Procurement · 17 December 2015

The small business advent calendar: 17 December – The next door is open

office space
Over the days leading up to Christmas we’ll be revealing one juicy morsel of small business reading every day

As Christmas gets ever closer, there’s some uplifting news lurking behind door number 17 – and it’s almost bursting out.

Some 17 per cent of SME owners are so optimistic about their businesses’ futures that they think they’ll need to move to bigger premises in 2016, according to new research by alternative lender Fleximize.

Many of the small firm leaders that Business Advice has spoken to this year have found themselves in this position. Tangle Teezer CEO Matt Lumb recently explained: “At the moment we’ve got 31 staff, and if I’m being completely honest we’ve run out of space. We’re moving to a new office next week, and have two more members of staff joining in the new year.”

And our working spaces expert Peter Ames recently advised small teams sick of working in coffee shops to give hot-desking a try, but warned: “This style of working may be a bit like musical chairs – you don’t have a set work station to call your own, and you can’t leave your things there over night.”

The UK’s serviced office market is expanding rapidly to cope with increased demand from 5.4m small firms. Deloitte Real Estate revealed in May that the amount of co-working space in London has increased by some 67 per cent in the last decade – with five million sq ft of shared offices in central London.

But prices have also escalated in the face of growing demand. Additional recent research by Easy Offices found that the average monthly desk rental rate increased by 37 per cent across the country in 2015 – with the capital experiencing rises of 17 per cent.

The study also threw up some insights into the gender balance when it comes to successfully choosing office space. On average, enquiries from men tended to overestimate the area needed by some 11 per cent – while women estimated how much room was needed much more accurately.

Flexible serviced offices are particularly popular with micro firms, with an average size of 5.8 desks. And space rental marketplace Hubble revealed in September that small London-based businesses are increasingly looking beyond the Silicon Roundabout for desks and office space – with two thirds searching outside of the tech hub.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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