Flexible Workspace Terminology Explained

Our relatively new industry has developed a whole dictionary of jargon and terms over the last few years. Below is a collection of the most commonly used terms to ensure that you understand exactly what it is that you are considering.

  • Accelerators

    Provide promising startups with an immersive entrepreneurial environment, education, mentoring, networking opportunities and, typically, seed capital. Many receive government or corporate funding to advance promising ideas. like incubators, they are often affiliated or partnered with a university. 

  • Accommodation Address

    A service where mail can be delivered in the name of a person or business for retrieval. The service is similar to Post Office boxes. Small businesses use accommodation addresses when they have no fixed place of business, and do not wish to use a Post Office box, a proper address giving an air of respectability.

  • Baby Boomers

    Baby Boomers

    This was the original 'generation'.

    The phrase used to describe the cohort of babies born from the end of the War all the way up to the early 1960s.

    Baby Boomers, as a phrase, was first used in 1970, in a Washington Post article.

  • Business centre

    A building in which facilities such as Furnished Offices, Internet Connectivity, Telephony, Virtual Services, Meeting Rooms and Videoconferencing facilities may be found.

  • Business Continuity

    A service offered by most Business Centre locations to assist your company should a disaster occur. They can provide you with an office, internet access, telephones and helped to keep your business running.

  • Business Lounge

    Often a purpose-built facility in a flexible space environment - they are ideal if you don't require a fixed workspace, or if, through your work, you travel frequently, then Business Lounges are the ideal facility for you as they are generally situated in or close to city and transport hub locations.

  • Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualised resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users are not required to have knowledge of, or expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure "in the cloud" that supports them.<br />The concept incorporates infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) as well as Web 2.0 and other recent technology trends that have the common theme of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users.<br />The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the Internet is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals.<br />

  • Conference Call

    Is a telephone call where more than two people need to be on the same line to have a conversation or listen to information being relayed.

  • Coworking Spaces / Hubs

    As they are often called in the U.K., are shared office spaces operated to create a community spirit among members. The set up is typically casual and open. Spaces are designed to encourage interaction and a sense of community. Most include amenities, meeting rooms, some private offices and social hours (complete with adult beverages). The cost is based on the frequency of use and packaged as monthly or long-term memberships.


    A more flexible workforce, a desire for greater workspace efficiency and huge advances in mobile technology have led to the remarkable growth in coworking and shared office facilities across the UK.

    Coworking hubs are home to collaborative communities of like minded freelancers, start-ups and SMEs. Even Global organisations such as Google have embraced coworking to reduce office costs whilst similarly boosting employee performance & satisfaction.

    Cowork spaces are part of the sharing economy. Gone are private offices and allocated workstations. In come open plan spaces, shared desks, break out areas and creative meeting rooms.

    In addition to social & networking events most coworking spaces offer business support, professional advice drop-ins & investor meetings.

    Coworkers typical pay a monthly club membership or subscription fee which includes access to the hub, a hotdesk, internet & meeting rooms. Some also provide day access rates.

    For a quarter of a century the Business Centre Association has been at the forefront of the flexible workspace revolution and we are champions of the coworking & shared office concept. 

  • CVA

    Company Voluntary Arrangement

  • DISCO Entrepreneurs

    Double Income Small Companies

  • Economics Agglomeration

    The term economies of agglomeration is used in urban economics to describe the benefits that firms obtain by locating near each other ('agglomerating').
    This concept relates to the idea of economies of scale and network effects. Simply put, as more firms in related fields of business cluster together, their costs of production may decline significantly

  • ERV

    Estimated Rental Value

  • Flexible space

    Serviced offices, Workspaces, Light Industrial Space, Coworking, Touch Down Space, and Hot Desking available on flexible easy in easy out terms which allow customers to vary the length of contract and size of space occupied to meet the ever changing demands of their business.

  • General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union’s new legislation to protect the personal data of EU citizens.

    The GDPR has been born of a need to regulate data protection, amongst other data concerns, throughout the European member states by updating the now archaic 1995 Data Protection Directive (DPD); a set of laws created at the onset of the internet era and long before the digital age.

    Organisations have been given a two year lead in period to become compliant, ending 25th May 2018.

  • Generation X

    Generation X or Gen X are those born in the early 1960s and the early 1980s.

  • Generation Y

    Generation Y - Also known as Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000.

    The demographic cohort following Generation X, there are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

  • Generation Z

    Generation Z or Gen Z is the demographic cohort after the Millennials - Generation Y

  • Hacker and Maker Spaces

    Are places where people with common interests come to work, collaborate, share technology and tooling, and learn from each other. Fees are typically membership-based, though some community or school-sponsored spaces are free. 

  • Hot desk

    A desk with a telephone and Internet connection which allows you to turn up, plug in and start work. Usually available by the hour, and often in a shared environment, hot-desking is proving popular with people who are constantly on the move, but need 'quality time' in a professional working environment with access to full office support services. With the increase in flexible working hot desking is frequently being used as a one day alternative to travelling to a company head office (think global work local)

  • IaaS

    Infrastructure as a Service

  • Incubators

    These are typically low or no-cost spaces made available to startups. The incubator owner often takes a small equity stake in the venture, offers mentoring and coaching, and provides access to financing. Many incubators receive government funding aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship. They are often affiliated or partnered with a university. 

  • IOT

    Internet of Things

  • Jellies

    Jellies are a relatively new concept that expands on the idea of coworking. Jellies are regular, informal gatherings of independent workers who convene or choose to 'hang out', in a cafe or 'free' workspace for a day, and work or converse from the local Wi-Fi connection.  Similar to coworking, it provides a community vibe and allows workers to escape the loneliness of working from home. Jellies are ideal for Home-workers or freelancers who want an occasional, low-cost alternative to the home office.

  • Licence Agreement

    Is an easy to understand legal binding contract which gives the customer permission to occupy on easy in easy out terms and does not require a solicitor. A Licence is used for short periods of time making them an ideal solution for flexible space.

  • Light Industrial Space

    Similar to Traditional Industrial Space but offered on easy in easy out terms. Most Units are self contained with access for goods vehicles.?

  • Mail Forwarding

    Mail forwarding is a mailing address service which allows your mail to be sent to a business address and then forwarded on to you.

  • Managed workspace

    The term generally applied to flexible workspace designed for light industrial use.

  • Micro Business

    a business with no more than nine employees

  • Occupancy

    This refers to the number of offices/units that are occupied by customers. If your building has 40 offices and 20 of them have are occupied then your occupancy is 50%.

  • PaaS

    Platform as a Service

  • REVPAW (Revenue per Available Workstation)

    Total Revenue divided by the number of available workstations.

  • REVPOW (Revenue per Occupied Workstation)

    Total Revenue divided by the number of occupied Workstations

  • SaaS

    Software as a Service

  • Serviced Offices

    The term usually associated with flexible office workspace found in a business centre which is supported by a range of inclusive services such as telephone, IT, lighting and heating plus reception, kitchen security and office cleaning.

    Offers private offices, meeting rooms, shared staff and amenities, flexible terms on 'easy in and easy out' basis (typically from a month, 3 months and longer). They are often located in premium office buildings that clients could not otherwise afford.

  • Services to rent ratio

    This is the total ratio of rental income to service income. All income with the exception of Rent or licence fees is deemed as service income. It is an indicator of the % of service revenue.

  • Support services

    While most centres provide reception services, many now provide pay-as-you-go secretarial support services which range from having help with photocopying or binding documents for a presentation to providing staff cover for that urgent project.

  • Telephone Answering

    Is a reliable and professional service for businesses and their customers. The service provides telephone answering and message forwarding which creates a professional image to the customer particularly if you are a small business and work from home or travel frequently.

  • Third Place (or third space)

    the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace

  • Time from Enquiry to move in

    Enquiry date to move in date. This is the average time it takes to convert a lead to a move in.

  • TMT

    Technology, Media and Telecoms

  • Video Conference

    An Audio and Visual service which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmission simultaneously.

  • Viewings to Sales

    This is the total number of viewings to the number of new deals. It excludes virtuals, renewals and upgrades etc. It is purely a new sales measurement.

  • Virtual office

    A virtual office is a service which provides the customer with a Mailing Address and Telephone Answering service, typically offered from a Serviced Space location.

  • Virtual PA

    A service which offers you a personal assistant that works remotely. They can office a wide range of support services to you and your business.

  • VMM

    Voicemail Mail Messaging provides businesses with a service that allows customers to record a message on a professional voicemail. The message is then stored on the system which you can access any time of day. Some companies also offer an email service where the recorded message can be automatically emailed to you.

  • Workstation

    This refers to a desk, chair and in most cases an under desk drawer unit. It can also be the amount of space a business centre allocates to one person.

  • Yield per Occupied Square Foot

    This is the total income that a building is receiving per occupied square foot. It includes meeting rooms and all services income. It is the total monthly income (not billed revenue) divided by let square footage. This is the ultimate indicator of how an operator makes the building work. A serviced office operator must be able to make a building work harder than a conventional commercial property

  • Yield per Square Foot

    This is the total income that a building is receiving per square foot whether it is fully occupied or not. It includes meeting rooms and all serviced income. It is the total monthly income (not billed revenue) divided by square footage and the end of the month. This is the ultimate indicator of how much money the building is making. A serviced office operator must be able to make a building work harder than conventional commercial property.

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