Skanska and Business Link report: New normal of the office market

Office Market

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The pandemic has forever changed the reality of how offices operate and accelerated processes that would normally take years. One of the effects of this continuing evolution is the record-breaking popularity of flexible workplace strategies combining the top advantages of traditional and flexible spaces. According to experts from both Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE and Business Link, this model will play a key role in the office market in Poland and Europe in the coming years, the Warsaw Business Journal reports.

In order to summarize and highlight the role of the changes that are taking place, Skanska's commercial development business unit in CEE and the flex space operator Business Link have jointly developed the report, Workplace Flexibility Vademecum. 

"Our vademecum has been created in order to organize the key changes that have recently taken place in the office market. In the report, we have focused on the extensive presentation of flexible workplace strategies through which large corporations are increasingly building their office resources. We understand that buildings, or complexes with flexible spaces, have now become an important asset in investors' portfolios, and their role will steadily increase with each passing month," Maciej K. Król, acting managing director at Business Link, explained.

"The first trend involves the 70/30 rule according to which companies will look for a mix of long-term and short-term commitments to secure jobs. 30% of them will serve as the so-called 'third space' – the space between the office and home," he added.

The next point in the report demonstrates that it is wrong to write off physical offices. Despite initial claims that the mass movement of workers to home offices would significantly weaken the demand for traditional offices, the reality and studies carried out during the pandemic have shown that this scenario is unlikely to materialize. 

"Our survey has shown that although 64% of office workers in CEE have good conditions for working from home, as many as 50% of the respondents go to the office every day," Arkadiusz Rudzki, executive vice president for leasing & sales at Skanska commercial development business unit in CEE, said.

A third of the described trends relates to corporate clients who, having experienced unpredictable and sudden changes, will seek greater business stability and become less willing to commit to large and long-term leases. Instead, they will opt for more flexible, cost-saving solutions. Another direction that Skanska and Business Link point to is the "clash of expectations". 

"On one hand, tenants will try to sign shorter lease contracts for smaller spaces, but on the other, investors interested in buying buildings will still need well-secured and long-term leases. In this case, the flex model will become the optimum solution that complements an extended lease contract – to the benefit of investors," says Rudzki.

The last of the five trends refers to the "15-minute city" concept that could result in the development of smaller offices on the outskirts of cities. According to the authors of the report, hub offices will not disappear, but the number of satellite offices appearing around them will increase over time.

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