Extremely low unemployment leads to a transition to a knowledge-based economy. The unemployment rate currently stands at 3.7% in CEE, compared to the EU average of 7.2%. Domestic companies are changing significantly and will emerge as important players in their respective office markets. Family companies, established in the late 1980s and early 1990s after the introduction of market-based economies, are beginning to undergo succession processes for the first time. This is leading to business transformations, such as consolidation, faster foreign expansion, increased investments in technology and better management techniques. The monumental shift in CEE is the opening to immigration. After accession to the EU, CEE countries experienced a big outflow of workers, which searched for a better life in Western Europe. Now the trend reversed.
Although the office market is subject to the above mentioned trends, it is also responding to specific tenant needs. The corporate world needs more flexibility in project management so the office market offers new opportunities such as co-working and other flexible forms of renting. Employers need to put more effort into finding experienced staff, so office developers provide them with modern facilities and amenities to attract workers in an increasingly competitive job market. Modern offices blend in with new urban architecture to ensure the well-being of both employees and local residents. By and large, the office has become much more than an asset – it has become an integral part of a changing economy and society.
The latest trend is the spread of technology in the office market. Across the entire CEE region there is still a huge gap between growing expectations and the availability of real prop-tech solutions in office buildings, particularly those related to user experience. Only a handful of developers have created building access applications; most of the innovations are introduced by the tenants themselves. CEE is set to undergo a technological revolution in the region's office market. Together with other trends analyzed in the “CEE Investment Report”, it will help to sustain the dynamism of the region.