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A serviced office is an office or office building that is fully equipped and managed by a facility management company, also known as an office provider, which then rents individual offices or floors to other companies. Serviced offices, which are also referred to as managed offices, flexible offices, business centers, executive suites or executive centers, are often found in the business districts of large cities around the world. A serviced office broker will commonly help business center owners and facility management companies to rent serviced office space. Companies offering serviced offices are generally able to offer more flexible rental terms, as opposed to a conventional leased office which may require furnishing, equipment, and more restrictive leases. Space is normally flexible, allowing for additional space to be allocated at short notice, should the size of an individual business change. Serviced office providers often allow tenants to share reception services, business machines and other resources, providing reduced costs and access to equipment which may otherwise be unaffordable. By providing businesses with access to a workplace, technology and people central to its operations, the serviced office can be considered a type of virtual office. Serviced offices are a central component to the flexible workspace industry.[1]

History

Pioneers of the serviced office industry in the United States are recorded as early as the 1960s, with the creation of OmniOffices in 1962, followed by the launch of Paul Fegen's furnished law suites for attorneys in 1966.[2] The concept then spread abroad to Australia, where Alf Moufarrige founded ServCorp in 1978,[3] and to the U.K. where the Fuchs family launched a business center in Northampton, England, in 1979.[4]

During the 1980s, serviced offices in the major US business cities, evolved from law suites into business centers.[5]

In the UK, the concept of working together and sharing premises, staff and other overheads was at first primarily used by Barristers. They normally band together into "chambers" to share clerks (administrators) and operating expenses. Some chambers grow to be large and sophisticated, and have a distinctly corporate feel.[citation needed]

The advances in computer technology during the 1980s reduced the amount of staff required to operate a serviced office, and increased the technologies a serviced office could offer its clients, including access to computers, voicemail, and fax machines. Richard Nissen founded Business Space Ltd. in London in 1980 and was a pioneer of the new digital exchange telecommunications system that used electronics to place and transfer telephone calls.[6]

Now primarily virtual offices offering businesses a place, people and technology, serviced offices became an industry. Seminal reports on the industry were carried out by DTZ in the early 2000s, and published with the British Council for Offices.[7] The National Audit Office of the UK has produced a guide to help Government Departments and public bodies to assess the case for flexible managed space instead of conventional office space.[8]

In November 2014, a business report carried out by the Business Centre Association (renamed the Flexible Space Association in 2019)[9] showed that serviced offices in the UK are using 70 million square feet of space, house around 80,000 businesses, provide over 400,000 jobs and generate in the region of £2bn to the UK economy.[10]

Coworking spaces are a branch of serviced offices that add elements of collaboration and community to the workspace. The term was coined by Bernard de Koven in 1999 and has since become a popular trend for start-ups and international satellites.[11][12]

Client types

Facilities typically include:

Benefits

Serviced offices may offer benefits over conventional offices for new or dynamic businesses, including:

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