New horizons for office space providers, the myhive office concept community management and development of umbrella brands in the office sector. Christian Traunfellner, Head of Asset Management Office at IMMOFINANZ, talks about these topics in the following interview, which was also published in the most recent Immobilienmagazin special supplement.New ways of working are currently all the rage. How does one react to this trend as an office space provider?
ChristianTraunfellner: “New ways of working” play a significant role especially among tenants looking for new office space. The mere representation of the company is increasingly accompanied by the necessity to provide staff with optimal working conditions. With our expertise, we provide input as early as the planning stage.
Most large tenants often come with their own concept, but in addition we create the perfect combination with the specific office space. In terms of smaller tenants, we frequently act in a supporting role, for example by helping to use office spaces efficiently. All work processes should be assessed individually and then applied to the working environment. The tenant should not have to adapt to the office; rather, the office should be made to suit the tenant.
What were the fundamental considerations when taking a new approach in the office sector?
ChristianTraunfellner: In the past there was room for improvement in our office property portfolio – both in terms of fittings and capacity. Some of the office property had become outdated, which raised the question: Should we just wait for a prospective tenant to show interest before modernising this space? Probably not. Rather, we decided to invest in advance. This then raised further questions: What should we do? How should it look? What is demanded? The answer was myhive.
The interior design, the reception area, and the services in general in various buildings resemble hotel chains more than offices. Is this suggestion deliberate? It was clear to us: Our office brand should represent a friendly atmosphere and an inviting character, just like hotels. We wanted to create office real estate that was already attractive on the outside, which was inviting, with a noticeable welcome desk and welcoming staff. We wanted life in the lobbies, cafes, restaurants, which would really be used, and a communication zone that also had an impact on the outside world. We wanted to avoid the image of the landlord as owner and the tenant as supplicant, but instead to create an atmosphere of partnership. And as the partner of these tenants, we are happy to provide help when it comes to overcoming challenges with space problems within the office and creating a space for employees to which they gladly come and where they are happy to work.
How did the idea come about to implement the hotel theme in an office property?
ChristianTraunfellner: Because hotels are inviting places. You have the opportunity to establish contact with other hotel guests in a relaxed atmosphere. And this brings us to Community Management. If tenants can establish contact with each other, we believe that they feel better. The common infrastructure and the interior are a key element of myhive. This allows us to provide an infrastructure even for smaller tenants, which they cannot find elsewhere, and services that are unique. For example conference areas, event spaces, fitness studios, shops, a choice of restaurants, practical facilities such as a laundry, shoemaker, tailor, bicycle park or a powernap room. All of this provides added value, just like that offered by Apple and Google to their staff, which rightly makes them very popular for their employees. With Community Management we have taken an important step in bringing our tenants’ employees together, and with different events we provide the possibility for exchange and communication.
Do you believe that the concept might attract imitators? Will umbrella brands become a trend in office real estate?
ChristianTraunfellner: Yes, there are already imitators. And that is a good thing, as it proves that myhive works. More and more office lobbies are oriented on this hotel character, i.e. on our concept. However we are the only ones to offer this on a large, international scale, as building owners. We also refine the concept on a daily basis, with the aim of developing it further and improving it together with our tenants. Every day we work on becoming better, and remaining the trendsetter.
How might myhive look in ten years?
ChristianTraunfellner: I hope that we will be even more flexible in ten years’ time and also in a position to offer very small spaces for very short periods, for example for one-person companies. There will then be a balanced mix of large and small tenants. I also believe that we will be much better able to use technology to utilise our buildings much more efficiently.