As the global economy continues to change and evolve at a dizzying pace, with more entrepreneurs opening their own businesses, established companies entering new markets, and employees working remotely, the traditional office space model is about as relevant as a dial-up Internet connection. In the aftermath of the Great Recession and with the proliferation of e-commerce, companies can be more nimble and adaptable to market trends because they no longer require brick and mortar store fronts or a fixed location for their employees to be housed under one roof. Virtual Receptionists and Assistants make the need to be tethered to a specific location almost obsolete.
Which type of office suits your needs? Learn more about the Top 5 Workspace Types below.
- VIRTUAL OFFICES– Perfect for Startups and testing out new markets
What are they? Virtual Offices provide their tenants with a “Fortune 500” company image (prestigious address and access to conference rooms and a receptionist) for a fraction of the price of traditional office space.
Pros- Virtual Offices are easy to set up globally, and can be available within one to two business days. Packages start as low as $50 per month for use of the address and mail collection/forwarding, and can cost up to $300 for packages that include conference room rental packages and a receptionist. Because they are so cost-effective and usually have month-to-month leases, Virtual Offices are the ideal solution for new businesses with limited capital and short-term business plans.
In addition, they are an excellent option for companies that are looking to expand into new domestic or foreign markets without significant office space capital investment.
Cons- Basic Virtual Offices merely provide an address, with optional mail forwarding, conference room rental, and receptionist packages for an extra fee. They do not provide their tenants with an actual place to work.
2. CO-WORKING SPACE– An alternative solution for individuals seeking socialization and collaboration while they work
What is it? Working from home or noisy coffee shops can be an isolating, unproductive experience for individuals such as writers, designers, freelancers, solo practitioners, contract employees, and Startup founders. For the professional seeking a collaborative environment and sense of community, Co-Working Space may be an alternative to working at the kitchen table in a bathrobe and slippers. Costs range from $100 per month to $600 per month (including storage and group meeting space), with an average cost of around $300 per month.
Pros- Co-working spaces provide a stimulating environment in which to work with creative or technical types from other professions. The added benefit to these spaces is that there is an automatic network of peers with whom you can share ideas, learn about upcoming events, work on projects, obtain feedback, and exchange referrals. Some locations even provide designated work spaces, team areas, conference rooms, and storage space.
Cons- Because Co-Working spaces are usually open environments without cubicles or offices, it may be difficult to maintain privacy, have an intimate conversation, or make confidential phone calls. However, some spaces offer Executive Suites or private rooms for this purpose. It may also be difficult for companies to forge their own company culture in this group setting.
3. EXECUTIVE SUITES Customizable work space for the professional who wants a private office and the ability to work with a team in the same location
What are they? Executive Suites provide flexible lease options in a designated space for professionals and their teams with the option to expand or downsize as their staffing needs fluctuate. Tenants on the same floor share a receptionist, conference rooms, kitchen, and mail/copy room. Prices range from $800 to $2,000+ per office, depending on the size and view.
Pros- Executive Suites can be located in prestigious “A”-rated buildings and project a professional image to employees and visitors. Often, offices and cubicles come furnished and have Internet, phone, and fax systems included in the lease; when bundled together, they can be more cost-effective than traditional office space cost totals. Offices and cubicles can be rented by the hour or the day for special projects or visitors. Administrative assistants can be hired by the half hour for overflow work. As a bonus, Executive Suites can provide an excellent source of referrals because many tenants on the same floor interact with each other in the hallways, common areas, and lunch rooms.
Cons- Incidentals, such as copies, faxes, water and coffee can add up quickly. Read the lease agreement thoroughly and look out for additional hidden costs.
4. BUSINESS LOUNGES– Cost-effective option for the professional on-the-go
What is it? Virtual Office companies are starting to offer “Business Lounge” options as part of their Virtual Office or Executive Suites packages, or al la carte for a small monthly fee.
Pros- This option is valuable for people who travel frequently and have down time between meetings, or for the Virtual Office tenant who wants a change of scenery on an intermittent basis. Business Lounges usually provide an open-seating arrangement with free WiFi; work space areas with outlets; complimentary refreshments; and for an additional fee, access to administrative assistants, concierge services, conference rooms, printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some of these packages start at $25 per month, and can be used at locations across town or around the world. Members located in big cities can work from a different location every day of the week.
Cons- Business Lounges lack of privacy for conversations and phone calls. Daily parking rates can add up quickly and exceed the cost of the monthly membership after only two to three days.
5. TRADITIONAL SPACE– Semi-permanent space for companies that want to create their own culture and keep tabs on their employees.
What is it? According to Brian MacMahon, CEO of CEO of Your Office Agent, “Ninety-nine percent of today’s office space is still under the ‘traditional’ format, in which companies build out and furnish their own space under mid-term and long-term leases.” Prices range from $2.50 to $6.00 per square foot in major markets.
Pros- Companies can construct and furnish their work area to their own specifications, and can be the exclusive tenant of a particular suite, floor, or building.
Cons- Most conventional lease terms are for 3-5 years, yet the most accurate business plans for new ventures can only project 3-6 months into the future. Many Startups that have failed in the last few years were unable to survive because they could not keep up with the monthly costs demanded in their strict lease agreements. Most leases have minimum square foot requirements that are three times the amount of space required in leases for Executive Suites.
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*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.