Industry Insights

The differences between a flexible workspace and a leased office

In recent years, the way we approach our work environments has undergone a radical transformation, driven by advances in technology, shifts in cultural attitudes, and the unexpected challenges presented by global events. At the heart of this transformation lies the debate between two distinctly different approaches to office space: the dynamic, adaptable world of flexible workspaces, and the traditional stability of leased offices.

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The Background

The concept of the office has been with us for centuries, evolving alongside changes in commerce, technology, and society. Traditionally, businesses have sought stability and a sense of permanence by leasing office spaces, often committing to long-term agreements that provide a fixed location for their operations. However, the turn of the millennium brought with it a new wave of digital technology, leading to a reevaluation of what an office could be. Flexible workspace was developed, a concept that embraces change, adaptability, and a more fluid approach to where and how we work.

Exploring the Key Concepts

In simple terms, a flexible workspace is a work environment where individuals or companies can rent space as needed – this could range from hot desks available by the hour, to private offices that can be rented on short-medium term contracts or fully managed self-contained floors / spaces that benefit from an all-inclusive costing that includes any bespoke fit out required. These spaces often come with amenities such as internet access, printing facilities, and communal areas, and are designed to accommodate a wide range of working styles and business needs with the option to customise your space to fit your business needs.

On the other side, a leased office is a more traditional approach where a company signs a contract to rent a specific office space for a set period of time, typically several years. This option offers a dedicated and more customisable and personalised space for businesses, but comes with the drawback of less flexibility to scale up or down as needed.

The Practical Implications

The choice between these two models has significant implications for businesses. Flexible workspaces offer unparalleled versatility, allowing companies to adapt quickly to changing workforce sizes, project needs, or even geographical locations. They are particularly attractive to startups, freelancers, and dynamic companies looking for minimal overheads and maximum flexibility. Especially post pandemic, flexible office space provides an increased sense of comfort and stability due to its flexible model to adapt to any situation.

Typically, all costs associated with flexible or serviced office spaces are inclusive, covering rent, business rates, service charges, and insurance. Additionally, they include health and safety compliance, consumables, utilities, facilities management, general maintenance, and fit-out. Businesses also benefit from pre-installed furniture, inclusive service costs, high-speed internet, and IT support, allowing your business to move into your new office within days or a couple weeks rather than waiting for months with a traditional leased office, eliminating many logistical headaches and reducing the upfront investment.

Conversely, leased offices provide a sense of permanence that can be crucial for established companies looking to cement their presence in a particular location. This model allows for a higher degree of brand expression through office design and can foster a stronger sense of community and culture among employees.

The Future of Work

The choice between a flexible workspace and a leased office depends on a multitude of factors, including the size, stage, and culture of your business. What’s clear is that the future of work is not one-size-fits-all. It’s about finding the right balance between flexibility and stability that aligns with your business objectives. As we move forward, embracing the possibilities of both models may well be the key to navigating the ever-changing landscape of the modern workplace.


Tony Beck

Tony, with 18 years' expertise in area management and director roles for top commercial agencies and serviced offices, brings valuable insights across surveying, property management, and commercial agency to ensure exceptional service in achieving clients' real estate goals.

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