A Guide to Serviced Offices

Many businesses prefer the convenience and flexibility of using a serviced office, due to the flexibility, practicality and cost benefits provided.

Startups and small businesses in particular are favouring serviced offices over conventional office space, as they often lack the necessary budget to cover the cost. They may also not wish to be tied into a traditional rental contract or location.

The serviced office industry is overtaking traditional office environments due to the increase in demand for flexible working. Globally, the UK and the US are the most mature serviced office markets, with central London alone offering over 1,200 serviced office spaces to choose from. In comparison, Europe falls far below this figure, with only around 3% of the office market assigned to serviced space in cities such as Berlin, Paris and Madrid. UK cities including Manchester and Birmingham lag behind London, as does Dublin.

A serviced office in London is the ideal way to establish a presence in the area of your choice, without a costly long-term commitment.

What is a serviced office?

Also known as a managed flexible office space, a serviced office provides a complete office solution that’s ready to move into and start working straight away.

Serviced offices are costed in one of two ways:

  1. A fee per desk/workstation, calculated per month per person
  2. A flat fee for the office

The option that works best for you will depend on the size and scope of your business. If you are moving into your first office or your business is in its infancy, renting desks may be the better option for you. If you require more room, negotiating a flat fee for an office space may be more cost efficient. You then have the option to add extra desks as and when you need to. Known as ‘high density desking’, this can result in a better rate per desk than opting for a standard fee per desk agreement.

To work out which option will best suit you and your business, just get in touch and we will be happy to advise you.

Every one of the serviced offices in our extensive portfolio provides all-inclusive features as part of the rental fee, so everything will be up and running when you move in, from telephones and internet access to desks and furniture. There’ll be no downtime waiting for desks to be delivered or telephone lines or internet access to be set up, so you can get on with doing what you do best.

The owner or operator of the office building has the responsibility for maintenance and repairs and also provides additional facilities and services, where available.

Unlike conventional leased offices, serviced offices are typically licensed. This means you can benefit from a much simpler agreement, without the need for a solicitor to negotiate a lease.

What’s the difference between a serviced office and a conventional leased office?

The greatest difference between a serviced office and a conventional leased office is the way in which they are operated. Providing maximum flexibility, a lease on a serviced office can last for as little as a couple of days to as long as several years, so you won’t need to worry about being tied down if a location or office size no longer suits your needs. The fixed rental price ensures you can easily forecast your finances, as all your overheads and expenditure are included in the fee. Anything additional can be covered by a ‘pay as you go’ fee.

A conventional office depends on a long term lease, which often ties you into a contract for a fixed amount of time – usually a number of years.

A serviced office can provide as much or as little space as you require, from a single desk to a large building. Some locations will offer access to shared facilities, enabling you to share amenities with other offices in the building. This is ideal to enable you to access facilities which you may not otherwise be able to afford.

Who uses serviced offices?

Not just for small businesses and startups, many different types of business use serviced offices to meet the changing needs of their business:

  1. Global businesses – companies that wish to expand across London or set up their first London outpost may choose a serviced office to meet their needs in a short space of time. This is also an ideal way to test the water without investing in a traditional office with a long term lease
  2. Large businesses – serviced offices are often the preferred option of large businesses who do not want to be tied into costly overheads such as long term leases
  3. SMEs – choosing a fully equipped, centrally located serviced office is the ideal way for SMEs to pitch themselves alongside their larger or more established competitors
  4. Home businesses – if a home based business needs to expand or needs to hold a pitch or meeting in a central location, a serviced office is a flexible choice, as and when it is required
  5. Temporary workspace – if you have to increase or decrease your workforce to meet seasonal demand, or you need to relocate to allow for a set amount of time due to renovations, a flexible serviced office will meet these needs

If you’re not sure if a serviced office would meet your needs, consider:

  1. Are you unable to accurately predict your company’s growth rates?
  2. Do you need a temporary work space while you relocate or expand your business?
  3. Is your current office no longer working for you?
  4. Are you unable to afford a conventional office space?
  5. Do you not want to commit to a long-term contract?
  6. Do you want to benefit from a prestigious central London address?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, a serviced office could be the ideal choice for your business.

What are the benefits of choosing a serviced office?

A serviced office allows you to run your business without commiting to costly overheads. Reduce the risk in the early days as you become established with a flexible lease.

There are many benefits to choosing a serviced office over a traditional long term lease, including:

  1. Short term lease agreements – see if the area or the size of the office meets your needs, without having to commit to a long lease. If it doesn’t suit you, you can easily move to a different premises
  2. Cost savings – you won’t have to find the funds to cover a deposit or rent payments in advance as you may with a conventional lease. You will also not have to worry about affording furniture, phones and an internet provider, as these will all be included in your rental fee
  3. A desirable location – a premium address speaks volumes about your business. Boost your reputation and benefit from optimum networking opportunities with a central London address
  4. Freeing up your time – administration can take up valuable time that you could be dedicating to growing your business. A serviced office is all-inclusive, so you can concentrate on the job in hand
  5. Flexibility – commit to a serviced office for as long or as little a time as you like with ultimate flexibility. You won’t be tied into a long term lease so you can increase your space as you grow and change locations as you choose
  6. Fully furnished premises – desks, chairs, shelves and storage will all be already in place in a serviced office, so you do not have to source these yourself. Computers are typically not included, but you may be able to negotiate this with the office provider  
  7. Networking opportunities – working closely alongside other businesses may naturally provide networking opportunities, enabling you to build your reputation and establish your offering
  8. Manage your budget – most serviced offices require you to pay rent on a monthly basis, rather than quarterly as with a conventional office. You can often benefit from a ‘pay as you use’ system with extra amenities you don’t need on a daily basis, such as meeting rooms, conference facilities or catering, which can add up to significant savings
  9. No dilapidations liability – you will not be liable for the costs – which can be considerable – of ensuring the building is in a suitable condition at the end of your lease

What are the services on offer in a serviced office?

 

Alongside the premises themselves, serviced offices typically offer a variety of amenities and services which you can use as and when you need to. While the specific services will vary depending on the individual office, you can often expect:

  1. On-site staff – many serviced offices have an established on-site team who look after maintenance, cleaning and security, plus reception or secretarial support
  2. Up to date equipment – from kitchen gadgets to telephones, benefit from the latest tech without having to afford to pay for it yourself with a fully equipped serviced office
  3. Communication – telephone and internet connection is often included in your agreed rental fee, often at a reduced rate. To manage your budget you can cap your usage, then simply pay as you go if you exceed the capped limit
  4. An all-encompassing service – from couriers to customer service, stationery to travel, all your day to day office needs can be included in your serviced office agreement
  5. Catering – for staff and visitors alike, on-site catering is available in many serviced offices
  6. Efficient administration – you will receive a single invoice per month, covering rent and any additional services or facilities you have used. This will simplify the time you need to dedicate to administrative tasks, leaving you free to concentrate on your business
  7. Leisure and fitness facilities – including gyms and showers
  8. Bike racks and storage space – to store bikes and other equipment
  9. Breakout and event space – for staff and visitors to benefit from
  10. Networking events – the ideal opportunity to meet contacts and build beneficial relationships

Serviced offices – frequently asked questions

If you have never rented a serviced office before, you may have some questions around how the process works and how to find the ideal office and location for your business.

Our frequently asked questions should help you find some of the answers you need. If you need more information or you’d like to discuss your needs and how you can find your next office from our portfolio, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Q: How quickly can I start using a serviced office?

A: You are able to move into a serviced office immediately. Once you have signed the rental agreement you could be operating from your new office within as little as an hour

Q: What are the benefits of choosing a serviced office in London over other parts of the UK?

A: London is a global hub for commerce and offers a myriad of business opportunities. A central London address will also add cachet to your company

Q: What if my business expands and I need more space?

A: Fully flexible, you can scale your space up as and when you need to. If you expand beyond your current location, you can move to a larger premises with a minimum of fuss

Q: What if I need to downsize and use less space?

A: If you find yourself with too much space, you can choose to downsize at any time by renting fewer desks, reducing your square feet, or moving to a smaller serviced premises

Q: How much can I customise a serviced office space?

A: Most serviced offices must remain unbranded, however some providers will customise the layout of the space if you wish

Q: When can I access a serviced office space?

A: Most serviced offices are accessible 24/7, allowing you to come and go whenever you please for ultimate flexibility.

Q: What is included in the services of a serviced office?

A: The monthly rent cost will cover all of the basic facilities, with other services provided at an additional cost which is usually billed by the hour, half-day or full-day.

These additional services and facilities may include:

  • Video conferencing
  • Meeting rooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Printing and copying
  • IT support
  • Customer service
  • Concierge services
  • Travel and transport
  • Stationery
  • Administration support
  • Secretarial support

If you are not sure what type of serviced office you’re looking for, the best location or how much space you need, we can advise you. We’ll also provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.

Choosing the right location for a serviced office in London

Finding the right location for your serviced office is one of the most important business decisions you will make. Your address says a lot about you and your company, so make the right first impression every time with an office from our premium portfolio of serviced offices.

Certain industries often gravitate to specific areas of London, for example Bloomsbury attracts publishing companies, whereas Canary Wharf is renowned for banking and the area around Shoreditch and Old Street is known as ‘Tech City’ due to the volume of tech companies in the locality.

Important elements to consider when choosing the location for your serviced office include:

1. Transport connections – it’s essential that you, your staff and your clients can find your office easily, so good transport links are a must. Whether you want to be close to the underground, overground or DLR, or you favour travelling by bus, make sure you choose an office within easy reach of public transport. If you need to fly regularly as part of your role or clients may need to fly to you, consider a location close to an airport. Also consider if there is car parking available nearby for employees and clients  

2. Cost – rental fees for serviced offices will vary depending on the location and the size of the office, so make sure you’re clear on what you can afford before you commit to a space. The cost of a serviced office may appear high in comparison to some traditional leased offices, but bear in mind you are paying for an all-inclusive location, so you will have minimal additional expenses, if any

3. Environment – the working environment and surrounding location can have a considerable impact on employee job satisfaction and retention. Consider if the space will suit your team and your company ethos and try to choose somewhere with amenities such as shops and a gym close by, or even within the office building itself

4. Image – your company address says a lot about you and your business and a prestigious location can often give you the edge over your competitors. Do consider that a serviced office in an area such as Knightsbridge will command a price tag to match the postcode

5. Facilities – although most serviced offices will include desks and furniture, plus an internet and telephone connection as standard, you should determine exactly what you’ll require before you choose a serviced office. For example, if you need a conference room once or twice per month to pitch to new clients, make sure the option is available and that you can access an adequately sized board room or meeting room on-site

6. Scope – if you expect your business to expand in the future you’ll soon need more space. It’s always a good idea to choose a serviced office that can accommodate expansion so you can stay in one place. Always make sure you find out how much flexibility you’ll have. In some serviced offices expansion could be as easy as opening a few doors or taking down a wall or two, whereas others may be constrained by the design of the building

Locations for serviced offices in London

Once you have considered the factors which are essential to your location, you can make the choice as to where you’d like to be based.

Popular areas of London for serviced offices include:

Mayfair

Popular industries that operate in Mayfair are investment companies and hedge funds. Nearby locations in W1 include Berkeley Square and Piccadilly.

Nearest rail services: Green Park (Underground), Hyde Park Corner (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 10 minutes (Green Park), 15 minutes (Hyde Park Corner)
Average rental price: From £400 – £1,200 per month per person

Soho

Famous for its nightlife, Soho is filled with theatres, bars and restaurants, alongside businesses ranging from PR and media companies to advertising agencies and film production companies.

Nearest rail services: Tottenham Court Road (Underground), Leicester Square (Underground), Charing Cross (Overground), Euston (National Rail Services), St Pancras (Eurostar)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes
Average rental price: From £400 – £950 per month per person

Old Street

Alongside established, renowned tech companies such as Google and Facebook, businesses that operate from Old Street include website design companies and video game developers.

Nearest rail services: Old Street (Underground, National Rail Services)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes
Average rental price: From £350 – £650 per month per person

Shoreditch

Shoreditch is within the area known as ‘Tech City’ and attracts business from the fashion, media and photography industries. Nearby locations include Farringdon and Clerkenwell.

Nearest rail services: Shoreditch High Street (Overground), Liverpool Street Station (Underground, National Rail Services)
Walking distance to amenities: 10 minutes (Shoreditch High Street), 20 minutes (Liverpool Street Station)
Average rental price: From £350 – £650 per month per person

Holborn

Holborn is at the forefront of London’s legal industry and houses a vast array of law firms, plus marketing and media companies. Nearby locations include Chancery Lane, Fleet Street and Kingsway.

Nearest rail services: Holborn (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes
Average rental price: From £475 – £850 per month per person

Kings Cross/Euston

An area of regeneration, Kings Cross is home to a diverse mix of businesses. Nearby locations include St. Pancras.

Nearest rail services: King’s Cross Station (National Rail Services, Eurostar, Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 5 minutes
Average rental price: From £450 – £825 per month per person

Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia is home to an array of media and PR firms. Many of the world’s most prestigious post-production companies are also located in this desirable area.

Nearest rail services: Goodge Street (Underground), Tottenham Court Road (Underground), Oxford Circus (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes (Goodge Street), 5 minutes (Tottenham Court Road), 10 minutes (Oxford Circus)
Average rental price: From £499 – £800 per month per person

Oxford Street

One of the most famous areas of London, Oxford Street is mainly home to media firms and is also the central hub of the UK’s film industry. Nearby locations include Soho, Tottenham Court Road and Regent Street.

Nearest rail services: Oxford Circus (Underground), Tottenham Court Road (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes (Oxford Circus), 5 minutes (Tottenham Court Road)
Average rental price: From £499 – £850 per month per person

Covent Garden

On the edge of the famous West End, Covent Garden contains an abundance of media firms, PR firms, film and television production companies and post production studios. Nearby amenities include Long Acre, which is filled with shops and restaurants.

Nearest rail services: Covent Garden (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes
Average rental price: From £499 – £800 per month per person

Square Mile (City of London)

The world famous City of London – often referred to as ‘The Square Mile’ – mainly contains tech-based companies and financial service institutions. Locations within this area include Bank, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Monument and St Paul’s.

Nearest rail services: Bank-Monument Station (Underground, DLR), Liverpool Street Station (Underground, National Rail Services)
Walking distance to amenities: 2-30 minutes
Average rental price: From £399 – £1,200 per month per person

Marylebone

The area in and around Marylebone is popular with those in the medical industry, alongside hedge funds. Nearby locations include Baker Street, Harley Street and Great Portland Street.

Nearest rail services: Marylebone Station (National Rail Services, Underground), Oxford Circus (Underground), Marble Arch (Underground)
Walking distance to amenities: 10 minutes (Marylebone Station), 10 minutes (Oxford Circus), 15 minutes (Marble Arch)
Average rental price: From £550 – £950 per month per person

Canary Wharf

A major financial district, Canary Wharf is situated in Tower Hamlets and is famed for its skyline. London City airport is close by.

Nearest rail services: Canary Wharf (Underground, DLR)

Walking distance to amenities: 2 minutes
Average rental price: From £450 – £800 per month per person

Why choose Complete Office Search?

Small or large, we’ll find the best base for your business. We’re experts in all London has to offer, so whether you know where you wish to be based or you’re new to the city, we’ll use our expertise to source your ideal space.

From the premium postcodes of Mayfair and Marylebone to cutting edge Camden and Shoreditch, you’re sure to find the perfect office space for your business from our portfolio. All our serviced offices are based in central locations which are easily accessible, allowing you to benefit from a desirable location without the overheads.

Based within easy reach of transport links, your clients and employees alike will enjoy an easy commute. You’ll also be ideally to optimise on any networking opportunities in the area. You’ll have total peace of mind with a serviced office from our portfolio, which all have CCTV and security systems as standard.

Our service is free and we will provide you with a no-obligation quote. We guarantee the best rental price on the market and we will never pass on your details to landlords or other companies.

Dealing with everything from your initial contact with us to occupying your office, we will compare each and every serviced office in your chosen area, saving you the time and effort involved in looking at offices which aren’t suitable for you.

We work alongside serviced offices and office providers alike, ensuring we have an extensive knowledge of all areas of the capital.

Source: Lauren Johnson
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