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Guide to finding flexible work space for your new business

September 29, 2011

If you’re starting a business and need room to work outside the home without the permanence (and expense) of leasing office space, there are more and more flexible options open to you – from hiring meeting rooms, to ‘hotdesking’.

Unless you’ve got a certain business success on your hands, or need to employ staff right away, you are unlikely to want to outlay funds (and commitment) on permanent office space.

You may have a family at home, and need to use some outside office space for part of the week – to provide a more peaceful working environment, or simply as a place to arrange meetings.

Not all businesses can operate in this manner, but for many ‘knowledge-based’ small companies in the service sector (freelancers included), securing flexible office space can provide a good balance between working from home and more traditional business working.

Rent a desk from another business

Many offices may have surplus space for their requirements, or may rent out parts of their office to provide extra income – especially in the current economic climate. You will typically pay a monthly fee, with a short term break clause. The fee should include all services except for telephony fees (although you may be able to use the office broadband network).

Good places to find office space to rent include the wide array of business bulletin boards – including gumtree and ukbusinessforums.

Hotdesking

Most of the UK’s major business centres offer some type of ‘hotdesking’. Using space which is not rented out permanently to business centre clients, you can call the centre in advance and book a desk or small office for short periods of time, and at short notice.

Regus have been fast of the mark in recognising the demand for more flexible working arrangements – they recently launched ‘Businessworld’. Depending on the type of card you purchase, you will have access to the company’s worldwide meeting areas, and even access to private office space for a number of days each month.

A small selection of other hotdesking providers include MWBex, The Hot Office, eoffice, and Hubworking Centre.

Other ideas

If you’re looking for meeting space, you can typically reserve rooms at some of the companies already mentioned in this piece, or you might consider joining a business organisation, or club. If you’re a limited company director, the IoD in London provides an excellent place to meet once you get past the initial joining fee.

There are a number of smaller associations and clubs across the country you can consider, with widely varying membership and usage fees.

If you decide that you don’t need to hire office space at all, but still want access to business services (such as mail forwarding and telephone answering services), then you should look at the wide range of virtual offices services. Read our article on how a virtual office may support your business for more.

More help on offices

For more on offices and business premises, try some of our other guides;

Offices

Working from Home

More on starting and running your own business

ByteStart is packed with help and tips on all aspects of starting and running a small business. Check out some of our most popular guides;

Starting Up

Funding your business

Promoting your business

Hiring and managing employees

Legal issues