Why Are Serviced Offices Growing Increasingly Popular?

Over the last few years we have seen the serviced office market quite literally explode in the UK. Although the UK has seemingly come quite late into the serviced office market, with them having been a prominent fixture in the USA for well over 30 years, it seems to be something we are now welcoming with open arms, despite the economic climate.

License: Image author owned
License: Image author owned

What is a serviced office?

A serviced office is one such office which is already fully equipped for individuals or businesses to move into.  The office is managed by an Operator who is in charge of all services to the office building. For instance services can range from anything like office equipment and internet access through to telephone answering services and reception or secretarial support.

These offices are an extremely attractive proposition for businesses since they do not require any capital investment in terms of buying technical equipment or even office furniture. Individuals and companies can quite literally move into their office and have it fully furnished and ready to receive customers from the word go.

How expensive is it to run a serviced office?

People are often put off by the initial price of a serviced office. However, what many people do not realise is that the rental cost of most serviced offices includes everything you would normally pay on top of renting an office in the traditional manner. Serviced office packages tend to include everything from heating and cooling, electricity, security and maintenance through to furniture cleaning and insurance.

In this way, once you have paid the rent for the serviced office, there is nothing more to pay other than being charged the standard rates for telephone and internet usage, as well as the cost of occasionally hiring meeting room. What is also worth keeping in mind is that most serviced offices will offer short term leases so you are not tied into a contract for months or even years, which is an obvious financial benefit.

What kind of business use serviced offices?

Services offices are used by all kinds of businesses, from small companies run by a few individuals to large corporations. If you have not yet had the experience of using or visiting a serviced office, you are probably under the misconception they are only used by small business who cannot afford their own property. However, this is quite simply not the case.

So many companies, especially in the current economic climate, want flexibility when it comes to their offices. They do not want to be stuck into long-term contracts when they are unable to comfortably foresee what their financial state is going to be in the future. Therefore using serviced offices enable them to expand or shrink as and when needed and at short notice too.

It seems the take up of these offices is growing ever more common as months go by and with good reason. With those in the serviced offices in Milton Keynes freed up from having to manage IT systems, reception duties, answering the telephone and even spending money on furniture, they are free to do their actual job.

About the Author: James writes for Cranfield University. When not writing, he can often be found looking for another office.

Transcription: The Great Unsung Hero Of The Business World

Speaking is (generally) a far more natural and less time consuming process than typing. This is an undeniable fact and as such, ‘typing up’ audio reports can be one of the most frustrating and tedious tasks that befall most of us in the business sector on a daily basis. There is however a select group of flash fingered wizards who can make their brains and their fingers work in tandem to the extent that the spoken word and the written word become almost seamless in their delivery; to them this work is as natural as breathing. These prodigiously talented individuals are known as ‘transcribers’ and they offer a service that has proven invaluable for millions of people in a variety of professions, all over the world.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

The History of Transcription

Transcription has been used in various capacities since the early 1900’s, where medical stenographers were hired to document doctor’s work in text. Eventually (with the invention of cassette recorders and later computers) such documents were stored as audio records dictated by the doctors themselves but medical transcriptions are still commonplace. The actual act of transcription itself has over time, bled into many other sectors, primarily the journalism and business sectors where interviews or meetings are often transcribed in full. Before the invention of audio recording devices, transcription was an incredibly difficult process that required transcribers to use shorthand to write down speech as it was being spoken. The introduction of handheld Dictaphones in the 90’s made the job of transcribers immeasurably easier and now that most Dictaphones use mp3 technology, the audio data can quite easily be recorded and then emailed to a third party transcription service. Various ‘auto transcription’ software packages have recently started to reveal themselves online but they are largely unreliable (the intricacies of human speech are still beyond even the most powerful computers) and require absolutely crystal clear, perfectly pronounced speech to operate properly, which is very rare in most professional circumstances.

What is Transcription?

The job of transcribers is (literally) to transcribe. One of the most common forms of transcription is when transcribers are hired to take either an audio recording or live dictation and then transcribe the contents into text. Examples of where this sort of transcription might be used in the workplace include court hearings (court reporters are essentially transcribers in all but title), seminars and speeches, all of which can be converted from spoken content into text. Perhaps the most obvious use of a transcription service would be in television where transcription is required to produce subtitles. Transcription has only recently become a mainstream career option thanks to the advent of high-speed internet and the almost ubiquitous availability of personal computers. It is a job that is free of the restraints of traditional 9-5 office work and as such, most transcribers will either work freelance or will work for transcription companies but will do so from the comfort of their own homes. Transcribers will charge their clients either by time spent or work done so it will either be on a ‘per word’ or ‘per minute’ basis. Larger transcription firms will deal exclusively with private law firms, TV studios or government agencies but there are firms who will offer their services to anyone for a price.

What Goes into a Transcript?

The industry standard time for producing a transcript from a piece of audio is approximately one hour for each 15 minute chunk of audio. This means that live transcription is rare. In the few cases where it is used, translations tend to be unreliable at best as there is no time for transcribers to go back and check for errors or refine their text. In many situations however (such as live television) a broadcast might be delayed ever so slightly, to give the transcribers time to refine and correct their words before they are broadcast.

What else can a Transcription Company offer?

Besides straight English audio to English text, many transcription companies will employ staff members versed in a variety of languages so translation is usually an (incredibly useful) option. Post production work might also be offered, which is especially import for television work where specific time-codes, logs, musical cues and shot descriptions are generally necessary.

If you’re serious about your work then hiring professional transcribers might be the best decision you ever make. These workers have a number of valuable skills and their fingers can work as fast as their mouths (if not faster). What’s more, their lightning quick work (many companies offer 24 hour turnarounds) will save you countless hours as time is arguably the most important commodity in any business.

About the Author: Pipa Rose is a writer who understands that transcription has now become an essential part of industries such as television production. Television companies use from take 1, transcription services to help them produce professional and informative shows.