Office space is at a premium and rents have risen apace, especially in metropolitan areas. According to a recent Cushman & Wakefield study, the cost for office space in Philadelphia has risen more than 6 percent, and Atlanta has seen increases of more than 12 percent.
As they've been priced out, some companies have dropped their quest for traditional, long-term leases in exchange for shared floor space, equipment, and staff with other groups in professionally managed office centers.
Now, companies like Dallas-based HQ Global Workplaces and Regus Business Centers PLC offer businesses more than just an office with a view. Businesses can rent everything including the kitchen sink: PCs, computer networks, Web access, phone systems, and general office equipment. If need be, they can rent administrative and IT support staff.
The costs can be lower, too. Companies are hesitant to release numbers given the variety of costs among cities, but executive offices spaces tend to cost 40 percent less than traditional office spaces. While conventional prime office space in Portland can cost $2,000 a month, HQ Global was renting space, equipment, and staff for a mere $1,200. Great, as long as you're willing to share: according to HQ Global, sharing staff was the main complaint among clients.
But are businesses actually using these services? The numbers suggest yes. The industry supplies more than 80 million square feet of office space in the U.S. alone.