Benito Badrinas interview in EjePrime with Gonzalo Checa Astier, founding partner of The Tenant Solution (TTS) and director of Real Estate & Tenant Representation, about the future of the offices.
EJEPRIME: How is the office rental market behaving in Madrid? When do you expect demand to recover?
Gonzalo Checa: As a company that works for users, we see that demand from them is currently somewhat paralyzed due to the lack of visibility of economic activity in the short and medium term. Most of the operations that we have on the table are for the renegotiation of rents, reorganization of the spaces that are used today or sublease of offices… It is clear that demand will recover by the time we are all vaccinated. To give a practical example, we who work in the Azca area see every day how there are bars, restaurants and commerce in general that are 50% of what they did before Covid-19. That is a reality as of today and, therefore, when we are all vaccinated and we do not have that fear of going to the offices, the demand and the economy in general will recover. Then things will go back to the way they were and the way we knew.
“We only represent tenants and nothing more than tenants,” emphasizes Gonzalo Checa to make clear a strategy that seeks to avoid conflicts of interest
EJEPRIME: Are tenants reducing the square footage?
Gonzalo Checa: Yes, of course there are many companies that are reducing space in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, but not only here but in any country in the world. Sublease markets in other countries are already acting very actively and it is because whoever used, for example, 1,000 square meters realizes that now with 750 square meters they can go back to work more or less normally, both now and in a future. In other words, companies now need 25% less space than before the pandemic, and that is why prime rents decrease and availability rates increase.
The co-founder of TTS is committed to a redesign of the workspaces in which the employee feels a greater identification with his company and his colleagues
EJEPRIME: What will the post-Covid offices be like?
Gonzalo Checa: When I talk with my colleagues from the Exis Global association, we come to the conclusion that the offices of the future will be somewhat smaller because a hybrid measure will be reached between working at home and doing it from the office. In internal analysis between us we believe that practically of five working days of the week at least one we will work from home.
EJEPRIME: Will the design of the spaces be different in the post-Covid offices?
Gonzalo Checa: The new ways of working will be more open and we will give more value to what were the places with the greatest relationship, seeking a climate of belonging to the companies where you work. The employee in the office of the future will seek to feel identified with his colleagues and also with the company and, precisely, that is what his employer will try to achieve.
“Companies need 25% less office space”
EJEPRIME: Are there many construction projects stopped waiting for the return to normalcy?
Gonzalo Checa: Right now taking out an office complex or park in cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Lisbon is not easy without first being clear that you will be able to pre-market it with a solvent tenant. And, for this reason, there are projects both for the construction of new construction and for the reconstruction of existing assets that have been stopped. Financing is also much more complicated than before. Now, we also notice that office users, that is, company employees, are eager to return to normalcy, go to the office with their colleagues and share daily topics.
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