Making our living spaces desirable for our clients
By Méka Brunel, CEO of Gecina
It is not easy to give an impartial review of 2020, given that it was a difficult year on an emotional level. As was the case in all companies, Gecina’s employees will have had moments of concern about the development of the pandemic, for their colleagues, for their relatives and for themselves. Fortunately, the Gecina employee community was spared the most serious direct health consequences of Covid-19.
We were better prepared to cope with this year’s unpredictable turn of events since in previous years, we had made thorough changes to the company’s foundations, particularly in terms of technology. As a result, we were able to work both face-to-face and remotely this year thanks to the quality of our technical infrastructure and the skills, in particular the managerial expertise, of our teams.
These events served to strengthen our conviction that Gecina’s wealth depends first and foremost on the experiences that our clients and end-users have in our living spaces. A head office with no employees has no value. Nor does an empty residence. And what needs to be said of a student residence with no students to study, innovate, or build their future?
We were certainly able to maintain the level of rent collection in 2020 compared to 2019. However, our future income and credibility, including from a financial standpoint, will be intrinsically linked to our ability to meet our clients’ needs. They need a different and better experience at the workplace than one day telecommuting could provide. And our residences must provide a high-quality experience that differs from simple co-ownership managed by private lessors.
We share our clients’ sensitivity to the issues of climate change and biodiversity. Out of conviction, of course, but also because the market is set to become increasingly polarized between ecologically efficient assets, upon which demand will focus, and other assets which will risk tailing off.
Our YouFirst relational brand, and its sub-brands (Bureau, Collaborative, Residence, Campus) will be a future way to showcase Gecina’s attractiveness to its entire client base. The attention paid to the fact that this relationship is first and foremost a human one, through our YouFirst Managers, will act as our compass.
Positioning of our assets, structured around central locations and close to transport hubs, retailers, and services, is strengthened in view of the trends of 2020. Metropolization is here to stay. As such, we are continuing to focus our property portfolio in the most central areas.
Digitalization has once again accelerated for our clients, with the upcoming disappearance of administrative jobs and the development of new service jobs. What is true for our clients is also true for Gecina: our digital transformation leads us to a more service-oriented approach, thanks to training for our employees and changes to our business lines.
Also in 2020, we collectively succeeded in formulating Gecina’s purpose: “Empowering shared human experiences at the heart of our sustainable spaces”. Over time, it affirms the value of our contribution for our clients and all our stakeholders. We will ensure we have the means to measure its effective implementation. It is up to us to pursue its ambition on a daily basis, with humility and determination.
To understand how we have reinforced our beliefs, discover our Integrated Report.
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