit different. Zoe and Chris Daines opened the premises in the summer of 2019. Their vision was to provide a working environment not unlike a members club, where business owners are not only invited to share the facilities, but encouraged to share the space with fellow leasees. They have designed and built a modern and stylish office space – complete with coworking spaces, meeting rooms (as well as phone booths and quiet pods) – to facilitate and nurture this. They see Freshmill as somewhere you and your colleagues will want to go to work. Why don’t you make your own mind up by taking the tour?