The Portfolio Property Conference was held in Prague on 23rd November 2021, covering the current trends of the real estate sector. At the panel discussion titled “The Key Word Is Flexibility”, our company was represented by Libor Holik, CEO of B+N in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
At the event, the most prominent real estate experts of the Czech market talked about how flexible the office market is, what changes were brought about by the pandemic and what can be expected from long-term trends.
OFFICE WORK: HALF SIZE
These days the present and future of office work are the most exciting issues in the real estate market due to the Covid pandemic. “The keyword in this field is flexibility” – this was the guiding theme formulated at the beginning of the discussion. Before the epidemic, an average tenant with 30 employees rented an office area big enough for 30 office desks for 3 years. Today, a company like this needs space only for 15 desks, due to hybrid work schemes. “Halving” the number of desks is only one consequence of the pandemic: the rental period has been reduced to 6 months because of flexibility reasons and the unpredictability of the future.
Large companies are shifting towards a green office environment and diversification. In offices, there has been an increasing focus on solving the problems of people with physical disabilities and also on displaying unambiguous information in the entire office area.
LIBOR HOLIK (B+N): MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES ARE REALLY PRO-ACTIVE, HOWEVER, WE DO NOT SEE ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE CASE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES AND INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING FIRMS
According to Libor Holik, there has been a drastic change in customer requirements. On the one hand, multinational companies are pro-active, continuously working on how to attract employees back to the office. They come up with several creative ideas to achieve this, increasing the loyalty of their staff at the same time. On the other hand, we do not see any significant change in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises and industrial manufacturing firms. Naturally, they also pay attention to health issues and the retention of their workers, however, this is the maximum they do.
As claimed by the CEO of B+N in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, major changes have started in the office market, with security becoming a top priority almost everywhere. Currently, this is the most significant trend for companies and employees alike. Cleanliness, hygiene, and disinfection are now the main considerations.
WE HAVE TO GET USED TO IT: OFFICE BUILDINGS WILL OPERATE WITH SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER OCCUPANCY IN THE FUTURE
According to experts, changes are expected in corporate cultures and landlords will have to get used to the fact that office buildings will operate with significantly lower occupancy in the future than before.
The participants of the discussion commented that by 2026, co-working, hybrid work models, flexibility, short-term changes in the strategy of tenants, and the efforts of companies to retain their employees will be of crucial importance.