Before the pandemic, shared office spaces were booming. Fuelled by the ‘gig’ economy, and spurred on by innovative thinkers like WeWork and Second Home, they quickly became the office of choice for many new start-ups and established names.
A shared office in London enables a business to share the costs associated with commercial office space with several different tenants. The result? Affordable office space in the city.
You can also access affordable, flexible office space via the Hubble Pass. The Hubble Pass is your all-access ticket to a global network of on-demand workspace, including private day offices and meeting rooms by the hour. If you'd like to find out more about the Hubble Pass, click here.
And not just any office space. Those shared costs mean that even start-up businesses can afford quality commercial real estate in great locations with fantastic facilities.
Whether you’re open to subletting an office from a company or keen to find a shared office within a dedicated business centre, here’s what you need to know.
Shared offices come in two main types:
Some companies find they have spare office space and, rather than have it sitting there redundant, they rent it to others looking for flexible workspace. It’s a win-win - affordable, professional space for smaller businesses and an additional revenue stream for the hosts.
Purpose-made shared space
There are also dedicated office buildings and business centres specifically designed with sharing in mind. Rather than subletting an office from another business, multiple businesses rent desks and share facilities and services.
In either case you’ll find private office units and fixed desks available within shared offices in London.
Some are basic, others furnished with extensive facilities, like meeting rooms, shared receptionists, catering and shower rooms.
They’re a great option for small start-ups that want the networking perks of coworking, but need something more permanent than simply hot desking.
The main benefit of sharing an office is that it provides a more dynamic environment for the companies working there. You could find yourself working alongside companies from a wide range of business areas that complement yours. It’s an instant networking boost for your team, increasing the potential for collaboration, sharing skills and expertise, and cross-referral of clients. But this isn’t the only upside.
As your business grows you might find that client meetings in cafes just aren’t going to cut it. When you’re looking for a more professional space but can’t afford a private office suite for your company, sharing an office is a great option.
One of the greatest advantages of a shared office is that it's work-ready, right when you need it. All facilities are already set up, so you can move in and get to work straight away.
Rent, business rates, wages for reception staff, cleaning, catering, IT costs - they’re all shared and neatly bundled into your monthly rent. With most shared offices ready to move right into, it also means there’s no great outlay of capital for equipment and furniture.
While private office contracts often span several years, shared offices are more likely to offer you a short-term contract. Further on down the line, if the shared office isn’t for you, or your team expands and needs more space, there’s less financial risk as you’re not tied to renting over a long period.
If you have a more fluid team, with some people working in the office only part-time, you don’t have to rent for the full working week. Shared offices give you plenty of flexible lease options so you can utilise the peak times to suit the needs of your business.
Sharing office costs often gives you access to the kind of amenities you’d never be able to afford on your own. From gym facilities and relaxation areas to catering and spacious meeting rooms, you’ll have all you need to keep your team and clients happy.
Shared office space is becoming more diverse and innovative in the capital, with developers letting out everything from former schools to disused police stations while they await planning permission. Choosing a shared space means you’ll have a far broader range of unique and exciting workspaces to choose from for your team.
The flexible workspace sector is home to all manner of different types of workspace. There are subtle differences between a coworking space and a shared office.
Shared offices tend to open up when a company has extra desk space in their office. These spaces are usually provided as is, with any networking or complementary collaboration left up to the tenants.
Coworking spaces are purpose-built with collaboration in mind. They’re aimed at lean start-ups and entrepreneurs looking for community and connection, and freelancers looking to increase productivity away from home. There’s an increased focus on community, with regular events and a lively, dynamic set up.
While coworking spaces focus on a more relaxed and trendy atmosphere, shared offices:
- Work to project professionalism
- Give you a more permanent workspace, where you’re free to leave computer monitors, files and paperwork behind at the end of the day
- Can give you more control of the team culture
- Often come with admin staff and offer more in the way of private amenities
Definitely. For most freelancers and startups, private offices are out of the question. Cost sharing is one of the main reasons for the increasing popularity of shared office spaces in the capital - they offer the affordable middle ground between laid-back co-working spaces and expensive private offices.
According to a 2016 Business Centre Association report, serviced office rates in shared business centres are between 23 percent and 30 percent cheaper than conventional leases on a like-for-like basis.
Rents are often negotiable for multiple desk queries, and you can find cheap shared office space on Hubble for less than £100 per desk.
You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your shared office neighbours - and choosing wisely is essential.
Work alongside a competitor and problems can arise. We might live in a more sharing world these days, but this is still business, and you don’t want rival firms elevator-pitching your potential new clients or overhearing your company goings-on.
Working alongside a complementary business, on the other hand, can be hugely beneficial. You can make great contacts, cross-refer clients, share expertise and potentially use each other’s services at a discounted rate.
There are thousands of shared offices in London, and the choice can be a little overwhelming.
We’ve made it easy to see what’s on offer in London for your budget. Hubble is home to over 1,500 London offices, from £100 to £1,000 per desk. You can search by location, rent, size and type of office, as well as filtering for particular facilities you’re after, including things like 24-hour access or pet-friendly spaces.
Reach out on social media
Use your social media channels to let people know you’re on the lookout for cheap shared office space. You never know who could come to your rescue with the right deal.
Offer your skills in return for space
Bartering for business space is nothing new, and it’s even easier to accomplish in today’s sharing, social networking world. You could offer admin services, IT know-how or networking contacts in exchange for free office space.
As with any big business decision, choosing a new location for your HQ needs careful consideration.
- Make sure it has enough parking for your team and visitors too
- Ensure the location is easily accessible for your staff and clients
- Work out the per-head cost of renting the space
- Look at what’s included - rates, internet, furniture?
- Try a short-term contract to begin with, so you’re not tied-up if things don’t work out
And always, always go and visit each shared office on your shortlist. Remember that a shared office is about so much more than just the cost per square foot and we guarantee your business will be all the better for it.