Office space ‘a key barrier to growth’

More than eight in ten UK SMEs are looking for the sort of funding that would help them move to a bigger office space, a fact that could suggest access to new work environments is a key barrier to business growth.

Research, commissioned by a conference call provider has revealed the attitudes and obstacles to scaling for SME business leaders across Europe.

It suggests that just under half of startups work flexibly so don’t need additional office space, compared to only eight per cent of larger companies – highlighting the way smaller firms are increasingly taking advantage of remote working options.

The research was commissioned by PowWowNow from survey provider CensusWide, which poled 500 senior decision-makers in the UK with similar numbers in France and Germany.

The research focused on the “pain points” SMEs experience when looking to scale up.

It found that UK businesses were displaying a keen appetite for expansion, with over three quarters looking to hire new staff.

But more than a third reported that a lack of funds was holding them back; either through being unable to afford larger office spaces or paying recruitment costs.

By contrast the survey found that four in ten of the larger SMEs work flexibly, suggesting a greater move towards remote working is easing demand for prime office space.

The number was highest in France with just under two thirds offering remote working options to staff. 

Andrew Johnson, Financial Director at PowWowNow, said: “That so many UK SMEs need to fund a move to a bigger workspace is testament to the healthy appetite for growth for UK businesses at present, but also shows office space is at a premium.

“Office rent is currently one of the biggest overheads for SMEs after salaries, and with commercial rent costs rising rapidly, SMEs must consider empowering staff to take advantage of tech and work flexibly.

“Europe is clearly ahead of us in relieving office space pressures by offering remote working, and we can learn from that.”