Klingsöhr Immobilien - Office of the future

Office of the future

Newsletter May 2021



Dear readers, 

the Corona pandemic still has us in its grip - and it is still not possible to foresee what medium- and long-term effects it will have on the economy and the real estate markets. Much has already changed, and one certainty stands: In some areas, we have experienced a catalyst for innovation in the past twelve months that has not been seen for a long time. 

The change in the world of work and the increasing digitalisation of processes will not be reversed in some respects. Especially in the office sector, companies are already making binding decisions for the next 10 to 15 years based on new strategies. The pandemic, it seems, also shows how important it is to act boldly at the right moment. For example, customer interest in energy-efficient buildings is growing significantly, and real estate management has also become more sensitive to health and comfort aspects such as effective ventilation. 

Nevertheless, the question remains: can clear criteria for the "office of the future" be identified at all in the current state of limbo? For this issue of the newsletter, we have at least endeavoured to shed light on current and expected developments and to ask for suitable strategies for the real estate sector: Where do users place the emphasis? In communication, location connectivity or the flexibility of the individual workplace? What are the long-term requirements in view of the changes in the world of work - and what role does real estate play in attracting the top performers of tomorrow? 

I am pleased that we were able to win over an absolute top expert for a discussion: Pawel Krolikowski, Managing Director and Head of Workplace Consulting at CBRE Germany, provides us and you with insights into strategic considerations of his clients - and above all highlights the individual 'user experience', which is becoming the core argument for or against a specific real estate solution.  

I hope you enjoy reading this issue and that you gain one or two valuable insights. Hang in there, stay healthy and, above all, don't lose one thing: confidence and anticipation for the future - because there will be plenty of exciting tasks in the office real estate sector in the coming years.  

Yours, Stefan Klingsöhr 

1_In Berlin

1_In Berlin

Off to New Shore(s) 

Neukölln is one of Berlin's future locations. For years, the district has been increasingly upgraded, attracting young professionals and highly qualified people from Germany and abroad to the southern S-Bahn ring. Stefan Klingsöhr discussed the basis for this development - and the near future - in a high-calibre panel. 

"Location, location, location" - the old real estate mantra actually still applies. But especially in the current times, one has to approach this topic in a more differentiated way. Where do unused potentials lie? Which developments in urban space are already foreseeable? Which locations are most attractive for employees and companies? What opportunities are there for attractive value developments?  

Stefan Klingsöhr has already discussed what makes a good location in the 21st century with Martin Hikel (District Mayor of Berlin-Neukölln), Markus Buder (Head of Commercial Real Estate Financing at Berliner Sparkasse) and Gabriel Khodzitski (Managing Director of PREA Group) at the Hotel Estrel.   

Everyone agreed on one point: Berlin in particular remains dynamic and has potential for new top addresses and synergies that no one is thinking of yet.  

Watch the discussion here

2_In progress

2_In progress

What users and investors expect from the office of the future

The way people live and work has probably never changed as quickly as it does today. The office must not lag behind, but must meet the wishes of its users. The most important aspects associated with a sustainable urban lifestyle and the values of tomorrow's workers:


New forms of collaboration and work

Digitalisation has already left its mark on all areas of life and made processes more flexible - but this process is far from over. Work will continue to change and take on new forms in the coming years and decades. The more creative tasks that need to be done, the more importance will be attached to the workplace as a space for exchange and inspiration. Instead of focusing on the individual workstation and ergonomic aspects, efficiency in the future will also mean: high-quality meeting and social spaces, attractive leisure-related offers to create the most fertile climate possible for the next disruptive idea. 

Technical equipment is gaining in importance 

The office will therefore become even more important because its architectural qualities and building functions are what lay the foundations for the dynamic teamwork of tomorrow. At the same time, the integration of team members is now possible around the globe, there is cross-border cooperation and new possibilities for working together in mobile teams. But all this is nothing without a powerful backbone: the company location where all processes converge and all employees find a fixed point of identification. This can only be ensured by a modern building that combines high-quality equipment, a high quality of stay and exemplary efficiency.



"The importance of the user experience will increase". 

What new functions is the office taking on in the 21st century? What makes issues such as identity and energy efficiency as important for investors as they are for users? A conversation with Pawel Krolikowski, Managing Director and Head of Workplace Consulting at CBRE. 

Do people still need an office these days? Or does Corona bring the end of the classic idea of the office as a central place of work and communication?  

Compared to the years before 2020, we are observing significant changes in demand and requirements. But no one is questioning the meaning of the office as such. The companies we advise are questioning their space requirements, and some functions of the office are being put to the test. In the past, we analysed a company based on the departments and their specific requirements, for example. Since 2020, we have increasingly been thinking in terms of personas, i.e. individual user profiles. Someone who lives in a small flat in the city has a different motivation to come to the office than an employee with a house in the country where there is enough space for a fully equipped workplace. The pandemic acts here as a trigger for a new differentiation. 

What other consequences does this change have? What do you see as the most important future issues in office real estate? 

The importance of the individual user experience will certainly continue to grow. We see this in the fact that the distribution of space is changing. Areas for collaboration and communication are clearly gaining in importance, while the share of individual workplaces is relatively declining. So in future it will be more important how well an office is adapted to changing requirements. It is also to be expected that the home office will become an integral part of the working and corporate culture. One of our clients has already declared that it will hire employees regardless of location in the future. This will result in new requirements for technical equipment. 

That means the home office during the pandemic has also changed the demand for specific building features? 

4_In detail

4_In detail

How climate and performance interact 

35 percent. This is how high the real estate sector's share of Germany's primary energy demand is. In view of the enormous challenges that climate change poses for society as a whole, there must and will be some movement in the commercial real estate sector as well. But the search for technical and economic solutions for climate-compatible real estate has only just begun. What will the industry focus on? What will future users demand? One thing is clear: it will take a combination of different measures to achieve the necessary transformation. The following aspects are likely to have a decisive influence on future developments:  

Thesis 1: Certifications will become the standard 

The requirements for documentation and information resulting from the EU Disclosure Regulation can only be met systematically. It is unlikely to be economically feasible at either project or company level to set up separate structures to monitor all relevant processes and supply chains. The only feasible way forward will therefore be certification in the very worst case. Only a confidence-building - and gradually improving - reference framework will give users, real estate companies and investors the necessary security. It is therefore to be expected that certification of commercial properties will no longer be an add-on but a standard feature of every professional project development in just a few years. 

Thesis 2: Accessibility beats prestige 

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