There's a lot of misinformation out there regarding serviced offices, so we're setting the record straight.
Myth No. 1: Serviced offices are expensive.
Reality: On face value, serviced offices look expensive. However, when you consider what's usually included – not only rent, but also business rates, service charges, insurance, cleaning, furniture, reception services, utilities (gas, water, electricity), facilities management (repairs) and sometimes more – the price becomes all the more reasonable. In fact, according to www.corporateso.com, businesses can save anything from 30% to 78% by using a serviced office instead of a conventionally-leased office. Another thing worth remembering is that, the longer you commit to a serviced office space, the cheaper it is likely to be.
Myth No. 2: Moving into a serviced office takes time.
Reality: Of course, any moving takes time, but that's just a law of physics. The law of stress, however, says that you can reduce the amount of time taken to move, settle in and restart the business by having desks, filing cabinets, phone lines and IT back-up ready. In many cases, it's just a matter of bringing in the laptop and paperwork.
Myth No. 3: Flexible contract, but I'm still stuck in one place.
Reality: Serviced offices are usually part of an office network. You can often pre-arrange to turn up at another office location and hot desk, even in other parts of the world if the company you're renting from has an international network. A well-connected serviced office provider can provide flexible office locations as well as contracts.
Myth No. 4: I may have moved office, but my planning and staff costs are still the same.
Reality: Thanks to their flexible contracts, serviced offices are perfect in short business cycles. Should the market you work in have high staff turnover or be quite turbulent in nature, downsizing or up-sizing staff/office space is much easier and far more cost-effective. Serviced offices mitigate some of the problems of trying to forecast your employment/space needs several years in advance.
Myth No. 5: Service offices charge high telephone rates to make profit.
Reality: Due to their size, market and the volume of information going through them, serviced offices have buying power. This means they can increase the discounts received and pass the savings onto their customers.
Myth No. 6: Serviced offices are only for start-up companies and small-to-medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in these globalised times. Serviced offices are particularly useful for short project teams, and having a network of potential offices at your disposal means that you can send workers to the appropriate places at the right times. Even governments, large corporations and banks use serviced offices, especially as they can help expansion efforts without having too many fixed costs.
Myth No. 7: You can't put your own branding/company logo/company colours in a serviced office space – the office isn't my own!
Reality: Though this is true in some cases, most will allow signs and decorations, or at least a bespoke design package. Very rarely will a serviced office provider prevent you from marking off your territory, as long as the markings aren't permanent.
Myth No. 8: You pay for things you never use.
Reality: Thanks to the reform of pricing structures some years ago (around six to be more precise), any “additional costs” on the bills are shown clearly. A good serviced office provider will list the costs of any additional service upfront and will ask you if you want any additional services in the first place. Any company worth its weight in this sector ought to have a no-hidden-costs policy.
Myth No. 9: Serviced office internet – it's rubbish!
Reality: How much bandwidth do you actually need? The reality is, not much. For most businesses, a 1 – 2 MB dedicated bandwidth connection is enough. Clients in serviced offices will usually be given the option to have their own dedicated bandwidth. In fact, serviced office internet is often better than the internet at home and will usually have backup fibre optic lines should anything go wrong with the main line. Peak-time lags are less common with shared office internet connections.
Myth No. 10: Serviced offices are a short-term solution.
Reality: Thanks to their flexibility, businesses can occupy serviced offices for long periods of time. This is because businesses can change their needs easily and only pay for the space and facilities they are using rather than being stuck with lots of unproductive space.
Myth No. 11: Location is unimportant for a serviced office.
Reality: Location is very important for any business. Hence, serviced offices are usually found in or near town centres where there are good transport and Telecom links. Serviced offices are an advantage in such situations, for both SMEs and larger businesses looking to expand, as rents are much lower than in traditionally-leased offices.
Myth No. 12: Serviced offices are only open for limited hours during the day.
Reality: Most serviced offices will have 24-hour access. They realise that many businesses – especially those with a long, worldwide reach – may have to work during unusual hours.
Myth No. 13: Serviced offices are merely an alternative to “proper” commercial space.
Reality: Serviced offices can be so much more time- and cost-effective, they often become permanent or semi-permanent offices for even some of the largest businesses.
Myth No. 14: Serviced offices are “unprofessional”.
Reality: Many businesspeople may well be working from a serviced office themselves, or indeed even a small pod in China. Huge, grandiose offices may well be impressive, but they are no replacement for a sound business plan.