Fitted office space is seen as a compelling option for occupiers of all sizes. In this article, we explore what fitted office space is, why it’s becoming increasingly popular, and how companies can maximise its benefits.

What is fitted office space?

Fitted office space, also known as a “CAT A+ fit out” or “Plug-and-Play space” is a type of commercial office space that comes ready with all the essential amenities and furnishings required for tenant to move in right away.

Unlike a more traditional office lease, in which a tenant might take an empty shell or “CAT A” space which would require a full design and build programme to become useable, fitted office spaces are move-in ready. Features like furniture, meeting rooms, phone booths, kitchen areas, lighting, HVAC systems and power are already in place. This setup provides businesses with a plug-and-play environment, reducing the time and cost associated with setting up an office from scratch.

Why is it becoming increasingly popular?

While some smaller occupiers have for many years favoured fitted space for their ease and flexibility, the demand for fitted office spaces has surged in recent years. Regardless of whether that’s through a term by arrangement direct from a landlord, or via an office provider.

In a research article by Savills, taking Manchester as an illustration, the percentage of take-up of fitted space witnessed a substantial increase. In 2023 reaching 18.62% of total take-up in 2023 in comparison to the 10.82% recorded in 2022. We’re expecting London market figures to be considerably higher than this in 2024.

It is no surprise to see why fitted space holds such appeal for both occupiers and landlords, particularly in a turbulent market. For occupiers, it means not committing to any significant upfront expenditure, and reduces the risk of a timely or poorly delivered fit out.

Landlords benefit by speeding up the leasing process and attracting differentiated occupier types, with a product that appeals to a wider demographic of potential clients.

It is, however, not always the perfect solution and there are some drawbacks which need to be considered, especially as an occupier. The most obvious is the typical 15-20% rental premium that comes with a fitted space as landlords reclaim the expenditure of their own fit out. Over longer periods this translates into higher expenditure, despite the initial savings on upfront cost.

It’s seldom the case an occupier will find a pre-fitted space which matches their requirements completely, in size, number of desks, private offices, breakout space or even aesthetic preference. Depending on the existing fit out, there’s potential for inefficient use of space. Also, the potential for wear-and-tear issues should you be taking pre-used space. As such, it’s important to tweak fully fitted spaces to align them with your organisation’s needs.

Tweaking Fitted Office Spaces to Suit Individual Needs

Even with the convenience of a fitted office, it’s essential for companies to tailor the space to better suit their specific needs. Personalisation can involve reconfiguring furniture layouts, adding branding elements, or modifying the layout to improve workflow efficiency.

Engaging with an office design and build specialist can ensure the space not only meets operational requirements but also reflects the company’s culture and values.

It’s important for companies considering fitted space to understand how lenient a potential landlord or provider is towards potential modifications before finalising any lease or license respectively.

A slatted timber wall in the reception area of an office.

The Real-World Value of Fitted Office Space

Fitted office space is a fantastic option for businesses of all shapes and sizes due to its potential for term flexibility and almost instant occupation. However, due to the predetermined nature of the space, it’s not easy to find an ideal solution.

The real benefit of fitted space becomes apparent when an office presents itself which is very close to ideal, but just needs a few tweaks to make it the perfect fit. This still allows an occupier to reap the benefits of a fitted office: minimal upfront expenditure, quick move-in and retention of the same level of flexibility.

How we’ve helped our clients tweak fitted offices

At Constructive Space, we’ve helped countless businesses adapt their fitted offices to suit their unique needs.

Learning disability charity, Mencap, decided to sell its former, underutilised premises and move in to a smaller, fitted space.

Despite matching their needs very closely, it wasn’t exactly right, to the point they couldn’t realistically move in right away. We helped by stripping out an existing partition and replacing it with a folding solution to expand useable space. We formed a storeroom, reconfigured furniture layouts and A/C units and provided new phone booths for video calls and private work.

Boardroom in an office space.

In a similar case, Cheeswrights, a leading firm of London notaries, moved into a fitted space in the City of London. Due the layout of existing partitions, the space wouldn’t have allowed the necessary number of open plan desks and private offices to comfortably fit their full time in-office staff.

We amended the layout by demolishing a number of inessential small meeting rooms to free up space for an additional 10 workstations. New glass-fronted offices were also formed at the perimeter of the space for senior employees. Taking a fitted office, our client was able to make use of a considerable amount of the existing landlord fit out. By only making a few minimal and low cost adjustments Cheeswrights were able move in to a space which met their requirements exactly.

Desks in an office space.

As a final example, K2 Integrity’s space received new partitions to separate the reception area from the rest of the office to effectively delineate the visitor and working areas. Plus, a dividing wall to the breakout area to limit the sound and smell associated with the food preparation travelling to the open plan area. New 2-person meeting pods and phone booths were also installed to encourage better colleague collaboration and experience.

The reception area of an office.

Fitted Offices are Here to Stay

By choosing a fitted office space, businesses can enjoy the benefits of a ready-to-use environment while still having the flexibility to customise it to their needs. As the trend towards flexible and efficient office solutions continues to grow, fitted office spaces will continue to be mainstay in the commercial real estate market.

For more information on how we can assist you in optimising your fitted office space, please contact us at