What Exactly is the New Way of Work?

Interview with Philipp Stewart, editor “ÖTZ / Local & Economy” and Michael Graf, Managing Director YOUR OFFICE.

Philipp Stewart: Mr. Graf, various studies state that in average Serviced Office Workplaces are more cost efficient than classical offices. If this is so, why then do classical offices still exist?

Michael Graf: Yes, this is really the case. We assume reductions of 10 to 40 percent with respect to traditional working stations. This is perplexing many. The classic client is not used to run full cost comparison. So he may be planning for cost of € 16,–/ for Conventional Office space and is confronted with € 60,– for Serviced Office space. That comes because a number of additional cost for Conventional Offices are not taken into account. These are:
Charges for electricity, water, A/C, daily cleaning and a variety of services which have to be provided directly or by external partners such as facility management, reception/front desk, mail handling, internet, telephone exchange. Maintenance, labour-law and security issues have to be considered as well. Serviced Office Solutions include all these expenses and eliminate surprises like unexpected cost or back pay.

Philipp Stewart: Does that mean that Serviced Offices will dominate the future?

Michael Graf: This may not apply across the board. Classic office models make sense when certain structural conditions are given. This includes industries, where forward planning can be made easily. When it comes to a certain mix of office/storage/production areas classic models may be favorable. But I have seen cases, where even large corporations have rented classic offices just to find out a year later, that due to specific changes 30 percent of the rented space was not required any more. On the basis of a 5 or 10 year rental contract this can become pretty expensive. That is why shorter contract periods and more flexibility are so useful.

Philipp Stewart: At YOUR OFFICE you offer contracts terminable on a daily basis. How can that work?

Michael Graf: In- fact we are the most flexible lessor in Europe. In detail: we are the only lessor offering daily terminable rental contracts, settled aliquot and yet be fixed for an unlimited period. We offer this for five years now. This concept works like an insurance. The rent is slightly higher than for longer contract periods. That is why I consider us being not only a Serviced Office- but also a Flex Office provider.

Philipp Stewart: And what have you experienced so far?

Michael Graf: Our track – record is very positive, so that we made flexibility one of our core competencies. Todays demanding lessees would like to outsource as much as they can but pay only for services actually received. On Demand Services. That requires quite some flexibility, and that is what we offer. Therefore our self-conception has changed quite a bit. We see ourselves not being conventional lessors but rather as modern Business Hotels. Our clients expect a smiling face at the entrance, professional reception services, integrated, completely organized premium offices with all amenities that can be expected at 5 star hotels. Whether this means a serviced lounge, a variety of coffee specialties, concierge services spontaneously taking care of your requests, cleaning services at any time, technical infrastructure, presentation equipment, building services, high speed internet – all that and more is available at our business- and conference centers. Because we service a high amount of corporate customers, we are used to high security and technical support levels. It really is a fully managed location. Our clients can focus on their core business, everything else is taken care of, even fruit baskets and daily newspapers are provided. Furthermore there is full flexibility with respect to charging. This is valid for full office lessees making use of the full services as well as homeworkers using only specific supporting functions or corporate Co-working customers providing maximum flexibility and a perfectly fitting and inspiring work environment for their employees at any time.
At YOUR OFFICE “Value Added Services” today are standard.

Philipp Stewart: But how does this affect your planning- and forecasting as an entrepreneur? How can that work?

Michael Graf: I am glad to say, that fortunately we don´t have to worry. Our sector is enjoying a massive boom for some years now. Spontaneous and unexpected terminations are quite rare and caused by changes in business focus or closedowns.
Our success is based on the quality of our services and the location of our premises. They all offer top traffic connections, both local, national and international and other relevant facts such as basement parking for both, guests and employees, state of the art building technology, etc.
This is an important factor also for our international clients. We always have an eye on the surrounding business when selecting a new location. Neighboring
office hubs may offer synergies to our clients. A good example is the “EURO PLAZA”, where many high tech and IT companies have settled down.
Another one is the “QBC” which has grown into a little financial district, housing banks and insurances. Another stronghold is the pharma industry.
Our clients appreciate this kind of neighborhood.

Philipp Stewart: So YOUR OFFICE does not face higher turnover rates caused by flexible termination terms?

Michael Graf: No, definitely not. The reason is the high quality of our locations, our services, and, of course, of our customers. Adding to this is the fact, that the average number of Flex Office Users has increased over the past years. Whereas Flex Offices in the early days were used by start-ups or spin-offs, many of them have grown with respect to success and required workplaces. Off course we are very glad about that.
In addition the Flex Office Concept has been accepted even by larger established enterprises in the meantime. These appreciate the advantages of fully serviced all-in concepts bringing security to planning and forecasting, flexibility and scalability. Obviously because of that and supported by a good mix of industries of our clients we have not been very vulnerable to crisis so far.
This is valid for the present health- and economic crisis also. Demand for flexible, innovative, comforting and productivity- increasing working place solutions is increasing just because of the instable economic environment.

In our point of view this is the new way of work.