Looking to find an office in London? We’ll show you how.
London is huge, and there’s serious competition for the best office spaces in the city. But the beauty of London is that new opportunities are always just around the corner and new workspaces pop up all the time. So what’s the best way to make sense of this bustling city and find your next business home?
Start your search for a London office
There’s more than one way to find the perfect office space. Commercial real estate agents are an option, but as demand for more flexible office space and quick and transparent transactions are on the rise, there are better options out there. Office space platforms like Hubble’s have given tenants better visibility and access to the various premises to compare, contrast and ultimately make a decision based on the tenant’s own terms. The playing field is more open, all you need to know is where, and how, to look.
How do I find an office in London?
First of all, decide what is important to you. Is price your biggest concern, are you set on a certain area, or do you need a space that you can alter? Once you know what the top priorities are, things get a lot easier. If you’re unsure what area would be suitable for you, take a look at our guides for startups, agencies, freelancers and bigger businesses.
If you’re looking to find a London office and not concerned about what area, a simple search on Hubble will give you an instant idea of rents and what’s available right now.
Hubble gives you the power to search for what you really want, not what an agent thinks you want. You can search, view and book shared offices, hot desks, fixed desks, private offices and co-working spaces right across London.
Choose your own filters to search by price, location, office type, size and facilities. Want to only see workspaces in London that gives you 24-hour access and bike storage? No problem. Only interested in offices where you can play ping pong and take your dog to work? We’ve got filters for that too. Using Hubble is totally free and we have over 18k desks in our inventory.
Go to a commercial real estate agent
An experienced property agent can bring a lot to the table including great knowledge of the commercial real estate market and doing the legwork in seeking out premises on your behalf.
But it pays to be aware of the conflict of interest in the process. Agents have strong market motivations and that can include steering you towards properties where the commission is bigger, rushing you through the process to get a deal done faster and negotiating a deal with higher rent and a longer term than is in your best interests.
You might be able to work some of these negatives out in your contract with the agent, for example by agreeing a flat fee for the service rather than having the agent paid by commission. The key thing is to be aware of the potential conflict so you can work around it as best you can.
You should also be aware that agencies tend to focus on the more traditional office spaces where you need to commit to a lease that is normally between 5-10 years. Want to know the difference between a licence and a lease? Check out this post.
Find workspace in London through your personal or business contacts
First up, ask your clients and customers. They may well have extra office space that they’re willing to let you use. It’s a real win-win, because your client will have better access to you and your services, whilst you get a low-hassle way to access facilities for working, meetings and collaborating. Look at your current client list, as well as those you’d like to have as clients, and make them a proposal – they might just go for it.
Get networking. Friends, family, business contacts, neighbouring businesses – you’ll be amazed at how many opportunities arise with just a simple bit of networking.
Make the most of start up London. Thanks to its high-quality entrepreneurial support structures, talent and access to finance, London is a magnet for start ups. The latest Centre for Entrepreneurs report shows that London continues to shine as a centre for start ups, with over 200,000 company formations in the capital last year alone. The result is a growing community spirit connecting local businesses. People want to help your fledgeling business, and all you have to do is ask.
Tweet and you shall find
Finding an office in London is the kind of thing social media was made for. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram do an amazing job of connecting people, businesses and communities across the city and beyond. Reach out through social media and make connections with fellow start ups that could help you find that perfect office space.
Try taking to Twitter and searching for hashtags and conversations about office spaces in London and you’ll have instant access to people looking for and offering workspaces in the city and suburbs. Add yourself to the conversation and let the community know what you’re looking for.
Try a co-working space
A growing number of businesses of all kinds are looking to find a shared office London-wide. Why? It’s because co-working spaces are more affordable, which is especially great for start ups, and they’re easier to budget for with facilities, rates and rent all bundled into one easy monthly payment.
Co-working spaces in London give you access to professional office amenities in a creative environment, as well as fantastic communities of talented people to work with.
They’re flexible, as you’re not tied down to a lengthy contract. Month-to-month rolling contracts mean that if it doesn’t work out for you, it’s no biggie, you can simply walk away.
Co-working spaces are also easier to come by in the capital. With the likes of WeWork and Impact Hub increasing investment in London, there are now more co-working spaces here than in any other city in Europe. 156 co-working spaces and innovation hubs to be exact, giving a serious boost to London’s tech sector in particular.
Another great reason to go down the co-working route? Your employees will love it. A Harvard Business Review study found that people thrive in co-working spaces. Having greater job control and feeling part of a community are some of the reasons the researchers found that co-working employees are happier than those working in regular offices.
Don’t compromise on location
Want a tip for long-term success? Choose a location that you and your employees will love and thrive in – even if it costs you more in the short-term.
Data from commercial property agent Stirling Ackroyd has found that the number of registered technology companies in the EC1V postcode – that’s the heart of Tech City – actually dropped in the second half of last year by 227 from 2,480 in the second quarter to 2,421 in the third quarter and 2,253 in the fourth quarter, which represents a 10.1 percent drop over the period.
The main reason for this was thought to be the increase in rents, but it’s crucial to remember that whilst office rents for conventional long-term leases (typically five to 15 years) have definitely increased, shared office rents including co-working spaces have risen much less steeply.
In fact, Hubble data shows that it’s only half as much; from £285 monthly-per-desk in December 2013 to £350 in November 2015. So you might pay more for the exact location you want, but your employees will be happier and more productive for it. Not only do businesses stand to lose talented employees who can’t commit to an extended daily commute, being at the heart of the action surrounded by other start ups, freelancers and budding entrepreneurs is both inspirational and highly motivational. It can even help to increase the likelihood of business success in the future.
Hubble makes it easy to search by specific postcode, popular areas, as well as map search, so you can hone in on precise locations that you’re interested in. If Tech City is not your thing then we cover the rest of London too, right the way from Soho to Shoreditch and out into the suburbs.
When you have your ideal location in mind be sure to check out the area on foot too. Don’t be afraid to ask in buildings you want to be in and keep an eye out for signs in windows for spaces to rent.
Look out for spaces that have been left empty
Use some smart and focused searching and target spaces in London that have been sitting empty for at least six months. Check out historical online listings of office spaces to find premises that are feeling a little unloved. You can often negotiate better rates on these spaces, so be prepared to get searching – and get haggling.
Want us to help you start your search for a London office? Whatever your requirements – be it hot-desks, fixed desks or a private office – we’re here for you. Try the Hubble platform now and explore shared office spaces across the city.