Making your office fit to do business
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
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