A serviced office is an office or office building that is fully equipped and managed by a facility management company, which then rents individual offices or floors to other companies. Serviced offices, which are also referred to as managed offices, business centers, executive suites or executive centers, are often found in the business districts of large cities around the world. A serviced office broker will commonly help business centre owners and facility management companies to rent serviced office space.
Companies offering serviced offices are generally able to offer more flexible rental terms, as opposed to a conventional leased office which may require furnishing, equipment, and more restrictive leases. Space is normally flexible, allowing for additional space to be allocated at short notice, should the size of an individual business change. Serviced office providers often allow tenants to share reception services, business machines and other resources, providing reduced costs and access to equipment which may otherwise be unaffordable.
Clients of serviced office facilities fall into the following categories:
- New Market / Locational - Businesses which are typically headquartered abroad or in another region of the country which require a business presence in the area of operation of the business center.
- Startup Companies / Entrepreneurial - Small to medium businesses or enterprises which don't want to make a financial commitment to a longer term lease. This class of client likely also benefits from not having to add administrative and support personnel to payroll, with all the pursuant HR costs (benefits, insurance, recruitment).
- Overflow - Typically a large company experiencing growth, with traditional leased space in the area which it has outgrown. These can be short-term requirements (3–6 months) for large number of users (as many as 40-50).
- Interim - Clients that are in the process of moving from one space to another, and may be facing delays in the completion of the new space.
- Project-based - Clients that have a specific need for office space, based on a specific contract or project. Examples include film production teams or attorneys in the discovery process.
Services typically include:
- Dedicated Receptionist;
- Administrative Support
- Telecom service
- IT infrastructure and internet connectivity.
Facilities typically include:
- Conference Rooms;
- Meeting Rooms;
- Heating, air conditioning and other utilities;
- Full-time security; and
Serviced offices may offer benefits over conventional offices for new or dynamic businesses, including:
- No / low start up costs
- Prestigious addresses
- Flexible leasing with little notice (Duration and size)
- Building Maintenance is included
- Immediate availability
- Support staff available as needed
- Access to business centres worldwide
- Modern fit-out and fully furnished offices
- 'bundled' packages (where one monthly payment covers most costs) are available as are 'unbundled' (where each item used attracts a unit cost).
- Many Serviced offices (although not all) give a generic, unbranded impression
- In some cases there may be higher monthly cost than conventional leased space
There are references to serviced offices originating in the 1980s in the major US business cities, evolving from call centers for traveling salesmen.
In the UK, the concept of working together and sharing premises, staff and other overheads was first used by Barristers. They normally band together into "chambers" to share clerks (administrators) and operating expenses. Some chambers grow to be large and sophisticated, and have a distinctly corporate feel.
Seminal reports on the industry were carried out by DTZ in the early 2000s, and published with the British Council for Offices.
The National Audit Office of the UK has produced a guide to help Government Departments and public bodies to assess the case for flexible managed space instead of conventional office space.
In November 2014, a business report carried out by the Business Centre Association showed that serviced offices in the UK are using 70 million square feet of space, house around 80,000 businesses, provide over 400,000 jobs and generate in the region of £2bn to the UK economy.
Notes and references
- Holusha, John (2001-05-20). "Commercial Property/Business Centers; Modern Office for Rent: Daily Rates Available". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- "Flexible Managed Office - Stage 4 Report". British Council for Offices. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2011-10-08.