For start-up companies and businesses getting their own office space is not always easy; especially when they plan to get the office in a commercial hub like London. It is estimated that nearly 17 per cent of London’s workforce comprises freelancers: this growing entrepreneurial spirit is what has necessitated the flexible office space as a cost-efficient option to the standard leasing practice.
Shared office space is the new trend for SMEs (Small and Medium Scale Enterprises) now as it provides them an alternative to the conventional office spaces. It allows independent workers and businesses to share an open workspace rather than the traditional cubicle or coffee/restaurant makeshift set-ups.
The benefits of shared office space are numerous, and we are going to focus on just a few of them while considering London – the British capital – as the location:
- Cost effective. Establishing your own office can be expensive and time-intensive – even when it is not a permanent one. You are also going to spend on office chairs, desks, tables and many more if you plan on building a new office: but with a shared office, you will be saving yourself a whole lot –in terms of time and resources.
- Access to basic amenities. With a shared office space, you do not have to invest in IT infrastructure such as high speed Internet or an answering service as these are already provided for you. With an answering service, your staff will remain focused on their jobs while also creating a professional impression to any caller.A good shared office space comes with all the furnishings that you need; saving you a great deal of time and money on getting them yourself.
- Motivation and support from co-workers. While working in a shared office space, the co-workers tend to be supportive to each other as virtually everyone working there is either an entrepreneur or has an entrepreneurial mind. In an environment filled with enthusiastic and like-minded workers, co-workers tend to share their creative ideas among themselves allowing for collaboration
- Networking opportunities. You get the opportunity to mix with people and professionals from various industries. Your co-worker could introduce you to a potential client that might eventually lead you to your dream or somewhere bigger. You also get the opportunity to meet with experienced people in your area of business and you can learn a thing or two from them.
- It encourages collaboration among start-ups. With a shared office space, companies are able to help each other and benefit from the advantages of working in such environments such as access to industry resources. Co-working in a shared office space encourages collaboration among companies especially when they are in the same area of business. Instead of being isolated in your own office, you can, through a shared office environment, get rid of this feeling of loneliness while increasing your interactions with others.
- When you decide to work in a shared office space, you are insured and have peace of mind. Most shared office spaces employ various security technology or measures to ensure that the workers have a secure working environment. They may provide 24-hour desk security or use fairly advanced entrance technology such as the use of keycards.
- Flexibility in terms of the cost and duration of contracts making it suited for small businesses, allowing them to handle their finances in an economic manner during their beginning stages. If the company decides to relocate, maybe to someplace bigger, they are free to do so unlike when they are on a long-term lease.
- London prestige. If you plan to pitch your start-up in London, there are lots of opportunities for your business, but establishing your own office might not go well. Instead you should get a shared office space. This affords you an opportunity to promote your brand due to the esteemed reputation of London as a global business center.
- Avoid distractions. Working at home or at a public workspace such as a cafe comes with many distractions; at home you may be tempted to watch the television instead of focusing on your work or do something else unproductive. By working in a shared office space, you not only take away such distractions but increase your productivity.
- Shared office space is also a nice place for company events and meetings. It affords home-based businesses a place with a professional setting. Home-based business owners can have their business meetings with their clients in this space instead of at their homes.
Inclusions and Exclusions
Shared office space and co-working usually come in two forms. It can be either an all-inclusive membership or monthly packages which offer access to office space and some perks.
The majority of the inclusions have been discussed in the benefits shared office space above, so we move on to the exclusions.
The major exclusions include access to phone headsets, access to storage space, the cost of using printing, scanning and photocopying equipment.
If you are a freelancer, or you currently work in your home office, or you run an SME, then instead of spending so much on a conventional office space, why don’t you try a shared office space and enjoy its numerous benefits.