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An office is a type of premises designed for work, as opposed to recreation or residence. While places like factories are also designed for work, they are usually built on a particularly designed territory according to specialized construction plans, often being large halls with many pieces of industrial-level machinery. Offices, on the other hand, are built in a way similar to other premises, like residential apartments, and are, to a large extent, designed for the so-called ’intellectual’, i.e. non-physical work.
Because of this, office spaces can be both large and small, and also can be located in mainly residential areas or in the center of a city. While they also require specialized machinery, these appliances are usually much smaller - computers, copy machines, etc. Keeping with the concept of non-physical work, offices are primarily designed for those working with information, rather than physical objects, meaning they do not require expansive storage spaces.
Spaces are structural units of an office that are designed for a particular activity or a group of related activities. Not every office has all the possible spaces, and, of course, each office may contain custom spaces that provide a number of functions at once or be designed for non-trivial use.
In general, the following office space categories are distinguished:
- Work space
- A work space is the part of an office which is designed to perform work duties at. This is usually considered to be the main area of an office, and in smaller offices it may be the only area. In this case it also perform the functions of other space types. Work space includes furniture to work at and the appropriate devices and machinery - computers, copy machines, faxes, phones, etc.
- Meeting space
- A meeting space is the part of office where meetings, conversations, gatherings, or any other discussions happen. This space often differs from work space by being a large room with no sections, containing presentational facilities, such as projectors, screens and whiteboards, as well furniture suited for discussions - big tables, many chairs and/or sofas.
- Auxiliary space
- An auxiliary space is any space designed to help perform additional functions that may or may not be a part of the main work, but are usually related to the maintenance of the workflow. These are recreational, storage, waiting areas, as well as any other area, which helps, but where the main bulk of the work does not happen.
Offices in Latvia
According to the Central Statistics Bureau of Latvia, for the past 7 years (2010 to 2017) 632 office building permits for 687 400 m2 of office floor space have been issued. Out of these, 74 600 m2 are still in development in 2017. This is a significant increase compared to the last two years (2015 and 2016), when the numbers have been notably lower - 12 300 m2 of new office space in 2016, and even less than that in 2015. It is projected that by 2020 the total office space will increase by 137 000 m2.
Approximately 88% of all the office space in Latvia is Class B offices. Out of them, 67% are general purpose offices and 33% - built-to-suit spaces, meaning they have been tailored to the particular needs of a client in the construction process. Naturally, most of the built-to-suit spaces are constructed for big companies who can afford them, and at the same time most of them are also Class B, which indicates the high quality of Latvian Class B offices.
As of 2017, there are 72 major office complexes in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Out of them 19 are located either in the centre of the city, or in the immediate vicinity. Other 53 complexes are roughly equally distributed between the left and the right side of the river Daugava, which divides Riga in halves. The majority of them are located in the centre, south-west and north-east of the city. The north-west and the south-east, accordingly, mainly contain smaller office buildings, if any.
Rent and vacancy rates
Rent rates (i.e. prices) for Latvian offices have remained stable in the last few years: 14 EUR per m2 per month for Class A spaces, 10 EUR per m2 per month for Class B+ and 7 EUR per m2 per month for Class B- (prices are averaged). No indicators point at any possible changes, which is why it is projected that Latvian office prices will remain unchanged in the nearest future.
Vacancy rates are stable as well, ranging from 4% to 7%, depending on the office class. Since the financial crisis of 2009, vacancy rates have dropped significantly, as many businesses began, resumed or expanded their activities. As of 2017, these rates are projected to remain stable for Classes A and B- and increase slightly for Class B+, mostly due to the increase in building projects for this type of offices.
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