Julien Pillot (INOWAI): The Office Market in Full Transformation 

After a year marked by confinements, the office market is recovering strongly and incorporating many changes. An interview with Julien Pillot Head of INOWAI's Office Agency. 

 

How do you assess the evolution of the office market this year? 

After a fairly calm start, many companies launched their search for new offices in April, for various reasons: to absorb recruitment; develop the “shared desk,” in order to optimize occupancy or decentralize part of their teams to the outskirts of town, especially in Belval. Now companies are studying issues related to ending lockdowns: How to welcome cross-border workers while respecting distancing? How to repatriate consultants who can no longer work for clients? 

"We have tools and teams in Project Management to provide a 360-degree offer and turnkey solutions."

 

What are the current trends? 

They are many! First, safety: building techniques have been improved to meet health challenges with, for example, contactless elevators disinfected by UV lighting or the installation of better air filters. Then well-being with the emergence of certifications such as the Well Label that places the user of offices at the heart of the concerns (and provides, for example, large stairways to encourage movement, CO2 sensors to measure the quality of the air and lighting respecting circadian rhythms for comfort and well-being. I then think of services: instead of bringing work home, why not offer what you can't necessarily find at home: concierge, fitness, relaxation area and outdoor spaces? The Printzipal project includes, for example, a huge garden with furniture and electrical outlets where employees can work outdoors. Now, SMART certificates allow reservation of rooms or connected parking and finally, ESG considerations, with fully removable and recyclable “cradle to cradle” construction or low CO² emissions.  All these trends facilitate a real transformation of working habits with priority given to collaboration in smaller, but more numerous spaces; to shared desks or co-working or even to satellite offices responding to the problems of mobility and flexibility. 

 

How is INOWAI adjusting to these changes? 

From a technological point of view, with lockdown, we have digitized more than 25% of our building stock to facilitate remote visits. In the past, our mission was, above all, to find a site that meets needs in terms of location and services. Today, we support companies and their representatives for whom real estate is not necessarily their specialty. In taking into account new trends, we analyze such priorities as mobility, sustainable development, location or locations, parking, budget, visibility and attractiveness for future employees. The variables are numerous, and we have project management specialists presenting a 360-degree offer and “turnkey” office deliverables. What is certain is that the market is still doing very well, with a vacancy rate of less than 4%. Rents are rising in the city center, at Cloche d'Or, at Kirchberg, at the station and in rapidly changing districts such as Belval and Howald. Investors are also maintaining a very high level of interest, attracted by the stability and quality of the market. This can be explained by the Grand Duchy's non-speculative approach: there are few new projects, most are fully or partially pre-let and demand remains strong.