How to decide between flexible or dedicated workspaces
So you know that your business needs some sort of desk, office or meeting space, but what kind? Should you opt for flexible workspaces or have your own dedicated offices that you buy or lease? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
What’s a flexible workspace?
Flexible workspaces can generally be categorised as one fo the following:
- Shared communal or co-working spaces where you rent a desk often on a first-come basis. This can be from as little as one hour to an ongoing number of hours paid monthly.
- Desks that are permanently rented for you or your staff within a communal space.
- Meeting spaces or offices that can be rented by the hour or day.
- Private offices that can be rented on an ongoing basis.
How does that compare to dedicated offices?
Dedicated offices are pretty common in the corporate world. Companies own or lease buildings or sections of a building to permanently house their operations and staff. Employees often have dedicated desks and can be expected to show up at the offices for work every day.
Considering your companies needs
Before jumping into a solution, it is a good idea to first identify what kind of space your business needs and what tasks or operations you need to carry out in the area.
How many people need to have a desk or office?
Do all of them work full time?
What hours of the day do you need to be able to access the workspace?
Do you need to be able to set up certain things and never take them down?
How many meetings a month do you have?
Are your meetings in person or virtual?
Asking yourself these types of questions will make it easier to ascertain the kind of workspace your company may need to run efficiently.
Also, consider whether you actually need staff to be located in the same space. You may have in-person meetings now, but is it really necessary? Could you be utilising technology better to aid communication and cut down on the expense of office space?
Benefits of flexible workspaces
Only paying for a desk or office space when you genuinely need it. Which could be as little as one day a week or a few hours. You’re not paying for an area that is being underutilised.
More chance for collaboration. Not just amongst your own team members but with other businesses. If you are a sole trader, then the opportunity to work alongside other business owners and support each other, collaborate on projects and build business relationships could be hugely beneficial to your success.
No ongoing office management costs. When you rent a flexible workspace, then someone else is providing a pleasant environment, desks, wifi, printers etc. You don’t have all those additional costs to meet, renting a space can be more cost-effective in some circumstances.
Flexibility. If you have a very new business, you may not know what you can afford long term or how much work might come in so having the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the number of desks you rent can be beneficial.
The downside of flexible workspaces
You don’t own the space. Therefore, if the company that runs the flexible workspace closes or changes hands, then you could be without office space that you were relying on.
Distractions. If you choose to work in a communal area, then you also have to deal with the potential noise and disturbance created by other people in the space.
Lack of personal space. You may not be the only person that rents the desk. You can’t leave any personal artefacts or arrange the desk how you would like.
No control over the office environment. You can’t change how warm or cold the office is, or what the décor is like to create a welcoming environment.
The pros of dedicated workspaces
Consistency and stability. You and your employees know what to expect every day. They know where their desk is, and it’s just how they left it. Meaning they can just come in and get straight to work.
Easier to access your team members. If everyone is all located in one place at the same time, it’s much easier to arrange team meetings or gather people together without notice.
You can tailor the offices. You can make the workspace meet your needs exactly and look how you want them to, reflecting your brand and values.
The cons of a dedicated workspaces
Higher overhead costs. There are potentially more costs involved in owning or leasing business premises.
Less flexibility. If you need to change locations or change the size of the business, you may be constrained by the lease agreement or having to sell your premises to make the changes required. This can cost time and money.
Where to start?
You should have a business plan, financial forecasts and an idea of the future aims and goals of the business as well as day to day running costs and profit. This information can all help inform the decision you make regarding what type of premises is best for the future of the company. Or what you may need right now that will also allow flexibility to change if sales increase.
Be clear about the terms and conditions of any agreement and have a plan in place to mitigate any risks you identify.
If you are unclear about a way forward, then consider speaking to a business consultant who can help you objectively look at your business and help you create a future strategy based on your key data and finances.
Rather than making decisions on your own and wondering if your heading in the right direction, get some guidance from a professional so you can be confident in the business choices you make. We offer a 30-minute consultation with no obligation to sign up to anything. Contact us on 01424 776 214 or via email on email@example.com to make an appointment today.
If you found this information useful, you may also want to check out the following:
- Should I become a limited company?
- Free tools for small business owners
- How to create a business plan
MRA specialise in business solutions and are Life Centred Business Consultants based in East Sussex we service clients across the South East, Sussex and Kent, including smaller towns such as Ashford, Battle, Bexhill, Bodiam, Brighton & Hove, Cranbrook, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Heathfield, Herstmonceux, Lewes, Mayfield, Newhaven, Rye, Seaford, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.