26 April 2019/ Tenant Guide

Do You Need to Rent Office Space as a Freelancer?

Freelancer guide to finding the perfect serviced office

Research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) shows a steady increase in the number of people working for themselves, with  4.8 million British people now officially self-employed. The rise is partly down to choice and partly necessity - cutbacks in a number of major sectors of the labour market have forced many thousands of people to go it alone.

There are major advantages: the freedom, the self-motivation, the creativity that comes from not having a boss all have a magical appeal to many people. But there are downsides, too. Not least the isolation that can come from working alone at home for most, if not all of the week.

To escape this solitary existence many seek out social spaces like coffee shops – the sight of rows of laptop-bearing tables in cafes has become ubiquitous in the digital age. But anyone who’s been freelance for a long time knows that this type of working existence has its frustrations.

Cue the birth of a very 21st century trend, and a new phenomenon in real estate: co-working offices renting out desks, shared workspaces, private offices and meeting rooms for hire on a short-term, no-commitment basis.

It’s been a new lease of life for freelancers, and small, even medium-sized companies. Isolation is less of an issue, especially where companies offer communal areas, as Instant Offices does in this fantastic space in Hammersmith, West London, or here in Whitechapel, on the other side of town, to take two examples from Realla’s amazing selection of co-working spaces in London.

Freelancing is a tough way to earn a living, and there are very few self-employed people who can afford to rent out an entire office, especially in the centre of a big city. Co-working spaces are a way round this – take WeWork’s striking property in the heart of Soho, one of London’s most sought-after areas – and a way to feel really connected, right in the middle of the action.

But once you’ve decided that renting a serviced office is the right way to go, there are still plenty of things to know to make sure you get the best deal. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect serviced office space.

Work out your budget

First take the time to work out what you can afford – bearing in mind life as a freelancer is notoriously up-and-down. If you’re self-employed you must set aside enough to pay the dreaded tax bill each January, so don’t assume all of your income can be spent on immediate costs. The great thing about working in a serviced office is not being stuck alone at home, but it can be very expensive forking out for coffees and lunches out throughout the working week. Make sure you factor that in.

Not all serviced offices are created equal

Look carefully at the terms and conditions each office provider is stipulating: are they charging a monthly club membership, or a subscription fee? Are there one-off costs, or extra costs for extra features such as internet and printing? These vary and it’s essential you get the facts straight before you commit.

Knowledge is power

There are so many serviced office spaces available in big cities these days that it can be daunting working out which one’s for you. And with most operators charging some kind of monthly fee, and some degree of commitment, it’s better to do your homework than to find out you’ve signed up for a property that doesn’t suit you. Every freelancer has their own unique needs and requirements, and if you know where to look, and crucially, how to look, you will find the perfect serviced office for you.

Realla’s powerful property portal doesn’t just let you search for offices by location, size and price, but also using keywords. So you can ask for the portal only to show you properties in your chosen area that have a bike rack, for example, or meeting rooms, kitchen facilities or showers. Before you’ve even visited a property you will know almost all there is to know about it.