Knowing the difference between Hot Desking, Co-working, Flexi-desks and Serviced Offices is the place to start!
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 service in, 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. Renting premises can be a vast expense. Hiring a conventional office, you can’t merely pay on a month-by-month basis, then opt-out of the contract where business to turn down – you’ll typically be asked to sign for a term of 3-5 years. Additionally you’ll have to purchase all of the required communications systems; furnish and paint the interior; and establish your company within the space.
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 day… standard commercial leases were of up to 25 years, signed in Ireland – it’s true, some people actually signed 25 year leases! Today, the 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.
So what is going to work for you?
Hot Desking is 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 might be a fully equipped desk area with computer and phone or all the way down to a space in a communal coffee area. Normally access to internet is guaranteed.
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 drawer.
Flexi-desk is usually the 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 of other services you require. Services can include Meeting rooms, Boardrooms, Furniture, Telecoms, Phone numbers, Internet, Tea and Coffee, 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 when you need to change then it is very easy to do so. Serviced Offices are typically designed to have multiple sizes of offices, so were your headcount to go up or down, the centre can accommodate your requirements.