The world’s biggest provider of office space, Regus, recently reported a 25%
in 2008 pre-tax profit saying it had attracted new customers looking to reduce
their fixed-costs to preserve cash in the recession.
Regus, which offers ready-to-use offices for rental periods that are as short
as half a day, introduced cheaper options for customers struggling in the
economic downturn. This allowed it to benefit from the credit crunch as firms
seek to cut costs related to using premises. The company’s 2008 pre-tax profit
rose to £149.2m from £119.4m in the previous year.
The number of companies in the UK subletting spare rooms in their offices as
an alternative to moving is the latest trend to be brought on by the recession.
Our survey of customers showed that more than half were either subletting or
planning to sublet their office space to ‘office lodgers’.
Over the next two or three years the majority of businesses will either
remain similar in size or cut their work force, potentially moving to smaller or
With the recession starting to bite hard, the report found there has been a
massive growth in the number of companies enquiring about downsizing services.
Instead of having to make a costly move, businesses can now sublet parts of
their offices to an office lodger just as home owners supplement their income by
renting out the spare room to make ends meet.
How to rent out your office
If you are looking at renting out your office then it’s important to speak to
local surveyors to find out which of them has a good presence in the area you
are looking to rent in.
Finding out about the agent’s marketing strategy is critical. It pays to be
with an agent that will get your property noticed. Agents that advertise in
national as well as regional media are normally the better option.
Ask to see their advertising schedules, not just in the print and online
media, but also outdoor. Do they put up advertising boards on the outside of the
property for passers by so you have a better chance of renting out your office?
You still can’t beat your own due diligence, so carrying out your own
research is paramount. All this is relatively easy these days with a multitude
of online information for you to compare prices.
Asking neighbouring tenants about their experiences also makes good common
sense. You’ll get a real feel for the market from others’ recent experiences.
Don’t forget to consider the people closest to you, like your business
contacts, as they might be looking to rent or know of a company that is looking
to rent use your network and advertise your property privately as well as
Above all, it is vital that you speak with your landlord to make sure they
are fully aware of your plans to sublet the old saying of ‘it’s better to ask
for permission than beg for forgiveness’ tends to work well here.
Trish Traynor-Watson is founder and director of
The Phases of Moving Office
Liquid Space says there are seven phases a company goes through when moving
office these are:
I – Enthusiasm. It’s time to move. You and your team are looking forward to a
new beginning, a new chapter for the business.
II – Disillusionment. You never realised there is so much to do – reception,
kitchen, boardrooms, showers, toilets, furniture, desks, cups, picture hanging,
III – Panic. You never realised there is even more to do – leasing, servicing,
IT, health and safety.
IV – Despair. You have had enough – you want to give up, you wish you had hired
a build and design manager to look after the whole process.
V – Search for the guilty. Who is to blame for snags and all the the things that
could and are going wrong.
VI – Punishment of the innocent. Woe betide anyone that crosses your path. Your
temper is on short fuse.
VII – Praise and honor for the non-participants. You knew all along you would
get there and now you are an expert on moving offices.
Becoming an office lodger
- No or very limited fit out costs
- Flexible lease terms
- Normally one lump sum payable monthly or quarterly
- Cheaper rent
- Should still be able to negotiate rent free
- Desirable location – more affordable
- Less deposit required
- Take current services on board – existing meeting room and receptionist
- Potentially protracted legal process
- Shared reception – loss of corporate identity
- Potential dilapidations liability
- Less control over lease
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