The Absolutely Non-Confusing Business Centre Guide (2020 Edition)

As in any field, it’s obvious when you know the lingo. But the definitions, words and phrases that get banded around the world of business centres can get more than a tad confusing. As a leading serviced office provider in Berkshire, we help you decipher what is what, so you can ask what you need, and get what you want.

 

Serviced Offices 

 Often referred to as a ‘business centre’, a serviced office is a fully managed and (usually) fully furnished facility where a company can rent office space without the hassle of setting up their telephone system or broadband. It allows for aneasy in, easy out’ approach which is more flexible for start-ups, as well as businesses that are rapidly expanding or likely to need to change location. 


Provider

 They won’t clothe and feed you (well, you should get free tea and coffee?), but they might just provide that vital home for your business in nice cosy offices in the right location with the right facilities at a decent price. Simply put, they are your new office supplier. 


Broker

 Type ‘offices in Wokingham’ into Google, and you might expect to find a list of different companies offering offices you could rent. Instead, you will probably be inundated with sites run by various well-marketed office brokers or agents. These companies offer an independent service, recommending you to go and visit as many of the different offices listed on their website as possible (none of which they run themselves), in the hope that you will take space at one of them, and- of course- that they will make a commission. In our experience they vary a lot in quality; some will be able to advise and guide you expertly to the right location and facilities, but, depressingly, many others will just allow their computer to churn out endless enquiries on your behalf, running the risk that you get harassed incessantly by office providers in the wrong location or who don’t offer what you actually need. 


Workstation

 In good old fashioned language, this is basically your individual desk and by implication all the paraphernalia that comes along with it. This includes the tools of your job- usually a chair, computer and telephone. It is the station at which you must work! Offices are often marketed by ‘number of workstations’, which essentially means ‘number of occupants’


Hot-desking and co-working

 Whether you are basking in the sun or shivering in the air conditioning, hot-desking means the same thing: your desk is not ‘your’ desk. You share it with another employee or usually employees, often in rotation or on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis

Hot-desking evolved as a way for companies to minimise the number of workstations needed for a fluctuating number of staff, but is also used by some serviced offices for clients from different companies to drop in, plugin and get working. Mantle is introducing hot-desking for the first time in 2020, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for the latest updates!


Virtual Office

 It’s ‘virtually’ impossible to explain how much this can encompass! Really, anything that can be done in a real office can be done by a virtual office. You pay for someone’s time as suits your needs. Contrary to popular belief, your virtual assistant or virtual PA is a real, warm, friendly and helpful person who just happens to be based in a different office to you. They take your calls, organise your exhibition materials, send out your accounts, manage your diary, sort your enquiries and do all those boring but necessary things you just wish someone else could take off your hands if only you DIDN’T have to worry about paying National Insurance, and dealing with annual leave and sickness, and what they’ll get up to when you’re paying them to be there but it’s a quiet week……. Get someone local and you can meet up with them face-to-face too if you need to. We’ve been offering virtual office services for a decade and fit the bill nicely if you are in the Berkshire area. 


Call Handling

 A slightly fancier way to say that someone will answer your phone to save you the bother, or stop you missing important calls. It’s a service offered by business centres and popular with business people who are in and out of meetings a lot, people who have set up their own small ‘sideline’ enterprise separately to their main occupation, anyone who teaches or trains, or- to be honest- anyone who can’t really justify paying a receptionist full-time. Even bigger companies are outsourcing their call handling these days- it’s more cost-effective. Just ensure the team you use is big enough not to miss your calls but small enough to remember you by name and know your business like their own; ideally, your calls should rotate between the same three or four receptionists, just as we do at Mantle. We keep it personalised to win your trust. 


There it is; a real pick’n’ mix of office experiences. Choose wisely! Any questions, please give us a call at Mantle on 0118 9778599. 

 

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