Are Serviced Offices Good for Networking?
In a 2022 Harvard Business Review article titled 'To get people back in the office, make it social', Chris Capossela argues that 'the value of the office is in the people, not the place.' With the rise of remote and hybrid working, around half of employees say that their relationships outside their immediate work group have weakened. To make people want to work from the office, he suggests, employers need to offer those social connections that they miss while working remotely.
But while Capossela focuses on the social aspect of office-working within an organisation, spending time with coworkers isn't the only way to tempt employees back to the office. With the rise of flexible, non-traditional office spaces like serviced offices and coworking spaces, there are more opportunities than ever for employees to network and make connections with other organisations from the office. Building networks, stimulating creativity, and increasing collaboration, working in a flexible office space that promotes inter-organisational networking can transform the way you work and encourage your staff to want to come back to the office.
Let's take a closer look at how serviced offices enable networking and the beneficial impacts that this can have on your business.
What are serviced offices?
Serviced offices are all-inclusive, fully-furnished private offices. Paid for with a single monthly fee that includes rent, bills, cleaning, security, insurance, business rates, and front of house staff, you can enjoy a ready-to-use office that already has all the amenities and furniture you need. These private offices are usually priced by the desk and are already kitted out with desks, chairs, super-fast Wi-Fi, and more.
Usually located in a business centre alongside other serviced offices managed by the same vendor, additional amenities like a front desk, toilets, breakout spaces, meeting rooms, and more will be shared with the other businesses that work in the space. There are serviced offices all over the UK, with many concentrated around business hubs such as Greater and Central London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, and Bristol. However, serviced offices can also be found outside of the big cities and are becoming increasingly common across the whole of the UK.
Serviced office contracts tend to be more flexible and short term than traditional long-term office leases. This makes these workspaces ideal for businesses that want to move in quickly without hassle, bigger businesses that want a more flexible option than their current office lease, and rapidly-growing small businesses that may need to upgrade the amount of space they have access to in the next 6, 12, or 18 months.
How do serviced offices promote networking?
Sociable shared break-out spaces
In many ways, serviced offices provide the best of both worlds: the privacy and quiet of an individual private office and the fun, social atmosphere of a coworking space in the shared break-out areas. The communal areas may include kitchens, cafe areas, comfy seating, outdoor terraces or roof gardens, and some may even offer communal hot desk areas for the use of all the different businesses with offices in the building. This means that your team members can get to know the other people working in the nearby offices.
Whether it's a daily chat in the elevator or bonding over a love of the coffee machine, working in a serviced office building allows for all these spontaneous moments of connection between employees at different companies who are united in the same space.
Organised networking events
Some serviced office providers go the extra mile by organising events that facilitate networking between the different companies in the building such as speed networking, socials, book clubs, lunchtime talks from speakers, or discussion groups. With these events that can get everyone together over shared interests or common themes, serviced office providers are able to create cohesive workspaces and facilitate networking between the different businesses that work in the building.
Exclusive offers and opportunities
In some serviced and coworking office spaces, businesses in the building are encouraged to share exclusive offers, discounts, and opportunities with others in the building. By encouraging different businesses to mingle and support each other, these building-wide discount and offer schemes can provide that initial spark that inspires future collaboration and friendship between members of different teams. Newsletters, notice boards, and dedicated communications channels may also be set up to unify everyone in the building and spread the word about various offers and opportunities.
What are the benefits of networking in a serviced office?
In any situation or career, building a strong network is a great way for individuals to develop their careers, gain new knowledge and skills, and share valuable opportunities or connections. Creating and maintaining a network has a wide range of benefits, but let's take a closer look at the specific benefits of networking in a serviced office space.
Partner with local businesses
Networking isn't just for individuals looking to expand their connections and find new opportunities; building a network is equally important for businesses. Especially for new businesses, startups, and businesses that have recently opened a new office or relocated, building a network with other local and like-minded organisations is key.
Partnerships between businesses can be a great way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness, and these are often most productive when these partnerships take place amongst a network of businesses operating in the same local area. This may mean putting on collaborative events with other businesses in your network, launching campaigns together, or simply giving referrals to customers.
Serviced offices bring together a range of different types of businesses that tend to have similar values due to the type of office space they rent (for example, flexibility, collaboration, and creativity). These networks of businesses are ripe opportunities for productive and long-lasting partnerships that are mutually beneficial for all businesses.
Serviced offices tend to be more creative spaces than traditional office spaces, attracting a younger and more innovative crowd which often includes startups and small businesses alongside bigger organisations. For this reason, serviced offices tend to provide a more creative atmosphere. In particular, networking within serviced offices can provide creative inspiration that your team needs.
For example, a great talk with employees of another business in the communal break-out room may inspire new ideas or solutions to a problem for your team members, while building-wide events like speed networking or lunchtime workshops may also boost creativity.
Much of this comes down to the spontaneous interactions and encounters that are facilitated in serviced offices. While traditional self-contained office spaces only provide opportunities for these spontaneous and creativity-inspiring interactions between team members, serviced offices with their shared meeting rooms and break-out spaces offer even more opportunities to connect with other professionals and share ideas or resources.
Enjoy special offers and discounts
As we have already mentioned, often many businesses working in the same building under a single office provider will enjoy building-wide discounts, special offers, and exclusive opportunities from the neighbouring organisations in the business. Maybe this means that the health and wellness startup in the office next to yours will offer massage coupons that your team members can enjoy, and in exchange your video production agency will provide discounts on branded video content for others in the building. Pretty nice, right?
While we can't promise that moving to a serviced office space will always result in getting amazing discounts from the other offices in the building -- this depends on the space and your neighbours, after all -- the likelihood of this is far greater in community-driven serviced office spaces than in traditional office rentals.
Make your office a social space
Finally, a major benefit of moving your business to a serviced office space with ample networking opportunities is that your office becomes a sociable place where your employees want to spend time. If you've struggled to tempt employees back to the office post pandemic, the opportunity to socialise, network, and further their careers in a great office space might help.
In this post-Covid era, we've seen a real shift in the purpose and usage of the office. Now that it's become clear that many businesses can operate effectively with their team members working from home, the office has changed from a place to work into a place to work together. Especially for hybrid-working teams, days in the office mean an opportunity to collaborate, bounce ideas off each other, and build those productive working relationships and networks that help make careers fulfilling. And, when you work in an amazing serviced office space that encourages socialising and networking with other businesses, coming to the office becomes even more of a treat.
Which serviced offices are best for networking?
So, now that we've explained the benefits of working in a serviced office for networking, you may be wondering where exactly you can find one of these great office solutions. Fortunately, there are a multitude of amazing office spaces all across the UK, with various sizes, facilities, and amenities available. Usually priced by the desk rather than by square foot, it's easy to find a serviced office space that is perfect for your team.
Serviced offices in London
London is a major business hub and so it's no surprise that there are a wide range of serviced office spaces available in all parts of Central and Greater London. Great office locations in London include areas in the City of London and around Liverpool Street Station, the West End, and in South London around London Bridge and Waterloo. While the traditional office market in London is known for being expensive, a combination of reduced demand for office space and the cost-effective nature of serviced offices means that renting space in London properties is no longer out of reach for smaller businesses or companies on a tight budget. Here at Future Squared, we have access to exclusive offers on some amazing properties in London, so don't hesitate to contact our team or use the office search tool to find your perfect ready-to-go office.
Serviced offices in Manchester
London isn't the only city in the UK with a great selection of serviced office properties. Farther up North, Manchester also offers some well-designed service offices to rent with low monthly costs and all the amenities you need: super-fast internet, ergonomic furniture, break-out rooms, meeting rooms, front of house services, and more. With great spaces to rent around the city centre and Northern Quarter, Manchester has a great range of offices available in proximity to useful transport links.
Serviced offices in Birmingham
There are also a range of serviced office spaces on offer in Birmingham and the West Midlands, with affordable rents, flexible contracts, and enviable amenities. From Birmingham's bustling city centre to the scenic Jewellery Quarter and Westside, the city has a lot to offer in terms of all-inclusive serviced offices to rent. If you are looking for a new home for your business with great opportunities for networking, Birmingham's serviced offices and coworking spaces are a great option.
Let Future Squared help with your office property search
If your current lease is coming to an end or if you're a new business on the market for an office space for the first time, Future Squared can help. With exclusive access to a huge catalogue of serviced offices, managed offices, coworking spaces, and virtual offices, we specialise in flexible workspace solutions. Chat to our helpful team today to find out more about how we can help you find the perfect new workspace and negotiate a cost-effective deal.