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.

Virtual Offices

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.

Executive Suites

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.