Serviced offices and co-working spaces are mushrooming across Mumbai, bringing about a paradigm shift in the office rentals market in the city (and across India, for that matter). Providers like The Empire Business Centres now offer office space seekers a range of alternatives to the traditional office set-ups and thereby almost offering new ways of work. To avoid the likely confusion that the added choices bring, let us look at the top factors to consider when choosing a shared office or co-working space to rent. As these are based on the feedback we have received from our existing tenants as well as from potential tenants, we believe looking specifically for these factors will be beneficial to you.
Location and access to public facilities
That old adage, “location is everything when it comes to property” is applicable to office rentals as much as it to locating a shop or a residence. An office in a “good” or “prestigious” locality automatically creates a different perception in the minds of potential employees, clients and investors.
Beyond perception, one of the key considerations has to be the access to public transport and other facilities such as shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment centres. The next best thing to a short commute to work is close proximity to public transport such as a railway station or well-connected bus-stop. In a city like Mumbai, every minute saved commuting to and from work is priceless. Moreover, with the idea of work-life balance gaining traction amongst office workers, access to fulfill some of their personal work and needs is highly valuable.
Both of our business centres in Parel and Andheri are conveniently located, which has been a huge draw for our office tenants.
Office rental costs and hidden charges
As commercial real estate prices continue to escalate in Mumbai, owning and renting offices become extremely expensive. Add to this the plethora of hidden charges to a basic rental that is advertised and it can completely throw operating expense figures off course.
When selecting a shared office or coworking space, ensure that you are not just lured by a flat rental that is highlighted. Insist on clarity on the fine print and getting utmost transparency with respect to billing. Some office providers add-on additional costs for Internet usage or electricity or pantry which often get overlooked.
Ensure that you have gotten the exact total amount that you will be paying as office rent. If at all there are any variable costs that have to be incurred, get them clearly specified so that you are not in for some rude shocks.
Flexibility in the rental agreement
Is your office space provider flexible whether it comes to the rental model or the layout and furnishings in your private office? How much flexibility does your business have to customize your office space to reflect your business needs and your own unique organizational culture? Can you operate 24×7 or do you have to adhere to fixed start-and-close timings?
Before you finalize the rental agreement, satisfy yourself that you have the requisite flexibility to carry out your business operations smoothly and seamlessly.
Quality of the facilities, comfort and convenience
One cannot underestimate the importance of the office set up and environment in creating an efficient and productive organisation. The facilities available have a direct impact on staff morale.
Check out all the facilities available and the quality of those: seating, lighting, ventilation, air-conditioning to meeting room facilities, Internet connectivity, pantry facilities, toilets, etc. A serviced office should literally be as easy as “walk-in, plug-in and log-in” as one of our tenants told us, and we strive to make it that simple.
In a shared office and co-working space, managing and allocating facilities such as meeting and conference rooms [hyperlink to meeting rooms page] can cause frustration for tenants. Not only should the system and guidelines for such bookings be very clear but also very transparent and easy to follow.
Customer support and service
Last but not the least, evaluate the level and quality of customer service and support the office provider gives. The front office is a good place to start – are they courteous and warm?
When you make an inquiry or go for an office tour, how responsive are they to your questions? Are they professional?
Do check with a couple of other tenants as well to ensure that you can expect the highest levels of support and service so that you have complete peace of mind when operating your office from that centre. Ultimately, the whole idea of renting an office in a shared serviced office is that you can focus on running your business instead of worrying about office logistics!