Shared Office or Serviced Office?

Are you looking to move from home office to a professional space? A quick search will show you that you're spoilt for choice - modern office rentals are abundantly available.

If you're not well-versed in commercial rental lingo, you'll also encounter a complex array of confusing terminology including the likes of serviced offices, coworking spaces, business centres, shared working spaces, and more.

Often these terms are used interchangeably even by professionals, which isn't always correct and can be misleading.

This article aims to help make your office selection process more manageable by unpacking the similarities and differences between shared offices and serviced offices.

We'll also help you to understand why coworking spaces and shared workspaces aren't the same.

What are Serviced Offices?

Serviced offices are move-in ready spaces equipped with the workplace basics and facilities you need to run your business, including furniture, IT setup, cabling, office equipment and more.

Unlike traditional setups, these types of workspaces are immediately available when it's time to relocate your business to its new home.

Serviced offices are move-in ready spaces equipped with the workplace basics and facilities you need to run your business, including furniture, IT setup, cabling, office equipment and more.

What are Shared Offices?

There are two types of shared offices which are subletting and purpose-made shared spaces.

When a company is keen to utilise their empty spaces, they could sublet unused office parts to another business.

Subletting is a win-win scenario for all parties. The sub-lessor increases their monthly revenue stream and shares their monthly expenditures by filling the empty desks or offices.

At the same time, instead of a more expensive private suite, the sub-lessee can stay within budget by renting affordable office space.

On the other hand, there are entire office blocks dedicated to businesses, called purpose-made shared spaces, designed with sharing in mind - for example, sharing facilities, boardrooms and services.

What are the Advantages of Renting a Serviced Office?

You receive a broad spectrum of well, value-added services with a serviced office. These include the following.

Admin Support

Admin support is crucial for the seamless functioning of an office. This service isn't provided in a traditional workspace and comes at an additional expense to the business.

Fortunately, in-house admin support forms part and parcel at most serviced offices.

With a comprehensive support team working behind the scenes, you can put your entire focus into running your business, rather than having to juggle office management with work responsibilities.

IT Support

IT services are usually included, too, with trained IT personnel running interference, promptly dealing with issues and putting into place backup systems to prevent glitches.

Serviced offices sometimes have IT staff, so that you don’t have to go through the effort of recruiting your own department.

Boardrooms and Meeting Facilities

Meeting rooms provide businesses with quiet spaces to meet clients or staff members. Unfortunately, acquiring these facilities in a traditional space is a considerable expense for most companies and just isn't economically viable.

Of course, meeting in a private workspace behind closed doors or at work luncheons is possible, but these environments don't offer the same degree of privacy and professional connection.

Although meeting rooms are communal facilities shared with other tenants at serviced offices, they are bookable at greatly reduced rates.

You receive a broad spectrum of well, value-added services with a serviced office.

What are the Downsides of Renting a Serviced Office?

Lack of Personalisation

Having a move-in ready space takes the hassle out of building and designing an office, but it also stops you from customising your office.

Often, there’s a complete lack of personalisation within serviced offices, which might look unprofessional or unappealing to your clients. However, its appearance might not matter if you’re occupying the office temporarily.

What Benefits do Shared Offices Provide?

The best benefit of opting for a shared office is the dynamic environment in which you'll find yourself working.

Sharing a workspace with professionals from different sectors presents opportunities for collaboration, idea sharing, upskilling, networking and fuelling productivity. Social benefits aside, there are other upsides.

Cutting your Costs

Basing your business in a shared office is a cost-effective move. It helps to keep overheads down. Sharing an office means splitting costs down the middle, with everything neatly included in your rental package.

It also means not wasting time and money shopping for office supplies, furniture and equipment, but having an office where everything you could need is in place already.

Short-term Rental Contracts

Shared offices are a viable option if you can't commit to long term leasing and need space right now.

Although these offices lack scalability, meaning they don't accommodate company expansion or downsizing, businesses aren't bound to a lengthy and inflexible lease should they need to move out and find appropriately sized office space.

Included Facilities and Amenities

Although these may vary between different shared spaces, shared offices generally include more than a desk, chair and internet, but cool perks and features that enhance office life.

Are Shared Offices and Coworking Spaces the Same Office Setups?

Leasing a shared office doesn’t come without some problems. These are the ones to watch out for if you share a workspace with other businesses.

Potentially More Distractions

Shared offices aren’t all the same; you might rent a private office or a desk shared in an open space.

For either scenario, noise distractions may be inevitable on days when you need to buckle down and get work done.

A shared office might not be a suitable choice if your business requires around the clock focus and concentration.

Little Customisation

You can’t customise a shared office to align with your brand. That’s not to say that a shared office isn’t aesthetically pleasing; it could be tastefully decorated but just doesn’t reflect your business ethos.

In a privately leased office, you have more creative freedom over the office aesthetics.

Shared offices aren’t all the same; you might rent a private office or a desk shared in an open space.

Shared Office Vs Serviced Office: How Do You Choose?

It's not always clear how these two office types differ, considering shared offices and serviced offices possess overlapping characteristics, the primary one being that they're alternatives to traditional workspaces.

One glaring difference between the two is that a serviced office prioritises private rooms or exclusive suites over open space.

As the name suggests, you'll be occupying a workspace with others in a shared office, even if that means working from a private office inside a business centre.

Greater scalability is another key difference between serviced offices and shared workspaces, where the former are scalable offices that can grow or shrink as needed.

This contrasts with shared workspaces because vacant spaces that are subletted are usually a fixed size and are generally subleased for short amounts of time.

If you're looking for a long-term office rental that accommodates changes in your company, a serviced office is the better option for your business requirements.

If you're newly starting, have limited capital and require a temporary workspace, a shared office fits your current needs.

Sometimes, serviced offices provide more extensive perks and features than a shared office, including around-the-clock building access and assorted office luxuries.

If you're your own boss, you might find the fun, exciting and relaxed coworking space matches your flexible work style.

How Are Shared Offices and Coworking Spaces Different?

Shared offices and coworking setups seem similar. Both comprise a diverse tenant base with different businesses sharing space under the same roof.

However, you'll find that these spaces cater to different clients. Coworking spaces are ideal for startups and freelancers who thrive in an office environment built on collaboration and networking.

On the other hand, shared offices accommodate more established businesses and their unique set of needs. That doesn't mean that these companies can't or don't work in coworking spaces or vice versa. But currently, that's how these spaces are operating.

If you're your own boss, you might find the fun, exciting and relaxed coworking space matches your flexible work style. On the other hand, a shared workspace exudes the professional air you need as someone in the corporate world.

Let us guide you

We know the search process for a new workspace can be overwhelming, that’s why our team are here to help through every step of the way.