The benefits of using a co-working office
- Credit: Archant
Thinking about starting a business? Here, Jo Hart from Mantle Business Centres shares some of the key benefits of shared work environments and explains why they are a great option for new companies.
Although commonly associated with freelancers, shared workspaces are becoming increasingly popular with start-ups and small businesses.
The UK has seen a rise in co-working offices in recent years — and with flexible leases, free amenities and the chance to collaborate with like-minded professionals, it’s easy to understand why they are in such high demand.
So, what are the main benefits?
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One of the main benefits of a shared office space is the flexibility it offers. For new companies, taking on a long-term lease for an office can be daunting, especially if you are unsure what the future holds.
Most co-working offices offer short-term membership plans that range from daily desk hire to year-long contracts. Many also allow you to change the size of space or even the location of your office (if they have a number of options in the area) with minimal hassle.
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The freedom of a flexible office space allows companies to rent a workspace that adapts with their changing needs. This can be useful when your team starts to grow as you will be able to easily transition from daily desk hire to a dedicated desk in a shared office.
Flexibility at work has also been positively linked to employee satisfaction. A recent study by financial advisor Drewberry found that flexible working was the top benefit that employees look for at small to medium enterprises.
One of the most important considerations for new and small businesses is cost. Keeping outgoings to a minimum is a priority for most start-ups, and it can be difficult to predict how much money you will make in the coming months and years.
Renting an office space is often the biggest expense for a business, not to mention utilities and other operational costs that come with it. For new companies, renting a shared workspace is a far more cost-effective option. Many co-working spaces offer daily payment options, so you don’t have to fork out a large amount at the beginning. You also have the added peace of mind that you are not tied down to a long-term lease if you do downsize or choose to work from home more often.
Another advantage is that many co-working spaces are in prime locations such as town and city centres with easy transport links, which you might not have been able to afford if you were renting a private office.
Collaboration and networking
Whether you want to rent a desk for a few hours or have a space full time, the collaborative element of shared workspaces can be highly beneficial for a new company. If you usually work from home, this can be a great way to get into a routine when you are starting out. It can also help to remove the feeling of isolation, enhance productivity and improve communication. If you are a small team, it allows you to bring employees together in a professional and quiet environment.
Signing up to a shared office also offers the opportunity to network. Surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs can be a great support system when trying to grow and expand your business, and it gives you access to a range of skill-sets and expertise.
A collaborative office space offers a sense of camaraderie and can be great for sharing business ideas and forming long-lasting partnerships. Many of these types of workspaces also host networking sessions free of charge for tenants, giving you the opportunity to make useful contacts and learn from other professionals.
Amenities and services
When renting a traditional office, there is usually a lot of effort and cost that goes into the initial set-up. In most cases, you will be required to furnish the space, set up a landline and internet access and find parking spaces. There is also ongoing maintenance to think about. What if the phone line goes down, or you lose internet connection?
Most shared offices are serviced and the set-up has already been taken care of. Utilities such as water and electricity are part of your membership, as well as daily cleaning and free high-speed wifi. The office will be equipped with chairs, desks and conference facilities, so you can just show up and get to work straight away.
Members can benefit from a range of amenities such as comfortable break-out areas, parking and discounted hire of meeting rooms.
Another popular option for start-ups and small businesses is a virtual office. As the name suggests, this involves renting office-style services, which can be useful if having a physical office is not financially or practically feasible. With a virtual office, you can continue to work from home or a remote location while still having some of the benefits of a traditional office.
Virtual office amenities can include a business address and phone number which forwards calls to your mobile, as well as reception desk services. You can also hire conference rooms if you need to host a meeting.
As well as helping to keep costs down, it also gives your business a more professional, credible image.
Mantle Business Centres
Mantle Business Centres offer fully serviced, state-of-the-art office space for rent in Hertfordshire, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Suitable for small and growing companies, each of their business centres are professionally managed with 24/7 access and a range of modern amenities.
Located in a Grade II listed building, the Officers’ Mess is part of the historic Duxford Airfield and offers a spacious and comfortable working environment with serviced offices, an on-site café and free parking. Co-working hot desks are available to hire for just £10+VAT a day, or you can opt for a dedicated co-working desk for £250+VAT a month. Virtual office services are also available.
If you are looking for an office to rent, visit mantlebusinesscentres.co.uk or call 0333 00 66 330 to talk to a member of the team.