How serviced offices can help you downsize as well as regrow

One of the great advantages of serviced offices is the ability to expand as your company grows. But at a time when many more staff than usual will be working from home, serviced offices can also help companies looking to downsize their office space.

In recent weeks we have looked at some of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the need for increased remote working, more social distancing in the workplace, but also an understandable desire to manage costs at the current time.

Serviced offices can meet all these needs in a variety of different ways, providing you with a workplace of the size you need for the present, but also the opportunity to start expanding again in the coming months as conditions allow for this.

At the same time, you get all the benefits that come with serviced offices at any other time, including reception facilities, kitchen areas (subject to any applicable COVID-secure restrictions) and ergonomic furniture from known and trusted brands.

If you’re looking for premises of the right size to meet your current needs, and you want to be able to start business immediately without needing to refurbish your new workplace, take a look at our serviced offices in London and Manchester.

A little extra room when you need it

In addition to our serviced offices, we also have meeting rooms for hire in London and Manchester at the same premises – so when you need an extra room for client meetings, job interviews or staff training, you don’t have to leave the building.

This gives you the flexibility to hold meetings safely during the coming months, including using a meeting room to provide you with some extra privacy while you speak to a client or candidate by telephone or video conference.

Of course if you need to hold face-to-face meetings, we will do everything we can to make sure our meeting rooms in Manchester and London are thoroughly cleaned and meet all the necessary COVID-secure guidelines that are in place at the time.

We know conditions will continue to change, often very quickly and with little warning, during the months ahead, but this again is all the more reason to take full advantage of the flexibility offered by serviced offices and meeting rooms.

Virtual offices for remote working

Finally, if you have decided to move your business over to 100% remote working or close to it, you might feel that you no longer need physical premises, but still want the positive perception of a trading address in a desirable location.

We provide virtual offices in Manchester and London – again at the same physical address as our serviced offices – which allows you to trade from any location of your choice, using our postal address and other contact details for customers and other third-parties to get in touch.

We can forward mail and redirect phone calls through to you, so you still get the full benefits of our experienced reception staff, even if you never come into the building in person.

If you need to hold a meeting or interview, you have access to our meeting rooms to hire, and as your business grows, we welcome enquiries to move from virtual offices into our serviced office space so you can continue to expand as conditions improve in the coming months.

Serviced offices in Manchester and London smash European average

The UK’s uptake of serviced offices has grown rapidly over the past five years, according to recently published figures, and the use of serviced offices in London is now three times the Europe-wide average.

Writing in Property Journal, Tom Sleigh explains that the UK has unparalleled choice in serviced offices, flexible workspaces and outsourced workplaces – all essentially different names for the same thing.

Across Europe as a whole, serviced offices account for about 2% of all office space. But Mr Sleigh notes that serviced offices in Manchester are double that figure, while serviced offices in London stand at three times as much, roughly 6% of the city’s workspace.

“There has been significant growth over the last five years,” he writes. “The choice of solutions available is unmatched elsewhere in the world.”

Why are there so many serviced offices in the UK?

Ironically, the strong supply and excellent choice of serviced offices in the UK is due in part to the much tighter expectations when leasing office space in the conventional way.

Mr Sleigh points out that UK office leases:

  • Last much longer than in Europe
  • Collect rents on a quarterly basis
  • Have high initial cash deposits (up to 18 months’ rent)
  • Are revised upwards on a regular basis
  • Date back to medieval times

The UK’s long history has left a legacy of rents, rates and taxes that would once have been collected on quarterly days of religious significance, but now leave tenants sporadically facing very high outgoings.

Serviced offices overcome many of these problems, allowing SMEs in particular to gain access to well-appointed office space without facing punishing upfront and ongoing costs.

At the same time, serviced offices in Manchester and London give occupants a professional and desirable business address to use on letterheads, and access to meeting rooms for hire when a face-to-face meeting needs to take place.

What are the benefits of serviced offices?

Mr Sleigh lists a number of advantages of serviced offices over conventional leasehold space, including:

  • Better working environments
  • Ease of consumption
  • Easier entry and exit
  • Improved cost certainty
  • Lower balance sheet liability
  • Lower capital expense
  • Lower operational risk

These are all in addition to the flexibility of how long a tenant occupies the space for – and can often be even more important to the decision-making process.

How long do tenants stay in serviced offices?

According to the article, the average tenancy in serviced offices is 35 months, even though the typical minimum occupancy period is 12 months, which shows that many tenants choose to extend their lease and continue to benefit from their use of the space.

There is generally no reason why you must move out unless you choose to, and this gives occupants a good amount of control compared with conventional commercial lease renewals.

All of this adds up to high levels of confidence and cost control for SMEs, with rents posing less of a cash flow risk – advantages UK companies in particular have been quick to grasp hold of as the country’s uptake of serviced offices in London and Manchester has boomed.