Lots of different terms for saying pretty much the same thing. The value proposition in all of them is to provide you with a space to work in a “good” environment to help do your businesses or your thing at a cost that fits your budget.
You are a small business, an individual with a project, a professional, a start up, a creative type, freelancer or someone simply needing a place to work and concentrate that is not home. Your work routine could generate the requirement as you maybe temporarily in an area, someone in and out and on the move all the time, someone needing an hour or two here or there.
A “good” environment could be due to having modern comfortable air conditioned offices, a particular look such a flowers, trees, and greenery, or a pool table and fun break out area, and more and more great coffee must be on tap. It could be in an area of a city or suburb that is buzzing or easily accessible from a transport point of view. It could also be an office with a view – a city scape in an office tower, out in the country or even with a view of the sea – there is always one that caters to your definition of “good environment”.
On a business level, this often translates into what sort of commitment the business has to make to avail of the space and the rate it pays.
Back in the days… standard commercial least of up to 25 years were signed in Ireland – OMG its true folks some people actually signed 25 year leases! Today, average lifetime of businesses are much shorter and most businesses value flexibility – what will your business look like next year let alone in 10+ years time.
On the other extreme, it could be a you need a space for a single day. One of the most recent innovations of the sharing economy is the “Space at Home” (someone else’s home of course) system. The site is a market place for renting someone’s front room or kitchen in a modern cool city pad for 9 to 5pm or similar. They go out to work and someone comes to work in their front room – it’s a win win for owner and renter (tidiness on both sides may be required).
All the in between types all really try to match your budget and how you feel good working.
Hot Desking – typically in an open space where each day its first come first serve for desks. Normally you will be asked to sign up for a monthly contract. Sometimes you can find operators where you subscribe with a gold, silver, bronze type card which gives you access to different parts of a centre or different centres regionally or even globally. It could be a full scale desk or all the way down to a right to use a space in coffee area. Each time though there will be access to internet.
Co-working is often in open spaces but usually you will have a desk allocated and you can set up your favourite mascot on your desk and generally leave your stuff when you go home every night. Some operators provide you a secure cupboard space or draw – bit like a locker room of old.
Flexidesk – usually same as a Hot Desk or Co-working but sometimes meaning you get to use an office with an actual door on it that provides you privacy.
Serviced Offices – these are spaces provided by Serviced Office Operators. They typically operate a whole centre with different sizes of individual office available and a bit more structure. They will provide a bundle of services included in your monthly fee then you choose off a menu other services you require. Services can include (make sure you are clear with them as to what is and what is not included) meeting rooms, board rooms, furniture, telecoms, phone numbers, internet, teas and coffees, receptionist services and many more. They will typically require a minimum 3 to 12 month commitment. Notice periods will be short, often 1 month, so if you need to change then it is very easy to do so. Serviced Offices are typically designed to have multiple sizes of office so if your headcount goes up or down the centre can accommodate your requirements.