17 April 2019/ rent_serviced_office_guide

How do I choose a coworking space? Shared space or private office

The UK market has become so advanced, especially in London, that within the serviced sector alone there are now a whole range of options. But the big decision is whether you want to take your own private space within a larger serviced office building, or you’re willing to share an open-plan, hot-desking environment with other companies.

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There are plusses on both sides. We’ve done you a quick summary of the shared space v private office dilemma.

Room for manoeuvre

Whether you take shared or private space, you’re benefitting from the greater flexibility that serviced offices provide. Taking on a conventional lease can be a major commitment, which is fine if you have the capital and are confident that you’ll still be around in 10 years. But for a company just getting going, serviced offices are a great option with fewer strings attached.

Renting desk space on a pay-as-you-go basis is the ultimate low-commitment option, especially for a single freelancer, or a company of just two or three people. But a compromise, with a little less flexibility but some privacy, is to rent a private space within the serviced building.

Provost East 145Coworking office: 145 City Road, London EC1V 9NR

The peer factor

When people quit their jobs to go freelance or join a start-up, one of the first things they miss is the daily chats with colleagues. It can be a lonely experience, especially if you’re used to the buzz of a big open-plan office.

Cue the shared workspace – something more formal than using a coffee shop, but with the same laid-back vibe. And as start-ups tend to fall into one of a few main categories, the chances are you’ll find yourself in with like-minded people and industry peers.

The downsides are that you might never sit in the same ‘hot desk’ over the space of a week, there’s no privacy (unless you hire a breakaway meeting room), and if you’re doing it super-regularly then it could actually wind up being more expensive than taking the private office option. After all, if you hire a private office within a bigger serviced hub, you usually still get to use the shared facilities and the cafes, so you get that kick of social time without having to whisper to your business partner or whatsapp them from across the room.

First impressions

You might not have any client-facing business to do at all, in which case you don’t need to worry too much about appearances. But if growing your business will involve some glad-handing, then you might not want to do it in a loud buzzing cafe area with people coming and going, especially as first meetings can often involve sensitive discussions and conversations about fees and contracts. Of course, most serviced office buildings offer a range of options – you can hire a private meeting space. But if you want to impress a potential client, it looks much better if you can lead them up to your own private office, away from the chaos and the hot-deskers.

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