Serviced Office vs. Coworking: Which is Right for You?

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, startup or small business, it’s important to think about where you plan to do business. As you grow, you’ll likely look into many options for your workspace.

Two of the most popular office space options today are serviced offices and coworking spaces.

The Differences Between Serviced Offices and Coworking Spaces

Both serviced offices and coworking spaces offer you the chance to move from working remotely into a physical space. They both offer the many benefits of having a home base for your business, without the added burdens that a traditional leasehold can bring.

In this article, we’ll walk you through both serviced office space and coworking space. You’ll understand the benefits as well as the potential drawbacks of each option. We’ll also provide guidance on how to pick the right workspace for your business needs.

What is Serviced Office Space?

A serviced office is office space that’s leased out by a facilities management company. You might also hear serviced office space referred to as managed offices, executive offices, or business centers. They’re typically home to corporate organizations, as well as more established small businesses. A company may rent a private office, executive office suite, an entire floor, or several floors in a building depending on their size. In contrast to traditional office leases, a serviced office is usually a fully-furnished office suite that is set up and ready to go when you move in.

Serviced Office Amenities:

  • Phone, internet, utilities
  • Managed reception services and administrative support
  • Conference rooms or communal spaces
  • Maintenance and cleaning
  • Security services
  • Mail services
  • Shared office equipment (e.g. fax, AV equipment, copiers, etc.)

The precise range of services offered will depend on the individual space. When you’re looking at spaces, be sure to compare what services are included with each lease you consider.

What is Coworking?

Coworking is the “new kid on the block” when it comes to office workspaces. Coworking offers flexible workspaces for freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. In a coworking space there are many options for the type of space you can rent, including:

  • A single desk in a shared open-plan environment, often on a open desk basis
  • Dedicated desks for you and your team
  • Private offices – individual or group

Coworking Services:

  • Open desks
  • Dedicated desks
  • Dedicated offices
  • Bookable meeting and board rooms
  • Communal spaces (e.g. kitchens, lounges, recreational spaces)
  • Event spaces
  • Community managers on hand to assist with any troubleshooting issues

You can also expect essentials such as printing, internet access, fax machines to be included, and many coworking spaces do offer reception services.

Most coworking spaces also offer programming designed to build community, including networking events and socials.

The Pros and Cons

Advantages of Serviced Office Space

There are many benefits associated with serviced offices. These include:

  • Desirable locations, often in the primary business area of your city
  • Lower costs than traditional office rentals and leases
  • Convenience and ease of set-up
  • Shorter lease terms than traditional office leases
  • Building maintenance is taken care of
  • Administrative support is provided
  • A private space to meet clients and conduct meetings

Disadvantages of Serviced Office Space

But, there can also be some drawbacks to this type of office space:

  • Can have a “generic” appearance that may be off-putting to some clients
  • You’ll lack control over shared spaces which may include meeting rooms or other communal areas
  • Your monthly costs will be higher than with a traditional lease (although generally still lower over the long-term)

Advantages of Coworking

Coworking spaces are often beloved of startups and entrepreneurs for the following reasons:

  • Ultimate flexibility, allowing you to come and go as you please
  • Low cost, low commitment options
  • Coworking spaces are designed to be highly social and collaborative

Disadvantages of Coworking

Before jumping in, you should consider the following potential drawbacks of a coworking space:

  • A lack of privacy can prove difficult—especially if your business relies on client confidentiality
  • Competition for resources such as meeting rooms or breakout spaces can be fierce
  • You have no control over meeting room layouts, decor, etc.

The Costs

Cost is an important factor in any business decision. The cost of any office space will vary widely depending on your location and your needs.

Cost of Serviced Office Space

A serviced office is the more expensive of the two options. You’re paying for full-time access for an office space, and for the “all inclusive” experience of a serviced office. Generally you will have a fixed-term contract, which means you are locked into these costs for a minimum of 12 or so months.

Cost of Coworking Space

Coworking spaces also vary in price. Some spaces focus on offering economy options, while others offer a more “elite” feel. What you pay for coworking will also depend on your needs. Coworking is without a doubt the more financially flexible option. Options such as by-the-hour and day-rates are common. Even for longer term rentals, it is usually easy to change your plan or leave completely if your financial circumstances change.

Which Office Space is Right For You?

By now, you have a clear idea of the differences between serviced offices and coworking. If you’re still not sure which is the right choice for you and your business, consider the following questions:

  • How much space do you need?
  • How often do you need office space?
  • How long do you need the space for?
  • What kind of amenities do you need?
  • What’s in your budget right now?

Making the move into a new office space is a big deal. Spend the time considering what you and your team need and researching the options available to you. In today’s world, there’s a space for every type of business — and it’s worth spending the time to find it.


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