A Guide to Office Spaces in Singapore
Entrepreneurs and foreign companies who have made the decision to start or expand their business in Singapore can choose from a wide range of office space options available in the city.
Commercial properties offer varied leasing and buying opportunities depending on the kind of location and features you are looking for.
Before beginning your search, consider the following questions:
- Do I need a physical office space?
- How many employees will I need to accommodate?
- Do I need my office to be in a central business location?
- Do I need an office space for a long/short term?
- Do I need storage, manufacturing, or production space?
- Am I willing to share my office space with other businesses?
Based on your requirements, there are several options available to suit your needs. These are some of the guidelines that will take you through the different kinds of office facilities available to help you identify the most suitable one for your business.
A business centre is a fully furnished office space, with basic pre-fitted office equipment that is available for rent based on a flexible lease term. Amenities like workstations, printers, cabinets, pantries, and lobby areas can be leased either independently or on a shared basis along with other lessees.
Business Centres are suitable for:
- Companies looking for a low start-up cost with an employee strength between 1 to 5 30.
- As rental leases are normally on a month-to month basis, this is a good option for those in the initial stages of their business development.
- Companies looking for a strategic location can benefit from business centres, as these are normally Grade A buildings located in Singapore’s prime locations.
Like a business centre, a co-working space consists of a fully furnished office space with shared amenities. However, such spaces are less private with several open desks to be shared among different organizations.
A co-working space will have a range of facilities consisting of private rooms, meeting rooms, lounges, and pantries that are shared.
Co-working spaces are suitable for:
- Individual and start-ups with a small employee strength of 1-10 employees.
- Businesses looking for a temporary set up can benefit from such spaces.
- Companies looking for flexible leasing options and are open to working in a shared business environment.
This is the most common type of office space used by companies when setting up their business in Singapore. These are empty office spaces that needs to be furnished on your own, with a minimum lease period of 3 years. While initial capital costs may be high, in the long term such an option will likely reduce your monthly rental expenses.
Conventional office spaces are suitable for:
- Companies with a steady business growth looking for a long-term rental period.
- Companies with a sizable staff strength.
- Companies looking to tailor the office to best suit their specific needs in terms of brand identity, design, equipment, and size.
Instead of leasing a physical office space, entrepreneurs can make use of a virtual office service provided by many office businesses centres in Singapore. A virtual office package will provide your company with an official business address, phone/ fax numbers, access to meeting rooms on an ad-hoc basis and much more. Such a solution offers you the flexibility to choose between different packages based on your needs and budget limits.
Virtual offices are suitable for:
- Home-based entrepreneurs or small start-ups who are new to the business scene.
- Companies with headquarters abroad looking to have a remote business presence in Singapore.
Companies engaged high-technology and research and development (R&D) can opt to set up their office in a business park. These are clusters of high-tech industrial buildings with a full range of amenities to support high value adding and knowledge intensive activities. Business parks have been established in several locations over the past decade, some of which include the Changi Business Park, the Clean Tech Park, and the Seletar Aerospace Park.
Business Parks are suitable for:
- Companies involved in high-tech, knowledge intensive activities.
- Companies with a stable business growth looking for an office space to accommodate a large employee strength.
Shophouses are small storey buildings that have been conserved over the years with an architectural style resonant of pre-war Singapore. Most shophouses are in the Central Business Districts of Boat Quay, Telok Ayer, Chinatown, among others. With leases ranging from 2-3 years, these office spaces have a size area ranging from 1,200sqft to 1,500sqft. Rental prices are usually much cheaper than conventional office spaces located in the same area.
Shophouse offices are suitable for:
- Small to medium-sized enterprises looking for a long-term rental solution.
- As such buildings have a vintage style, shophouse offices are a perfect solution for companies looking for a creative workspace.
Individuals looking to set up a business in their home can do so under the Home Office Scheme. Under this scheme, owners/tenants can set up a home office in their private home, provided that their business activities do not cause any disturbance or inconvenience to the neighbouring residents. Business owners of this type can hire 2 non- resident employees to work at their home office. A one-time permit is issued which is valid for the duration of the home office business and does not need to be renewed.
Businesses that can operate a home office include:
- Accountancy services
- Architectural services
- Consultancy services (business, engineering, IT, management, or education)
- Design/Advertising services
- Insurance/Financial planning services
- Real estate agencies
- Technology based and knowledge intensive businesses
- Trading office
For more details on how to register for a home office click here.
Selecting the right type of office space to suit your business needs can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is highly recommended to appoint a real estate agent to guide you through the process. With a thriving market, Singapore has much to offer for all sorts of business owners- from small scale entrepreneurs to huge multinational corporation looking to expand into the Asia- pacific region.
All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented in this document is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice. Professional advisory should be sought before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.