BI Talks #3 - Tomasz Węglarz | BNM | Back to Office, what's next ?
Hello, my name is Julien Fersing. Welcome back to another episode of BI talks. BI Talks is like a series of podcasts dedicated to the real estate markets with the different actors.
Architect, engineers, real estate professional. We look for this first serie at the current trends of the market. And today we have Tomasz Węglarz the shareholders, and director of sales at Biuro Na Miare. Biuro Na Miarę is a company acting on the territory of Poland. Helping companies find the best office. Today, we will explore mostly,
about the office market in Poland. What is currently trending? What are the new market's opportunities post COVID era, uh, following the pandemic. And we will also look what's the impact of technology in this market. Tomasz, welcome to the show. Hello.
Thanks for having me today. Um, I am very grateful to sit on your beautiful couch after 4 years, when we first met. Right? Exactly. And we leased you this office together. It was like pretty bumpy road for two of us. I remember our tough negotiations with the landlord.
But we managed and now we are here. JF: And here we are. Great. Tomasz firstly Biuro Na Miarę if you could introduce like even the concept.
Cause if, if my Polish is good is a tailor-made office. Yes. Um, maybe if you want to just share a bit also what your role and what's the company right now. First of all, it's really great that you've prepared yourself, that Biuro Na Miarę it really means tailored made offices, um, office.
We find it very clear for us that if you need a proper office, you should pick one, which suits you the best, as a great suit for instance. Biuro Na Miarę was created, developed, set up by the 2 of my closest friends and even family, um, more than 5 years ago, almost 6, 6 will be in December this year, um, by my brother Jerzy Węglarz, and my close friend, Michael Nisengolc. They've met together, they did a small brainstorming and they put it in life. After a few months we had, um, I was invited for this project and we found a middle ground and we started, um, at March, 2016. Yes. March, 2016 I joined Biuro Na Miarę and it all started.
We started from scratch, so we had nothing. Zero commercial buildings, zero people, zero clients, only a great idea Yeah. and minds ful of ideas and potential, which was only in 3 of us when it all started. After first year we were pretty well known around Warsaw. After three years, we set up another company under the Biuro Na Miarę flag, which was, which is still dealing in sector of leasing offices for every size of the company around Warsaw.
So, I mean all the major original cities. And we are doing pretty well on this moment because we are available you can find us like living people in those cities, for instance, Tricity, Wroclaw, Krakow, Rzeszow, Lublin you can meet our brokers there and you will get the same service as you can get here in Warsaw. You have probably seen a lot of offices during those 5 years. yes together Any office, which mark you personally, what, what's the most beautiful place that you have been, the most beautiful office to you personally? This is really tough one because after all of those years I saw plenty of offices and now I would like put it into categories. First of all, I love skyline view. So every office above 20, 30 floor makes me like very sensitive and I got goose skin as well.
So skyline view and city view, and even if you see all the things as on forest mountains or sea view closer to in Tricity, it's really cool. So each office, top floor. The last month I visited, thirtyfith floor in Rondo ONZ, Rondo 1 beautiful view, full panoramic, PKiN Pałac Kultury i Nauki, Złota 44, Interconti..
You see like people, cars are like small ants, but it's really drives me to be in more and more office buildings on higher levels. Then the second category I would say of the beautiful offices, those are plant friendly offices such as your office, because I prefer offices where, where I come to feel like at my own home I am a plant lover, I am a biophilic type of guy, so, I completely admire office where I see plants and variety of them. So more exotical, more beautiful for me.
This is my approach. And the third category is office built by people. But built by people I mean more, the atmosphere inside the office, because the managers, the directors, the people around there, they are bringing the energy to the office, their ideas, their potential, their sophistication, or even sometimes bad mood. It all gives a rainbow of, I don't know of the success, I suppose, because of, at the end of the rainbow, there is always some kind of stash of treasure. Uh, so it same goes to the office.
The treasure is in the potential of people and they are building offices. So they, the offices should be made for workers to extend their potentials. And I am more a fan of, you know, building our team, having great people around me, rather than super, super, super fancy office. Okay. So a potential perfect place for you would be to build a jingle on top of Burj Khalifaa TW: whoaaa JF: with your team, yes. 35th floor at Rondo 1 with like plants in every corner.
would be perfect, but if I should pick one, I would pick your office and I am telling you why. Because maybe you are not top floor office, because we are at first floor. Um, but in a pretty great location though. Three minutes walking distance
to a Metro Świętokrzyska, so we can say it's strickt city center, heart of the city. Uh, we have plants in every corner, so 2 of... and you have great team because we are cooperating, collaborating together with Dominika, Dominika is a great person Kamila, you, your entire team, Martyna... like you are building this office with
a potential of people with plants, with location, sophistication design like when I compare this office at the beginning, when we came here, it was almost ready to move in..like, or it was ready to move in in my opinion, but in your very sophisticated opinion, it wasn't, because it didn't have this Swiss touch of prestige and of the, you know, design approach. In the process like also that's... when making those offices,
yes during those 5 years of, of developments, there is also new tech, which arrived on the market and I wonder if you have already worked with BIM technology, which is like For example something that we use at SWISSROC Building Intelligence. Have you already used BIM in the space planning and what would be the impact if you have seen some project like that? Oh, yes. Um, when I when we've met two years ago before pandemic like Corona virus, you showed me BIMx, right when you were designing your office with those small touches with your, with the furniture, et cetera. When I first saw space plan, and then you like 2d space plan, and then you showed me 3d model, just with one click, it transformed in one click. I was like, shocked.
And this was the, the time, the situation which shows me, yes, this is the approach that Biuro Na Miarę needs to have as well We need to be high-tech company in real estate sector and provide our customers with high tech solutions. So answering your question, yes, I am dealing with BIM, almost every week or almost almost every few days because we collaborate and you are showing us the solutions that are perfectly suited matched to the needs of our clients. And I don't need to tell you how big added value this is, and we as Biuro Na Miarę want to have it as our standard for every client, above some level, because you will not do magic around 30 or 50 square meters because it's only one room, but you can plan it very wisely with the furniture of course, it's more a job of furniture company, for instance. But if you have 1000, even 700 square meters where the departments of each company should collaborate.
You need to like, even, you know, do the IT cabling to see how the building looks like from the skeleton point of view, like how, what is the fundament of the building? And this should be also a standard on this moment for every single new investment coming on the real, like commercial real estate market, not even commercial, if you are developing an residential building with 300 apartments, you like, there is no go to you know, put everything on the paper and not having it in a digital way. You are a company, which is like, like your name is saying yes, a tailor made. I'm wondering, what do you think about algorithmic design? Cause once you came to me and said, Julian, look, this algorithm is making space planning alone. And I was like, what? And then we just explored that.
but I'm curious like between tailor made and automation and algorithmic design what's, what's your take? What's the sweet spot between those two. First of all, automatizing, automatization of space plans should happen right now because currently on the market, there are like some trial versions. There are some international tools that you can use, but they are not completely compatible with Polish regulations. This is the weak spot of automatization because filling up like making those all algorithm for one building will probably, will not go or work in another building.
So automatizing this entire group of a project will be very hard or maybe it's already on the market. And I don't know about it. So like minus for me, let's say, but if somebody would give me this kind of tool I will use, I would use it every day because we see that the only weak spot between automatization and let's say work force people work force, in preparing space plan is time. This is the main weak spot. We are overloaded with work.
Architects are overloaded. They are, they have too many projects and they are making mistakes. But on the other hand, if you have so many Polish regulations for a first floor and 3Oth floor, there should be different regulations and you should like maybe just by putting basic information, you would be, you would be sure that it will be prepared due to the client's needs. But what if not, what if the machine will also fail and prepare something completely out of somebodies mind that why this department's at the end of the floor plan, as it should be adjust nearby the entrance. Right.
So too many details to put as an information for the machine to, to not make a mistake while processing the idea. You mentioned also that the architects, the different stakeholders of the project are fully loaded right now of projects. Yes.
So, is it because of the pandemic? What was the impact of the COVID-19 on on the market in Poland? More square meters on the market, more work for architects, for sure. Right This is the first thing. Second of all after Corona Virus it all changed in a way that tenants started to rethink their offices. Uh, it means at one hand the size of their offices and the, um, let's say useful aspect. So what we can squeeze from the size and the even accessibility for our, uh, for our employees. How we can connect or separate
open spaces, how we can make the conference room as video conference room, how we can split conference room by half and make a 2 smaller because we are more digitalized right now we do more video conferences rather than a traditional meetings, how we can rethink our kitchens, how we can move people around offices. Even the, now there are even apps that are showing you the road of the employee, if you, if he wants to use the conference room and in what direction he needs to go when he ends up his meeting. So imagine you are ending a pretty important video conference with the president of the board and while, like exiting the conference room, you get, you got a lot of alert - now turn left not right You are in, you are going in the bad direction. That sounds like we are robots, because it doesn't seem as positive to me, like to have something like that.
We'll see in 3 years, how the vaccination will work. But no, of course I am, I'm just joking. Um, yes, it all comes to the point that we are using more and more technology in our, on our daily basis. Um, because that's a fact.
But if I would like, of course, while having 3000 square meters with, 7 open spaces, 25smaller, smaller cabinets, or, 10 conference rooms, it will, it may be useful for, for people to have a map or how to, you know, travel, um, inside your office. You can use as well, like food delivery to the office because while the restaurants were closed, people had only one solution, food delivery to the office. And when I spoke with some of the fit out companies, they even had a, have an idea to make from the office space, a restaurant to, to have a place to meet with your clients. So there, they were like reorganizing space, destroying walls, opening kitchens, putting few more tables and organizing on the restaurant space for internal meetings with clients during the pandemic. It didn't work. At all? Fear. Yeah, it was like, it was one case I heard didn't work.
Okay. How about healty aspect also of our office and also the energetical aspects with all the different labels, which exists on the markets LEED, BREEAM, WELL... what, what was the impact on the markets during the pandemic? Is it a big reset? Because it's, it sounds like when I hear you, that we just took a white paper and starting to replant rethink offices.
When you said it out loud yeah I think it was a rest reset. Landlords did a great, amazing job during the pandemic time. They invested hundreds thousands of PLNs or probably even millions for new investments is for sure millions because like of course, hygienic gels, which I hate, but of course I am using them.
Those virus proof the shields, shields yeah. glass or plastic, ultraviolet lamps, killing viruses inside the ventilation systems. Um, yeah.
Um, touch free elevator opening, terminal control, antivirus filters for ventilation systems... It costs like enormous money and they needed to invest it from the, from their, yearly budgets, which were like, even covered for, let's say snow plumbing or for I don't know, the facade cleaning... They needed to invest lots of money. Thank God that the public regulations, the civil regulations only were focusing mostly on the shopping mall tenants, no office tenants, because landlords provided everything for the employees of the companies to use the office spaces safely. And that's a fact. Companies spent also like bags of dollars for the safety of their workers to invite them, to re-invite them after reset to the offices. And we are still in process of the invitation. Response s'il vous plait, dear employee.
And he's not replying from, let's say beginning of this year. Landlords, great job for the last one and a half year. Yeah Big congrats. Invested millions. I think it will be consumed by, by the tenants in next months, because few of my colleagues from your real estate sector tell us that the big wave of employees coming back to the office will be around September and October this year. That we will see a big amount of people coming back to
the offices. You mentioned that people are coming back to the offices. What is the future of the office? Uh, because a lot of company tried this remote work, not only home office, but this remote work.
What is the office in 5 years time ? How we look like our offices? Um, more offices. Good news. Good news.
More offices will come for sure. Um, hybrid type of work will be... it's not a, it's not an, a big news because when I speak with my other clients or with other companies, they were using this kind of solution for last 10 years. So you don't need to spend entire 8 hours or 10 hours, or how many hours you like in the office.
Um, you can also use your own home space, but if you have like convenience space to work from your Apartment for instance, or from your house. That is the main question because hybrid type of work works for everybody. It just all comes, comes to the point. If I am more an office type of guy or I am more a house type of guy. And to be honest, I am not afraid of the future of the offices at all, because the office is a sanctuary of information.
It's a sanctuary where, where the people talk, flirt, socialise, eat together. They are like children in the kindergarten, but I grow, grown up for sure, but they are still developing their soft skills, while only spending time in home and staying digitalized, staying in the internet for entire day, they lose their personality. Um, and if you want to explore your potential, you need to be on like a social animal and coming to the office, spending time with your colleagues, exchanging thoughts, ideas, political, religious, everything gives you you a lot of knowledge and experience. So answering, not afraid at all about the future of the office. They are very healthy because lots of the tenants, of course, they cut some spaces by some square meters. In the, those hardcore situations
They even quit the offices. And I mean from 1500 square meters to zero to moving everybody to home office, up to the, to reduce, to reduction around 50, uh, 30% of the square meters. So, and it will be filled by any other company that is growing because those for instance, international companies that are coming to Poland, they're setting up and they need office. Uh, public institutions they're are moving from all their buildings to our new or newer buildings. So they are also absorbing. Smaller SMEs for instance, they are staying in tenement houses or in old houses.
And I see a trend because I spoke a lot recently with my other colleagues from residential sector that they see that the landlords they're kicking out companies and they are coming back to the residential, uh, residential lease. So that is also small step of change, a wave of tenants that can also come to the market and they will absorb commercial office space because you, you can be a freelancer, a single free freelancer who needs on sophisticated prestigious office space for one person and you will find it in an office skyscraper for instance, and you can be a 300 employee strong international branch, and you will also find an office space in every city in Poland. JF: So huge diversity TW: Yes, yes. JF: Right now, which was maybe not the case in the past and this kind of model allowed to have an office for everybody because usually office were more for an established company, a single person, as you mentioned, didn't have an office, but right now with all these co-working and so on.
Yes, yes, yes. Glad you mentioned it because for the last 20 years, commercial market changed dramatically. We changed the currency because before we had dollars, we were leasing office spaces in dollar.
Then we transformed to euros because moved on most of the credit, like, uh, the funding comes from banks and the fundings come, came with euro. Um, and the rentals are also mostly in euro, but there are also some, still some, private owners that still lease in PLNs. So yes every type of the company can now rent on proper office space in commercial sector and by commercial sector I mean, class A buildings, B C, whatever you classify it, them in old tenement office buildings. But they are mostly renovated in a big mixed use complex as well. You can rent, you can buy commercial space and you can work, due to the BHP regulations or safety regulations.
There is also a lots of international companies, which are coming to the Polish market. What, what is attracting them? 2 things... people - work force. We are still cheaper than the same specialists in all the country, for sure. And, but on the other hand, we are very, very well qualified. We have like hell of a specialist in every sector.
There are like, I would say 10% in each sector those are talents, we love talents. and for 50, 60% are good specialists and they are worth of the mind that we are paying them. And the rest are still, aware and you can pick them as your employee and they will do a proper job. So workforce in Poland is well-qualified and the second of all... rents. Hmm We have maybe okay 30 euros There are rents right now in the top skyscrapers in Warsaw. 25 yes, of course regular, but high still for most of the Polish companies.
high But sometimes even if you have a small square meter size of the office, for instance, 300, you can afford 25 euros because it's worth it. It's your business card, office sometimes as for you ask for your company, it has also the advantage of being a business card because 50% of those offices around there don't have this, this opportunity. Because companies don't have such an funds to pay a 25 euros for the square meter of their office space. So they prefer to stay low, low profile, but still in a high quality. Landlords are giving incentives, fit out
contributions, fee periods. they are investing millions, hundreds of thousands to to attract Tenants to lease office space in their buildings. And that's, this is a solution for all of the SMEs around Poland.
We are collaborating together with one of our clients from, from the financial, investment sector. They are the using service office right now for around 20,000 per month. And we found them 200 square meters for 15 people, large company for the same amount, but they can feel much more working stations in the conventional office space.
And now they needed to make, let's say level up because they need a business card and if you need a business card, You are not choosing service officer or coworking space because you are a part of society. That can work at the very beginning if you are setting up. But if you need the individuality and if you need to have a satellite in Poland here, you are using the conventional office space. So that's why international company have have their eyes on Poland, because we are still, uh we have lower rents than for instance, in other cities in Europe, UK, for instance, um, Germany, France or Italy.
And currently in Warsaw, if, if my research are correct, there are almost like 800,000 square meter, of office under construction. What is the type of office that is currently on construction? We need to be aware of that.. Um, I categorize offices on 2 groups, in 2 groups. First group is conventional office space and we have plenty of it around Warsaw and we have the second category.
Those are all inclusive offices, we call it biura all-inclusive because in this, I mean, service office, coworking space, flexible space, however you will call it, you'll get one invoice and you have everything included in the, in the rent price, but, I categorize those kinds of offices. So from the smaller, smaller aspect, so service office or, uh, all-inclusive offices. There are, let's say 20% part of the entire building and they need an operator.
And now operator can, like, he has few, few scenarios that can feel. He can rent, He can manage, And he can, and he can find a franchiser so that this, this sector is also evolving because, um, the operators see that it's not the perfect, they think Uh, like it's not a perfect financial solution as they thought 3 or 4 years ago before the pandemic. But the service office operators were A big winner because there they are giving you a flexible solution.
You can grow. You can, you can shrink, you can, end up your lease in 6 months. Not in 3 years and 2 million penalty, uh, in conventional office space or even higher. Um, and they were pre, they did a great job, I think from the commercialized point of view, they fill up some space.
They lost some of the clients, but mostly they were, they were okay. What goes for the, for the landlords, office landlords... They, the tenants didn't had this big field of movement because they have closed contracts. If you signed for 5 years, lease, you stay 5 years. If you will cancel the contract, you will get a penalty that will kill your, kill your ass for sure. Um, On the other hand, mostly Yes under construction there are high-end offices mostly right now, but what we can see as well, there are some mixed-use projects which are very, which are very sexy right now, very hot for instance, Cavatina Katowice, Echo Investment, they have, they have plenty of mixed-uses right now, going on.. They are planning Towarowa
Moje Miejsce in Mokotów. So, this kind of mixed use would be sexy for, for next years for a few next years, and high-end skyscrapers everywhere where you can find ground and and the prices of ground, not only commercial grounds, but even those recre, recreational, closer to Mazury, Bory Tucholskie or everywhere else, where there is a small lake or, or water. The prices are enormous, they raised hundreds of percent right now. So if you have a ground, you build everything which brings profits. And now everything brings profits. I would like to ask you also a bit more, the tech side of your work.
What's hot in tech right now for you in your market? 3d space planning first time you showed me that, I am horny as hell on this, on this topic, I would say. The faces of clients, when they see when the transformation of a 2D space plan to 3d, deal done.. I see the faces and we, now they can imagine how their office can look like. Because if you are dealing with shell and core office on 30, 30 floor, or even on the second floor, and there is only concrete, concrete, glass, some kind of cable link, where do you see those glass walls or carpets or great audiovisuals systems that will be in next six months.
You, you just, you are buying a concrete or no you are buying opportunity of having this kind of offices. And now you need to trust landlord, broker, architect, fit out company, furniture company, that they will provide you with the great service. And what helps us in to, you know, to make this chain locked is the tech mostly, because video conferences it saves time. Not driving between for, let's say small priority meetings. You are not riding 30 minutes one way, 30 minutes backwards or one hour, because there are rush hours.
Um, you are saving time. So you can move this time to another client, your, your focus. Uh, so video conferences, space, 3D space planning. We are using, uh HTMLs, so our offers, we are... in different way.
If we want to send a proposal to our clients, we use like internal CRM. But they are generating us a link, like interactively not PDF, and we are sending it, sending it to the client where he can easily find a map of what he got, contact details. Uh, you know, he sees the people, the person who is who is dealing with their transactions or process, and he can find detailed information about every office that he wanted to see, or we are proposing him with possibility of scrolling the pictures in real time. Of course, it's a mobile friendly, web friendly, Mac friendly, whatever, iPad, tablets, et cetera. How about the VR aspect? Because you mentioned about all this I see this online interactivity and so on allowing the people to have linked interaction with you. But what about virtual visits? Um, and also the full immersion with VR.
I was thinking about this aspect to be honest, like one year ago, no, one and a half. Um, City Space had this virtual tour of their office at Betowena and I was using it to see how the other phases will look like. Yeah. And I thought then, okay, it's useful tool. If you cannot visit the office then the pandemic time came in, kicks in.
Um, we did, I don't know, two, three virtual tours. Two, three, no deals. Okay. So from this office point of view, using VR, it can help to get an understanding of an office, but I remind you that leasing 500 square meters is an long-term obligation is on big security payment, is on big penalty. So.
Question is if I want to trust virtual reality to lease an office, or I will go there and see by myself, touch it. As I'd say St. Thomas. First, he needs to touch and then he knows. Yeah.
And the same goes for other people. They will not make any obligations, if they will not be 100% sure that this is exactly what they will get. So in my personal opinion, VR doesn't work. Okay. On this moment. What goes for the new investments
If they are like shell and core and we have a hole in the ground. Yes, of course, but not for existing projects. If you can see everything you can touch, you can see the view from the 25th floor.
You can see that. Check that talk to this one. And, I don't know to measure that. But what goes to the, for the new investments Yes, I am very optimistic because we, I had an opportunity to collaborate with one VR company who showed me a new investment product in Wroclaw. And it looked really nice. The quality of this, of this VR, VR adventure was amazing.
Uh, I would say game amazing And the feeling that you could get while visiting it was also pretty, pretty nice. I would have to ask you a last question Tomasz. What's the biggest innovation that you've seen in your industry during your career? What is the biggest breakthrough that you have seen? Whoa, big breakthrough... I would say high-tech office buildings. Like Warsaw Spire,
Warsaw HUB they look like not from this world. You feel like in cosmos capsule. And the, do you know the quality of those offices the, you know, how it's, how it's connected with... every material is connected with each other.
And, it is connected as well with the user experience because, if you can travel on 30 something floor in few seconds, this is really amazing because I can still remember the elevator Where, where at the fifth floor you were driving one minute or more. High-tech office buildings. Um, comparing to what was built in 2005 or 2010. It's only 10 years. And it changed a lot.
Really the, those commercial or even shopping malls. Um, yeah. So commercial real estate in last 10 years changed, I would say dramatically.
And I am really happy that we have those kind of high-end solutions now because it shows that Poland and Polish company and Polish developers and Polish architects, they are doing amazing job. There are like hell of a specialist, and I am proud to be a Polish man, to be honest. Great. Yeah, we are kicking the quality of Switzerland. Finally, I find it like the best conclusion to close this podcast. Tomasz thank you very much for, for your time.
This close the third episodes of our podcast BI talks. We have explored a lots of different topics today regarding to the commercial and office space in Poland. A lot of diversity as we can hear a big impact also of the pandemic on having a big reset of the market and how an office space should look like. Thank you very much for watching. If you have any thoughts about what would be your ideal office or what is the office of the future, in your opinion, please share with us your thoughts. Until next time. Thank you very much. Merci.