THE GENERATION GAP
Demographic change, climate change, refugee crisis – we too are also affected by the major issues of our time and are, therefore, using our economic strength to actively change things for the better. We firmly believe that only those who today align their commercial activities with the needs of to‑ morrow‘s society will achieve sustained success.
21.5 million people will be older than 66 in the year 2040.
16.2% of the population in Germany is under 18 years old.
760,000 senior citizens in Germany – and counting – are entitled to a room in a nursing home.
A convivial home, a well-kept home – not just a nursing home
What characterizes a good quality of life in one‘s twilight years? The first things that come to mind are of a more practical nature: good medical care, quiet and clean surroundings, balanced meals, and the list goes on … However, there is something else that is just as important: a sense of safety and security. Participating in one‘s own life, having someone to lend a sympathetic ear, and company in which one feels at ease. This is why the facilities of KATHARINENHOF Seniorenwohn- und Pflegeanlage Betriebs- GmbH are not merely nursing homes, rather places which function as social and cultural meeting points for different generations, where residents can receive care and, above all, LIVE.
»It is essentially personal connections with other human beings which make life worth living.«
Wilhelm von Humboldt
Year of formation of KATHARINENHOF ® Seniorenwohn- und Pflegeanlage Betriebs-GmbH
beds provided by the company
KATHARINENHO ® has facilities in five federal states: Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony
Employees work to ensure
the wellbeing of the residents
Bringing new life to a historic building
term "demographic change" as it applies to our country can be paraphrased in a less...
Bringing new life to a historic building
The term “demographic change” as it applies to our country can be paraphrased in a less ambiguous and more dramatic statement: Germany‘s population is getting older! And: Germany is inadequately prepared for the changes to come.
By way of example: Chemnitz. This city, located in the south-west of the Free State of Saxony, is the state‘s third largest metropolis after Leipzig and Dresden and the one with the oldest population. A study commissioned by the state government estimates that the city will have a shortage of 4,000 nursing care beds by 2020, with the number available last year amounting to only 3,300 approximately.
A further 87 can now be added to this number in the wake of KATHARINENHOF Seniorenwohn- und Pflegeanlage Betriebs-GmbH‘s conversion of a listed building previously owned by the former German state railways [Deutsche Reichsbahn] into a modern nursing facility in 2017. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. There was and is great interest in this location in Chemnitz – more than 300 visitors attended the “Open Construction Site Day” event held in September 2017, which showcased a harmonious melding of the old with the new: On the one hand, the refurbished old listed building of the former German railways and, on the other hand, the newly built buildings with their modern fittings and furnishings.
With the help of its approximately 80 members of staff, the newly launched facility will be dedicated to providing care, particularly to individuals showing signs of early or advanced dementia. Its central focus, naturally, will be to ensure the physical wellbeing of the residents. However, this in itself is not enough – KATHARINENHOF®‘s entire premise is based on the recognition that a person‘s wellbeing not only depends on the cleanliness of his or her surroundings and the availability of good food, but is also influenced by their degree of social interaction and sense of being at home. KATHARINENHOF®‘s philosophy of care can be summed up in the words of Wilhelm von Humboldt: “It is essentially personal connections with other human beings which make life worth living.” Thus, conversation, understanding and personal care and attention are as necessary a part of daily life as a broad range of cultural activities that enables residents to maintain contact with both the outside world and each other. This is the case in all of KATHARINENHOF®‘s facilities and not just in the new one in Chemnitz. Concerts and readings, which relatives and guests of the residents are always welcome to attend, are among the activities on offer, as are visits from groups of children from day-care facilities who take part in joint music sessions with the residents.
A growing market ...
The gross added value of the nursing care sector has risen significantly over the past eleven years – from EUR 21.3 billion to EUR 36.3 billion, with the nursing services provided in nursing homes increasing by 3.8%.^15 KATHARINENHOF Seniorenwohn- und Pflegeanlage Betriebs-GmbH took further action in response to this growth in the market in 2017, for example taking over three nursing facilities of the Hamburger Senioren Domizile GmbH, a service provider with a long tradition in the sector, and opening three day-care facilities for the elderly in the Haus Abendstern (Potsdam), in Uferpalais (Spandau) and in KATHARINENHOF Alt-Britz in the second and third quarters of the year under review.
Responsibility and profitability
Powering ahead into the future – that is one way of describing Deutsche Wohnen‘s approach ...
Responsibility and profitability
Powering ahead into the future – that is one way of describing Deutsche Wohnen‘s approach in the past year, viewed from the standpoint of energy consumption in the broadest terms. Dealing responsible with the consumption of energy will always be the most efficient approach. In the housing industry, such an approach will entail the use of insulating materials, modern equipment and low-energy light sources in buildings. However, Deutsche Wohnen has taken things even further: The key terms here are: generating one‘s own energy supply, e-mobility and the coming generation.
How can a company best secure its energy supply? By generating its own energy! Doing so will make it more self-reliant, more efficient and more profitable. For this reason, we have expanded the extent to which G+D Gesellschaft für Energiemanagement mbH – a joint venture between Deutsche Wochen and GETEC – supplies and distributes the energy for our holdings to 75% of the centrally-supplied properties of Deutsche Wohnen as of 1 January of this year. This is also in our tenants‘ best interests. G+D operates as thermal energy supplier and as such has a say in the pricing. Any reduction in the price of such thermal energy can be passed on to our tenants.
In addition, G+D took over the municipal utilities Stadtwerke Thale last year, expanding the services it offers in the process. As Lars Dormeyer, Managing Director of Deutsche Wohnen explains, “The joint acquisition of the Stadtwerke Thale successfully cemented our existing collaboration with GETEC, creating a broader basis for our partner ship – which also extends beyond the supply of energy to our own property holdings. The acquisition represents G+D‘s first foray into the end-customer business and will significantly increase its profitability.”
The Stadtwerke Thale operate an environmentally friendly local heating grid via two combined heat and power plants with approximately 2,000 units of supply. Moreover, two biogas combined heat and power plants are also integrated in the generation of thermal energy. The Stadtwerke Thale also supply approximately 5,500 household and commercial customers with electricity and natural gas within the Thale region.
A little more than 200 kilometres further away – in a north-easterly direction –, energy is not being generated by biogas combined heat and power plants but petrol consumption is being reduced. FACILITA Berlin, a subsidiary of Deutsche Wohnen, started to replace its existing fl eet of vehicles last year with forms of e-mobility, a particularly smart move in FACILITA Berlin‘s case, given that its facility management employees spend a lot of time out and about providing support services in connection with approximately 92,000 residential units of Deutsche Wohnen located in Berlin. These services range from classical caretaker services, vacancy management activities, quality management of cleaning stairwells, maintenance of green areas and winter services as well as concierge services in selected holdings. Eleven electric cars, eleven electric bikes and 41 bikes are part of what is now a modern and more sustainable vehicle fl eet. The ten conventional cars which remain will be replaced with electrically powered vehicles in 2018. One important prerequisite for this switch was the development of an innovative infrastructure for charging the vehicles, with a total of eleven charging stations being installed at four FACILITA locations in Pankow, Reinickendorf, Spandau and Steglitz for this purpose.
"Housing will always be of great importance."
We at Deutsche Wohnen quite rightly consider ourselves to be part of one big generational ...
"Housing will always be of great importance."
We at Deutsche Wohnen quite rightly consider ourselves to be part of one big generational melting pot: our workforce spans a total of five generations, from members of the post-war generation to baby boomers, generation X and Millenials and finally to generation Z, i.e. those of our employees born after 1996.
We are happy that this is the case, because different generations bring different skills to the table, and generational diversity is an asset which contributes towards our success. At the same time, the housing sector is feeling the effects of demographic change and a shortage of skilled personnel. A survey conducted last year brought to light that half of all companies whose operations relate to real estate properties are already suffering from a “significant” shortage of skilled personnel, a state of affairs which is very much in line with the finding that approximately every second company is experiencing a fall in the number of applicants actively seeking work.^16 The number of our employees increased by more than 100 during the year under review. Our success in recruiting new personnel is to some extent due to our awareness of the fact that different generations have different needs - needs which we strive to address as well as we can.
Deutsche Wohnen had a total of approximately 1,100 employees in the year under review. This number includes individuals with technical, commercial, management accounting and many other types of professional qualifications. We invited two of them to chat with us: Mareike Stefanowski and Andreas Stein. They belong to different generations and we are interested in finding out how they find working at Deutsche Wohnen and how they envisage housing and working in the future…
… is 26 years old and has a masters degree in media psychology. After joining a one-year trainee programme at Deutsche Wohnen in 2016, she now works in the company‘s marketing department, with her focal point being internal communications.
… has been with Deutsche Wohnen since 2007 and, in the capacity of housing consultant, assists tenants who move from one of the company‘s flats to another. This sixty year old holder of a pedagogy degree has also previously been a partner in a company. He also has a second degree in business management and is a qualified mediator.
Ms Stefanowski and Mr Stein, what is it that makes a working environment a motivating and pleasant one in your view?
Stefanowski: It‘s all about feeling as though you are working as part of a team, one in which the members exchange ideas and information and support each other. This is especially important to me, because I love working with others. Of course, it is also important to have a well-equipped workplace which enables me to communicate quickly with others – even though I do often prefer to speak on the phone when exchanging ideas with others.
Stein: The channels of communication within the company must be open. Sometimes I find myself in situations in which I am unable to move things along as quickly as I would like. I think occasional discussions and debates are a good thing and can have a motivating effect; they are ultimately all to the good. There is no corporate “culture of silence” which discourages employees from expressing their opinions. Each individual has a voice, is encouraged to use it and, when they do, it is heard.
What specifically are your expectations of Deutsche Wohnen?
Stein: That it is there for its employees and permits them to voice any concerns or needs which they may have. On the other hand, there have to be clear boundaries in place – that goes without saying. Everyone can‘t be allowed to just do whatever he or she wants.
Stefanowski: I feel the same way. Also, every employee should be put to work doing what he or she is best suited to doing, i.e. in an environment in which he or she can best utilise his or her skills and strengths. The underlying conditions also have to be right. For example, appropriate working time arrangements, market-aligned remuneration or holiday policies.
You mentioned working time arrangements. Is fl exibility something that is of importance to you personally?
Stefanowski: Yes. I think it‘s great that there is the option of working on a flexi-time basis or from home – even if I have never taken advantage of it myself. I can imagine that there are situations in which I may well do so, for example if I have work-men in the home. It feels good to know that I have the option.
Stein: I have never yet worked from home either, but think it is very important that our company makes it possible for us to do so. I even think that we should expand on this option, in the interests of helping people to achieve a better balance between family and work.
What does lifelong learning mean to you?
Stein: It is crucial, but everyone will have his or her own personal opinion on the subject. In my view, it is a good idea to take a step back from one's everyday work and to experience new things. I myself have taken a continuing education course provided by the company. It involved training to become a mediator over a period of about one and a half years alongside my regular job. The company was very accommodating in helping me organise my time. At the time, I was in my mid-fifties and found it very invigorating and motivating to be able to take on something new – with an entirely new group of people –, even though the subject of mediation is of course something which regularly features in my day-today work.
Stefanowski: It is very important to me! Both in my everyday working life and in the context of continuing education courses. So much has changed in the 1 ½ years I have been with Deutsche Wohnen. Sometimes, it almost feels like I‘m working at a start-up – there are so many new and unexpected developments happening from one moment to the next. I think that is a great and exciting way to work! Even if not everything turns out as expected and sometimes a change of course is called for. After all, that is also what lifelong learning is all about.
Finally, let us look ahead to the future – what do you think housing and the housing sector will be like in 30 years from now?
Stein: Housing will always be of great importance. I think that it will no longer be all about finding a property early on in which one can build a nest for life. Things will be more flexible and there will be more beautifully furnished flats. And, housing for the elderly and disabled access will play a much greater role – we will have to take things up a notch in the future. This also applies to the influx of new residents to inner cities and conurbations – this is another subject that we will have to address.
Stefanowski: I think that both smart homes and the provision of housing-related services will play an ever greater role in the future, and could involve such services such as deliveries of mail and goods or car-sharing options.