What is a Serviced Office? Advantages & What's Included
Serviced offices are properties that cater to companies needing ready-to-move-in office space. Typically, a serviced office will be fully equipped with everything that a business requires to get started. This may include office furniture, workstations, telecommunications equipment, equipped reception areas, common areas like kitchens or break rooms, meeting and conferencing facilities, and waiting areas for clients and visitors.
These offices first appeared in the UK in the late 1980s but didn't experience a surge in popularity until the early 2000s. The serviced office industry has been growing at double digit rates nationwide, with thousands of operators offering this option.
Initially, occupiers of serviced office space were companies in sectors like professional business services, multinationals, scientific and technical professions. Nowadays, the occupier profile is more diverse and this option is an appealing choice for companies of all sizes and industries, including first-time business owners and SMEs.
London has the highest number of serviced office operators, which are mostly concentrated in the City, City Fringe, West End, Southbank, and the E1 postcode. Outside of the capital, serviced offices are growing in popularity and are common in areas with a high density of tech and creative businesses.
What are the Advantages of Serviced Offices?
Serviced offices offer access to fully functional office space in a matter of hours or days. This eliminates the time-consuming process of searching for and equipping traditional offices. Moreover, these premises are run by dedicated office management companies, which liaise with service providers and ensure premises are configured to suit the tenant's needs. These companies provide a single point of contact, which makes communication easy and saves time.
The office providers themselves take on responsibilities often associated with maintaining the building, providing services and ensuring that facilities are all working correctly.
Serviced offices are available on an all-inclusive model that makes it easier to budget and keep costs under control. In addition, because they're managed by a third party, there are no reinstatement or fit-out costs.
Another advantage is being based in a prestigious location since serviced offices are usually in Grade A buildings within some of the UK's most desirable business locations such as Manchester, Bank and Birmingham.
Flexible leasing options are another perk. Many serviced office operators offer leases that can be as short as 3 months, as opposed to the multi-year leases involved in renting a traditional office. This provides operational flexibility, an attractive benefit for start-ups or large businesses in need of additional office space on a short term or project basis.
What is Usually Included in the Price of a Serviced Office?
The monthly fee typically includes the following:
- Office space rental.
- Basic office furniture (desks, chairs, and filing cabinets).
- Any maintenance that may be needed, both in the office and in the building where it's located.
- Buildings insurance.
- Utility bills, such as Internet, telephone, electricity, water, heating, etc.
- Cleaning and janitorial services.
Other things to note:
- In some cases, additional charges apply to clerical support or to the use of meeting rooms, which are usually charged by the hour.
- Telecom bills may be included, but in some cases a fair use clause applies and they're capped to a certain limit.
- Reception areas may or may not be staffed.
- Business rates aren't always included in the monthly fees.
- Parking space may be available, but it depends on the location and operator. Out-of-town serviced offices and those in campus-style buildings are more likely to include them.
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