Updated: Mar 3
Here at Iconic Project Management, we have always worked remotely. Our model of bringing in people we know and trust has allowed us to react dynamically to our clients’ varied needs, providing perfect service and exceptional value at the same time. However, recent company growth means we need to recruit new people and so we’ve re-evaluated our position on remote working. We still want to enjoy the flexibility of working from home but feel that a shared physical space would help us to better cement our expanding team. We’ve decide that it’s time to get ourselves new premises where we can work together for at least some of the time.
Iconic Project Management have plans to expand over the next few years and so we will need somewhere for our team to call home. The thing is, our permanent team is still quite small so we don’t want to move into our forever home right now; we’d feel lost in an office meant for a much larger team and it wouldn’t offer us the best value. Equally, if we rent space for this year’s team on a long-term lease, we’ll soon outgrow it.
We’ve been looking at serviced office space to rent and it would appear that we are not the only business to do so. This article from HR News predicts that the demand for serviced office space will continue to increase over the coming years and that capacity will double to more than 40,000 spaces by 2024.
Serviced offices offer the ideal solution for our situation. Their combination of all-inclusive offices and short-term leases mean that, when we outgrow our current office, we’ll be able to pack up our laptops and move across the hall to a more suitable one.
We’ve viewed all the serviced offices in our local area in the search for our new home and have come to the conclusion that they are not all made equally. We think our business needs are fairly representative of typical serviced office tenants so, if you own a serviced office building, or are thinking of branching out into that sector, you may be interested to know what influenced our choice.
In this day and age, no business should be set up to exclude those with mobility issues. We were surprised that several of the properties we viewed had no disabled access.
The Equality Act 2010 imposes a duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent discrimination arising from disability. Our interpretation is that leasing an office that is inaccessible to those with disabilities would amount to discrimination. Those properties were immediately rejected by us.
For the day-to-day running of our business, a single open-plan room is ideal. We want to work together as a team and it’s easier to collaborate when you’re in the same space. However, there are times when you need a bit of privacy; maybe you’re conducting interviews, or appraisals, or holding a board meeting.
The buildings we viewed that offered additional meeting rooms were very attractive. Several offered ad hoc extra spaces, ranging from small meeting rooms to full conference facilities, to be hired at a reasonable hourly rate.
The office suite that we eventually chose has a small, single desk office within it, which will be ideal for conducting one-to-one meetings. The building itself has a full range of additional spaces for when we want to hold larger events.
Natural light and ventilation
The benefits of natural light for health and wellbeing are well understood. According to Harvard Business Review , natural light is the ‘#1 office perk’. Moreover, workers who don’t have access to natural light report feeling tired or gloomy. That’s not the working environment your clients are looking for.
The past year or so of the Covid-19 pandemic have also taught us all the importance of ventilation. Not only is it unpleasant to work in a stuffy atmosphere, we now understand that viruses are much more easily transmitted in enclosed spaces. We recommend that, wherever possible, your office suites include a window for fresh air and daylight.
First impressions count. If your building has an unattractive entrance and neglected circulation space, that’s what your customers will remember. Taste is a very subjective thing, but a bright, fresh space is much more appealing than a shabby, gloomy one.
Of course, all serviced offices include kitchen and toilet facilities. However, some we looked at were much more pleasant than others. Nothing better shows your employees how little you care for them than dilapidated welfare facilities. Nobody wants to use a squalid kitchen or grotty loo so it’s worth giving these a regular lick of paint, at the very least, to keep them looking fresh.
Most of the office buildings we viewed did not have breakout spaces. Understandably, landlords want to maximise the earning capacity of their premises but having somewhere for employees to eat, socialise and relax away from their desks can really boost your clients’ productivity. In fact, according to Seenit ‘Over 60% over employees studied in a Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace report said they felt more productive as a result of having a breakout room. Having a dedicated social space can also help employees form strong relationships with their colleagues and facilitate a collaborative work environment.’
If you are the landlord of a serviced office that struggles to attract occupants, or if you are planning to set one up, we hope we have given you something to think about. Most of the things you can do to improve the attractiveness of your building are fairly simple fixes; a fresh coat of paint or giving over some space for use as meeting rooms or breakout space. You may feel that, unless every available inch is given over to rentable office space, your profitability will be affected. However, we were willing to pay a little extra rent to have everything we need and we probably aren’t the only business to think that way.
Even the bigger fixes, such as ensuring accessibility or natural light, aren’t impossible and will greatly add to your building’s appeal to prospective tenants. If it really is impossible for you to add in these things, maybe you should question whether your building is suitable for use as a serviced office. On the other hand, some people just want the cheapest space possible and so will accept much lower standards.
If you would like help to make the most of your serviced office building, Iconic Project Management are the experts of office fit outs. We can work with you to make your space work in the most effective way possible and then complete the fit out. We will deliver your perfect premises, on time and on budget. Guaranteed.
Director of Marketing at Iconic Project Management Limited. We specialise in retail, leisure and commercial construction.