- There are three popular office setups: serviced office, coworking space, and traditional office. Understanding the comparisons and their distinct features can help businesses make the right choice.
- Even with the growing presence of coworking spaces, a 2018 Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) report showed that more businesses are still using serviced workspaces or traditional offices within the country’s major central business districts (CBDs)
- Common Ground was hailed as Malaysia’s largest coworking space and the most Instagram-worthy coworking destination in a 2018 Business Mirror article. With its presence in Metro Manila’s prime CBDs, you can try the unique coworking experience and office solutions it has to offer.
A well-thought-out office is not always thought about. But there’s more to an office than just desks and chairs where people can work. By looking at the benefits of coworking spaces, even large corporations are realizing that the physical arrangement and ambiance of the office affect work efficiency, teamwork, employee retention, and so much more.
Even with the projected positive growth of coworking spaces, serviced and traditional offices are still popular options within the country’s major CBDs: Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, and Ortigas Center. In its 2018 real estate insights report, LPC found 51 serviced offices and only 34 coworking spaces within these CBDs and in nearby cities. In the same report, it can be deduced that conventional offices will continue to be the preferred setup in Metro Manila.
On the other hand, technology advancements, business growth, and changes in workforce continue to challenge what is “conventional.” What works now may not work tomorrow, and what works for others, may not work for you. To help find the right office for you, let’s differentiate each setting, and look at how serviced offices, traditional offices, and coworking spaces compare with one another in terms of pricing, flexibility, convenience, networking, privacy, and creating positive employee impact.
Definition, Design, and Differences
Like a coworking space, this is a type of flexible workspace that’s fully furnished with workstations, office equipment, and IT infrastructure.
This can be a whole office or building managed by a facility manager. Companies can rent a private room or the entire building floor depending on the size of their team. Shared spaces can include reception areas, meeting rooms, and pantry.
Although it may function like a coworking space, the look and feel are mainly traditional with its more private layout and corporate design.
It’s a flexible workspace built with ready-to-use desks, work and communication equipment, and internet connectivity just like serviced offices. It also has communal areas that members share or book when needed.
But unlike serviced offices, a coworking space has a more open and laidback design to encourage collaboration and creativity. It has a community manager who initiates interactions among members, and facilitates activities that build a sense of community and promote networking.
Here, company owners are the ones who shoulder the procurement and installation of all the furniture, machines, and technology needed for their business to operate.
Businesses can work in private within an all-exclusive space. The layout and atmosphere are mostly business-oriented, and company owners can incorporate their branding anywhere in the area.
Serviced Office vs. Coworking Space vs. Traditional Office
Pricing and Lease Terms
Coworking is the most economical choice among the three office types. Since it’s fully fitted, companies can save a lot from purchasing, installation, and maintenance of utilities and technology.
While serviced offices also offer plug-and-play office solution, it can be quite expensive and may even appear comparable with traditional office lease. However, the monthly fees reflect all the facilities and services used along with the rent, so a serviced office is still more cost-effective than leasing a traditional one.
Coworking has a more flexible payment term with a monthly, daily, and even an hourly rate. On the other hand, an initial contract for a serviced office is usually for 12 months, while a traditional office lease can run for a minimum of three years. Long-term lease is more suitable for a stable company. But if you’re just starting out, or you’re not sure of your business’s stability, or you just want to control your expenditures, then a coworking space is a smart choice for you.
Flexibility and Scalability
Because of its flexible renting terms, coworking is the easiest to scale up or down depending on the condition of your business. Even with a mixed workforce, its flexibility works wonders. For instance, you can rent hot desks for freelancers who are not reporting to work every day, while having fixed desks for your regular employees.
With serviced and traditional offices, you have to work with the existing space. If you outgrow the space or need to downsize your team, then this could be a problem. Even with a serviced office, the right space may not be readily available for you.
When you look at coworking space vs. traditional office, it’s clear that the former offers more convenience than the latter, especially if you want to start or relocate your business right away. Besides saving money, you save time and effort from acquiring and putting up all the equipment and facilities you need for your business to operate.
Serviced offices also save you the hassle. But coworking offers more amenities like free refreshments and exclusive deals and privileges from its partner businesses. Coworking providers also help with recruitment and employee development through different learning opportunities and community events.
What makes coworking unique from the others is that it is designed for collaboration and interaction with its spacious and open work areas, the presence of different professionals and corporations, and its community events.
Networking can’t thrive within the confined walls of traditional offices where you know everyone. And while serviced offices are leased to different companies, the office layout is not that open and there is no place within the premises that encourage different business owners to sit down comfortably and talk. Probably, you still need to get out of the building and find a coffee shop for that.
If you’re looking for potential partners or investors, or even when you’re in search of the right person to fit your team, coworking’s community manager can recommend or introduce you to relevant members. Coworking’s tailored events can also lead you to people in the same line of business or to whom you share common interests.
There would be situations that need more privacy, like when there are non-disclosure agreements and the need for client confidentiality. Coworking’s open layout may not be suitable for this. And while they do offer private offices, it comes with a higher rate.
A serviced office is more private. You can dedicate an entire room or building floor for your company alone. However, there are areas in this office setup that are still shared with other companies. Only a traditional office can give you that full privacy for your business when conditions and agreements call for it.
Positive Employee Impact
Because of its more corporate setting, traditional offices are more structured and formal. Not that these are completely unacceptable. In fact, depending on your brand or corporate identity, these can actually work. However, the all-business nature, the lack of comfortable areas and activities where your staff can engage and relax, and the stiff atmosphere can lead and contribute to a stressful, toxic work environment which is not good for business.
Modern businesses are gearing up to be a picture of work-life balance. Sure, traditional offices can create an environment that exudes creativity and comfort with Google-like awesomeness—but at a staggering cost! And if you’re just renting the space, it’s also subject to agreement with the property owners.
So in the race between coworking space vs. traditional office or serviced office on having a more employee-driven, millennial-friendly workplace (hopefully at a pocket-friendly price), coworking definitely wins by a mile. That’s because coworking spaces combine aesthetics and functionality to provide an office setup that balances creativity and productivity, corporate values and community culture, and work and play.
Choosing coworking? Try Common Ground!
Okay, so coworking gets you all excited. But with all the coworking spaces out there, the next question will be, which is the right coworking space for you?
While it’s definitely up to you, Common Ground makes a great choice. It already has coworking spaces in Metro Manila’s major CBDs such as Makati, BGC, and Ortigas. This provides you with the best flexibility and convenience as you can work in any of its locations that you find most suitable at any time or circumstances. It caters to different people and businesses, and organizes events customized to a particular industry or interest.
In a 2018 Business Mirror article, it featured Common Ground as a holder of two impressive titles: “the most Instagrammable” coworking site, and Malaysia’s largest coworking space. And now that they’re here in the Philippines, you have the choice to experience the coworking culture and environment Common Ground has to offer. Just visit their website or Facebook page to know more about their rates and gorgeous workspaces.
Does coworking space win as the most appropriate and convenient option for you? If you're still unconvinced, book a tour with us and experience the wonderful coworking culture Common Ground offers.