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Scaling, simplified: The benefits of flexible office space for growing businesses

Kane Willmott tells us how flexible offices can help with scaling your business.

Small- and medium-sized businesses are significant contributors to the Canadian economy. Statistics Canada data from 2021 showed that small businesses made up 98.1% of all employer businesses in the country, creating well over 10 million jobs.

Many of these SMBs have aspirations for growth but, in order to scale effectively, they’ll be faced with challenges like:

  • Cash flow management
  • Maintaining company culture
  • Operational efficiency
  • Hiring and talent management
  • Technological challenges

Scaling up your business is no easy feat. But for companies willing to think outside the box, it’s possible to turn one of your most significant balance sheet liabilities—your office—into an asset that benefits multiple facets of your business.

This article explores six ways in which adopting a flexible office space model can make it easier for you to scale your business.

1. Scaling your workspace with your business

When you sign a traditional office lease, you’re assigned a specific number of square feet for a predetermined number of years.

But when you’re scaling your business, that math doesn’t check out.

You might’ve signed your office lease when you had five staff on your team. But what happens when you start to scale and end up with ten employees? Or twenty?

Where will all of those staff go?

Whether you’re operating on a hybrid work model or have your team in the office full-time, you’re going to need a workspace that can accommodate all—or at least a portion—of your team on any given day.

Unlike the confinement of a traditional office lease, flexible office spaces allow you to scale your workspace with your business. Since you’re not tethered to multi-year contracts, you can move to a bigger workspace in the same building as your team grows—whether that’s a bigger private office space or a full serviced office suite of your own.

Or, you can mix and match services to fit your needs, such as having a smaller office for your core team and then providing remote, hybrid, or part-time employees with dedicated desks or coworking memberships.

2. Building and maintaining company culture

As you scale your operations, maintaining your company culture is essential to keeping your team aligned with a shared and unified vision and mission.

But when you add more team members, it can be easy to let your company culture get diluted unless you’re proactive in taking steps to maintain it.

through the provision of on-demand collaboration spaces, the ability to customize your space to align with your brand, and greater support of your team’s work-life balance.

3. Providing workspaces for remote employees

If you’re hiring employees remotely, providing them with a professional workspace can reflect well on your brand and ensure they feel immersed in your organization.

With flexible office spaces, you can provide remote employees or satellite teams with access coworking or dedicated desk memberships, giving them access to a professional work environment without the full price tag that comes with a dedicated office space.

4. Maintaining agility with short-term commitments

There are few things more valuable to a scaling business than the ability to be nimble.

The dynamic nature of growth often presents unforeseen challenges and rapidly changing market conditions.

By maintaining your operational agility, your business can quickly adapt its strategies, processes, and operations in response to these challenges.

For this reason, the rigidity of a traditional office lease is misaligned with the best interest of your scaling business. Being tethered to monthly payments on a multi-year lease is akin to placing your company in handcuffs.

Flexible office agreements allow you to negotiate the term length that works best for you—whether it’s a period of months or years. This means you can pick a timeline that aligns with your strategic vision and then terminate, extend, or alter it as your business needs dictate.

5. Reducing upfront costs

Every penny counts when you’re investing heavily in business development, talent acquisition, and all of the other investments required when scaling up your company.

So, expending capital and wasting time with things like fit-outs, improvements, and furnishings for your leased office space is wasteful—especially when there are flexible workplaces available that are completely turnkey.

Taking an office and then making it usable shouldn’t be your priority.

Instead, you should walk into a furnished and fully-functional workspace with your team and get busy with that matters most: growth.

6. Capitalizing on economies of scale

It’s not just upfront costs that can create wasted capital—you also need to consider your ongoing expenses.

This includes things like:

  • Utilities
  • Maintenance and repair costs
  • Cleaning services
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Supplies and equipment

And this doesn’t even include amenities that enhance your team’s professional experience and that come with scaling a business.

Instead of covering these all on your own, your business can benefit from economies of scale in a shared workspace where the cost of these essentials are shared between multiple different organizations.

Scaling your business undeniably comes with challenges. But by getting strategic about your workspace solutions, you can take steps to counteract those challenges by saving capital, maintaining operational agility, and providing a positive work environment for your employees.

If your organization has plants to scale and you’re looking for a workspace that will empower its success, book a tour of your local iQ Offices location today.

Kane Willmott is the co-founder and CEO of iQ Offices, the largest independent Canadian-owned co-working operator with offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. iQ Offices provides beautiful office spaces with safety, service, privacy and design at the forefront.