The rise of the desk space market
The most recent report from Officegenie.co.uk showed that desk space enquiries across the UK have doubled in the first half of 2011. This means there are opportunities out these for companies to be leasing out their spare desk space, as well as a strong number of desks being available for small businesses, start-ups and freelancers to take their first steps out of the home office.
Using Newcastle-Upon-Tyne as an example, there are more than a thousand desks available in shared offices now at an average cost below £100 per desk per month, with more than 2,000 available in serviced offices at an average of just under £200 per month.
Desks in shared offices are let out by businesses who have found their offices are larger than they need. This can be accident or design: with the recession dragging on many companies are being forced to downsize their staff numbers, while still being tied into long office lease contracts. Others are seeing the opportunity leasing spare space brings and taking a larger office to have the opportunity to sub-let.
Those taking up desk space tend to be small start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers - generally people in creative industries such as design, journalism and web development. The continued rise in the number of freelancers and small businesses can also be attributed to the recession, as well as advancements and the falling cost of communication technology. These factors are leading many who have been made redundant to have a go at going it alone.
The benefits for those renting a desk are many and varied. Contracts are short term, normally on a monthly basis, while renting additional desks can cover your business’ growth. You also avoid admin headaches such as providing security, paying utility bills and covering dilapidations.
You can usually move in pretty much immediately, as everything you need (including furniture, decorating, meeting room set up and reception areas) will already be in place. This also gives the opportunity to companies who need to employ a large number of temporary staff, perhaps during the busy Christmas period or to cover a particular promotion or large contract.
Also, simply getting out of the house and into the office can see a big rise in productivity and professionalism. Not to mention the ‘office buzz’, which can see you not only creating new friendships but also new business deals and opportunities.
This office buzz can also be a key plus point for the business renting out the desk space. But more importantly, if you have that space, what do you have to lose? It is already furnished, being heated and being paid for by the square foot by your business - better to make it profitable in the short term, even of you hope to expand your number of staff further down the line. Remember, you can let your space on a monthly basis, so you will be entitled to ask people to leave with very little notice if the situation demands it.
As long as you can approve a sub-let through your landlord - and don’t have any serious security fears about the set-up - it would be foolish not to at least entertain the idea.