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Jargon busting the search for an office rental

A handy guide to help you navigate real estate and workspace rental terminology when pursuing your perfect flexible workspace.


Whether looking to rent private office space in London, hot desk in Manchester or cowork in Leeds, you may see a lot of the same industry jargon cropping up.

But what exactly is CAPEX? What is meant by flexible licences? Just how serviced is a serviced office?

Step behind the specialised language and get straight to the point with our handy guide to office rental jargon.

Adaptable space: Also known as modular or flexible space, these are the expansion (or reduction) possibilities available according to your business needs. This is available with the Clockwise Private Office membership.

Break clause: Though not compulsory in commercial rental agreements, a break clause is an official date-agreed by both parties-where either tenant or landlord can terminate the office lease early without facing penalties. The notice must be given in advance.

Broker vs Agent: Often used interchangeably, these two roles may have some overlap but they essentially serve different functions. In the context of commercial real estate, a broker is usually solely focused on flexible workspace leads whereas an agent will typically service leads on traditional office rentals.

Business rates: A tax levied on the occupiers of non-residential properties including office rentals. Most flexible workspaces, including Clockwise, cover these rates as part of the license fee.

CAPEX: An abbreviation of capital expenditure, these are the long-term expenses of a company. In the context of commercial rentals, this can be a substantial outlay with traditional office leases covering everything from desks, chairs and plants to facilities and amenities. At Clockwise, our modern and flexible model means no large initial investment or upfront costs.

Cat A, Cat A+ and Cat B: Often used in the office rental world, these categories refer to the fit-out or ‘design and build’ of your workspace. Category A is the basic finish of interior space with all the mechanical and electrical services including toilets, lighting and basic fire detection systems. The space will have its form but no frills, unlike Category B which contains everything from the structure to cafes, kitchens and even the artwork adorning the walls. Category A+ is somewhere in the middle, with just enough design features appointed to make it ready for immediate occupation.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Not specifically tied to the commercial rental industry, this is the corporate vision of a company relating to values, environmental impact and sustainability. Taking a look at a workspace provider’s CSR can help you choose an office rental that aligns with the values of your business.

Coworking: A certain model of business service that sees individuals or employees of different companies working together in one collaborative space or shared office. Unlike a more traditional workspace rental, this generally allows for greater flexibility and often sees substantial financial savings.

Dedicated Desk: All the advantages of the shared workspace with a desk allocated just for you. Deep dive into work whilst also benefiting from the space to collaborate. At Clockwise, this membership includes lockable storage and is available as a flexible monthly rolling contract.

Dilapidation: Found in most leases, this is the clause that ensures the occupier returns the property in the condition they find it. This may include the financial outlay for any repairs or maintenance required.

Flexible licences: These allow for greater agility in your business. With flexible office rental licences, deposits are generally less, there is no stamp duty, the move-in time is speedier, the spaces are furnished, services are included and monthly rolling contracts are available – particularly handy for companies that are scaling quickly or in their early days. This is the foundation of Clockwise, allowing you to spend less time worrying and more time getting down to business.

Flexible workspace: Fitted with all the necessary amenities from phone lines and wifi to desks and chairs, this shared workspace fits into modern flexible working patterns meaning that you can use the space whenever you like to take a break from the WFH routine without tying yourself into a rigid and lengthy contract.

FRI leases: Meaning ‘fully repairing and insuring’, this is an agreement where the tenant takes on the responsibility for all repairs and insurance when renting the workspace. This is not something you should need to worry about when taking on a flexible office rental.

Hot desking: Perfect for an office environment as and when you need it, without all the commitment. Simply, hot desking means that you have access to all the amenities of the shared workspace without a dedicated desk. Perfect for flexible schedules and freelancers. The Clockwise ‘Club Lounge’ membership offers use of our hot desking areas alongside access to breakout areas and kitchens from just £100 a month.


Clockwise Southampton

Clockwise Southampton

Hybrid Office: The world at large has changed considerably in the last two years and that includes the way we work. The hybrid office or ‘hybrid model’ is an agreement that sees a team alternate working from home with working together in a physical space. This looks slightly different for each business so, at Clockwise, we offer flexible solutions to make it work for you, whatever the working arrangement.

Lease or licence term: The duration of rental time agreed in the lease or licence. This can be renewed at the end of the agreed period but without a break clause, cannot be terminated early without penalties.

Lease vs Licence: Both are contractual agreements between the owner and the tenant but they have different purposes. In a nutshell, a lease would find the tenant occupying a property exclusively for an agreed fixed period of time. On the other hand, a licence grants permission to the licensee for agreed activities on the licensor’s property without exclusivity.

Private Office: A designed and lockable space created solely with your team’s working patterns in mind. This is the membership for those rapidly scaling businesses that want to express their company culture without being locked into lengthy traditional office rental agreements. At Clockwise, we can offer rolling contracts from 1-3 months depending on office size.

Service charge: Charges to the tenant beyond the rent that goes towards costs incurred by the landlord for maintenance and general running of the building. Clockwise membership fees are all-inclusive so there’ll be no hidden costs.

Serviced office: A flexible office solution where all services are included and managed, allowing you to focus on the work at hand. Standard serviced office rentals will be fully furnished with IT and telecoms in place- they might also include fully-manned reception desks, kitchens, breakout rooms and more with lower costs and lower commitment. Clockwise offer all this and more with our flexible memberships.

Shared space: The areas shared by all members whether renting a private office or hot desking. Examples of shared space might be kitchens, bathrooms, shower rooms or bike storage, all included in the monthly rent with Clockwise memberships.

Traditional lease: Also known as a conventional office or leased office, this model requires a larger initial investment and a longer commitment. With running costs and utilities to consider, many companies are now moving away from the traditional lease to more flexible models. Having said that, the conventional offices can still be an attractive proposition for large companies with a strong brand presence.

Virtual office: It really does what it says on the tin, allowing employees to work remotely using tools provided in the digital space. This is the perfect option for companies looking to retain an office address whilst working from anywhere. The Clockwise virtual office solution also gives access to an inspiring business community online, perfect for the modern world of work.

The team at Clockwise are passionate about providing environments and experiences that are as personal as they are professional. For further help with your search for the perfect flexible workspace rental, get in touch and discover your home, for work today.

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