It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that demand for serviced office space in London is booming right now.
In fact, it doesn’t look like things are going to cool off any time soon. Just last month we posted findings from Deloitte that suggests the London serviced office market has expanded by a massive 67% over the past decade.
While this is excellent news for operators of serviced offices in London, it does present a challenge for potential occupiers.
It’s no secret that supply of serviced offices in Central London is limited – particularly in hotspots like The City and the West End. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that office space in London can be expensive, particularly in under-supplied areas.
Even Tech City, peppered with incubators and low-cost accelerators for growing technology firms, has been blasted for its soaring office space rentals. Not only that, but the cost of living in London is notoriously high too.
So are smaller businesses being priced out of London?
Here are three approaches to consider:
1) Explore the city fringes
Do your clients really expect to find a small business in Mayfair? Perhaps not. Consider peripheral locations which, in many cases, really can offer more bang for your buck.
Traditional fringe areas like Shoreditch and Soho have become startup magnets in recent years, offering cool stylish spaces within easy reach of key central markets. Today, many of these areas have succumbed to London’s soaring prices. For instance, this research suggests that the price of a single workstation in Shoreditch now sits at roughly £521 per month, while Soho averages £586 per month – placing it up there with serviced offices in Bank and Liverpool Street.
Instead, consider fringe areas like Islington, Chiswick or Wandsworth, which sit at the lower end of the pricing scale. These locations are home to a number of highly regarded serviced office operators who add huge value to small businesses with on-site business support, full-time reception services and spacious, well-presented office suites.
Many business owners are also considering areas like Victoria and Kings Cross, which are well-connected and have seen a massive amount of regeneration in recent years.
2) Share and share alike
If you really want to shoulder your way into Central London, try a coworking space. These are shared, community-driven spaces featuring various styles of desk accommodation often in an open-plan layout.
Given the structure of these spaces, workspace is generally much cheaper to rent than a private serviced office suite and are ideal for startups or independents, given the natural networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities.
It’s not necessarily suitable for client-facing businesses, although most coworking spaces now offer private meeting rooms and day offices on-demand. Many businesses centres in London have branched out into the coworking scene too, which offers a good range of workspace options under one roof. Other spaces are independent, focusing heavily on entrepreneurship and community, with various drop-in or gym membership-style rates to suit different budgets.
3) Go virtual
Probably the cheapest office space in London you’ll ever find is the virtual variety. The virtual office approach gives you a recognised business address and local phone number, which receives mail and phone calls. You can even have an on-site receptionist answering calls in your company name.
The catch? You don’t actually work there. It’s essentially a mailing address facility with various added services, like receptionist support and mail handling or storage. Some virtual office packages include time-limited use of meeting rooms or office space, which is handy should you want to meet clients or suppliers in person.
The main advantages of a virtual office include a smart address on your business card, a professional receptionist answering calls on your behalf, and the smug satisfaction of having all this at a fraction of the cost of a full-time office.
Whichever option you choose – whether you want a serviced office, a shared coworking space or a virtual set-up – first speak to the team at LondonOffices. Our consultants have been working the London serviced office market for years, and we really do know where the best deals and most affordable offices can be found. Even better, our advice doesn’t cost you a penny.
So before you take the plunge, ask LondonOffices first. We might just have the perfect serviced office in London with your name on it.