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New investments, consistent implementation of the green mission and wellbeing in times of uncertainty. 2020 was a real challenge for the entire business sector. At the housing company Skanska, a holistic approach and a number of solutions were applied that allowed the developer to take care of its employees and adapt smoothly to the new reality. In this way, it has been possible to ensure that all processes run on time, both in the context of construction and the handover of each customer’s new flat.
The challenges of the past year meant that the ways of achieving business goals had to be redefined. The lock-down of the economy introduced in the spring and later in the autumn, as well as the hybrid work of the authorities, carried the risk of slowing down and prolonging investment processes. Therefore, it was extremely important to develop an effective model of operation that made it possible to adapt to the pandemic reality and implement projects according to schedules. In some areas, new operating models were introduced, which allow business combustibles to be realised in accordance with previous assumptions. Thanks to the changes, some stages of the investment process are even more efficient. This is due to, among other things, good and efficient cooperation between the investor and the general contractor within one Skanska Group. In the current uncertain economic situation on the market, business independence is a guarantee of safety.
– It was crucial to ensure broadly understood safety for both employees and customers. On construction sites, we have ensured the highest sanitary regime, minimising the risk of coronavirus infection. By introducing contactless handovers of flats or virtual meetings with project buyers, we managed to develop an effective way of handing over flats to our customers. It was similar with the supply chain – difficulties in foreign transport meant that in a fairly short time we established cooperation with new partners who provided us with access to the highest quality materials. These were procedures that certainly laid the foundation for one of our biggest successes in 2020 – delivering projects according to pre-agreed schedules,” says Cezary Grzebalski, director of project development at housing company Skanska.
Reducing stress levels
When we remember 2020, we will recall the constant change, the uncertainty it entails and the stress that accompanies everyone on a daily basis. In this situation, it becomes very important to understand each other’s intentions and communication in order not to escalate unnecessary conflicts. Skanska has taken several measures to support communication among employees as well as with customers. The aim of these activities was to build relationships based on mutual understanding. This was achieved by e.g. cyclical meetings with employees, during which the current situation was discussed, decisions made and open feedback encouraged. It was also the company-wide workshops to support effective communication and the planned activities related to broadly defined wellbeing for 2021 that strengthened trust and effective work in teams.
– Nowadays, stress levels need to be reduced and energy levels increased. Therefore, the past year was a time for proper communication and creative, but above all safe solutions. Like other entrepreneurs, we have faced a very difficult situation in 2020, with hitherto unknown risks for both the company and the people who make it up. The values represented in our company – security, collaboration, synergy – have allowed us to implement an appropriate strategy. What is more, the good results of the employee satisfaction and involvement survey have reassured us that we have taken the right direction in the complex process of taming the changes and adapting to the new reality. This is our great strength, which we will certainly draw on in 2021,” says Anna Ziniewicz, HR and Relationship Management Director at Skanska Housing Company.
Housing to suit the new reality
The way we think about living spaces seems to have permanently changed in 2020. Housing has ceased to be just a place to relax and has also become a home office, school and university. As a result, the needs of potential buyers have changed and they have started to pay attention to specific solutions, applied not only in the flat, but also in the entire development. The division of the estate into public, semi-private and private zones, spacious common areas, access to green and recreational areas – these are just a few of Skanska’s solutions, which in 2020 became an answer to the new reality and new needs of customers.
– We have noticed that customers have started to pay even more attention to the elements of the estate that have a direct impact on the sense of security and comfort. Large separate balconies, well-maintained and lush greenery, places to spend time outdoors within the estate, flat layouts that allow for arranging a place to work remotely – these are just a few of the desired solutions, which have gained even more importance in the eyes of customers due to the pandemic. In Skanska we have been using them for years, so we are all the more pleased that our standards and the quality of our investments meet with the growing recognition of buyers – says Aleksandra Goller, Sales and Marketing Director at Skanska housing company.
Fulfilling its environmental mission
Skanska Group has been continuously implementing its environmental mission – one of its main goals is to visibly reduce and consequently achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. All Skanska companies worldwide are committed to this goal. Also in Poland, the residential developer is not only developing a set of modern and pro-ecological green building solutions, but also popularizing them by certifying all residential investments in the BREEAM system.
– We intend to proceed with further environmental certifications, which will gain even greater significance in 2021. Therefore, it will be important for us to use, among other things, photovoltaic panels, anti-smog filters and systems which will facilitate energy management in flats and allow the residents to make savings on their energy bills. What is more, all the pro-ecological practices and actions we will undertake in the new year will also allow us to get closer to fulfilling our environmental commitment – to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and consequently to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 – adds Aleksandra Goller.
New investments in the capital
Osiedle Mickiewicza, Holm House, Jaśminowy Mokotów and Park Skandynawia are the four Skanska estates whose successive stages were implemented in 2020. Park Skandynawia is an investment combining functionality and Scandinavian aesthetics with a great location and ready infrastructure of Gocław. Jaśminowy Mokotów, in turn, is a very intimate place to live, surrounded by the green areas of the Warsaw Protected Landscape Area. The Mickiewicza estate is a park-like development, confirming the idea of the so-called open housing estate. Holm House, in turn, is an investment in the business part of Mokotów, characterized by high quality architecture, creating a coherent urban whole.
Environmental awareness is extremely important for Skanska, in accordance with which the company creates sustainable housing estates, which results in recognition in the eyes of construction and real estate market experts. In 2020, the Skanska housing company won a number of industry awards and distinctions, including the Architecture Award of the President of the Capital City of Warsaw for the Mickiewicza Estate (stage 2); the “Accessibility Leader” distinction for the Mickiewicza Estate (stage 2) and the PLGBC award for the best ecological, multi-family housing development, here also for the Mickiewicza Estate. Projects are appreciated, but so are the people behind them. The jury of this year’s Top Woman in Real Estate awarded the prize to Monika Melaniuk-Kopańska, the leader of the Jaśminowy Mokotów project, in the green building & sustainability category. Skanska was also awarded the title of “Rzeczpospolita’s Green Eagle” for its pro-environmental attitude and commitment to its mission. It concerns reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and zero net emissions by 2045.