On 15 September 2021, Portfolio organised the “Property Investment Forum” conference in Budapest. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the 2021 Real Estate Summit was on the post-pandemic office market. The panel discussion was also attended by Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, CEO of B+N.
Well-known experts in the industry discussed, among other things, whether the personal space of employees is likely to increase, how an old property can compete with a new one and what adaptations will be required by tenants.
According to B+N CEO Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, one of the most important problems in the industry is still the labour shortage in facilities management. It is extremely difficult to compete with Western European wages in this area. It is also a regrettable fact that Hungary has the lowest wage levels among the countries of the region.
B+N FORWARD-LOOKING EXPERIENCE: OFFICE TENANTS EXPECT HIGHER QUALITY HYGIENE
A positive development in the past year, he says, is that office tenants expect higher quality hygiene from service providers, partly as a result of the pandemic. In addition, companies are significantly increasing the average 12-14 square metres of space per employee in their offices. This is because employees need more space.
WORKING FROM HOME “OBVIOUSLY” DOES NOT WORK IN FACILITY MANAGEMENT
Regarding the issue of home office, non-home office and hybrid working, Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi pointed out that in the field of facility management, working from home “obviously” does not work. Cleaning, operation and renovation cannot be done from home. In his view, in the long term, the vast majority of companies need an office presence. He emphasized that the housing conditions in urban areas in his country do not make permanent home office schemes ideal either.
B+N’S PRESENT AND FUTURE: WE ARE MEASURING AND COLLECTING MORE AND MORE DATA FROM WHICH WE OBTAIN A WIDE RANGE OF INFORMATION
One of the main trends for the near future is that facility managers are “taking very good care” of their employees. As he said, “one factor in this is that we are measuring more and more things. We are collecting data and from that we are providing a wide range of information, for example on air composition. This is true for the office market, but also for public transport and airports.
B+N carries out cleaning and disinfection in many hospitals in Budapest and in the countryside. The elimination of the risk of infection in healthcare institutions is and will continue to be the most topical challenge. This need and expectation for a healthy environment will spill over into the office market”, said Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi at the Property Investment Forum.