Serviced Offices vs. Managed Offices: What’s The Difference?

Workplace wellness
Author: Elliot Gold
Estimated read time: 5 mins
Published: 29/03/2023

Since hybrid working exploded onto the scene, more businesses are waving goodbye to traditional long-term leaseholds in favour of more flexible alternatives. If, like many businesses, you’re embracing new ways of working or you’re a growing startup looking for more space, managed offices or serviced offices could be the ideal solution.  

The two terms are often used interchangeably and while there are similarities, the truth is there’s a big difference between a managed and serviced office space. And it’s important to understand how they differ when you’re weighing up your options. 

Don’t worry; we’ve got you.

By the end of this article, you’ll know what managed and serviced offices are, the differences and similarities, and which choice is the best one for your business.

What are serviced offices?

A serviced office is a move-in ready space that can be rented on a flexible basis. It’s managed by an external workspace provider (like us, woohoo!) and comes fully equipped, so all you need to do is turn up, and you have everything you need to start working – bliss!

You can rent out individual workstations, meeting rooms or whole floors, offering you access to the spaces you need and complete flexibility.

What’s more, there are no hidden charges or lengthy rental contracts. All-inclusive monthly billing covers everything from the space itself to wi-fi, phone lines, and building management services. And with flexible lease arrangements (typically 1-12 months – or even daily), you only pay for what you need for as long as you need it.


What’s included in a serviced office space? 

Serviced offices tend to offer the following in-house amenities and services: 

  • A fully furnished office space
  • Flexible, short-term leases on a rolling renewal basis
  • Office providers to take on facilities management costs
  • All-inclusive monthly bills, including utilities
  • On-site team and staffed reception desks
  • Communal kitchens and breakout areas
  • Cleaning and maintenance services
  • Meeting rooms and networking spaces
  • Breakout and collaboration areas

Serviced shared offices are naturally more sustainable because businesses often share amenities with other businesses. Read more of our advice on how to create a more sustainable office space here.


What are managed offices? 

Like serviced offices, managed office spaces are leased on a single monthly fee and handled by a third-party operator. But (and here’s the big difference!), they’re typically rented as a whole office to one business rather than several businesses.

They’re empty workspaces that can be tailored (within reason) to your business needs – a blank canvas, if you will.  

From lighting and furniture to branded décor and all the finer details, you have more control of the overall look and feel of a managed office. All this is usually set up by the provider before the move-in date, but it’ll take you extra time to decide on and organise all the details that will complete the space first.


What’s included in a managed office space?

The following amenities are usually included in your fees when renting a managed office: 

  • Essential furniture 
  • Cabling 
  • Rent and utility bills  
  • Office customisations
  • On-site security/ CCTV
  • Waste removal
  • Communal kitchen area
  • Cleaning services
  • Allocated parking

On-site support at our serviced office building Work.Life Farringdon

Managed vs. Serviced Offices: Similarities 
  • Cost structure  

Both leasing models are more flexible all-inclusive alternatives to traditional long-term leaseholds. Plus, everything is included in your monthly costs. Everything from rent and utilities to cleaning and maintenance is wrapped up into one simple monthly payment, leaving you with much less to worry about.

With both options, you can also wave goodbye to all the costs of a traditional commercial lease agreement (think solicitors’ fees, agents’ fees, stamp duty and more).

  • Management  

Whether you opt for a managed or serviced office space, you’ll have access to an external team who’s on hand to take care of all the amenities and services. So you can spend less time on building management jobs and more time focusing on your business.


Managed vs. serviced offices: Differences
  • Lease arrangements  

Serviced offices are usually charged per workstation and is the most flexible plan with the shortest terms. Work.Life’s serviced office spaces can be short-term rentals from 3 months, or you can choose a pay-as-you-go or monthly coworking membership for even more flexibility, for example.

You’re typically tied into a term of at least 18 months with a managed office since the space has been tailored to your needs. You may also have to pay the costs to return the office to its original state before you leave.

  • Privacy

With a managed office, you’ll get exclusive use of the space; it’s your self-contained building or floor with private access to meeting rooms and other communal areas.

A serviced office space is rented out by multiple businesses, which means sharing communal areas and other facilities. That’s not to say you don’t have any privacy with a serviced office. You can still have your private space, and there are various meeting rooms and breakout areas for more confidential conversations or working. There’s also the added benefit of plenty of opportunities to socialise, network and learn from a community of other businesses.

  • Customisation  

A serviced office space is fitted out by the provider. Everything from the furnishings to different workspace areas is set up and waiting for you to get started straight away. Some serviced office providers will give you some branding and customisation options, like the option to paint a wall, add your logo on the door, add your own art to the walls, or install your own phone booth – and usually the option to move things around your own office. But with a managed office, the final office design is in your hands. You can make more decisions on the interior space layout, like the floorplan, fixtures and number of breakout areas to finish the office how you want it.

  • Brand image 

While serviced offices give you private workspaces and shared facilities within a larger space, managed offices are branded like an owned office and not shared with other companies. It’s your company name above the door, and you create your own identity, look and feel.

A serviced office is operated and branded by the provider. So, your working environment is generally down to what the provider defines and delivers. At Work.Life, that means an office experience that creates what we like to call workplace harmony; somewhere that promotes happiness, fun, inclusivity and productivity. Sounds pretty great, right?

Which option’s best for you? 

If you like the sound of a fully furnished office space with a dedicated on-site management team and access to facilities on demand, then a serviced office could be for you!

They’re an excellent option for startups, small teams and solopreneurs who’d benefit from a private workspace with the benefits of coworking. The flexibility of serviced offices can also appeal to growing businesses as you can adapt your agreement to meet your needs.

If an exclusive-use workspace with high customisation and a more fixed lease agreement is more your thing, you might want to consider a managed office.

The combination of traditional office space and serviced office amenities gives SMEs and larger businesses more flexibility than a traditional lease and gives you more control of the look and feel of your work environment.

What makes Work.Life different?

Not to brag, but we like to offer something a bit special here at Work.Life. Alongside all the fab benefits we’ve told you about above, our serviced offices include heaps of perks to promote our members’ productivity and wellbeing.

That means modern layouts with plush furniture, organised networking and social events, coffee on tap and healthy snacks to fuel your teams.  

Come and see for yourself! Book a tour of one (or more) of our fully furnished, flexible office spaces in London, Reading or Manchester today.

Further reading

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