Home office is here to stay, and developers are already responding

Two new developments from Skanska Reality will have dedicated work areas plus green space and services that can be enjoyed without leaving home.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 19.04.2021 10:49 (updated on 19.04.2021)

Record numbers of employees worked from home in the Czech Republic last year, a trend that's likely to continue even once the epidemiological situation improves. But many homes aren't equipped for office work, and Czech developers say they're already responding to a demand for new building projects with better workspaces.

Some 40 percent of people in the Czech Republic intend to work from a home office even after the pandemic ends, according to a survey conducted for Skanska Reality. The same research showed that one-third of people lacked proper conditions for home office.

BREEAM certification guarantees a healthy and sustainable environment for living.
BREEAM certification guarantees a healthy and sustainable environment for living.

One in 10 people spend the working day on the sofa or in bed and almost 16 percent do work at the dining-room table, especially women who are twice as likely to work from this location than men.

Physiotherapist Dr. Tomáš Rychnovský, Ph.D., pointed out some issues related to working from a space that is less than ideal.

“Dining chairs often do not meet what office chairs should do. The dining table can be relatively high to it, so the muscles of the neck and cervical spine and forearms can easily be overloaded, and the thoracic spine can easily stiffen,” Dr. Rychnovský said.

He also warns against working from a couch or in bed. “Working while lying down has the disadvantage that the cervical and upper thoracic spine are actually still hunched over. It needs to be straightened with exercise,” he said, adding that he has seen an increase in people with back pain and other problems since working from home became more popular.

Many people currently looking for flats want not only a dedicated space for working from home, but also a location that offers outdoor recreation and opportunities for exercise without having to go far from home. Skanska Reality is already addressing these concerns in its new housing developments.

“From our own experience, we can confirm that the more frequent use of work from home has clearly entered demand. When choosing a new home, people are more often interested in how they will work in it. Therefore, there will be a new place reserved for a desk in every apartment we build,” said Lukáš Maděra, director of sales and customer care for Skanska Reality.

A significant dominant feature of the site, the chimney after the original sugar factory, will remain here together with some underground corridors.
A dominant feature of the site, the chimney of the original sugar factory, will remain intact as well as some of the underground corridors.

Two of Skanska’s new projects at opposite ends of Prague – Modřanský cukrovar and Albatros Kbely 2– are ready to respond to the needs of people who work from home. The architects of Modřanský cukrovar have already designed an ideal place for desks in its project documentation.

“We were inspired by Scandinavian design, with its lightness and functionality. We started from the use of healthy materials and overall our approach and values of sustainable living.” Skanska Reality spokesperons Renata Vildomcová said.

Public parks will be richly planted with greenery, water and play elements, places to relax and social life.
Public parks within Modřanský cukrovar will feature lush greenery and water and play elements.

“The specific layout of the workplace was created with emphasis placed on proper ventilation and lighting, sufficient electrical outlets and data cables,” she added.

Both projects will be BREEAM-certified for sustainability. BREEAM certification first became popular for office construction and has since caught on for residential projects. Aside from being better for the environment due to sustainable practices, it also means long-term financial savings because of more efficient energy and water usage. Modřanský cukrovar, for example, is the first residential project in the Czech Republic to use greywater recycling technology throughout the entire 760-apartment project.

The environment around the residence also becomes more important for people working on home office, as they will likely be spending more time closer to home. People will need easy access to an area where they can exercise and relax, as well as options for shopping and entertainment.

Life in the immediate vicinity of the Vltava River will be made more pleasant by reclamation of the bank and access to the local lagoons.
Living areas in the immediate vicinity of the Vltava River will be enhanced with the reclamation of the riverbank and access to the local lagoons.

Modřanský cukrovar is located on a the site of a former sugar factory at Komořanská Street in the southwestern part of Prague. The project was designed by Chybik + Kristof Architects and Urban Designers studio, two of the leading architecture firms currently in the Czech Republic.

The development is being built near the Modřany lagoon, an offshoot of the Vltava river, on a square that will have shops and services. Skanska in an unusual step involved the community in planning the new Modřanský cukrovar. With respect to their input, the square placed directly in the center will house many shops and services. The tree-filled public space will be focused on nature, water elements, and community life.

The result is more than just new houses. It is a complex that will be the heart of the revitalizing Modřany waterfront in Prague 12. The chimney of the former sugar factory will be preserved, but the rest of the buildings will be new.

Almost 40 new shops, stores and services will be built on the square and in the surrounding buildings.
Almost 40 new shops, stores, and services will be built on the square and in the surrounding buildings.

The first stage will have 112 flats with layouts from 1+kk to 5+kk. Each apartment will have a balcony, front garden or private terrace. The roof will offer a common terrace. The complex will have a community center as well.

The embankment of the Vltava is being completely rebuilt. It includes a cycling and skating path that is part of a network that extends from the city center down and into Central Bohemia. There will also be a new pedestrian-only path at the waterfront in the vicinity of the Modřanský cukrovar.

The area provides easy access to the city center, with a bus to the metro and a tram line in close proximity. A nearby ferry, which allows bicycles on board, links to the other side of the river. From the Modřany railway station, just 800 meters away, you can reach Prague’s main station in 25 minutes. Streets around the development will be rebuilt to facilitate traffic flow.

Spacious terraces await their new owners on the roofs of apartment buildings.
Albatros Kbely 2 apartments feature spacious rooftop terraces.

In the northern part of Prague, Albatros Kbely 2 also offers easy access to nature, while shopping is just minutes away. Flats will range from 1+kk to 4+kk. As with Modřanský cukrovar, the BREEAM certification means savings due to energy efficiency.

The area used to be outside the city, and was a center of aviation development in the past. That has left it with a lot of wide open spaces and green areas. At the same time, the city center is easily reachable. The Letňany metro stop is few minutes away. A mall and other shopping options are located in the surrounding Letňany district.

A forest park and cycling paths are almost next to the development, which has been designed with eco-mobility in mind. There are bike racks and facilities to wash bikes, for example. Forest park Letňany has 36 hectares of nature, with hundreds of trees and two kilometers of paved paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters. There are also four nature trails, a playground in the forest and a hill with a view as far as the Labe river. The park opened in 2012, after having been rebuilt with nine hectares of new forest.

Three playgrounds will be built in the Albatros Kbely, including the Gigant from the Danish company Kompan.
Three playgrounds will be built near Albatros Kbely, including a "Gigant" from Danish company Kompan.

The public areas and apartment buildings all feature an aviation theme, and the development’s name was inspired by the Aero L-39 Albatros, a plane from the 1970s that was manufactured nearby. An example of the plane can bee seen the Kbely Aviation Museum, located near Albatros Kbely 2.

This article was written in cooperation with Skanska Reality. Read about our partner content policy here.