Flexible Workspaces: Glossary of Terms

At OT, we realized there was an opportunity to fill a gap in the industry: there wasn’t any  place were you could go and find a definition or explanation of terms that are often used in relation to flexible workspaces.

Below you will find a a glossary of terms. It’s still a work in progress so please feel free to make any suggestions and additions you’d like to see.


 

Accelerator

An accelerator works as a program that accelerates the process of growth of externally developed ideas. Usually they offer workspace, capital, coaching, networking, and administrative services. The main difference between accelerators and incubators is that accelerators work with externally developed ideas, they take a lesser amount of equity, and they usually work on a 3-4 month basis.  

Broker

Brokers help match businesses or individuals with available flexible workspaces globally. They work as a third-party agent in the tenant/landlord or client/operator agreement process; they usually charge a fee to the operator when a contract has been signed.

Business Center

A business center is usually all or part of a building in which serviced offices are housed; it’s effectively a ‘collection’ of serviced office suites, grouped together with services like administrative support, live receptionist, call and mail handling, and more. Business centers usually provide conference and meeting rooms to clients and tend to work on a long-term lease model.

Community

One of the definitions for community according to Oxford Dictionaries is: “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” In the flexible workspace industry, community is the relationship that staff, workspace, and members have with each other. A strong workspace community is one that is inclusive, helpful, dedicated, collaborative, and caring.

Community Manager

Community Managers are enablers in a flexible workspace. They’re the ones that facilitate interactions between members, take care of organizing events, host the events, welcome guests, they make sure the coffee is ready, and that everyone is comfortable and happy. Basically, community managers are the ones in charge of making a workspace hospitable and agreeable to all those that are a part of it.

Coworking Space

Coworking spaces typically offer shared workstations in an open-plan ‘office’ environment. They are community oriented, and usually work on a flexible and short-term membership model, or a pay-as-you-go model. Though in past years coworking strictly referred to shared workspace, some coworking operators now also offer private desk space as well as ‘hot-desking’ options; they also offer meeting rooms as part or as an addition of the membership package.

Dedicated Desk

A personal desk in a shared workspace environment. Coworking spaces usually offer this option at a higher price than shared desks; dedicated desks allow members to ‘set up’ in the same spot everyday and guarantees that they will always have an open seat available to them.

Event Space

Some flexible workspaces offer event space for rent, both for members and non-members. Event space provides an extra source of profit to various operators, as they typically have open space that remains unused during certain times or days.

Flexible Workspace

Any type of ‘office’ or workspace that is furnished and ready to use. They provide individuals or businesses with a work space and services that facilitate the work – WiFi, receptionist, meeting rooms, technology, equipment, etc. They can be private workspaces, open workspaces, or a combination of both.

Hospitality

The ability to make guests, members, and clients feel welcome in your workspace. In the flexible workspace industry hospitality may refer to the services provided to members, as well as the treatment from the staff that helps keep members happy in your space and makes them feel a part of your community.

Hot-desking

A type of shared workspace in which various individuals share a single ‘desks’ or workstations at different times.

Incubator

Type of workspace that is designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections. Usually they bring an external management team for internally developed business ideas, they take a fair amount of equity, and they develop over a long period of time.

Information Technology (IT) | Information Communications Technology (ICT)

The Information Technology Association of America defines IT as the study, design, development, application, implementation, support, or management of computer-based information systems. In the flexible workspace industry, this can refer to management software, platforms that aid in reporting, communications and billing, internet connection, etc.

Jelly Coworking

A ‘Jelly’ meet-up is an informal gathering of workers who congregate in an agreed place to work and enjoy the company of others. It started in 2006 when two home-based freelancers in New York decided to get together to stave off loneliness. The gatherings are always free, and can be held anywhere providing there is Wi-Fi and easy access to coffee.

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License Agreement

This is the contract agreed between a client and the workspace operator. They usually set out the initial terms of the agreement in a simple and flexible way, which should negate the need for a legal representative. Both parties agree and sign the agreement, and the contract may be renewed on a rolling monthly or quarterly basis. This is an important distinction from a “lease” where it is a landlord and tenant relationship, and can help change your company valuation and the relationship to one of “services” rather than purely a “real estate” rental.

Managed Office

Some operators provide ‘managed offices’, which offer a more bespoke arrangement for larger companies looking for a more permanent base. Managed offices are sometimes preferred over conventional leases because they benefit from the business center environment (receptionists, meeting rooms, on-site support) and flexible terms, unlike conventional leases which are often provided as a blank canvas with little or no on-site services.

Meeting Rooms | Conference Rooms

Like the name says, they offer meeting and conference rooms, as well as space to host events and training sessions. Most workspace centers have a range of space that can accommodate groups of various sizes and they tend to be equipped with the necessary technology needed to for conference and video calls, as well as presentations. In flexible workspaces, meeting rooms can be used by in-house clients or booked by external companies on-demand, often on a ‘pay as you use’ basis.

Serviced Office | Executive Suite

A serviced office, sometimes known as an executive suite, is a private office suite often within a business center or a coworking space. It’s partitioned from other offices to maintain privacy and usually comes fitted-out with cabling, desks, chairs, storage cupboards, electrical outlets, and desk telephones, as agreed between the operator and the client. Serviced offices are available to rent on short, flexible terms, typically from one month up to several years.

Third Space

With relation to flexible workspace, the term ‘third space’ became popular at a time when advances in mobile technology and Wi-Fi enabled business people to work on the move. It is defined as the place between work and home in which workers ‘touchdown’ — such as a meeting room, a coffee shop with Wi-Fi, a hot desk, business lounge, or a coworking space.

Virtual Office

Virtual offices provide mailing addresses and live receptionist services for remote companies, as well as dedicated office space and meeting rooms where businesses and individuals can meet with their clients. Additionally, virtual offices also offer services like VoIP numbers, cloud or online storage, instant messaging, mail handling, and more.

Workstation

A furnished desk space in which work can be carried out. Workstations usually allow individuals to bring their own equipment (laptops, tablets, etc) and set up for a day, a week, a month, or more.

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