The pandemic and the office market
The evolution of the function of an office can be observed for a long time. Over the last few years, a more and more flexible perception of time and working patterns has been noticed. The pandemic has forced a change in the way of performance of work almost overnight and, at the same time, it initiated changes that will have a long-term impact on the office sector for both employers and employees. Hybrid work will most probably become the future.
Every change takes time. This also applies to the model and place of work. With the use of new technologies, foreign models and taking into account the ongoing social changes – over the past years, office spaces have been transformed into people-oriented and conducive to cooperation places. However, the pandemic has put an end to that natural process of evolution and changed everything at an accelerated pace. Our need for autonomy and flexibility has increased. As a result, many companies took advantage of that moment and redefined the way in which they worked by introducing a hybrid mode of working. Will offices, despite the undeniable benefits of working from home for employees and employers, still play an important role for companies? Do we still need offices?
During the first months of the pandemic, most of us worked from home. The initial wave of enthusiasm was followed by fatigue and disappointment, as well as the feeling of “living at the workplace”. Social and community relationships got disrupted. The pandemic has shown us that a flexible way of working is important in the new reality – it gives security and a sense of freedom – but personal relationships with people are no less important. The COVID-19 pandemic was the turning point for the office sector and the labour market. It has helped to define the new function of an office, emphasising the power of face-to-face meetings. Offices are changing today, they become spaces for collaboration, discussing new ideas and solving problems together. Thus, office space is no longer a product but it becomes a service. It is a place conducive to effective work, where everyone feels comfortable and safe. A survey conducted by a consulting agency, Knight Frank, contradicts the forecasts that assume the twilight of the office space, as the vast majority of employees still prefer to work in an office. Out of 2,134 respondents, almost 80% stated that they would prefer to work according to a model combining remote and office-based work after the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 8% of the respondents would choose to work from home, and 12% would like to stay with the current model of working only in the office.
Is it necessary to reduce the office space due to the reduction in the number of office workers? After several months of research and observing the behaviour of tenants who have started to look at property strategy, it appears that the changes are not about the office space but about its functionality. Instead of the traditional model of individual work at a desk, an office will become a space primarily for information exchange and team collaboration. To suit the above, a large, comfortable space with architectural solutions that inspire and support the creativity of employees is necessary.
The global pandemic situation has forced many companies to actively look for solutions to support their business sustainability by ensuring adequate working conditions for their employees. The guarantee of employee safety with the use of new health protection technologies is of great importance here. However, no less important are the proposals that support the productivity of employees by taking care of their broadly understood well-being, i.e., any facilitation of everyday functioning in the office space. It is important to create a workplace environment that allows to maintain the work-life balance. Therefore, the introduction of service points – from yoga classes to cafes and restaurants – is essential. Thanks to their presence, it is possible to rest and relax but also save time by getting many things done without having to visit other places. Obviously, the location of the office building, with access to fast and convenient transport, is of key importance.
A modern office must be, above all, a place that is able to offer employees a sense of community, well-being and security.
Already in 2023, the newly constructed Andersia Silver building will become part of the urban tissue of Poznań, enriching the office offer of the city addressed to modern business. It is worth noting that the pandemic has affected the way people work and redirected the attention of companies to other aspects than just location and cost. Safety procedures, contactless solutions while moving around a building, organisation of deliveries by external entities and the well-being of employees have become important. Andersia Silver is the solution to such expectations, which will be confirmed by LEED and WELL certification, inter alia. The building offers three types of space sizes, giving the tenants a great opportunity to create arrangements according to their needs. Additionally, there will be showers and changing rooms for cyclists at Andersia Silver, as well as charging stations for scooters and electric vehicles of employees, a shared terrace, and some part of the facade will be equipped with photovoltaic panels. We all know how important time is – the time of commuting to work and back home, the time of commuting to business and private meetings after hours, that is, the logistics of the day. The location of Andersia Silver, on the Andersia Square, will make everyday life much easier – the Old Brewery is exactly 69 meters away, which will significantly reduce the time spent on shopping after work. A visit to a doctor will also no longer be a problem because there is Luxmed and Medicover in the building nearby, and there will also be a nursery school for children of the tenants’ employees in the Andersia Silver building – says Piotr Trybusz, from Probuild – the representative of the investor, the Von der Heyden Group.