Office buildings in times of pandemic – what helps maintain low operating costs

Comment by Arkadiusz Płociński, Vice President of the Management Board, Real Management S.A.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that in such difficult and unpredictable market conditions, two elements are key to simultaneously ensuring a high level of real estate service and keeping operating costs low. They are: good relations, built over years of cooperation with our partners, and a team of managers focused on constant monitoring of the market in terms of available solutions and their cost.

New expectations

The necessity to switch to remote work, caused by the Coronavirus epidemic, forced many companies last year to look for savings related to the rental of office space. Meanwhile, none of the buildings we manage has been completely closed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been functioning as they had done before. Of course, the difference was that in a short time we had to adapt our facilities to the guidelines for the organisation of office work during the pandemic, implement new procedures and invest in new technological solutions to ensure safe working conditions for our tenants. Providing disinfectants, visors and masks for the staff, increasing the frequency of cleaning services, a weekly disinfection of common areas – all this translated into new items in operating costs. In a situation where the tenant does not make full use of its space and expects the building owner to be flexible, cost-wise, a frequent cost-optimisation becomes a priority.

A quick reaction

That is why our managers constantly analyse the market in terms of the quality and the price of the services available, and negotiate better terms with suppliers. As our portfolio of managed properties includes not only office buildings, but also industrial halls, warehouse and commercial facilities as well as residential properties, when ordering services for a larger number of properties, in many cases we can expect preferential conditions. It is also worth noting that we are responsible for our buildings throughout their life cycle – from obtaining financing for the development project, through its implementation, commercialisation and, finally, the management of an existing project. Such an approach allows us to build long-term relationships with companies that provide us with technological solutions and their servicing, which in the long run, also translates into the possibility of negotiating lower rates for the service. In addition, we invest in the development of our team. They possess the appropriate qualifications, which helps us carry out maintenance, repairs or minor repairs ourselves. It makes our buildings cheaper to operate from the very beginning, since we can effectively optimise costs at each stage of their operation. As a result, the service charge rates that we are able to offer are among the most attractive  on the Warsaw office market. This particularly applies to A-class facilities such as Bolero Office POINT I, Bolero Office Point II, Corner House, Park POINT 44, the tenement house at 34 Krakowskie Przedmieście in Lublin, or the Canal+ HQ office building.