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2 May, 2009 06:42

Matrix model sees shared office costs as answer to crisis

Moscow offices are thinning out, with two-thirds of new business centres standing empty as firms economise. But the developers loss is an opportunity for one entrepreneur.

Sergey Fesenko, the Matrix office founder’s answer to the crisis – is the shared office. In the co-working model, small firms and freelancers share the same room. Under his Matrix model, companies can also share cleaners, couriers, and even secretaries.

“The main situation in small companies is that the secretary works abut one hour a day, the rest of the day she spends on internet, with a boyfriend on the phone. In our case she will work for 10 companies and she will work very actively!”

Sergey says, sharing office space and non-core activities with other firms could halve a company's office costs. Rolling shutters transform 4 small meeting rooms into one conference hall in yet another anti-crisis measure to save on office space.

Analysts say in boom years businesses were buying more than they needed – now the trend is in reverse, according to Evgeny Semyonov, Director of Capital markets

“Businesses are shrinking, many companies are facing cuts in head counts, they need less space, fewer offices, retail chains, logistics…We never faced a serious downturn in real estate – is a very good example for us and for the future.”

Experts say those who are stuck in their offices are trying to negotiate lower rent. Real estate agencies have seen rental rates fall by about 50% over the past 6 months.