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Benefits of flexible serviced offices over leased premises

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Businesses of all sizes are operating in a changing landscape, particularly as people return to their offices after the pandemic and become accustomed to the new norm which often includes hybrid working.

While some employees worked flexibly before Covid-19, there is now an expectation that people won’t be expected to be in the office and sitting at their desks five days a week. This impacts what office arrangements are suitable for businesses, with many realising the benefits of flexible, serviced offices over premises with longer-term leases.

Arena Business Centres have been providing clients, ranging from entrepreneurs to corporates, with flexible offices since 2003. It has seen how client needs have changed over the years, including during the pandemic.

Helen Deverill, marketing director at Arena Business Centres, says: “The consensus in the marketplace, and from research, is that work will become about social hubs. There will be substantial areas of residential-style lounges, communal seating the ability for networking. The hybrid way of working means these new facilities fit in with employees and their different lifestyles.

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Arena can provide bespoke office space and clients will often come with exact requirements, perhaps because they have moved out of larger offices which had long leases. Flexibility is therefore key.

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Ms Deverill adds: “Our workspaces allow for flexibility in a changing landscape. What we’ve seen over the last few years, is that large corporates are looking to reduce their property portfolio and move away from long, five-year leases. They want to stay agile in an ever-changing landscape.

“That is how we can help them at Arena. Their exposure is reduced as they take the space they need at any one time. This means they can remain super-resilient, while almost replicating that leased feel by creating their own office space. This approach helps build company culture, enables creativity and fun and provides a human connection. But they have all this without the ties of a legacy lease.”

With costs increasing for businesses as inflation rises and energy bills cause greater pressure, clients are also looking for security on their monthly outgoings and Arena also helps there.

“We charge a monthly fee that includes all the costs you associate with office space,” explains Ms Deverill. “Clients know that costs are being negotiated by us as a larger provider that can secure the best rates through economies of scale. This provides certainty in this new way of working where you don’t know what the future looks like.

“Having the ability to upsize, downsize or move out is key. It enables companies to reduce their overheads by taking the space they need as opposed to rigid office spaces that can be really expensive. To be in control and have cost certainty is critical for clients.”

Arena offers 12 month arrangements, within which clients can give six months notice, and they can move around its 11 locations. It says there are no surprises as it offers complete cost transparency. Ms Deverill says: “We want to build long-lasting client relationships and we have clients that have been with us since we started almost 20 years ago. We also have clients that go into leased properties and come back to us five to 10 years later because they know we will take care of the small details and they can fix on the bigger picture.”

Arena focuses on creating vibrant places of work and pays attention to the design of its offices. In April this year it announced the acquisition of Enenco Office Design to give it the ability to customise its clients’ office space through an in-house team of experts.

“We want to create environments where it is a pleasure to work and which support lovely communities. Our outstanding team go above and beyond every day to look after our clients,” adds Ms Deverill.


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