So you’re in the market looking for some office space to call your own. With so many options available today it’s easy for anyone to get confused. Do you get a conventional space, try out a virtual address, look into serviced offices or share a desk?
To make things easier for you, today we’re going to take a look at some of the factors you should consider if you decide to go with a serviced office.
But first, briefly ….
What’s a Serviced Office?
Usually found in the central business districts of major cities, a serviced office, business centre or executive centre, can be a floor or an entire building looked after by a facility or office management team.
The space is fully furnished and equipped with various office necessities. Clients can take on as much space as they need with amenities such as meeting rooms and teleconferencing equipment available on a pay-per-use basis.
High speed internet and phone connections are pre-installed. Utility charges and professional reception services are included in the monthly invoice. Contracts are flexible and short term ranging from three months to a year.
Who is it Suitable for?
Serviced facilities can cater to a wide variety of organisations and businesses.
Large corporations use it to reduce the costs associated with a conventional office space. Small organisations get an edge when using the amenities available and multinationals benefit from a ready-to-use setup.
A serviced office can also act as a stepping stone for consultants and service providers looking to move out of their home office.
Well established companies can use these facilities as an intermediary space when their own office is undergoing renovations or if they’re moving from one location to another.
Things to Consider
Since you’ll be looking at a number of business centres, here are some factors to keep in mind.
1. The Cost
Naturally you’ll want an office which falls in your budget.
It’s easy to forget which amenities are included in your monthly bill and which will be charged separately. When viewing the offices, ask the facility manager to provide you with a list of services which are included in your package.
This will be a big help in shortlisting centres which are meeting your requirements.
2. The Location
The location is the next thing to look at when signing up for a serviced office.
It should be well connected by different modes of transport so that you, your clients and employees can reach the centre easily.
If you’re just starting out, the address doesn’t have to be very fancy. A prestigious address, which typically costs more, is better suited for a well-established organization.
Make sure that the area has various eateries, café’s, banks and recreational facilities at a comfortable walking distance. This will make it easier to set up informal meetings and business lunches close to the office.
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, you can always ask the centre you’re viewing to point out useful amenities in the locality.
3. The Common Areas
These areas are shared between all the clients in the facility and include the washrooms, kitchen and pantry among others. Some centres have common breakout areas as well.
Be sure to ask the facility operator for a tour of these spaces. This will give you an idea of what the center is like and how well it’s maintained.
4. The Services
Every business centre offers various services along with the space leased. Reception services, mail handling, call answering, secretarial support and janitorial services are normally included and not billed separately. This results in considerable cost saving for any organisation.
Of course it’s possible that you might require services which are not included in your package. If that’s the case, you can always inquire if the centre can facilitate your requirement. In most cases the center is usually able to accommodate requests at very economical rates.
5. The Staff
In addition to the space and services, ask about the day-to-day staff available in the business centre.
If you decide to go with a particular facility, then in general you should know who will be your point of contact. Does the janitorial staff come in daily? Will you have a dedicated secretary? Is there an IT administrator available in the centre? Who handles the phone calls? Who distributes the mail?
6. The Meeting, Conference or Training Rooms
A meeting room is a standard feature in every business centre and many operators offer complimentary hours for using this facility. Depending on your needs and budget, it’s also possible to hire a dedicated meeting room or negotiate for preferential hourly rates.
Larger facilities also provide separate conference and training rooms on site. This is a tremendous advantage for small businesses as they can hire and use these rooms as needed.
When viewing these areas, note down how many hours of free usage are included in your package.
7. The Utilities
Utilities like electricity, water, air-conditioning, heating, telephone and standard internet connectivity are included in the monthly charges.
However it’s possible that your firm might need additional internet bandwidth or more telephone lines. Highlight these types of requirements to the facilities you’re viewing and ask what they can do for you.
8. The Timings
The work days and timings is another important factor to consider when viewing serviced office space.
Is the centre open 24/7? Can you access the office on weekends? Is there an extra charge for round-the-clock access?
9. Parking Space
Do ask about the parking space available in and around the centre. Some facilities charge a nominal fee for dedicated spaces while some centres have underground parking.
10. Security Arrangements
Since you’ll be working in a shared facility, you’ll need to know that your office can be locked at the end of the day and that your belongings will be secure throughout the night.
Depending on the nature of your work, ask if the centre employs round-the-clock or nightly guards? What measures do they take to insure security? Do they have a biometric access system? Are there CCTV cameras installed? Are the cameras monitored 24/7? Do the offices have lockable storage?
For IT firms, having access to secure data and phone connections is an important consideration.
Whatever your requirements may be, FindMyWorkspace.com will help you find your perfect office.