While state authorities or state-established organizations and agencies in most European cities have relocated away from historical buildings into modern office buildings, the situation in the Czech Republic is different. Public institutions mostly remain in older and in some cases historical buildings. Based on experience from other countries, operational efficiency and effectiveness may very well be improved and costs reduced by changing workplace.
A comprehensive survey carried out in 2008 by global property adviser DTZ focusing on government and public authorities in Great Britain shows that 50% of polled organizations have seen an increase in work performance of employees after relocation to newer office buildings.
"The quality of the office workplace has a direct influence on the occupier´s operational productivity," says Bert Hesselink, Head of Office Agency at Prague DTZ. "The current administrative property portfolio of the Czech public sector consists of many outdated and historical buildings used as offices. These buildings are in many cases probably not providing the optimal office working environment thereby hampering productivity of the Czech public sector. Moreover, space usage is in many cases inefficient and running costs are likely to be significantly higher compared to modern office buildings which could provide an opportunity for additional cost savings when authorities will focus even more on workplace change than they have done until now."
With regards to the current inefficient use of office space by the Czech public sector, this is confirmed by DTZ statistics. For comparison, the average used space per workstation in the private sector is according to DTZ figures 12.4 sq m whereas for public institutions seated in Prague it is according to figures of the Czech Government Dislocation Committee 15.5 sq m. With the estimated number of 21,000 public employees in ministries alone, improving space efficiency could represent an opportunity for significant cost savings depending on current cost structures.
"The best example of the current occupancy situation of the Czech public sector is the Ministry for Regional Development on Staromestske namesti, says Martijn Kanters, Head of Consulting & Research at Prague DTZ. It's a beautiful building but far below modern requirements for office space. One can easily imagine the benefits of giving a more appropriate desitination to this building whilst relocating the Ministry to modern premises providing better and more efficient working conditions and with much better accessibility and parking facilities"
Some of the Czech ministries and other public institutions started a plan to restructure their real estate portfolio. For example, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and its subordinate organizations, such as Czech Trade Inspectorate, State Energy Inspectorate or Research Institute of materials and Technology, CzechInvest, Czech Mining Authority, Licensing Office and Czech Trade, started already some time ago projects investigating possibilities of how to optimize the workplace.
A slightly different case is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, which deployed part of its "European agenda" to a newly developed office building in Karlin. Similar movements are taking place and shaping up in the regions of the Czech Republic.
We do not need to go too far for an example of another country preparing plans to rationalize and improve their administrative property portfolio. The city of Budapest launched a plan two years ago to build a new government centre, which should have become the seat of the prime minister's office and 11 other ministries. The main reason for the plan is particularly high costs of maintaining individual ministries scattered across the Hungarian capital. In order to implement the project, unused industrial land in the vicinity of the historical West train station, designed by studio of Gustav Eiffel in 1877, was identified. It covers an area of 16.5 hectares for government buildings and 40 ha development area in its vi