Celebrating the people behind British small businesses
 

Complicated workplaces: why office rentals need to evolve

Office - resized

By Joff Sharpe, Head of Operations, British Land and Co-Head of Storey 

As digital takes over, consumer products are increasingly focused on providing a simple, seamless user experience. Spotify and Netflix, for example, feed our hunger for immediate access to the latest music and TV. Speaking of hunger, food delivery services like Deliveroo put you in reach of pretty much any food at any time. If you do want to eat out though, all you have to do is call an Uber.

People now operate in a fully connected world, and expect instant access to every whim or heart’s desire.

We’re used to living in a digital world – but what about working in one? As businesses transition to the digital age, their way of working is changing and they require products and services that meet their evolving needs.

Digital business solutions

Modern technologies have already simplified and improved many business processes. Automated accounting software, for example, has the power to eliminate paper invoices and filing. Cloud-based programmes have boosted collaboration and transparency, and P2P finance providers can help SMEs get loans quickly, without all the red tape and laborious application processes.

There is no doubt that businesses, especially SMEs, are benefitting from innovative, digital solutions. However, there is one area that remains unnecessarily complicated.

Where do you work?

The digital age of business is characterised by a proliferation of agile start-ups and SMEs. A fledgling, yet growing, business looking to make its mark needs an address – preferably something a little more impressive than ‘Kitchen Table, c/o Mum and Dad’.

In response to this, co-working spaces have cropped up all over the place. Although they can put a roof over a business’ head, they often lack the infrastructure to help the business grow beyond a certain point.

Small businesses that want to invest in their brand, expand reasonably fast, and build a definitive company culture, typically outgrow co-working spaces quickly. Until recently, this left them with only one other option – private office space. This is a bumpy road when the renting process is time consuming, especially when compared to the agility of other emerging business services.

In London, for example, the typical lease can tie a small business into a lease for years. This leaves little flexibility to significantly grow or shrink its headcount in this time, which puts SMEs in a position of having to make risky, long-term commitments. Rental agreements are complex, full of jargon and often difficult to understand. To protect your interests, you almost always need to get a lawyer on board – of course, this adds time and money to an already time-consuming and expensive process.

Once the lease has been signed, you are responsible for the space. In other words, if the wi-fi or coffee machine doesn’t work – that’s your problem. When the CEO has to wield a screwdriver in between client meetings to fix a desk, the business suffers. Our recent productivity report shows that SME decision makers in the UK are spending too much time fixing appliances and managing administration – rather than focusing on profit generating tasks.

Simple space

There is room for small business office rentals to improve. They need to adapt, streamline and modernise, in order to become a help, rather than a hindrance. Companies require environments that provide the best conditions for success and productivity, in the simplest way possible.

Nowadays, there is no reason for SME owners to put up with expensive and time-consuming complications when finding office space. Simple and on-demand solutions that cater to small business needs do exist. These workspaces understand how to help SMEs maximise their productivity and most importantly – grow. For a single flat fee, they take care of all the office maintenance and running costs, enable personalisation, and afford flexibility.

Contact the Storey team today to discuss how flexible workspaces could work for your business.

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