Why Office Sharing is An Increasingly Attractive Option for Businesses
Shared offices are growing in popularity due to their flexibility and potential for collaboration and inspiration.
Shared spaces are great for those who don’t want to commit to an office space of their own. This type of arrangement can appeal to many organisations, but it’s a particularly attractive option for startups who want to keep costs under control (and retain strong cash flow) as they settle in and begin to grow.
Coworking & Shared Offices Are Not the Same
Before we delve into the benefits of shared office spaces, it’s important to point out that shared offices and coworking are two different concepts.
Coworking (or hotdesking) has become exceptionally popular in recent years, as more individuals turn to freelancing. According to Statista, as of May 2023 there were circa 4.39 million self-employed workers in the UK. Many freelancers thrive in coworking spaces, which are specifically designed to provide flexible, collaborative areas for people to work. They are a melting pot of professionals who have all kinds of specialisms and business backgrounds.
Office sharing, however, tends to involve companies (usually two of them) operating in one space, typically with a larger infrastructure to accommodate multiple employees who work for the businesses.
Finding The Office Space That’s Right For You
While standalone office spaces can be great for established companies who want to settle in one location, they aren’t always the best fit for everyone.
Start-ups may want the freedom to grow and change as their business develops, making shared office space an ideal route for them to take. Many enjoy the networking opportunities that office sharing provides, as having other companies around can be a source of inspiration and learning.
No Long-term Commitment
Commiting to a long-term lease simply isn’t feasible for a lot of businesses, especially those still finding their feet. Shorter-term leases help to relieve some of the pressure on companies who may need to upgrade or downsize more quickly - being locked into a three-year lease makes this almost impossible. With flexible office leasing options, smaller companies can move on to larger, better-suited locations if they require a more adaptable space in time.
The cost of utilities is continuing to rise, making it more and more expensive for businesses to run and operate. These increases are usually manageable for more established organisations as they can plan their finances in line with inflation. However, increased costs can be a big worry for SMEs who need to stay on top of their spending. In a shared space, these bills are typically covered by the fee you pay to use the location, meaning you don‘t have to worry about an unexpected bill or price hike affecting your financial plans - also, you’ll be splitting these costs with another business.
If you’re flying solo in a privately-owned office, you are responsible for updating the relevant equipment, whether it’s kitchen facilities, bathroom fixtures or anything else the space may require. Renovations and upgrades are necessary to compete in the modern world, so it can be a struggle if you don't have the budget to implement them.
In a serviced office space, you’ll have everything you need right away and you can be assured that everything will be maintained on your behalf, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
Other Benefits of Office Sharing
As well as financial incentives, shared spaces come with other great benefits that can improve productivity and overall wellbeing.
Office sharing creates great opportunities for networking and meeting new people. Sharing a space with other companies serves as a fantastic way to meet like-minded business people, giving you a chance to form excellent business-to-business relationships. It can also unlock new revenue streams: quite often, businesses that share a space will find that they’d benefit from the services offered by their coinhabitants - this happens a lot!
Shared spaces often provide better accessibility. Businesses can sometimes struggle to find office spaces in popular locations, due to high costs and demand.
Bruntwood’s shared spaces are located in convenient spots with great public transport links. And by sharing with another business, you’ll find an array of attractive options become available to you.
Learning from Other Businesses
Being in close proximity to businesses that are maybe a few years further down the track than you can be the biggest benefit of all. You can get a daily view of how they operate and soak up all kinds of learnings that you can apply to your own company as it begins to scale.
Accommodating Changing Work Patterns
We’ve discussed changing working patterns in detail and this is certainly relevant to the conversation around shared office spaces too. As businesses adapt to the proliferation of remote working, leasing a shared space can be a savvy move.
In many cases, employers don’t expect their staff to be present in the office every day, which means companies that previously had a large space to accommodate every employee all at once can now operate in a much smaller facility. This is where office sharing can really pay dividends and is a big factor behind the increasing popularity of this kind of working arrangement in the last few years.
Is a Shared Office Space Right For You?
Shared office space is a great solution for businesses looking for an affordable and flexible base. With excellent facilities, short-term commitments and the potential for networking opportunities, they can be a great option.
Bruntwood offers fantastic shared spaces across multiple UK cities, including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool. All our spaces host great facilities in accessible locations, such as our 111 Piccadilly space in Manchester, located just next door to the train station. Featuring a coffee bar, lounge, workshops and community events, it’s a great spot for a business of any size.
One of our biggest locations, the Innovation Birmingham Campus, is home to over 120 businesses. This location is great for networking and provides business support programmes, health and wellbeing events, kitchen and bar facilities, and more. All just a short walk from the city centre.
Bruntwood’s shared office spaces could be a great next step to help grow your business. Or, it could be the perfect spot for you to switch up your workspace and move to a more inspirational location. Get in touch with us today.