2016 – a year marked by work-life balance and ‘non-standard’ interior solutions

Stanislav Frnka
Stanislav Frnka

By Stanislav Frnka, CEO, HB Reavis
2015 is coming to an end. As always, at this time of year, we summarize the past months and try to predict what will happen in the near future. How will the current situation on the property market evolve? How will the real estate sector look in the future? Where will we be in a year’s time? As a representative of one of the most active office developers operating on the Warsaw market, I must say that in many ways the commercial real estate industry in Poland seems to be on a more solid footing than it has been for quite some time. The Polish economy continues to develop and market players are seeing robust performance across most property types.
During the first three quarters of 2015, companies leased nearly 613,000 sqm, which was equivalent to the volume recorded throughout the entire previous year. Although this positive sentiment on the leasing market is expected to continue due to the expiration of ten-year leases signed in 2006-2008 and five-year leases signed in 2011-2013, the large number of office buildings coming on stream in the near future will lead to a rapid rise in the amount of vacant space that may reach levels of 17-20 percent.
If this happens, the Polish office market will continue to favor tenants, while at the same time becoming more and more challenging for developers and landlords. An excellent location, good public transport connections and advanced technological and ecological solutions will no longer be enough to attract companies. Of course, such factors will still be highly important, but as time passes we will observe the growing significance of ‘non-standard’ amenities, such as, modern fitness centers, special facilities for cyclists, cafes, retailers, and green spaces. Employees now expect more from their employers than merely a comfortable chair and good lighting. They want to work in an inspiring and productive environment which increases their engagement and development. As a result, year by year, we are witness to a growing tendency to create ‘non-standard’ office areas, which adhere to a positive work-life balance philosophy. Enlarged kitchens with sofas, casual conversation areas or special laundry rooms – these are only some of the conveniences expected by modern day employees. And I believe it’s really good that more and more companies are becoming aware of it. A creative, dynamic and friendly work environment not only fosters productivity, efficiency, and loyalty within a company, but also helps to attract and retain the best talent. I mean, wouldn’t you want to come in every day to an office that looks like Google headquarters?

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