New definition of ‘the office’ required says Germany’s ZIA

New workplace regulations are needed to meet the changing demand for offices and the new hybrid requirements according to Dr Andreas Mattner, president of Germany’s property federation, the ZIA.

Dr Andreas Mattner

“Now that the way we work has fundamentally changed due to home offices, the places of work must also change,” Mattner said.

“Making it easier to work from home and redesigning offices are two sides of the same coin – namely a future-oriented regulatory framework for the working world of tomorrow.”

The ZIA said in a statement that it is looking to the federal government to update requirements. Many are currently out of date such as the need for standardised distances for filing cabinets which it pointed out are becoming increasingly irrelevant as clean desk and paperless cultures have now become prevalent.

Mattner also warned against a narrow understanding of “the workplace” and he said that the real estate industry sees the precise definition of an office workplace as an important climate policy lever.

“Low occupancy rates at workstations where desk sharing is not used, are not sustainable because these spaces have to be built, equipped, operated, heated and cleaned unnecessarily.”

The ZIA said it will support a review of the technical rules for workplaces.

Office is still the largest commercial building class in Germany and the value of office properties in domestic funds is €95 billion. Office investment slowed in the first half of 2023 as a result of high interest rates, dramatically rising construction costs, the cooling economy and increasingly strict regulations. Their relaxation is expected in the coming year and Mattner stated that: “The office will remain a cornerstone of innovation-based value creation in Germany in the future.”