AS THE ECONOMY PICKS UP AND THE ENTREPRENEURIAL BUG CATCHES ON, THE DEMAND FOR SERVICED OFFICES INCREASES
Need a temporary office space to get your work done while jetting from one country to another? Or how about a fully-equipped boardroom to hold that all-important, deal-clinching meeting? Serviced offices might just be the answer to your business needs.
The concept of serviced offices, also known as business centres, is to provide businessmen on the go with an alternative work space complete with all the professional fittings such as state-of-the-art equipment, secretariat services, fully-furnished offices and boardrooms and in some cases, a prestigious business address for correspondence, to boot.
With the rise of entrepreneurship, the demand for serviced offices has also increased. Local serviced offices providers contacted say, they provide a short-term solution for start-up businesses and expanding companies. The demand for such offices also signals that the economy is doing well.
Carole Khoo, General Manager of CEO SUITE Singapore, says, “Serviced offices are seen as an early warning system for the wider office market as they are the first to be filled when the economy picks up, and businesses expand. But they are also the first to be hit in a recession.”
Khoo also discloses that the demand for serviced offices has increased this year as compared to the post-SARS period in 2003. The average occupancy rate was around 70-80 per cent in the beginning of 2004, and business picked up during the second and third quarter of this year. The most common services that business travelers request for are the use of meeting rooms and video-conferencing facilities. The requests for secretarial services are also frequent.
Business development manager of the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Ms Jill Tan comments : “Serviced offices have a significant role to play, particularly for businesses starting up in a new market. It provides an instant office for the entrepreneur, from instant access to meeting rooms or conference rooms and secretariat services which could make working in a new market that much faster and smoother.
For business travelers leasing an office space – be it for just an hour or a month – the use of an instant office equates to productivity being maintained in a business-like environment. Meetings with clients do not have to be held at hotel lobbies or restaurants, for example.
Those who do not want to be tied down to long-term leases will also find the serviced offices option a more cost-saving alternative. The cost of renting a serviced office is considerably lower as compared to outfitting an office from scratch and providing your own staffing needs. With serviced offices, the fee that you pay (which ranges from $600 to more than $2,000 per month, depending on your business requirements) includes the use of office space, facilities, equipment and services that you would need for that specific period of time.
There are different sizes of office space available, from one that can accommodate just one person to a space that fits 10 people comfortably. The range of services offered is also varied – from answering and forwarding of calls and book-keeping to legal advice and telemarketing support.
You can walk into any serviced office worldwide and be instantly operational. You can sit down, plug in and enjoy the same facilities, infrastructure and prestige of a multi-national company. Now, that should be a big draw if you’re a business person always on the move.