More flex in the city

Small talk
Flex space operator Mindspace is opening its second location in Warsaw, in the Skyliner building. And is targeting a different type of client – the big corporations. As Michał Kwinta, the company's city lead for Poland, explains

Youre now preparing to open your latest Mindspace location in Poland in the Skyliner building in Warsaw.

Michał Kwinta, city lead for Poland, Mindspace: We are on schedule to open on schedule in Q2 this year. It’s true that the interior design work is still ongoing, which is partly because both Mindspace co-founder Dan Zakai and the people at Karimpol responsible for the fit-out are deeply involved in this process and are paying attention to even the tiniest detail. For this reason, for example, we have relocated the printing point – it only turned out once it had been set up that it was too noticeable upon entering the office, so we decided to move it somewhere else. This may seem like a minor point, because the equipment only takes up 1 sqm, but the alteration required us to rearrange half the floor. We will take up three floors in Skyliner, levels 9 to 11, and I can tell you that we’ve planned to put the reception in a rather unusual but very practical place for the user. It’s on the highest floor.

And are you able to tell us how much the pleasure of using your new location will cost us?

The rental cost of course depends on many factors, such as the number of desks rented and the length of the contract; but the entry level fee for a workspace for one person (taking into account all the charges) will start at PLN 2,000 a month, while a dedicated desk will start at PLN 1,500. At the beginning we are also planning other discounts.

So in this location you are mainly targeting corporate clients?

Yes, but this is mainly due to the building’s location and standard. Many large financial, legal and IT firms are headquartered in Skyliner and its surrounding area, and although Mindspace is open to everyone we are mostly expecting large corporations in our new location. Mindspace Koszyki, on the other hand, which was designed to be more intimate and boutique, has companies of different sizes.

Have you got any free space left in Mindspace Koszyki, which is your existing location in Warsaw?

Actually, not really, because when the space becomes free it’s immediately filled by someone else. We had such a situation at Koszyki in the spring. At the end of April, a company of almost 80 employees rather unexpectedly moved out, but by May 4th another had already moved in, so we had a rather busy but rewarding May Day holiday. We are also pleased that our current members are expanding. Last year’s record was one that increased its workforce from 16 to 76 people!

So you have no reasons to complain? What about Mindspaces locations in other countries?

They are having no problems either, because 2022, despite the difficult economic and political situation, was a very successful year from a global perspective. Throughout it, our occupancy was around 96 pct and that was the figure we ended the year with. The remaining 4 pct we’re keeping back for our current tenants. We recorded good results in all of the countries we are active in. Currently, we operate in 40 locations in 20 cities in seven countries.

Youre not worried about the prospect of a recession?

Not much, although the expected economic contraction is going to be a challenge for everyone. The flexible office sector came out unscathed from the pandemic, so it is now stronger. Moreover, I expect that we will benefit from the supply gap that has been forecasted for the office market. Companies looking for offices will simply have no other choice than to use flex space while they are waiting for new supply. Those relocating from Ukraine and Belarus have also become important tenants for us. They, in particular, appreciate the flexibility of our rentals. Everything points to this being a trend that will continue for many years. Ukrainian companies are not going to be able to return to their offices at home for several years after the end of the war and the same is true for those fleeing the impact of economic sanctions from all across Eastern Europe. For them Poland is a natural destination.

What about your own growth plans?

I’d say we are planning with optimism and care. We certainly intend to increase our presence in Warsaw and our next step will definitely be moving into the regional cities.

And how do you intend to stay ahead of the competition?

Along with our extraordinary designer office interiors, which seem more like a cafés than offices, our unique selling point is definitely the quality of our services and our all-inclusive rent. Our members have access to all our services just from making a single monthly payment. And on the subject of pricing, we are not going to get embroiled in the price war that is currently raging on the market. We have a stable pricing policy and we do not compete on prices.

Since you had no rest over last years May holiday, are you now intending to make it up to yourself this year?

Absolutely. I’m definitely not repeating last year’s mistake when I tried to organise a spontaneous break at the last minute and nothing came of it. This year all of my holidays are already planned. The vacation slips have already been accepted and the down-payments made. As for my holiday destination, I can tell you that there will be water. Lots of water.

Interviewer: Tomasz Cudowski