A flexible working space is essentially an office or part of an office that offers a significant level of choice in terms of contracts and the size of the space.
Whereas with traditional offices you can expect to be tied in to lengthy leases, with flexible spaces you can sign a licensing agreement for one year, six months or even on a rolling monthly basis. This is particularly useful for companies that might not want to sign a long-term contract.
Flexibility also allows for companies to increase or decrease the number of desks or amount of office space based on their requirements during the course of the contract. This can be especially handy if your head count frequently changes, or if you are expecting to rapidly grow but don't want the commitment of signing up for a large space at the beginning of your contract.
What types of flexible work space are there?
The term flexible work space covers a wide range of different types and styles of space. These include: serviced offices, co-working spaces, unfurnished offices and private offices - all with their own advantages.
A co-working space is a shared working environment, which is typically open-plan and offers either hot-desks or fixed desks for members along with shared access to meeting facilities, break out areas, and often some office equipment, such as printers.
This type of office is usually the most flexible, with the option of simply adding on additional members of your team to the agreement as and when you need. You often also have flexibility on how many days a week you want to use the space. This is a convenient way of working for individuals who want to split their time between working from home and in an office to change up their scenery.
Co-working spaces are often used by many different businesses and individuals, with many offering the opportunity to hot desk. This makes them the perfect option for those that move around a lot, changing their working environment as and when they need to.
Successful co-working spaces should increase collaboration between their members, especially those with complimentary skill sets. Their aim is to create a community and eco-system within their centers where businesses collaborate and socialize with each other. They offer a great working atmosphere and valuable networking opportunities with other like-minded individuals and companies. Typically, co-working spaces will organize regular events which can be useful for networking, learning and helping to grow your business.
Co-working spaces - the pitfalls
All sounds great, right? So what are the downsides or typical concerns with this type of space? The "What Workers Want 2016" survey shows that a common issue for employees in co-working spaces is the noise level, with only 45% of respondents being satisfied with the level of noise in their office. However, typically these offices also have private meeting rooms and usually will feature quiet spaces for when you want to get away from the buzz of the main area.
Another possible concern with co-working spaces is having somewhere to leave your belongings. While some people might be happy to pack everything up and take their laptop with them at the end of the day, others might prefer to be able to leave their things on a desk. If this is the case, then a co-working space probably isn’t right for you. However, it is worth noting that many of the spaces will provide lockers where you can safely store your laptop and any other items, which could resolve this issue.
It is also possible to have a private office within a flexible working space. With a private office you have your own space with the added benefit of it being serviced, so you can move straight in and don’t have to worry about furniture, connectivity, paying utility bills or organizing a cleaner for the office.
This can also be a great option for companies who require their own private space but don’t want to have a long-term fixed contract. A private office will also provide more security, so this can be a good option if your company handles any sensitive information or data.
Private offices are more expensive than co-working offices and may not offer quite the same creative environment or networking opportunities. However, with a private office you have the benefit of getting access to shared areas, meeting rooms and other facilities that the building may offer, with the ability to lock your door when you need.
This is similar to the private office but comes without furniture. The unfurnished space would therefore suit companies that are looking for flexible contracts and possibly wanting to avoid the initial setting up of the office (arranging utilities and connectivity etc.), but who also want to be able to decorate and personalize their working space.
Choosing the right space to suit your business requirements can seem a daunting process, but that’s where Workthere can help.
By making the most of our extensive network and impartial industry knowledge we are best placed to find and secure your next work space at the very best rates. If you would like to discuss your search, get in touch with our team today.