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Interviews

MyRent all-in-one solution - software that can be used to run a complete business

We spoke to Davor, from MyRent. Read what he told us briefly about their platform and what solutions they offer!

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Ivan Mihaljević, Cushman & Wakefield / CBS International: Trends and the future of the office space market

In this issue of our regular interviews, we spoke with Ivan Mihaljević from CBS International, which has been present in our market since 2018 as part of the global Cushman & Wakefield Group, a commercial real estate market leader with more than 50,000 employees in 70 countries worldwide.

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Challenges can only be overcome with quality ideas and solutions

Sobočan d.o.o. is a family company from Mursko Središće with 20 years of experience and one of the leading manufacturers of furniture and equipment of high value products in Europe. With the synergy of production capacities in Murski Središće and Sobočan dizajn studio in Zagreb, it offers its clients a complete turnkey service - from design and engineering, drafting to production and installation of furniture and related equipment on the building. The added value of Sobočan design studio is that after the interior design and product design, the project is upgraded by the work of our development team and production, which is completely under one roof. They are guided by the motto: everything works! The company was founded with 5 employees in the family yard, and today Sobočan has more than 190 employees and hundreds of completed projects and many satisfied customers and partners around the world. We generate more than half of our annual revenues in export markets as an authorized partner of world-renowned brands, mostly in the German-speaking area; in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and other countries of the Western European market. In a conversation with Mr. Dean, CEO of Sobočan, we talked about the challenges that await us in the post-pandemic period! Your review of the corona crisis and its impact on certain changes in furniture design? I’m not saying anything new when I emphasize that COVID19 has changed a lot of that, from our daily functioning all the way to the way we do business, the habits we had, which of course had an effect on furniture design as well. Design studios had the challenge to quickly adapt to new market needs, to be extra creative in solutions as well as to create a product that would give customers added value at a time when every new day was uncertain. These were also the motives of our design team who, I believe, quite successfully, adapted to the new normal and created a product that met all the requirements of modern business. Of course it is our brand movo, which we are extremely proud of. We see that you have launched a new product this year (I mean the language), is this your response to labor market trends? More and more people are working from home? With the changes brought about by the corona crisis, we wanted to harness the potential of our team of designers and show that we are a company ready to respond to any challenge. movo was born as an idea at the beginning of the first lockdown last year, and it took our designers only a couple of months to make the design, in cooperation with the engineering team and production prototypes were created, performed the necessary tests, obtained certificates.In early September 2020 movo at Zagreb Design Week. In the months that followed, prestigious awards in furniture design and innovation began to arrive, such as: German innovation award 2021; Iconic awards for innovative interial design 2021, BIGSEE wood design award 2021, etc. Given that people are increasingly used to working outside the office, in their homes, I believe we have a product that solves all their challenges when they need to work from home. How do you comment on new trends in the labor market and new concepts of office space? Will it come to life or is it only temporary until the situation with the Covida-19 pandemic stabilizes? We are witnessing the evolution of office concepts. Old concepts of office business were already in decline with generational changes in employee habits, productivity on the one hand and the balance of private and work is a topic that has been current for years, and I think the situation with Covid-19 is only accelerated the changes that were desperately needed. It will be interesting to follow the development of the situation, but what is certain is that new models are waiting for us, somewhere more, somewhere less, I mean industries. Our experience with language placement confirms this with each passing day. Your plans for 2022? In general, the focus is on raising the quality of services and products through business optimization, taking into account sustainability and environmental impact. More specifically, in the first quarter of next year, the installation of a solar power plant with a nominal power of 500 kw will be completed, which will significantly reduce gas consumption. We continue to procure raw materials exclusively from verified sources and our products have FCS certificates. At the moment, we are waiting for a wire processing plant, which we ordered in the USA, a machine that will give us new possibilities in wire processing, while consuming less energy than the machines it will replace. Of course, we continue with the further education of employees, the continuation of the started digital transformation of the company, which will ultimately result in the creation of a modern industrial business concept, Industry 4.0. We are very much looking forward to the years ahead because they also bring the development of the movo brand, the placement of a new product whose development we are working on, the acquisition of new clients in the domestic and foreign markets and much more.

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Soon we won't be the smartest in our own office - SMART OFFICE technology?

Two brothers who entered entrepreneurial waters together. Read what they told us!

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grabAhome - Croatian startup ready for big things!

We spoke with Frank Sočan, co-founder of grabAhome platform, read what he told us.

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How will technology affect the development of the real estate market? Read a great interview with Marko Pavlović, CEO of Flow and Form agency

1. Tell us a bit more about your startup, what exactly do you do? Flow and Form is a digital agency specializing in the development of applications, which help property owners and operators to improve the way they manage and experience the use of their buildings and other facilities. We started operations in 2017, and during that period we helped several technology companies around the world to market their proptech products. With our clients, we have found a lot of success in developing desktop booking applications and analyzing workspace utilization in organizations like Amazon and Netflix. The company currently has 20 employees with its main office in Zagreb, and in the future we plan to publicly present our own products for commercial and residential buildings. 2. Looking globally, PropTech experienced a real boom during the pandemic. Some new apps have appeared. Do you believe this trend will continue after the pandemic? Proptech is definitely on the rise looking at the growth of private equity in proptech companies and the number of start-ups looking to enter the market. The pandemic has prompted many space owners and operators to think about the new needs of their tenants, especially in the office space. But these needs existed even before the pandemic, and this pandemic only accelerated the process of what I think would happen anyway. I think that this trend will certainly continue after the pandemic because the way we work and live is changing, so the physical space in which we live will take on new meaning and new functionalities. 3. Your review of the real estate sector in the Republic of Croatia? In 2020, one of the largest coworking offices in this part of Europe opened in Zagreb. How can PropTech tools help improve coworking business development services? The residential real estate market in the Republic of Croatia remains very dynamic because even in the pandemic we saw an increase in prices, a drop in interest rates on housing loans, and several interesting projects such as VMD Park Kneževa with over 120 new apartments. While the quality of housing is taking on a new meaning, the need for quality housing is growing in the west, and I think that the same trend will continue in the Republic of Croatia with a slight delay. Although the pandemic affected the business real estate market the most, the price did not vary much depending on the location, and the plans of larger organizations in Zagreb have changed, so we could see more new business and coworking space projects. I am extremely glad that we now have a large and beautiful coworking space in Zagreb that offers a new model of flexibility to individuals, workers and companies. Coworking spaces attach a lot of importance to the user experience within the space, and we are already convinced that technology can drastically improve the user experience. Therefore, I believe there are two main ways that technology can help: 1. Improving usability and space occupancy. 2. Improving the user experience of the space. The solutions we saw as a successful move of coworking space in the world were the implementation of an application for booking workspace such as tables, conferences and other rooms where users can book and pay for their space in real time through the application. A useful addition to this is the installation of sensors to monitor the usability of the space in real time because this way we can automate the reservation and cancellation of table reservations, and also provide information to owners on how the space is used, which days and which places are most represented. Such applications also offer the ability to find people of interest in the space, a channel for communication with customers, ordering and charging for additional services and many other features that improve the user experience and help owners make better decisions. 4. Do you believe that new concepts of work and new concepts of business will lead to changes in renting business premises? Definitely! Business spaces take on different meanings and people create different expectations than just space. I think that the view of business space is changing in the direction of providing quality service in addition to space, where before only the location and the space itself were important. Expectations from business space owners will be significantly higher, as an example, several business space owners in the U.S. have already provided a private daycare for the children of space employees to improve their service. In other examples, the concept of the promotional space has completely changed, so that CloudKitchen allows small restaurants to rent a kitchen intended for delivery cheaply and quickly. This changes the dynamics of rental periods and contracts that were previously fixed at a minimum of 5 or 10 years, while we already see a lot of flexibility requirements where contracts are defined for shorter periods such as a couple of months or a year. I believe that for this reason, the monthly payment or “subscription” billing model will gain popularity in the future. 5. Future trends? How will technology affect the development of the real estate market? What are the positive aspects of these changes? In the future, we will change some of the oldest tools and concepts related to real estate, this will include changing everything from using physical keys to the way we buy and pay for the use of space. What exactly will it look like in the end? I don’t know, but what I do know is that physical objects (in this case real estate) will adapt to the fact that we all now have technology in our pockets, and will allow us complete control and a different experience of the space we live and work in. Houses, buildings, business and housing will be smarter, and the race to build such spaces has just begun, all over the world. I believe the real estate industry has made the world’s largest contribution to the climate crisis. Real estate is the largest asset class in the world and one of the largest sectors of the global economy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that the sector consumes about 40% of the world’s energy, emits 30% of all greenhouse gases and consumes 40% of all raw materials. Given this reality, as the global community harmonizes culturally, economically, and politically around tackling climate change, real estate is likely to take center stage. I believe that the people who manage global real estate assets - valued at around $ 50 trillion - are therefore one of the most important decision-making groups in the world that will be part of this urgent conversation. I am pleased that investment in real estate decarbonisation has quadrupled this year, that major decarbonisation decisions have been made in the US, Europe and other countries on a political and economic level, and I look forward to seeing results in the future. I believe that we all have a responsibility, and especially those of us who are in the technology sector - where we are laying the foundations for the future of real estate, we need to think about what kind of world we will leave behind. Therefore, I believe that new trends and a new “mindset” in the real estate industry will make a positive, “green” impact on the world around us.

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We spoke with architect Ana Miše, read what she told us about the importance of the psychology of space on employee creativity!

Can you tell us more about you and your projects that you had the opportunity to work on? I am Ana Miše, a graduate engineer of architecture. I work in my own architectural office MISHE (www.mishe.hr) and I deal with the backbone of architecture - design. Working on various projects and typologies (educational, sports and health institutions, hotels and rental houses, family houses and apartment buildings…) I come into close contact with interior design and have been dealing with them for 15 years. The interiors I design have different uses; from residential, office and museum, to tourist, sports and nautical. I successfully participate in architectural and interior design competitions. Can you tell us a bit more about the Natural Bond trend of landscaping? Good design and good architecture come from functional requirements and those that provide comfort. In times of corona crisis, the greatest functional requirement is hygiene. What is it like to provide in the simplest way and in what way to design a space and objects in it, without satisfying that requirement? The answer to this question is: - floors that are easy to clean and wash on a daily basis (eg stone or ceramic tiles, cast floors, parquets or laminates…); - walls and wall coverings that are easily washable (special washable paints, glass, artificial composite materials that may also have antibacterial properties); - as simple forms of furniture and equipment as possible for easier cleaning; - due to easier maintenance of space hygiene, it is possible to design adjustment from orthogonal corners of the room to those rounded; - in addition to the already known dispensers with disinfectants, it is necessary to put more emphasis on air quality in the office, and there are indications and installation of lighting that emits antimicrobial UVC light. An important design moment that is undergoing a major change is the partial abandonment of the open-space office. Although open-space offices are easily adaptable to different users and their requirements due to their flexibility, after several decades of their superiority in office design, certain negatives have emerged. Efficiency, concentration and even employee privacy are better achieved when the floor plan of the office is divided into smaller units in which employees can work more thoroughly and be more productive, and use open-space as points for meetings and socializing. It has been proven (even before the current pandemic) that viruses and bacteria spread faster and more often in open-space offices, and thus employees are more often absent from the office due to illness (up to 62% compared to classic offices with walls, according to a Danish study from 2011), which certainly does not benefit employers but also the employees themselves, who in such a way disturb the general condition of the organism. What improves the condition of the body are, among other things, the sun's rays, which have antibacterial effects, and it is important that most employees enjoy the benefits of sunbathing, which is almost impossible to achieve quality and evenly in open-space. The sun is also an important element of the Natural Bond interior design trend. The natural Bond trend has as its basic setting the introduction of exterior elements into the interior space itself, with all the advantages and benefits of nature. Such an interior is dominated by soothing natural materials, daylight instead of a series of ceiling lighting panels, plants that rest the eyes with their greenery, simplicity of space that eliminates chaos, visual and physical connection with outdoor spaces… All this makes employees feel calm, comfortable and focused . Also, the behavior of people living in such a space is directed towards one in which more attention is paid to a conscientious way of buying (locally, in the neighborhood), what products are used (organic and environmentally friendly), waste reduction and a more responsible way towards environment, but also towards themselves. Workspace details play an important role in office space design? Details in random space play an important role because it is the details that create personal and comfortable spaces that are different from generic ones. This can be the distribution of space into several zones for different modes of work, rest and communication (smaller offices for individual work, space for larger meetings, space for smaller meetings, space for socializing and rest…) that are differently designed (eg zone communication and rest can be circularly shaped), then smart use of daylight or lighting (in case of deficit of natural light), the introduction of plants into the interior that not only relaxes employees but also increases their productivity (up to 15%), color The “brand” that the employees work for or their products that subtly run through the space and the equipment of the space, the introduction of scents into the space with different sensory stimulations…. Workspace colors and employee creativity? Workspace colors should be used carefully so that those colors that are more prevalent in the space and on large surfaces are always more neutral, and accents (from one wall over furniture to small details) in stronger colors with higher saturation. Each color can have a specific meaning to an individual, depending on his associations and memories. However, the psychological effects of each color are known: - red: the color of power and passion that should be used in spots because otherwise it can act aggressively; - orange: an energetic color that encourages innovation and competitiveness; - yellow: the only warm color that is associated with relaxation, encourages a cheerful mood and creativity; - green: a soothing color that is closely related to the concepts of harmony and nature; - blue: calm and soothing color - purple: depending on its saturation, it is necessary to use it carefully in space to evoke luxury, uniqueness and creativity; - gray: although it belongs to neutral colors, due to its extremely cold tone it should be used only in detail because otherwise it evokes a feeling of loneliness and loss; - brown: color represented in nature, in the interiors creates a sense of security and reliability, be careful when using that the space would not become oppressive to stay; - black: a color that has different connotations, but when used in detail creates a feeling of sophistication and sensuality - white: the most commonly used color in interiors because it best reflects light and best emphasizes other colors, creates a feeling of purity and innocence. Space psychology is important for any office space. In your expert opinion, what should you pay the most attention to when talking about arranging business premises? When designing and arranging business space, the most attention should be paid to the functionality of the space and the feeling of comfort of living and using the space. Functionality is important for the reason that all processes that take place in a certain space take place in the easiest and most efficient way that allows users to work smoothly and the results of the same. It is achieved by a thorough analysis of the wishes and needs of users, and by implementing the results of the analysis in the process of designing and arranging the space, guided by the rules of the architectural profession. A sense of comfort is very important because it is not the goal for employees to just come to work, be in the office for a certain amount of time and do the work, but to do their job in the best possible way and to look forward to the process. Lastly, the office space is important but it should not be forgotten that this, like any other space, is made up of people who work and live there. Because without people, the office is just an empty cube.

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We spoke with Siniša from the Asura Group, the Facility Management Company. Read what he told us!

1. Tell us more about your company, how long have you been operating in the Republic of Croatia? Our company was originally established in 2005 and since then it has grown organically in Croatia and in the Adria region. Today, in addition to Croatia, we are present in Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia, where we help domestic and large international companies in managing their Facility Management process. Our focus is on Integrated Facility management where we combine all FM services for our clients according to the concept - ONE CONTRACT ONE BILL. 2. What is your opinion about Facility Management in Croatia? And what is the current situation in the region? Facility Management is a relatively new discipline and has been present in Croatia for about twenty years. The average room is unaware of what Facility management is. They understand the role of the cleaner but Facility management is a much, much more complex process than just cleaning. It’s part of that invisible economy that you only notice when it’s missing. If the cleaning lady doesn't clean the office, after a few days someone will notice. But if the cleaning lady is conscientious no one will notice that anything has happened. It is the same with the technical service. Changes occur when the director in the office dies. In my experience, these jobs within companies fall into portfolios: general jobs, human resources, or procurement. 3. How much has the COVID-19 crisis affected the Facility Management market? After conducting an analysis of publicly available data, most FM companies generally had an increase in revenue due to the demand for more frequent and detailed maintenance of facilities due to the COVID-19 crisis. While some smaller offices cut costs from working from home some other spaces like factories or logistics centers began to invest more in the cleanliness of their facilities. We grew strongly during the crisis by adding new facilities to our management portfolio. The property is binding. Although the value of a property is written off (depreciated) for twenty years, the value of that property remains the same (or increases depending on the market) but only if it is well maintained. It is our job and I invite everyone who has a long-term vision for their property to contact us with a request to maintain their facilities. 4. How do you find future projects and business partners? By phone. Of course, we also use modern technologies such as Google advertising and social networks in communication with our potential clients, but the sale of Facility Management services happens "face to face", live. Luckily our people are great at it. Our colleague Blaženka Dudaš, regional cleaning manager, with her communicativeness, authenticity and knowledge is often a decisive element in the final judgment of the client to choose us to take care of her property. The phone is only the first step in the process and serves to schedule an inspection of the property, assess its condition and the client's needs (maybe they need a housewife in the office, water and fruit delivery or some other soft Facility management service). This is followed by an offer, signing a contract and carrying out the work. 5. Do you expect any changes in business in 2022? Of course. With greater vaccination, we expect people to return to the offices. In the US, a market much more developed than ours, the number of jobs that are fully remote has tripled and is now at seven percent. The office will not disappear, it will not fail. Properties can change purpose but as I mentioned once you build them they come with maintenance obligations. I expect that awareness of these obligations will grow among those in charge of long-term asset management and that Facility Management will continue to grow strongly. We are satisfied with the imminent start of the East Gate Mall in Skopje, which we are maintaining, and I expect a strong expansion in the region and the opening of the Serbian market. Do you have an additional question for Siniša. Contact him by email - [email protected]   You have an interesting topic that you would like to talk to us about. Contact us at [email protected]

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