People often seek advice on office spaces and how much of a role the office space plays in terms of attracting business.
There are some basic requirements that are important to take into account when looking for office space.
The first thing to think about it location. It is best for offices to be in a business location. Do not be lured by lower priced offices in residential areas, even if parking space is more available.
It is very important to have available parking for the staff and visitors. The planning requirement is one parking spot for every 60 square metres of covered area, which is not near enough. Say an office is 150 square metres, the required parking spaces according to the regulations are only three, even though the space can accommodate around 10 people and that’s not including visitors.
For this reason, it is worth checking whether there is available parking space nearby to rent in addition.
Make sure that the lobby is spacious and clean and tidy. If possible opt for a spacious lift, or even better two lifts, so that the waiting time is reduced, depending on the number of floors.
Signage is important both in the lobby of the building, as well as outside the office door.
Make sure that the office has all modern facilities such as air conditioning, split units, false ceiling, hidden lighting, structural cabling, raised floors, smoke detector system and so on.
WCs: There should be separate toilets for men and women and two WCs for every 10 persons is the norm.
Depending on the nature of the work, a meeting room may be necessary and/or a couple of smaller rooms for private meetings. Open plan offices are not the best and cause problems, but save space.
Security: Security guards, especially after hours, are preferable, but not easily found and the cost should be considered. An alarm system is a must.
Paperless offices are increasingly in demand, which saves on space, but these require the extra use of private computers and a person to look after the operation.
For those who require storage say in excess of 20 square metres, hire storage space nearby, since office space is much more expensive and shouldn’t be used for storage.
If possible keep your office on one level since two or more levels require added facilities and the use of an internal staircase. Having said that it is a rarety to find office suites in excess of 400 square metres on one floor in Cyprus.
For an office space of around 150 square metres you should budget for rent, which varies depending on the quality and facilities, plus another €25,000-€30,000 for modern equipment (offices, chairs, reception, decor and so on). If you are renting and unless it is a long-term lease, landlords are unwilling to provide furniture since second hand ones have a value of less than 30 per cent of their replacement cost.
So, does a higher end office building make a good impression on your clients? It depends on the nature of your business. In my experience, when dealing with foreign clients, it pays to have more upmarket offices, but not so much regarding locals, who assume that expensive offices mean they will be charged a lot.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected] FRICS