Offices for diverse needs

Small talk
Marcin Łapiński, the managing director of fit-out specialists Tétris Poland, tells us about how the company has been responding to the changes in office usage since the pandemic as well as the segments it will be focusing on next

Could you tell us something about the recent changes in your company?

Marcin Łapiński, the managing director of Tétris Poland: Tétris can now boast a new management board, which includes Aneta Zembowicz, Hanna Ruszkowska-Świąder and Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono. It manages a team of 130 specialists involved in the development, design and evaluation of commercial space arrangements. Last year, we completed almost 160 projects in the different regions across Poland where our local Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań and Łódź teams operate.

What are your company’s plans for 2024?

We want to concentrate on extending our range of services and leveraging our competitive advantage by building up our Design & Build service, particularly when it comes to Design to Cost. We are also planning to integrate further with JLL in order to expand our service range. What this will mean for our clients is a full range of services from one supplier. We will be focusing on office, PRS and retail projects, supporting our clients in pursuing their strategies – particularly when it comes to ESG goals supported by LEED, BREEAM and Well certification.

What is the current approach of property managers when it comes to fit-outs and office arrangements given the harsh economic conditions and the need to make savings?

Given the rises in the costs of materials and labour over the last few years, it’s clear that the expectations of tenants and landlords when it comes to cutting the costs of office arrangements are often coming into conflict with the market reality. Such a situation has resulted in cost cuts in terms of the materials and equipment used. In some cases this can result in more uncomfortable office conditions and more faults highlighted by employees. Under such circumstances, the best course of action is to entrust the design and construction to a single trusted partner who from the start will avoid an approach that reduces the office use comfort while still keeping within the agreed budget.

What do you think the major trends in office arrangement are going to be in 2024?

Offices at the moment are being designed to accommodate the hybrid work model and this influences how offices are planned out and their size. Employers are now limiting the size of the office space and adapting it to the differing needs of their workers. Neurodiversity has also been growing in importance along with all that it entails. Thus we provide environments for many different groups of workers, such as ensuring acoustic comfort. ESG concerns are also becoming more important, and you can see this in the office finishing, such as in the choice of the materials used. It is becoming more common for circular economy principles to be applied, so that these materials have a low carbon footprint and are produced locally. We are also seeing technology taking on a greater role in how offices are designed and managed. When designing new space, our work is based on current trends as well as the latest data on how employees use their current space, which allows us to employ solutions that improve productivity and that are adapted for a specific organisation. And by monitoring how space is used we can install sensors to control the lighting and reduce the energy consumption. We have also started to use AI in our design work, with such tools as Qbiq and Midjourney.

What are the most important features of the post-pandemic office? What are the most common approaches being used to tempt workers back to them?

These days hybrid work is the norm – but to differing degrees, depending on the sector and the company. Nevertheless, managing employees’ wide-ranging and diverse needs has clearly become a common approach when it comes to tempting employees back to their offices. The key to this is a comprehensive fit-out and a study of employees’ needs, to allow the right solutions to be implemented that are tailored to these groups. At the same time, companies need to modify their office space to meet the requirements of employees who have already experienced the comfort of working at home. What they need is both common and individual working areas as well as quiet zones and rooms. On the other hand, the biggest advantage of working in an office is to create a feeling of belonging and the opportunities for employees to collaborate. Employers can do this by providing common areas that can be used by people when they are working together or for taking a rest.

And what kind of office do you yourself like working in?

The crucial thing for me is comfort and convenience. I think it’s important to have space for both formal meetings and for more relaxed interaction, even when this involves large groups. I like bright open interiors made out of natural materials. Flexibility is also important in terms of how the office space is divided up – and this can be achieved by using movable elements and natural greenery.

Interview: Julia Cudowska