Serviced offices are on the rise. Economic uncertainty and changes in the way we all work have triggered a 17% increase in demand over the last five years. Canny Aberdeen business people, looking for flexible ways to grow without committing to huge long-term costs, can move into a serviced office quickly and hit the ground running.
Despite the flexibility there is still a certain amount of upheaval when moving to a new work space, and so making the right decision is vital. To help you, here are answers to some of the questions we are asked regularly by people thinking about using a serviced office or viewing one of our Aberdeen serviced offices.
Q: What are the benefits of a serviced office?
A: The main advantage of a serviced office is that the landlord looks after everything for you and you just have to pay one monthly invoice for your office space, without having to deal with utilities, repairs or cleaning. It also comes fully furnished, with access to kitchen and meeting facilities and, importantly, provides you with maximum flexibility. With a monthly contract you can move to larger (or smaller) space quickly to accommodate changes to your business.
Q: What’s included in a serviced office
A: Most serviced offices include gas and electricity, an internet connection, furniture, kitchen facilities, cleaning and repairs. They may also include parking, insurance, meeting rooms, reception services, printing and mail services and maybe even extras like showers, yoga classes and networking events.
Q: Who uses serviced offices?
A: All types of companies use serviced offices, particularly small businesses and start-ups. All-inclusive contracts are ideal for owner-managed businesses as the owners don’t have the time to run an office on top of growing a business. A serviced office can also work well for a local office in a different city from the main company HQ.
Q: What facilities should I look for in a serviced office?
A: Apart from the basics – furniture, maintenance and utilities – you should ask about cleaning, insurance, parking, meeting rooms, shared spaces, reception services and kitchen facilities. For example, you want to know that they provide decent coffee!
Q: What’s the difference between serviced offices and standard office space?
A: Office space is just that. An empty space for you to arrange, decorate and furnish as you see fit. You will also be responsible for arranging all the services, electricity, broadband and for maintaining the space. In a serviced office, the landlord takes care of all those issues. An office space is usually leased for a fixed period of several years while a serviced office is normally rented on a month by month basis.
Q: What’s the difference between a serviced office and coworking space?
A: Many business centres provide a mix of serviced offices and coworking space, and the two fulfil different criteria. Coworking space provides a single desk for an individual in an open space with other individuals. There is often an option of having a permanent desk that is only used by you, perhaps with lockable storage for your belongings, which is a good choice if you are going to be there most days. Alternatively, there is the hot desk option, ideal for those who only want to use the coworking space occasionally. Freelancers and sole traders enjoy the option of working somewhere that is not their home, as well as the social aspect that can be lacking if you work for yourself.
Q: What’s the best location for a serviced office in Aberdeen?
A: Clearly, the answer is going to be different for individual businesses, but for us, the Bridge of Don is an ideal location. The main factors to take into consideration are your team and your clients. If all your team live in a specific area then you should think about their commutes. However, if your team are spread around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire then a location that is easy to access from everywhere is a great idea. So look at roads, traffic and public transport, and of course, parking. It may not sound like a big deal but lack of parking spaces can be one of the biggest causes of staff conflict. It may also be useful to be close to important clients. It’s common for companies in the same industry to cluster in certain areas so identifying those areas can help with location decisions. If your team travel regularly then access to the airport and the station can be an advantage, and if you transport products then proximity to main routes north and south as well as harbours should be part of the decision.
Q: How should I design and lay out my serviced office space?
A: Firstly, your serviced office landlord may be able to provide a design and space planning service. They will need to see your brand, your corporate colours and understand your culture and then look at how your team interacts on a daily basis. If you want to do it yourself, you should identify how many open plan and private spaces you need, as well as storage and collaboration spaces. Then decide how your people should be grouped to facilitate communication. For example, if your marketing team work closely with the design team, make sure they are on the same floor of the office. Start by drawing up a layout plan to see how to best use the space and check the latest guidelines to ensure that you have enough space for each person.
Q: How much does a serviced office cost?
A: The cost of a serviced office will depend on the size of the space you want to rent, the location and the facilities available. It’s worth viewing a few different offices and making sure you compare the rental costs and what is included in those costs. However, in most cases there is only one amount to budget for every month; you don’t have to worry about additional costs for fit out, furniture, cleaning, maintenance or energy and broadband bills.
Q: Is cleaning provided at AEIP and what extra COVID measures are in place?
A: The safety of our tenants is our number one priority and enhanced cleaning regimes are in place. We can also provide access to additional space if companies want to implement extra distancing in their office space.
Q: How flexible are the leases at AEIP?
A: Flexibility is probably the single most important benefit of serviced offices. If your company is growing or if you are in an uncertain environment then the ability to upscale or downsize is going to be vital to your business’s future survival. At AEIP we provide extremely flexible terms for our serviced office customers, with month to month terms.
Q: Is there enough parking at AEIP?
A: It sounds trivial but parking is one of the most divisive and controversial factors in office relationships. If spaces are limited then deciding who gets priority over parking spaces can cause resentment, but a first come first served policy can cause different but equally tricky arguments. An office with sufficient parking for everyone who wants to drive to work is also a major selling point when attracting new staff. With their convenient locations just outside the city centre, both our business parks have enough parking to avoid any grumbles.
Q: Is there any outdoor space at AEIP?
A: Both our business parks have outdoor spaces which provide an attractive environment to work in. The Innovation park is set in a mature wooded location with beautiful walks for tenants to enjoy, while offices in the Enterprise park benefit from green space, wooded areas and sea views.
Q: Who is responsible for maintenance, repairs and refurbishment in the AEIP serviced offices?
A: At AEIP we look after the buildings, and keep them maintained to a high standard. If something stops working, you only have to call the Management Team and we arrange to have it fixed promptly. Our office buildings are refurbished on a regular basis to ensure that they stay up to date and meet with all the latest standards.
Q: Who else works in the serviced offices in Aberdeen?
A: Good question. One of the advantages of using serviced offices is the opportunity to meet with people from other businesses, opening up the possibility of partnerships, collaborations or even friendships. At AEIP we have a wide variety of businesses using our offices. You can see some of our tenants here.