The business world today is constantly evolving. Flexible workspaces like serviced offices and coworking spaces offer affordable and adaptable office solutions. Many people are confused between serviced offices and coworking spaces, since both offer shared amenities such as meeting rooms and receptions. Yet, they offer different types of offices to cater to different needs. Here’s a comprehensive comparison to help you make the right choice.
What is a serviced office?
Serviced offices offer fully furnished offices in various sizes with flexible lease terms. Renters get a dedicated office while sharing amenities like receptions, meeting rooms, and kitchens. Service offices such as Compass Offices provide office essentials, from desks, chairs and storage, to high-speed internet, electricity to security system. Reception teams offer administrative support for tasks like mail handling and phone answering.
Considered as a workspace solution that combines the advantages of a private office and coworking space, the popularity of serviced office continues to grow among entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses (SMEs), and established corporations.
As a flexible workspace, serviced offices offer short-term flexible leases that start from daily to monthly. This attracts businesses like startups and SMEs who would like to stay versatile and avoid committing to long-term contracts. Their ability to accommodate scaling needs as required also make them desirable for businesses with changing staffing needs. For large corporations, serviced offices are a great solution for short-term projects, or as a temporary office during refurbishment or relocation.
Apart from the flexible lease, they also strike a balance between being a cost-effective solution and a professional office set-up. With standard office equipment provided, businesses do not need to spend additional time and money in setting up the office, therefore shortening the move-in time, and they can run their business right away. They also do not have to worry about maintaining the office, as the operators take care of tasks such as restocking the pantry, cleaning, utilities and internet connectivity.
In addition, serviced offices are professionally set up. For instance, if you need to meet a client, there are business lounges for a casual discussion, as well as meeting rooms with AV facilities for a formal meeting and presentation. Together with the support from the serviced office team, businesses can delegate administrative tasks to the serviced office team and focus on their core operations.
Nonetheless, since serviced offices provide private dedicated workspace for clients, the rental rates can be higher than coworking space. Some industries have specific compliance requirements regarding office space, so always check if serviced offices meet protocols. In terms of branding, not all serviced offices permit customization. Selected providers like Compass Offices offer bespoke spaces to accommodate different business needs.
What is a coworking space?
As the name suggests, most facilities and amenities in a coworking space are shared, from workstations to meeting spaces and kitchens. Businesses can choose a dedicated or hot desk in a sharing environment. Coworking space providers focus on community building; therefore networking events such as guest talks, happy hours and classes are commonly seen. The shared format is ideal for freelancers and small businesses seeking connections and collaborations.
Similar to serviced offices, a coworking space lease starts from daily to monthly or longer. Since coworking spaces charge per desk, businesses can easily scale up or down as needed. The packages are also more affordable than traditional offices, making it ideal for startups or as temporary workspace. Shared facilities such as kitchens and desks let members network and connect with like-minded professionals. An increasing number of coworking spaces target specific industries, for instance, a tech coworking space can promote its enterprise-grade IT facilities and industry-related networking events to keep the members up-to-date on business trends and help them grow.
However, coworking spaces lack privacy and security. Business discussions and internal communications can only be conducted in a sharing environment, unless you book a meeting room. Your work is hardly secure as others can peek at your laptop. Some may also find the shared space too distracting.
Furthermore, support services are more limited in coworking spaces. Unlike serviced offices with professional admin teams, coworking spaces tend to leave that to the clients themselves. Some operators even restrict their members from using the address for their businesses, leaving enterprises to sort out a virtual office service elsewhere.
What is the difference between a serviced office and a coworking space?
Serviced offices and coworking spaces are essentially different products under the same umbrella of flexible workspaces.
In terms of cost, coworking spaces are straightforward. Businesses can choose from a dedicated or hot desk, and they are charged by the number of desks and the time used, from daily to monthly. Meanwhile, serviced offices offer more customized private office options in different sizes and layout. For example, established firms may opt for a harbour view office with a manager’s room, while growing firms may benefit more from a lower-priced internal studio in the same location. Perhaps a small team of 2-3 prefers a bigger space; they can rent a bigger office that fits up to 4 people at a more cost-effective price and with more included services than they can get in a traditional office lease.
Another major difference is privacy. Serviced offices provide dedicated workspaces, while coworking spaces have shared facilities. Serviced offices offer more confidentiality. Their 24/7 access and lockable doors keep belongings secure. In a coworking space, you are responsible for your belongings in a sharing space.
Regarding amenities, serviced offices and coworking spaces both provide shared facilities from reception to meeting rooms. However, serviced offices typically offer staff support like administrative assistance, whereas coworking spaces expect member self-sufficiency.
Serviced offices provide private furnished offices with flexible leases, while coworking spaces offer cost-effective shared workspaces focused on community building. Analyze your budget, business needs, and preferences between private or shared offices to determine the best solution. Consult real estate professionals for tailored advice.