In June, CBRE, a world leader in commercial real estate services, conducted a survey of the effects of coronavirus on the office market in Central and Eastern Europe. The results showed that the Czech Republic and the countries in the CEE region, in general, are doing very well compared to most Western European countries: they responded relatively quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic and used a number of measures that positively affected its course - both in length and range. Due to these circumstances, the pandemic had a significantly smaller impact on the decision-making of companies in the CEE region than in other countries.
27% of the surveyed companies operating in the Czech Republic postponed the planned expansion due to the pandemic
The results of the survey show that most tenants in the CEE region took a waiting position during quarantine measures. Almost 30% of respondents have postponed moving to new premises or delayed the planned expansion of existing offices in recent months. In the Czech Republic, 27% of respondents gave up expansion and 39% reduced spending on new fit-outs. At the same time, 18% of companies admitted that the situation led to a reduction in the size of leased premises.
The pandemic accelerated the onset of new trends. Flexibility is at the heart
More than 90% of respondents in the CEE region introduced work from home for their employees and 57% allowed them flexible working hours. All participants in the survey, including the Czechs, expect that the pandemic in the long term will be reflected in greater use of flexible work. Its increase is expected by up to 85% of respondents. While people will solve individual tasks mainly at home, they will go to the offices for meetings, team meetings, and social interaction. It is also related to the fact that 76% of Central European companies surveyed plan to invest in new technologies to support telework in the future. In the Czech Republic, 64% of the companies that took part in the survey are preparing for the same step.
Classic workplaces are not dying out, but their appearance will change
Coronavirus has launched a number of new trends that will affect the office market in the future. Whether it is the massive use of work from home, the growing influence of new technologies, or the emphasis on employee safety. All these factors will put pressure on increasing flexibility, in every conceivable area. For example, in the possibilities of working from almost anywhere, designing such workplaces that allow you to respond quickly to unexpected situations or the length of leases. However, this does not mean the end of classic workplaces. "We expect that the pandemic will be reflected primarily in the way existing offices are used. Some companies retain some of the traditional space, but add flexible offices and teleworking. The survey also showed that 24% of Czech company representatives expect a shift towards higher use of coworking spaces and serviced offices in the future in order to network and spread risks from the perspective of employee safety," says Jana Prokopcová.
The importance of sustainable construction will increase in the future
The current situation will not significantly affect the demand for environmentally friendly buildings, which are sustainable and economically advantageous in the long run but are also associated with higher rents. "We expect that the importance of responsible investment and corporate governance in line with ESG principles will be further strengthened in the future. 70% of respondents said that their priorities would not change due to the pandemic. 24% of Czech and 32% of Central European representatives of the surveyed companies even assume that interest in sustainable construction will increase. For companies, it means an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and increase their value in the market. In the long run, it leads to lower operating costs and higher employee engagement. This makes it easier to retain talent and attract new ones,” concludes Filip Muška, vCBRE workplace specialist, who, among other things, proposes complete ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategies for companies.
Source: Czech Green Building Council