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How to Choose an Office Space: Ultimate 2023 Guide


Startups, venture companies, freelancers, and other industries often use rental offices. But in recent years, work styles have diversified, and more large companies are using serviced offices to reduce the cost of office space.

Serviced offices have many benefits, such as reducing initial costs, monthly running costs, and allowing for corporate registration, but fee structure varies depending on the operating company.

A well-suited office environment creates a professional image that differentiates you from competitors. So, let’s jump into 13 checkpoints that should be considered when deciding how to choose an office space.

What is a rental office?

A rental office refers to a service that allows multiple users to contract and use a private room in a workspace, commonly referred to as a shared office.

And there’s plenty included in the usage fee already. For example, a Servcorp rental office includes IT infrastructure, office furniture, copy machines, landline phones, secure Wi-Fi, and more.

Serviced offices are drastically gaining traction because they enable access to a workspace at a lower cost, with no interior construction or security deposits needed!

Some serviced offices include additional services such as a dedicated receptionist, secretarial services, mail forwarding and IT support.

The differences from a traditional office

In a standard office, you sign a lease contract with the building owners and use the space you have contracted independently. On the other hand, a serviced office is contracted, and the workspaces used are provided to multiple businesses.

The biggest difference is the initial and ongoing costs. A serviced office reduces the following costs:

  • Security deposit
  • Interior construction cost
  • Purchase cost of office furniture
  • MFP lease fee
  • Internet infrastructure maintenance
  • Ongoings

Most traditional offices require contracts of several years, but a serviced office may offer a period of as little as one month. Now, let’s delve into thirteen important points to consider when deciding how to choose an office space.

13 Checkpoints

Basic fee and optional fee

The first thing to understand is the pricing structure.

Even though you’re only renting a serviced office, shared facilities such as meeting rooms or boardrooms may be available for an additional fee. Ensure to find out what additional services the serviced office provider has, as better shared offices typically have greater amenities.

Overall, make sure to compare prices but select the one with the most security and business-enhancing propositions.

The number of staff

It’s great to know if your serviced office space has the potential to accommodate more employees in case of expansion. Businesses are always changing and it’s important to be in a flexible environment.

The same applies to downscaling.

A flexible office space is key and this can be best determined by taking a tour of the floor. Have a checklist of questions and have all of your doubts or queries answered before signing up.

People who read this article also read the Singapore Office Space Guide 2023.

Mail handling and forwarding

Optional services are abundant with a serviced office, with mail forwarding and handling being a favourite amongst most businesses. This feature is often included in most serviced offices, but no workspace is the same; be sure to inquire with the manager onsite.

  • You can receive mail within the basic fee, but there is an additional fee for forwarding.
  • Weekly mail forwarding service is included in the basic fee, but you cannot pick it up at the office.
  • There is a limit to the number of emails you can receive per month, and if you exceed the limit, an additional fee will be charged for each email.
  • Not only can you receive mail and parcels, but you can also forward them to a specified address.

Be sure to comprehensively understand the postal, courier and forwarding services, along with their associated costs.

Location and accessibility

Even if the costs are low, inconvenient access to the environment will be a problem for business partners, customers and your own team.

Your office location also holds value in terms of increasing credibility and perception among clients. Imagine the difference between a home address and a prime location in the city center and what it can do for startups or small businesses.

Think of an address at the Marina Bay Financial Centre, Suntec Tower, The Metropolis or many other serviced office locations.

It’s a commercial advantage that can be used on business cards, websites, meetings, and all marketing materials. Businesses also have the additional benefit of acquiring office space in prestigious locations without the large costs.

The price tag of a conventional office would be very expensive, while a serviced office presents a cost-effective proposition.

Searching for a cost-effective office space in Singapore? Find out why an MBFC Office Rental may be your solution.

Operating company

It’s not just about how aesthetic the space looks or what free snacks are available in the kitchen. It’s about how stable the serviced office company is.

Do they have a proven track record? Are they consistently performing well? Knowing this information can prevent signing up for a company that may shut down suddenly. Not conducting sufficient screening time is a significant risk and one that can negatively impact your business.

This information can be found on stock exchange websites by viewing the company’s profit or by doing some basic research on Google reviews.

Security measures

Your workspace is a place of productivity and holds confidential information. Therefore, safety is paramount.

While serviced offices are private spaces and tenants are given their own key, it’s still an environment where many people come and go. Having a staffed reception, security cameras and an onsite manager is a must for ensuring a secure workspace.

The source of your internet is also important. Many serviced offices offer shared networks, which isn’t safe as anyone can access it by using the same password. Instead, companies such as Servcorp have VPNs, VLANS and customisable firewall security to keep your data as safe as possible.

Business hours

The operating company’s business hours should suit your business. Serviced offices can generally be accessed 24/7, but some companies might charge a fee for use on holidays or after business hours.

Some serviced offices have began including beds, but just because they’re open 24/7 doesn’t mean you can stay overnight, Be sure to check in advance with the onsite manager if this is a possibility.

Contract periods, renewals & cancellations

These nitty-gritty details can never be overlooked.

Serviced offices have flexible contracts where durations can be as short as one month or up to one year – the choice is yours. This workspace solution has also gained popularity because many companies allow you to trial the first month for free.

It gives businesses legroom in case they change their decision. In comparison, conventional offices in prime commercial buildings have lengthy leases and might require at least a 6-month notice before cancellation.

It’s simply not convenient or scalable for many businesses.

Although automated renewals exist, every serviced office has a different protocol and it’s best to enquire what system the company follows.

Building Grade

Cheaper serviced offices are located in older multi-tenant buildings, making clients, customers, and business partners less confident in your credibility.

Certain industries, such as lawyers, accounting, marketing agencies, and other professional services, rely on having an office that imbues success in their clients. Finding a serviced office in a higher building grade can be worth it, even if the cost is slightly higher.

Floorplan and soundproofing measures

Many serviced offices have multiple workspaces sizes, from accommodating a solopreneur to dozens of people.

A major benefit of renting a serviced office is expansion becomes seamless. There’s no need to move out and change addresses since you can rent another serviced office next door because of the floor plan.

Soundproofing is another factor that should be considered. If the serviced office leaks sound or is too close to the kitchen, you’ll find yourself distracted and always having to close the door.

A staffed reception

If your business has many visitors or phone calls, finding a serviced office with a good team of receptionists is ideal. For example, Servcorp’s serviced office tenants have dedicated receptionists to answer calls, take messages, and forward calls.

These trained professionals become part of your team and are your business’s first point of contact. A positive phone experience is very important and leaves a good impression on customers.

Whereas a poor phone call is likely to deter further contact from that person.

Interacting with other businesses

Serviced offices offer a unique proposition by hosting networking events. This opens the door for interacting with other companies on the same floor, which can lead to increasing your knowledge, gaining connections and potential business partners.

It’s handy to know what industries work in that space before moving in!

Meeting rooms and boardrooms

Not every meeting can be held in your office, and that’s where it’s crucial to have meeting room or boardroom access.

Have a look at the availabilities, sizing and technology of the meeting spaces.

These rooms typically have all the necessary amenities, including comfortable seating, high-speed internet, and presentation equipment. They can be booked as needed, making them a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes.

Meeting rooms and boardrooms play a vital role in the success of serviced offices, helping businesses to:

  • Make a positive first impression on clients
  • Collaborate with team members
  • Conduct presentations and training sessions
  • Hold important meetings

Meeting rooms are also great for boosting overall productivity and streamlining communication.

Read our guide on How Much Office Space per Person you Need in Singapore.

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