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Why consider flexible office space for your SME?

12 June 2018

Here at Stelmain, we have an impressive range of office space in Glasgow — both semi-serviced and serviced — and we try to write thoughtful blog posts about office space each month that we feel could be useful for SMEs. In this month’s blog post, we’re discussing why you should consider flexible office space for your SME. We’ll discuss the idea of smaller contracts, expanding and optimising your office space, and what to do if your number of staff drops a little.

Flexible office contracts

One thing that is sometimes important to SMEs is how much (or how little) they are tied into their office space contract. The standard contract is 12 months, but some contracts can be for 24 or 36 months. Depending on the industry you work within, it can be really daunting for SMEs to commit to an office for any longer than 12 months, as they probably have no idea how much they are likely to grow or shrink as a business in the next year or two. If your office space itself doesn’t offer enough room to expand or contract, then the smaller your contract is the better, and beware of any contract that feels unnecessarily long.

Flexible office space gives your business room to grow

If you’re building a business, one of the biggest problems you face is managing your growth in a realistic and responsible way. Most SMEs move to a bigger office to make room for a few new staff members as the business expands. Truly flexible office space will accommodate this growth either by offering ways to rearrange the room, optimising the space you already have, or by offering a room nearby that can function as an extension of your office. Note: if you choose an additional office in the same building to serve as an extension, it can be a good idea to stick your noisiest department in there (usually sales). This way, they can carry on loudly, without bothering some of the other teams/departments. It’s the best of both worlds!

When choosing an office, or an office provider, you should always have flexibility in your mind. Look for an additional room next door or an obvious way you’ll be able to stretch out and change the space if you need to. If you’re dealing with a broker, ask them about growth and how flexible they could be. The last thing you want is to be stuck for the next 9 months of your contract in a tiny little space that simply can’t contain your rapidly growing business.

Flexible office space may make shrinking a lot less costly

However, the inverse is also true. If something changes in your market place or you just lose a few staff members that you can’t (or don’t have to replace), then you may discover that you need to be able to downgrade a little, or at least to make better use of a few empty desks. It can be a good idea to provide desks for other businesses nearby, renting them out. As long as you don’t mind an interloper in your office, this can be a great way to cut the costs associated with an empty desk. Then, later down the line, when you’re building up your ranks of employees again, you will be able to use the desks for your new staff (provided you give your guests at least a little notice).

It may seem a little negative to fixate on the chance that your business may shrink at some point, but think of it as risk assessment, of making sure you’ll be okay should anything surprising happen in the near future. The last thing you want is an exceptionally expensive office with a bunch of empty desks!

That’s all we have time for today. We hope we’ve helped one or two readers understand the benefits of flexible office space and what to look for when you’re looking around for your next office. If you have any questions about our range of Glasgow-based offices, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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