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Traditional vs. Flexible office space: a cheat sheet

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If you’re in the process of weighing up whether to go traditional or flexible, this page is here to help you make up your mind.




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You’ll usually need to commit to at least three years (and value for money improves with the length of commitment).

Terms start at one month, which is good for startups who can’t predict what their headcount might be in six.

How it works

The tenant signs a landlord’s lease, which grants occupation for an agreed period of time.

The customer (not strictly a tenant) signs a licence agreement, which grants the right to occupy the space, but doesn’t grant exclusive rights for a period of time (so, the provider could move you to another part of the building).


You’ll usually have to fit and furnish the office yourself. The upfront costs are higher, but the result is more personalised. You’ll usually pay dilapidation costs too – to return the space to the condition in which you took it.

The space will come fully furnished. There are no upfront costs associated with this, but that means less control over the look and feel. At the end, you won’t pay for more than a clean-up.


You’re committed to a specific amount of space for the lease term, so there’s no flexibility if your business grows or scales back. It’s possible you might be able to negotiate later on, but not a given.

As long as there’s availability, you can always expand into your space or move to another one in the same building, so you’ll easily be able to flex in size during the term of your licence.


Once you’ve allowed for paperwork, legal requirements and fit-outs, it might be three to six months before you can move in.

You can usually be settled within two to four weeks of signing up.


In the process of moving, there’ll be legal fees, stamp duty, agent and other professional fees to pay.

There’s no stamp duty and no fee to move in.

Extra services

The landlord will usually manage the toilets and reception.

Services like cleaning, reception and mail-handling come as part of an all-inclusive monthly price.

Meeting rooms

These are part of your private space.

You’ll tend to share with others in the building and access the rooms on a credit system, but private options are often available too.


Offices are priced per square foot per year. They tend to be a bit more spacious, allowing close to 100 square feet per person.

You’re charged per desk per month and each desk is given roughly 30-70 square feet of floor space.


You usually pay six to 12 months of rent in advance, though this varies depending on your position.

A fixed deposit amount is set by the office provider –usually about two months.


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More help with your move
Amanda Lim

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