One of the first questions to be solved for those trying to start a business is ‘Where is the right place to set up a company?’ Traditionally, there were only a few answers. The conventional ‘office’ is a formalised, standardised environment which looks much the same for every industry. There are cubicles or booths to separate employees, until break time when they assemble in a communal space.
It is the traditional image of the office. However, things have changed a lot over the last twenty years. Now, the term ‘office’ is used to describe a broad range of corporate environments. Just check out a company like Google or Pixar to see how creative corporate design has become. It means that, for new businesses, there is a lot more choice and, if a little flexibility is required, it is easy to get it.
This guide to the most common alternatives to a traditional office lease can why it is not your only option.
In Hong Kong and other regions of Southeast Asia, some providers specialise in flexible office solutions. These virtual facilities – like ones available at Servcorp Hong Kong – are designed to offer a less restrictive take on the traditional workspace. They are shared with other tenants because the resources are freely accessed. In other words, you do not pay to rent a private space. You just sign up and turn up, as you would to a public library or another shared environment.
These workspaces are more upmarket than virtual offices, and they are private, not shared. Crucially, however, they can also be rented out on a short-term basis. It means that companies do not have to worry about splashing the cash now, only to get stuck in an unaffordable lease at a later point. They are usually provided on a furnished basis, but it depends on which provider and location you choose. Some tenants prefer to rent an empty office and fill it themselves.
A Home Base
Working from home is a feasible solution for some new companies. However, start-ups are encouraged to make a move to a more fixed address as soon as possible. There are too many restrictions associated with home operations, so it is important to see it as a stop gap. If you are planning to set up a home office in a garage or bedroom, you might want to consider sending employees to work remotely from virtual facilities. That way, you maintain a professional demeanour.
Why Flexible Workspaces Beat Long Term Leases
The long term, private lease is what is considered the ‘conventional’ workspace. It is a commercial let, which is provided according to the provisions of a strict contract. It is typical for these contracts to last two years or more. It can be a problem, particularly for smaller businesses, because growth is dependent on a lot of different factors.
While every new business wants to expand, it is hard to predict what conditions are going to be like in a year or two. It is why virtual and serviced facilities have become so popular. With their short-term agreements (month to month or six monthly), they provide all of the breathing room that startups and entrepreneurs need to develop.
Plus, they do not require a compromise on accessibility and resources. Whether you decide to work from a service office or a co-working space, you get access to cutting-edge tools and services. Think high-speed broadband, 24/7 telephone lines, a dedicated mailbox, robust back office support, and pay as you go conference rooms. It is all provided as part of a flat rate fee, so you pay the monthly premium and get unrestricted use of the facilities.