SMEs and entrepreneurs seek flexible office space for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home in 2020, but as restrictions are eased in the post-pandemic period, flexible office space may prove to be an important stepping stone back into the workplace.

Jane Sartin, executive director of the Flexible Space Association, says there will be “a degree of permanency” to some of the changes that occurred during 2020, as people look for a balance between the benefits of working at home and of having a designated workplace.

In an article on the Association’s website, she explained: “Many people will find a mix of working from home and at an office to be effective, both professionally and personally.

“Businesses having seen remote working is viable may now see financial appeal in not having to provide a dedicated desk for every employee.”

Why not work at home?

Lockdown restrictions meant that, across the UK, those who could work from home were asked to do so as much as possible – and that had some immediate advantages as it allowed employees to experience life without a morning commute or an evening rush hour.

However, Ms Sartin noted that there are downsides to working alone at home:

  • No ad hoc conversations to spark new ideas.
  • No learning opportunities by observing colleagues.
  • No variety of surroundings day after day.

She added: “We’re not only working from home; we’re simultaneously living at work.”

Flexible space such as serviced offices bridges the gap between homeworking and having a permanent workplace, allowing employees and entrepreneurs to get a much-needed break from the kitchen table or spare bedroom and return to a dedicated office environment.

Little and large

Ms Sartin said the Flexible Space Association has seen demand from large and small organisations, starting from as little as one-person offices.

“High demand for 1 to 3-person offices has been a clear theme, as people look for workspace near to home rather than at home,” she wrote.

“Large companies are starting to examine the merits of workspace which doesn’t tie them to a fixed amount of space for years to come, and can perhaps see them based in more locations.”

Whether you are an individual entrepreneur, an SME or a large corporation, serviced offices in London and Manchester hold the potential to meet your unique needs, whether it’s a flexible workplace near you, or an affordable way to start trading in a new location.

Stay at home with virtual offices

Finally, if you have found working from home a sustainable long-term solution, there’s no reason why you should feel obliged to return to working from a physical office.

Our virtual offices in London and Manchester give you real-world contact details at our serviced office buildings, complete with postal address and telephone number, but you don’t physically work in the premises.

Instead, you can work from home – or any location of your choosing – while we present a professional client-facing appearance and forward any business communications over to you.

You can choose

The pandemic brought unprecedented disruption, but for many entrepreneurs, SMEs and big businesses it was also an opportunity to experience a new way of working.

As the economy gets back on track over the course of 2021, it’s up to you to decide which of the benefits you want to keep hold of, whether that’s more flexible terms on serviced office space, or working from home via a virtual office instead.

Gen Z: 1 in 5 want to start a business in London

Over a fifth of young working-age adults want to start a business in London, according to a poll commissioned by Mushroombiz.

The SME services provider’s research found 21% of Londoners have ambitions to launch a business in 2021, compared with a national average of 15% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic – and perhaps because of it – the number of new business start-ups in the second half of 2020 was significantly higher than the year before.

In July alone, over 80,000 new businesses were registered in the UK, and the survey found 19% of young workers thought about starting a business for the first time during 2020.

Ed Surman, managing director of Mushroombiz, said: “This reality has forced many young people to re-evaluate their futures and become their own boss.”

Taking control of career prospects

The results are an indication that more working-age under-25s are grasping their own careers as the economic impact of the pandemic starts to become apparent.

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, unemployment in the UK stood at 4%. It is now expected to peak in mid-2021 at 7.5%, according to the OBR.

At the same time, Generation Z are taking advantage of the ability to start a business from home during lockdown, and Mr Surman reported “a huge uptick in the number of tech start-ups, passion projects and side hustles started in university dorm rooms in the latter half of 2020”.

Based on the number of survey respondents who said they want to start a business in 2021, and scaling up to the UK population, a possible 800,000 new start-ups could be launched by the end of the year.

How to start a business in London

If you’re hoping to start a business in London in 2021, our serviced offices in London‘s Canary Wharf district are an affordable and scalable way to get professional premises.

With meeting rooms for hire on-site, you can meet clients, job candidates and potential investors in private, smart surroundings whenever you need to step away from the office itself.

As you grow, you can expand into more space on the same premises – or open a northern branch from our serviced offices in Manchester and Salford Quays.

Build a business from your bedroom

With the option of virtual offices in London and Manchester, you can start a business in either location – or both – without needing to physically be there.

As social distancing measures are likely to remain in place to some extent throughout much of 2021, it’s the perfect opportunity to launch a business remotely using virtual office contact details.

Once conditions improve, you can book meeting rooms at the same address as your virtual office, at our premises in Manchester and London, for any face-to-face meetings you need to hold.

And as your business grows in the years ahead, you’ll be able to consider taking some physical space in our serviced offices in London and Manchester, to make the transition from a bedroom-based new start-up to a fully fledged physical SME with its own workforce.