3 Golden Rules for professionally presenting your small growing business

So you have finally done it, made the leap, kicked your boss and gone into business for yourself. You have been to see your accountant to register your new company, raided your savings to generate the initial investment for your company and more than likely bought half of staples so that your home office is “well equipped” and now your new venture is ready to open its doors to the big wide world… however, do you have everything in place to give your new business a fighting chance in the modern business arena?

New business sign

Here are our 3 golden rules to help you launch a professional and resilient business:

1. Be small but seem big – Just because you are a small business does not mean that you have to appear to your clients and competition as a small business. 10 years ago this would have never been possible. Back then if you started a company and turned your back bedroom into an office you would have to use your home address (109 new street, new lane) until your business was large enough to move to a professional office. If you were a small company you had no choice but to grit your teeth and stick it out.

With the changes to the ways people are working and the arrival of Virtual Offices and Business Post Address services provided by Business Centres and Office Companies you do not have to actually have an office to have a presence in an area. You can be a small business based in Hertfordshire but have regional offices in London, New York, Japan and the USA all for under £150 /month.

2. Stay connected – With the advance of technology, Smart phones and Laptops picking up our emails on the go and taking calls from potential clients has never been so easy – Make yourself easily accessible to your clients so when they are ready to buy something from your company or take on your services then you will be right there ready to take their order.

3. Have a back up plan – When it’s not possible to stick to rule 2 make sure you have a back up plan. If you are on a plane or on the underground or out in the middle of nowhere with not even a smidgen of mobile signal what will happen to your calls? …Maybe they will go to voicemail? …however we all know that 80% of callers will not call back after hearing an voicemail message!

All is not lost – Enter a Telephone Answering service company to take your calls when you can’t. These virtual super hero’s although still a relatively new industry (started in the last 5 years) are ready to swoop in and take your place when you’re out of the office or unable to get to the phone.

These services are also a great way of buying you some time to concentrate. If you are preparing a document or a large proposal but finding it hard to get things done as the phone is ringing every five minutes – Why not divert your phone to your Telephone Answering partner and let them take the load off of your shoulders temporarily.

More information on Telephone Answering, Business Post Address Services and Virtual Office providers can be found by searching these terms in any search engine. You can also include the Town or county where you live if you are looking for a more local and personalised service – make sure you check out our other post on “When should a business use a virtual office” and The Hot Office skit video for helpful tips (and a good laugh whist you’re there!)

 

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Hot Office Business Centres are specialists in flexible serviced office space and virtual services , delivering a broad range of services including private office suites, campus offices & coworking space, UK telephone answering services, virtual offices and meeting & training rooms. The Hot Office provides award winning services for over 3,000 growing and established businesses across the UK including within its portfolio Tesco, BT, Energiser Batteries, Tropicana, Voxeo, British Gas and Unilever

Four generations working side by side by 2020! Why businesses need to change their views on Office Space

Change in human behaviour, expectation & working patterns: Whilst Serviced Offices and Third Place hubs/lounges have plugged a gap to match our needs, there is not enough scale currently to enable seamless consumer choice. With Generation-Y being educated through the digital age [internet reaching critical mass in early 1990s] and now all engaged in the workplace, naturally their thinking of how life should and will be is very different from any generation that has been before them. Infact, due to extended life expectancy, one of the big challenges ahead for the working environment is that by the year 2020 there will be four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. The young entrepreneurs, owner managers and employees today are already hard wired to want products and services instantly; they require instant responses to communications and rightly see high quality service delivery and value for money as a given.

 

Hot Office Campus Office - Google creative space

Typ, Gen ‘Y’ working – Google Creative Space

 

The correct image in front of their peers!

The all-encompassing social experience and human interaction is important with particular attention regarding the impact on both their overall work life and social life, and also on the surrounding soft and ‘cool’ aspects of any service. Their image in front of their peers is very important and they are more driven by brand due to the new media world they have grown up in. Generation-X [persons born in or after 1960] and the post war baby-boomer generation segregated work and social life; negative issues at work could be compartmentalised to stay at work, where Gen-Y now live a relatively seamless existence. The new millennial generation workforce demand inspiring work environments and due to the pressures of global trading must have access to work on tap. Workplaces are now less about the physical office space and more about the collaborative experience and efficiency of delivery. This is reflected in how Regus are changing their approach; updating their website to reflect a much larger focus on The Third Place.

 

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Hot Office Business Centres are specialists in flexible serviced office space and virtual services, delivering a broad range of services including private office suites, campus offices & coworking space, UK telephone answering services, virtual offices and meeting & training rooms. The Hot Office provides award winning services for over 3,000 growing and established businesses across the UK including within its portfolio Tesco, BT, Energiser Batteries, National Grid, Tropicana, Voxeo, British Gas and Unilever

Most CoWorkers have expressed that it would be beneficial to be part of a network – What do you think?

There is dramatic change. In the year 2000, average lease lengths were sixteen years, now they are just six with the average break clause falling from seven to four years across the same period.

The average size of units that occupiers require has fallen significantly in recent years; this can be largely attributed to businesses’ desire to use their space more efficiently. In London, serviced offices are clustered around the City core, the City fringe and the West End, demonstrating the desire to work easily and efficiently around the key business districts.       

A key cause in this rapid change is a desire to reduce property overheads, however other strong drivers include; emerging technologies, employee morale, employee retention, and enhanced productivity.

Certain sectors are taking on new technologies and changing their ways of working. As one would expect, companies like IBM, Vodafone and Cisco, already have the necessary infrastructure in place and are leading the way, whereas more traditional firms are slightly behind in adopting alternative workplaces and work styles.

 

Serviced Offices is the fastest growing sub-sector within the commercial property market. There are now over 6,000 serviced offices and 2,500 CoWorking locations across over 120 countries, with London being the epicenter of the conventional serviced office and New York being the hot-bed currently for CoWorking spaces by volume.

Although some of the major operators can accommodate company teams up to five hundred persons in a single location, the average serviced office contract provides space for three-four persons. Choice of location within a city is usually more relevant than a centre’s capacity.

 

Coworking is essentially taking the best ideas of the coffee shop (social, energetic, creative) and the best elements of the serviced office (productive, functional) and combining them to give workers the chance to have their own affordable shared space. Access is gained through membership or subscription.

Coworking spaces are shared workspaces that are used by various independent individuals as their place of business. CoWorkers work mainly in self-determined situations, and the majority are independent workers, although more than one in four of them are employees of companies.

Important statistics from a recent survey released from Deskmag (online magazine about coworking, its people and spaces):

  1. the number of Coworking hub spaces has nearly doubled each year since 2006
  2. the average Coworker is 34 years old
  3. earns an average to above average income
  4. is university educated
  5. males outnumber females by 2:1
  6. interaction with people is the highest priority
  7. flexible work-times 2nd, opportunities 3rdLow cost was 6th
  8. lowest priority surveyed was peace & privacy
  9. the majority of Coworking spaces hold 2 events per month

 

Competition: On the basis that only 1% of Coworkers come from a business centre and 4% from a café environment, the overwhelming competitor of the Coworking hub is the Home office!

Good examples of Coworking hubs operated well with contemporary design and active communities include: Workbar, Boston; The Hub, 5000 members over 30 locations globally; Central Working, London and Shoreditch Works, London.

At the higher end of the spectrum, these hubs will be; exceptional, creative, motivational workplaces with a high level of services.

 CoWorking - The Hot Office

 Workbar, Boston, USA

 

It is envisaged that larger creative Coworking hubs may offer knowledge sharing forums, business support, personal development, coaching events, skills training, technology support, banking, evening music & entertainment in the evening and access to a global network of peers.

 

Although Coworking is now the hottest topic in the industry, it must be put into context, Coworking hubs still represent a tiny portion of the global office stock currently. According to CBRE, only around 110,000 people work in Coworking spaces vs. 2.2 million office based workers in central London alone; therefore, growth in this area is almost ‘limitless’ currently. If just 1% of the London traditional office population were to change to a Coworking hub style of working then it would create a demand for 1.1 million sq.ft of hub space (i.e. 166 new locations at 6,000 sq.ft in London alone). CBRE forecast that the short-term shift in working habits in London will make way for the opportunity for 300+ Coworking space units.

Location will be a critical factor in the success of a pure Coworking centre; over 50% of Coworkers live in cities with over one-million people. However, surprisingly the second largest area of growth has been in locations with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants, beating mid-sized cities. Coworkers prefer to be close to their homes, with two-thirds being within twenty minutes or less to the centre; one in four take just ten minutes.

 

Most Coworkers have expressed that it would be beneficial to be part of a network – What do you think?…please let me know max@thehotoffice.com

 

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Hot Office Business Centres are specialists in flexible serviced office space and virtual services, delivering a broad range of services including private office suites, campus offices coworking spaceUK telephone answering services, virtual offices and meeting & training rooms. The Hot Office provides award winning services for over 3,000 growing and established businesses across the UK including within its portfolio Tesco, BT, Energiser Batteries, National Grid, Tropicana, Voxeo, British Gas and Unilever

 

Shared Office Space vs Private Office Space

Shared Space versus private Space has resulted in a body of research that explores the pros and cons of both approaches. After finding the perfect location which is often first on the checklist, it then really comes down to three deciding factors. These are Culture, Communication & Cost.

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Culture can be broadly defined as “the way things are done around here.” It includes business values and behaviours, belief systems, management values, expectations and attitudes and employee values, expectations and attitudes. It is important for any business to consider these factors as for them, working in a shared space office environment can influence those factors and can change the way their employees currently work or can manipulate their attitudes which can result in moulding with other businesses beliefs and expectations. Other businesses will overlook this and it may not even make it on to their check list, but it certainly is a point that should be considered. Where that style can work perfectly well for one business (who perhaps is a new start-up business and currently has no ‘set in stone’ company morals) it may not work for another.

Some businesses will not suit Shared Space due to legality reasons i.e. client confidentiality etc… and will have no other option than to utilise private space. Other businesses will make that decision based on a number of factors. I.e. having a larger work force or needing their own physical space for client meetings.
Some may just decide that they would prefer to work within private office space as they are already based in a private office space environment and are simply looking to make a smooth simple transition. The minor few businesses left, in my opinion, will not agree with the concept of shared space and will out rule it for that one and only reason.

Shared space will often work great for either a start-up business who will decide to move from their back bedroom for reasons such as feeling isolated, wanting to socialise and network with other businesses or wanting to separate their home life with their work life. Other businesses will decide that working in a shared space environment offers a great atmosphere and gives off a real motivational buzz. Communication can be key for the success of their business and for them, the busier the environment the better.
Cost is often a little further down on the list. It will often work out to be a far more cost effective option to use shared space on a flexible basis i.e. the ‘CoWorking Hub Service at The Hot Office. This is akin to a Gym membership and enables you to come and go as you please and only pay for the time you are using.

To summarise, most people appreciate the sense of community a shared spaced environment can offer. Shared Space allows for better communication and exchange of information amongst co-workers. It is easier to ask each other questions in an open environment. This is a perfect example of a service/environment that Hot Office Business Centres can offer. On the flip side of that coin a key benefit of working in private office space is the reduction in noise and closed space can also translate, for some, into more room/space. To get a visual understanding of the Shared Space versus Private space at Hot Office Business Centres then please take a tour on our website, or why not pop in for a coffee and chat to see how we can benefit your business?

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Hot Office Business Centres are specialists in flexible serviced office space and virtual services , delivering a broad range of services including private office suites, campus offices & coworking space, virtual telephone answering, business post address services and meeting & training rooms. The Hot Office provides award winning services for over 3,000 growing and established businesses across the UK including within its portfolio Tesco, BT, Energiser Batteries, Tropicana, Voxeo, British Gas and Unilever

How to motivate your remote workers

The way in which we work is changing. I’ve mentioned before how technology has permanently liberated us from our desks and offices, and how we’re now able to work from anywhere we want. It should therefore come as no surprise that a record 4.2 million people are working from home in the UK. While this is great for employee morale and productivity, it can prove to be a logistical nightmare for employers who are tasked with motivating these people.

 

motivate remote workers

 

Remote workers can at times feel disenfranchised and isolated. While hiring the right people and having a clear vision helps, here are 10 tips that will ensure your remote workers are motivated and happy.

 

1) Communicate regularly

This is a given. It’s important to regularly keep in touch regardless of where your employees are. Whether it’s a quick Skype call, instant message or text, employers need to make sure their employees don’t feel lost or adrift. A quick call can reassure your employees and ensure everything is on track. You don’t need to have a reason to call or message—just think of it as a coffee break or water cooler chat.

 

2) Keep an open door policy

Just because your workers are remote doesn’t mean that they don’t need you to listen. They should still be able to express their frustrations in the same way they would if in an office. You need to make yourself reachable and available in order to keep your employees happy and ensure that feelings of isolation and stress won’t impact their work.

 

3) Give and get feedback

This works both ways. You should give your employees feedback to improve their performance, just as you would in an office. If remote workers are unsupervised and constantly repeating the same error then the business will be losing time and money. Feedback can be given via Skype or video chat on a regular basis, or with regular face-to-face reviews.

On the flip side, it’s also important to canvas your remote workers opinions on a regular basis. They might pick up on something that you are missing, or they might see an opportunity to improve an established process.

 

4) Create a team

This can be a challenge, especially when your workers can be thousands of miles apart. A lack of connection with the company or with your peers can reduce productivity and motivation so it’s important to ensure that everyone feels part of your business. Web-conferencing programmes can give your workers a face and will help to foster a sense of community. Even an internal newsletter or weekly internal blog can help in this regard. Keep them in the loop. Your employees want to trust their colleagues and not feel as if they’re completely alone.

 

5) Give praise and reward when its due

When you’re not seeing someone on a daily basis it’s all too easy to overlook remarkable performance. If your employees feel unappreciated; the quality of their work will suffer and they will adopt a ‘that will do’ attitude. If your employee excels, give them praise. If you don’t care about their work, why would they? A simple ‘well done’ can go a long way.

 

6) Clearly define roles

When your employees are working remotely they should know their job role and what is expected of them. They can’t constantly be asking their colleagues or boss what their next task is.

 

7) Trust your employees

Your remote employees might be night owls or they might get their work done in the mornings. You should give them some flexibility and let them do what works best for them. This requires you to trust your employees to get on with their work and to hit those deadlines. As long as they are getting their work done, how and when they do it is irrelevant.

 

8) Make it fun

Employees working at home can often feel like they’re missing out on office parties and social events. Give your team some leeway. Use the odd conference call as a way to talk about what your employees are doing outside of work. Set up a fantasy football team. Bonding activities can go a long way to combating those creeping feelings of isolation.

 

9) Keep your employees equipped

Make sure your remote employees have all the right systems for remote working such as: cloud storage, a video or IM service and a device with a camera. If you’re aware of a new application or piece of hardware that would make it easier for your employees to communicate, make the investment.

 

10) Repeat everything twice

It can be easy to misinterpret or hear something incorrectly when you’re working remotely, especially if you’re got a bad connection. In order to avoid confusion and upset down the line, send over written confirmation of any verbal communication. Use a task manager so that everyone knows what they are doing and what they are heading towards.

 

Do you work remotely? If so, what does your company do you do to keep your employee motivated, or what does your company do for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.  

 

Fed up of working at home? 5 Great alternatives!

Working from home is a dream for many of us: it eliminates our commute, increases our flexibility and reduces our expenditure. But working from home might not be working for you. Perhaps you’re distracted by your spouse, children, neighbors, friends, family or yourself. You might not have enough space. You might feel isolated. Maybe you just don’t feel motivated anymore.

 

fed up working from home

 

Whatever the reason, if working from home isn’t working, here are 5 alternatives for you to try.

 

1) The Coffee Shop

The Coffee shop is a popular choice for those working remotely. While some will find the noise distracting, others will enjoy the hum of the coffee shop. Recent research has even shown how the sound of background chatter can stimulate creativity.

The popularity of the UK Coffee shop is no coincidence. Many major coffee brands have designed their stores to cater for business users. Free wifi and coffee on tap makes the coffee shop the perfect place for those who don’t mind noise.

 

2) The Library

Working at a library is another free alternative to working at home. The library offers a quieter environment for those who are easily distracted. A deathly quiet environment however, can be a bad thing. Some people can just not cope with silence. It also means leaving your desk if you get an urgent phone call.

Like the coffee shop, the library has limitations. While you have more surrounding space, you are still limited and although you will probably have access to the internet, it’s unlikely to be lightening fast. The printing facilities should be up to scratch, though, and you will have access to a computer should you forget your laptop charger.

 

3) Hot desk

Hot desking is on the increase. While not free, hot desking is an affordable option for many cash-strapped startups, freelancers and consultants. The concept is that you walk in, find a desk to work at, plug-in your laptop, connect to the high speed internet and you’re ready to go. Most good hot desk providers will provide coffee and refreshments, be located close to transport hubs and have parking available outside. Hot desking is a great way to network, too. Good providers will have meeting room facilities, which neither the coffee shop or library can compete with.

 

4) Coworking

Coworking spaces are similar to hot desks in many respects. The primary difference is that hot desking gives you the option to hire your desk down to the hour, while coworking is a longer term solution.

Coworking spaces differ depending on your provider. Some have a distinct feel. Some are small, whilst others, especially in big cities can span multiple floors. All good spaces should offer high speed and reliable internet access along with printing facilities and meeting rooms.

As with the coffee shop, background noise can be an issue for some and while theses space offer the opportunity to network, they can be distracting at times.

 

5) Serviced offices

If none of the above options are appealing to you, then you should consider a serviced office.  Like coworking spaces, these are normally located near transport hubs making them easily accessible. A serviced office is the most expensive option on this list, but is comparatively cheap when compared with traditional office space and the high risk associated with a long term lease.

Good serviced office providers will provide offices varying in size and price. All good offices will also have high speed internet (plus wifi), telephone services and virtual reception services available, too.

 

How do you prefer to work? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Why are flexible workspaces a popular choice for UK businesses?

While the uptake of flexible workspaces was originally driven by increasing costs and a shortage of space, UK business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers are realising some of the other benefits flexible workspaces bring.  Here are 5 benefits that make flexible workspaces a popular choice for UK business.

 

flexible work

 

1) Liberate you from your commute

Unsurprisingly the morning commute is the most hated part of the day and is detrimental to your happiness. This is because the average commuter spends 77 minutes a day commuting in London and 54 minutes outside of the capital. The average Londoner would reportedly save 1.6 weeks and £520 per year by working from home for just two days a week. That’s enough time to watch all eight seasons of 24 back-to-back.

Flexible workspaces allow you to either avoid your morning commute entirely or alternate your working hours to avoid peak times – no more road rage!

 

2) Attract talent

Two out of five of us are looking for flexible work arrangements. In order to attract the best talent business owners need to offer flexible working spaces with flexible working hours. A recent survey has shown the importance of flexibility with 58% of HR professionals citing it as the best way to attract new talent.

 

3) Better retain employees

Flexible workspaces allow you to cater for changes in your employees circumstances. You don’t want to let your best employee go, and employee turnover can be costly. By offering a flexible work space to suit, you’ll be better able to keep hold of your best people.

 

4) More space

Office space is a growing concern small business owners face. London — like other cities — is short on office space and will likely remain in short supply for the next two years.

If you can’t find or afford a large office, but you need a prestigious address then a virtual office is the solution. If you need an abundance of space, facilities and a prestigious address, then a coworking space or flexible serviced office is probably more ideal.

 

5) Increased productivity

Flexible working means both you and your employees are more likely to work when you’re productive. Research has shown how flexible working can result in a 70% increase in productivity.  Greater ownership over time also allows for workers to develop a greater work/life balance.

 

The rise of digital natives – those who have grown up with technology – has lead to an increasing demand for flexible working spaces. These workspaces help eliminate or reduce the dreaded morning commute, attract employees, increase employee retention, decrease cost and increase productivity. They can also provide your business with the space it needs to grow.

 

Have you thought about using a flexible workspace? Let us know in the comments below. 

 

5 things to consider when starting a home business

With flexibility becoming increasingly important to workers, it’s no surprise that the number of us working from home in the UK has risen to 4.2 million – the highest level since records began. Entrepreneurial activity is also on the rise with 63% of home workers now self-employed.

While the idea of starting your own business from home is exciting, here are 5 things to consider before you start.

 

new small business

 

1. Space

The whole working in your bathrobe cliché is great, but how practical is it?

You need somewhere to work, ideally a dedicated office space. If you’re living in a cramped London flat, or sharing with a large group of people, you probably won’t have the space you need to work from home. If you’re unsure, consider any equipment, inventory and employees that you’d need room for. Also consider how quickly your business is likely to expand.

If space is an issue, co-working spaces and serviced offices are both short term, flexible options that cost less than traditional office space and allow you to separate your work and personal life.

 

2. Time

Though the idea of working whenever and for as long as you want may sounds great, the reality is that you will need to work around your clients. If you’re not available on their time, you’ve got a problem. Set hours will stop you from overworking and ensure that your clients are aware of when they can speak with you.

 

3. Meeting clients

I’ve spoken about this before – regularly meeting your clients in your kitchen or in a busy and crowded coffee shop is far from ideal. If you’re going to be regularly meeting clients, prospects, or business partners, then you need access to professional meeting facilities.

A virtual office can provide you with both meeting facilities and a professional business address which give credence to your business.

 

4. Connectivity

While this is less of a problem today, high speed fibre optic broadband is still not available everywhere. This can pose a problem for start-ups in rural locations who require a quick and reliable connection.

It’s worth talking to your ISP if your service is poor, but if that fails then consider a serviced office or co-working space that offers high speed internet access and wireless access on demand.

 

5. Deeds

You might discover that there are covenants in your deeds which prevent you from having a home based business. These are more often found in newer housing developments as they are usually put in place to restrict excessive neighbourhood traffic.

While there are many benefits of starting up from home, you need to be aware of your space, time, clients, connectivity and the deeds on your property. If any of these are a stumbling block then there are viable alternatives such as hot desking, coworking and serviced offices.

 

All of these solutions are in-expensive in comparison to traditional leased space, and provide you with meeting facilities and a professional business address. If you want all the benefits of an office paired with the flexibility of working from home, then a virtual office may also be worth consideration.

 

Have you ever started a business from home and struggled with any of these issues? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

 

I’ve got 99 problems but Office Space ain’t one

A shortage of space in the capital and major cities around the UK is driving an increasingly expensive office market that‘s pricing out start-ups and small businesses. As a result a record 4.2 million UK workers are based at home. While working from home is a dream for some, for other’s it’s a nightmare. So what are the alternatives?

In the wake of rising rents, Coworking spaces and serviced offices have emerged as viable alternatives and are changing the face of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Both options have received a huge uptake globally with an 83% growth in coworking spaces and a 10% growth in the serviced office industry. While each is vying to be for small businesses, freelancers, contractors and solopreneurs, both are different propositions.

 

 

Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are a shared, flexible workspace that’s typically used by a collection of small business owners, entrepreneurs, remote employees, consultants and freelancers. These spaces offer all the benefits of a traditional office at a fraction of the cost.

 

Advantages

Being around other fellow minded business people and entrepreneurs means that you’re able to bounce ideas off your cohorts and get some advice — they may have been where you are now. You also have the ability to network. You might stumble across that graphic designer you’ve been looking for, a perfect new client or discover a new perspective on a problem you’ve been struggling with.

By being in a collaborative environment you’re encouraged to be more creative. This suits entrepreneurs and small business owners who dislike what can be an isolating experience alone in a traditional office.

 

Disadvantages

Coworking spaces are not always quiet, so you may want to invest in a good pair of headphones! They are not space for those of you who hate noise and are very easily distracted by others around you.

Coworking spaces don’t offer much privacy, and there is always the possibility that you’ll find yourself sitting next to your competition — for better or worse!

 

Serviced Offices

Whether you’re a start-up business or a freelancer, serviced offices are an attractive alternative to traditional leased office space and coworking space. Commitment wise they are based in-between the two offerings. Most new small businesses are nervous about making a long term financial commitment to a lease, so the majority of serviced office providers offer a rolling contract similar to coworking spaces, with minimum commitments from as little as a month.

 

Advantages

Serviced offices offer everything from a basic office to a more luxurious set up with add-ons such as a virtual reception service. Like coworking spaces they offer high speed broadband, printing facilities, a kitchen and meeting rooms.

Serviced offices are not dissimilar to conventional offices in that they offer a solitary work environment with an abundance of space. They also offer a distraction free environment where you’re able to come and go as you please. These offices vary in size and typically cater for up to a dozen people so you don’t need to worry about moving far if your business grows.

 

Disadvantages

Rental costs may start to get more expensive long term. Once you reach a certain size (often 15 employees and beyond) it’s worth considering leasing your own space. You also may not enjoy the more isolated nature of a serviced office if your company is very small.

 

While serviced offices and coworking spaces might not be your first thought when considering an office, they are changing the start-up landscape. Both solutions offer cheaper and more flexible work environments that can cater for growing businesses. Coworking spaces are great if collaboration is important to you, while serviced offices are ideal for those who need a quieter, more private environment to work in.

 

Are you worried about finding office space? Have you thought about using a coworking space or serviced office? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Why Freelancers Love Virtual Offices

The exponential growth of the freelance economy is coinciding with a shift in the way we work. Companies are becoming more flexible and staffing is no longer seen as a completely fixed cost. Businesses are taking on freelancers as and when they’re needed. As a result there’s an increasing demand for the 1.4 million freelancers working in the UK.

Working as a freelancer offers some tremendous advantages, such as flexible hours, autonomy and the ability to work from anywhere you like. But while working remotely has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks. In today’s post I explain how virtual offices can address them.

 

freelance virtual office

 

Communication

For many freelancers, dealing with a constantly ringing phone is a challenge. When you’re working remotely you won’t have the time or capacity to answer calls from you clients, prospects and tele-sales people. By doing so you would tank your productivity, fall behind schedule and negatively impact your billable time.

A virtual office can provide you with a virtual receptionist who will courteously answer the phone on your behalf. This receptionist will filter out sales calls, take messages when you’re away and forward clients/leads. You’ll never miss a call again, and be able to carry on with your work uninterrupted.

 

Branding

A virtual office service improves a freelancer’s personal brand. With a professional virtual receptionist answering the phone and a suitable business address you can use on your website and stationary, you won’t have to deal with the negative stigma sometimes associated with working from home.

A virtual office can also provide you with access to professional meeting room facilities, which will save you from meeting clients in your kitchen or at the local coffee shop.

 

Privacy

A virtual office will go some way to giving you back your privacy. You’ll no longer be bombarded by people calling at all hours, have a home letterbox full of spam mail every morning or have to worry about clients turning up at your front door day or night. By using a virtual office service as a buffer, you will be able to better separate  your work life and personal life.

 

Save Money

A virtual office provides a freelancer all the benefits of a physical office without the physical space and higher costs. It will also give you more flexibility with your finances, as most virtual office providers offer rolling monthly contracts. Much less scary than a 10-year office lease!

 

Have you thought about using a virtual office for your freelance or home based business?