Renting offices in London: the guide

That’s it, it’s done! You have decided to move into new offices. Whether it is to establish a new activity or increase the size of your current premises, solutions are just as numerous as the selection criteria.

You’ve probably heard of co-working spaces, or the new expensive premises in the Shard. Which would be the most suitable for your activity? Not easy to see clearly. Not sure where to start? No worries, follow the guide! 

There are usually 3 types of offices: leased offices, serviced offices and managed offices.

Leased offices

Leased offices are traditional offices. The landlord offers you a space that you agree to occupy over a certain period (generally several years). The price is calculated according to the surface area. It is then up to you to furnish the space, and to set up the various contracts for all the services you will be using (electricity, internet, etc.). However, the bill does not stop here insofar as you will also have to pay the service charge (equivalent to co-ownership fees) as well as the business rates (property tax based on the rental value of the property).

Despite all these added costs, this option is often the most cost effective. It is interesting to note that it is also the solution which offers the most room for negotiation…

Ultimately, leased offices are for you if:

  • you have no problem making a long-term commitment,
  • you have the time to take care of the furnishing,
  • administrative management is not an issue,
  • you really want to make the space your own.

Serviced offices

Unlike leased offices, you can also find a place in serviced offices like WeWork. Here no unnecessary paperwork, welcome to the world of “plug and play”. Contracts are not made per square meter but for the rented desk as well as the various services required with it (access to a meeting room, shared secretarial services, kitchen, etc.). The main advantage lies in the ease of use and the flexibility of the contracts. Here, no electricity bills to pay but a single monthly bill. Convenient! It is also flexible as you can choose to renew your contract on a monthly basis.

However, these advantages come at a cost. For comparison, a serviced office will cost you around 20-30% more than a traditional office. Also be mindful of all the extras that are added to the bill!

In short, serviced offices are for you if:

  • you don’t want to make a long-term commitment,
  • you are ready to pay extra to avoid administrative management,
  • you don’t mind sharing certain services.
  • you don’t mind limited customization or privacy (shared reception, shared meeting rooms etc.)

Managed offices

Finally, halfway between the leased office and the serviced office is the managed office. Managed offices are often located in a building that already houses serviced offices as the service is broadly similar (you pay the company that occupies the premises for a service and not a rent). The main difference is in the ability to customize your workspace. The provider usually leaves you an empty space that you can arrange as you wish.

In return, you will be asked for a slightly longer commitment and the invoice will be calculated not according to the number of desks but according to the surface area used (and of course all the other services required).

Managed offices are for you if:

  • you are ready to commit for at least 6 months
  • you want to arrange your workspace to your liking
  • you are ready to pay extra to avoid administrative management and keep some flexibility 
  • you are ready to share some services.

As you can see, each solution has its advantages and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice will be made according to the importance you give to the different criteria, be it cost, flexibility, simplicity … 

That being said, Covid has made the choice a little more complex.

Working patterns have changed and office life is no longer the same. From companies that have made the choice to transition to full-time home working (such as Twitter, which has already offered its employees the option to work from home permanently), to those that ask their employees to go into the office just 2 days a week, flexibility is now key.

In this context, it is difficult for traditional landlords to limit themselves to offering 15-year leases with full-time occupation. Each supplier has to fight and be inventive to find satisfactory occupancy rates. We are therefore witnessing an overhaul of the offer of office property which is reflected in increased porosity between the 3 traditional types of offices. For example, serviced office companies offer long-term leases in exchange for a substantial discount. Conversely, so-called classic offices now offer much more flexible leases with even the possibility of surrendering the lease in order to sign a new one with different conditions.

Getting support in your search is therefore all the more important as the rules of the game are changing. With our experience, French Touch Commercial will be happy to guide you in this process to find and secure your new premises. 

Office case studies

Acquisition of offices for Campings.com

As part of its development in the United Kingdom, Campings.com called on French Touch Group not only to find accommodation for its employees but also to find offices that would be on a par with their ambitions.

Office search for the France Télévisions group

As part of the expansion of their activities in London, France Télévisions called on FTC to find their new premises. France Télévisions UK had been in greater demand than ever since Brexit. They needed to be close to Buckingham Palace, the London community and 10 Downing Street.

Market study in Birmingham for the VINCI Group

FTC carried out in-depth market research which enabled Vinci to have an objective view of the office supply in Birmingham. We analysed the different districts as well as the different services on offer (traditional lease, managed offices, serviced offices etc.).

French Touch Commercial also supports you throughout the process of finding and securing your commercial premises: shopsrestaurants or offices.