It’s probably safe to say that renting an office in London after lockdown hasn’t been on your mind a lot over the last year. But with the recent news that lockdown will hopefully be over soon, you’re probably celebrating the end of Zoom meetings, the sound of kids screaming in the background and the constant “can you hear me? Is my mic on? Hello? Hello?!”
And once you’re done celebrating being able to see your friends and family again, you’ll probably start thinking about getting back to the office, or maybe taking your business to the next level by renting your first office space.
Even in normal circumstances, there’s a lot to consider when renting office space and it’s easy to get a bit lost when making this big decision. Throw in the extra considerations of safety and social distancing for Covid-19 and you’ll probably be wondering if it’s even worth the risk at all.
Take heart that you’re not alone in this situation and there are hundreds of other businesses and business owners asking the same questions. That’s why we decided to put together answers for all of your post-lockdown questions and concerns.
Working from home has been working for us, why should we rent an office?
Coronavirus and multiple lockdowns have helped thousands of businesses across the country realise the benefits of remote working. Productivity, engagement and performance are all proven to increase through remote working, so why change what’s working?
However, a vast majority of people who took to working from home during the pandemic said that they had enjoyed home working but, according to a recent survey by our friends at HubbleHQ, 71% still want their company to have an office space of some sort.
Why? Well, for starters, working from home can get lonely and Covid restrictions have made working from home feel even more remote. After nearly a year of Zoom calls and virtual meetings, an office space offers a physical place for co-workers to meet up and collaborate without dodgy wifi connections, pesky cat filters or family members interrupting.
With an office space, you can wave goodbye to the internet dropping out mid-call, those long hours waiting for a reply on Slack and never have to make sure there’s anything NSFW in the background again.
But having an office space means a lot more for your business than just having a stable WiFi connection. It means:
– Your team can collaborate in-person, in real-time.
– Your team still have those magic “aha!” moments that often happen by the water cooler or on their lunch breaks.
– Make sure knowledge isn’t siloed off into different departments. (AKA, marketing never speaks to sales.)
– Help your team have a healthier work/life balance.
– Build your identity/culture by having your office as the heart of your brand.
– Attract top talent to grow your business with an awesome office.
– Increase staff morale and team spirit.
– Wow clients by bringing them to an impressive office space.
Find Private Offices For Rent in London
At Canvas, we create homely offices for large & small teams. We include everything (meeting rooms too) with a simple, flexible contract.
What if there’s another lockdown and I’m stuck with office space in London?
Although things look promising, another lockdown or even another pandemic in the future isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, meaning that renting an office and then having to close it is, unfortunately, always going to be a possibility.
However, there are less risky ways of getting an office space than the traditional long-term lease. Increasingly, office spaces around London are offering more flexible agreements and short leases that mean you’re not tied down if your business needs to adapt to new situations.
These modern office spaces often offer flexible leases that range from 3 months to 2 years and will more often than not include business rates, utilities, communal and private facilities like meeting rooms and focus booths, 24/7 access, high-speed internet and furniture.
Not only will this help if you need to scale back but the flexibility of the leases mean that if things return to normal and your business grows, you can scale it up and get a bigger office without being tangled in multiple leases.
Is a shared space cheaper and more flexible than a private office?
Before the pandemic, shared office spaces were a great solution for small businesses to have an office space while also keeping costs down. That’s not likely to change when lockdown lifts but you’re probably not in a huge hurry to start sharing an office with people you don’t know.
On top of that, some private offices available can actually work out cheaper than shared space, particularly if you’ve got a growing team. There are also private offices that have shared communal spaces so you can get the best of both worlds when things get back to normal.
While a private office might set you back a bit more, it will provide your co-workers and employees peace of mind that they have their own dedicated and safe space to work in.
Having your own office space also means that you can arrange the office in a way that keeps everybody socially distanced and reassures everyone they are safe when it comes to returning to the office. A private office also allows you to arrange your own cleaning which means you can be sure that it will be a safe, Covid-secure space.
How can I make commuting to central London safer for me and my employees?
No doubt, getting into the office might be a concern for you and your co-workers as we return to normality.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to eliminate the commute completely but there are a lot of options available to reduce it and to make travelling to the office a lot safer and easier.
For starters, rather than renting one large office space, you can look into multiple smaller office spaces that are closer to where your team members live so that they can reduce the time they spend on public transport and plan their commute to avoid rush hour.
You can also make sure that your office or offices are all near tube or train stations so your team can reduce the number of transport changes they have to make, making it easier for them to socially distance on the way into the office. (Not to mention, nobody likes a complicated commute to work!)
If you’re ready to really lean into flexible working, having an office space that is available 24/7 would allow you and your team to stagger work times and make sure that you all avoid the busy times on the tube and are in more control of your work/life balances.
What’s the difference between renting an office and a flexible private office space?
Not long ago, the word “office” brought to mind a grim, grey looking building in Slough with Handbags and Gladrags playing and David Brent dancing.
However, for businesses like yours, offices are no longer dreary places with lots of people wearing suits and the feeling like you’re about to be called in for a root canal. Modern flexible workspaces are designed to inspire and fuel creativity, and look like somewhere you would want to hang out. Flexible office spaces can also help with team morale, boosting employee wellbeing and building a strong brand identity and culture.
An office space is also an awesome way for companies to show off the essence of their brand. Think about the HQs of Apple or Google or Facebook, they look like a place you’d love to go to work every day and more importantly, the kind of place that attracts the best candidates for job opportunities.
When should I start looking for an office space in London?
If you’ve made the decision to go ahead and rent an office in London then it would be well worth trying to avoid the rush and starting your search soon.
The office market is likely to get very busy when things start going back to normal as a lot of businesses will be looking to find a middle ground between the expensive leases they had before and a fully remote setup.
As the demand for office space increases the prices will more than likely shoot up as well and the competition means that there will be less wiggle room for negotiations.
To find an office space that ticks all your boxes and is in your budget, we recommend getting started on your search as soon as you can. That way, you’ve got the time and the best chance of securing an office that is perfect for you and your business.
So, should I rent an office in London after lockdown then?
This is the big question that we can’t say yay or nay to. We’d love to say “Go for it!” but there’s no one size fits all answer for this question as every business is different.
If you’re considering renting an office in London after lockdown then here’s just a few of the questions that only you can answer:
– Will having an office bring value?
– Will it help generate revenue?
– How well does your team currently work from home?
– What is the growth-projection of your business?
Having your very own office is an awesome business asset and chances are that at some point, even if it’s not right now, you’ll need to bring your people together. Hopefully, whenever you decide to take the leap, it’ll help you and your business to thrive.
At Canvas, we help startups and scale-ups to find office space in London. Our offices are the perfect environment for startups to thrive, with open-plan workspaces, unique decor, communal facilities and plenty of plants. We provide serviced offices in London with flexible contracts in popular startup hubs such as Old Street, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. You’ll also find our office spaces in Mayfair and Dalston. Want to discuss whether what type of office is the right move for your startup? Well, get in touch and we’ll be glad to help.