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A serviced office, also known as an "executive suite" or 'executive space', is an office space that is fully equipped and managed by a facility management company, which then rents individual offices or floors to other companies.

In Singapore, there are various such firms offering serviced office spaces in the CBD area. Having a serviced office space is especially beneficial for those who run a sole proprietorship company or for those who prefer working from home but want the prestige of a CBD office address. Some companies and individuals also do it, as they believe having a CBD office address will make their companies look very professional.

The benefits

There are several benefits to renting a serviced office space. Firstly, it is affordable. This is helpful, especially for new start-ups or small businesses that cannot afford to commit to signing a long-term lease for a whole office space. There are various packages that you can choose from. For those just wanting to have a virtual office address, it will cost you less than S$200 a month. However, there are several add on options that you can choose from should you require a dedicated receptionist or the use of meetings rooms. Costs will then of course, vary.

Secondly, a serviced office space is highly flexible, allowing you to terminate the service anytime. Typically, business owners have to sign a conventional lease which typically lasts from ten to fifteen years. This ties the business to an office space without having the flexibility to downsize or expand according to how well the company performs. Even if they decide to do so, it will incur them substantial costs and delays. Having a serviced office space, however, will give you the flexibility to change the size of the office space at a moment’s notice. This is especially so in today’s fast moving economy.  

Thirdly, users of serviced offices will get to enjoy a range of benefits. They include a dedicated receptionist, quality meetings rooms, secretarial support, and the use of Internet and fax machines which are all available on a flexible month-by-month basis.

Fourthly, you get all the IT support that you need and can focus on running your business. A serviced office usually has an administrative staff on hand to manage their network. IT and telecom services are usually priced over and above your rental package, with prices reflecting the sophistication of the service you chose.

Fifthly, it is more cost effective as you only pay for what you use every month. Costs will vary according to how many desks you use, the services you utilised and so on. For example when using their IT service, you either pay for what you use or can sign up for unlimited packages. Should you need to add more phones as you expand, it thus makes more sense to sign up for an unlimited package. Paying for a serviced office is usually done through a monthly invoice. You need to sign a license agreement for the space that you will take which is normally worked out on desk-by-desk basis.

Its shortcomings

However, there are some drawbacks that can occur should you choose the wrong serviced office company. A serviced company that is staffed with employees that do not speak good English could have a detrimental impact on your business. It is thus important to check that the services company places a central importance on recruiting and training their people so that they portray the right image for your business. Remember, you will be relying on them to run your office from fixing the coffee machine when it breaks down to answering calls or meeting clients. So choose wisely.
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