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The City of London: it’s a ghost town

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After all the job cuts, downsizing, budget slashing and bonus crunching, the City’s survivors are digging in for a long cold winter.

For many, this means craming their remaining staff into increasingly smaller and more economically-arranged offices. Firms that previously operated on six floors will now jostle side-by-side over four. The face of corporate business is changing. And it could be advantageous for some.

For firms whose leases have come to an end, it’s a great time to move. Robert Leigh, founder of £1.8m-turnover property firm Devono, has the inside scoop: "Landlords are extremely keen to do deals at the moment," he says. "They are offering bargain basement prices and lengthy rent-free periods."

If you’re slap-bang in the middle of your lease, however. Stay put. "It costs around £30 per square foot to relocate," says Leigh. "This isn’t the time for opportunistic moves."

Furniture companies that are rolling out clever, more economical workstations will also see a boost. Steelcase, a US-based firm that manufactures office furniture, has just launched its Smart Space range.

Mark Spragg, MD of Steelcase UK, says: “Smart Space addresses the challenges that many companies in the UK are facing in a difficult economic climate. We are helping dealers and customers focus on maximising and optimising their office space."

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