Mak­ing your of­fice fit to do busi­ness

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - PROPERTY - Μy Antonis Loizou

Sub­ject to a min­i­mum ac­cept­able stan­dard we are of­ten asked the ques­tion whether the qual­ity of an of­fice mat­ters in terms of at­tract­ing busi­ness.

Be­fore we an­swer this ques­tion, we hereby pro­vide some ba­sic re­quire­ments of an of­fice, which are more im­por­tant than this.

Lo­ca­tion – Try to lo­cate in a busi­ness area and do not be lured by lower priced of­fices in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Park­ing – Most im­por­tant to have avail­able park­ing for the staff and your visitors. The plan­ning re­quire­ment is one park­ing spot for ev­ery 60 sq.m. of cov­ered area, which is hardly enough, let alone space for visitors. As­sum­ing an of­fice size of 150 sq.m., the re­quired park­ing spaces by the reg­u­la­tions are only 3 – a space which can ac­com­mo­date around 10 peo­ple with most of them re­quir­ing at least one space per per­son or at best one park­ing spot ev­ery 2 or in this case 8 spots + visitors.

For this rea­son, ex­am­ine whether park­ing nearby to rent in ad­di­tion.

Go­ing up to the of­fice from the en­trance hall, make sure that the en­trance hall is spa­cious and clean/tidy, whereas if pos­si­ble, to have a spa­cious lift and even bet­ter a dou­ble lift, so that the wait­ing time is re­duced (de­pend­ing on the num­ber of floors).

Sig­nage is im­por­tant both at the en­trance lobby of the build­ing, as well out­side the of­fice door.

Make sure that the of­fice has all mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties such as air con­di­tion (VRV prefer­ably) split units, fan coils on ceil­ing, false ceil­ing, hid­den light­ing, struc­tural ca­bling, raised floors, bur­glar alarm/smoke sys­tem etc.

Toi­lets must have men/women separately and 2 WCs for ev­ery 10 per­sons is the norm.

De­pend­ing on the na­ture of the work you must have a meet­ing room and/or a cou­ple of them (smaller) for pri­vate meet­ings. Open plan of­fices is not the best and it causes prob­lems, but it saves space hence the meet­ing rooms.

Of­fices of grade A qual­ity (i.e. with most of the above

there

is

avail­able re­quire­ments met) have a rental level of EUR12-14/sq.m. (Ni­cosia) and for Li­mas­sol EUR18-25/sq.m., whereas Lar­naca is re­duced to EUR 10/sq.m. – all, plus com­mon ex­penses.

Se­cu­rity (per­son) es­pe­cially after hours is prefer­able, but not eas­ily found, whereas the cost should be con­sid­ered.

The fur­ni­ture and equip­ment is an­other sub­ject with a never-end­ing bud­get. Of­fice desks of good qual­ity based on Ital­ian de­signs, but lo­cally pro­duced are around EUR 1,000/each and chairs around 500/each.

Paper­less of­fices are in in­creas­ing in de­mand, but these re­quire the ex­tra use of pri­vate com­put­ers and a per­son to look after the op­er­a­tion (it saves space with lim­ited fil­ing on the other hand).

For those who re­quire stor­age say in ex­cess of 20 mts. opt to hire stor­age nearby (if avail­able) since us­ing of­fice rent for stor­age is ex­pen­sive, whereas stor­age space in a sep­a­rate build­ing does not ex­ceed 20% of the pre­vail­ing of­fice rents.

Try to se­cure your of­fice at one level since two or more lev­els re­quire added fa­cil­i­ties and the use of an in­ter­nal stair­case is not pre­ferred. Hav­ing said that it is a rar­ity to find in Cyprus of­fice suites in ex­cess of 400 sq.m. on one floor. The usual of­fice sq.m. are around 150 sq.m.

For an of­fice space of around 150 sq.m. you should bud­get for rent (de­pend­ing on the qual­ity/fa­cil­i­ties) plus an­other EUR 25,000-30,000 for mod­ern equip­ment (of­fices, chairs, re­cep­tion, dec­o­ra­tion etc.) – If you are rent­ing and un­less it is a long term lease, the land­lords are un­will­ing to pro­vide fur­ni­ture since sec­ond­hand ones have a value less than 30% of their re­place­ment cost.

So, does hav­ing a “posh” of­fice build­ing that makes a good im­pres­sion on your clients pay? It de­pends on the na­ture of your busi­ness. For those who deal with for­eign clients in par­tic­u­lar, it pays and not so much re­gard­ing lo­cals (who have the at­ti­tude that “for this of­fice to have such an ex­pen­sive set up it must change a lot”!!). www.aloizou.com.cy [email protected]

Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. is the Director of Antonis Loizou & As­so­ci­ates Ltd., Real Es­tate & Projects De­vel­op­ment Man­agers

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