Hana Sarbu

The Office is dead! Long live the Office!

Most major changes in society have been induced over time by painful events. Among the beneficial results of the preoccupation to prevent plagues, we can find the invention of waste management, the introduction of broad boulevards and wide public spaces, the birth of urban planning, the inclusion of public parks, together with the radical upgrades in the cities’ sewage system. In like manner, we expect the current COVID-19 crisis to influence our cities in terms of further rethinking the public spaces and transportationfocusing on making buildings healthier and significantly redesigning the hospitality services

In parallel, work-from-home is the new trend and some companies have even “zero office” strategies. Real estate cost savings and flexibility are here the most important drivers. There has been a notable explosion in all the online collaboration technology, which not only supports remote working, but in certain situations, actually enhances productivity. However, employees suffer from isolation and miss social contact, corporate cultures and identities are in decline, training of employees is difficult and creativity and teamwork very limited.

We predict that the long term impact of COVID-19 on the real estate market will be similar to a major earthquake. Some buildings will completely lose their occupants and, consequently, will need to be retrofitted so they may accommodate the new requirements. Furthermore, entire business districts will need to change and adapt their function and configuration for mixed uses.

The future is hybrid

With all these changes happening the purpose of the office will evolve even faster from mainly “a place of production” to more complex objectives like Client Interaction and Representation, Innovation and Creativity, Culture & Branding, Socializing, Satisfaction and Retention of Personnel.

The  consequent new requirements for the office must be linked to flexibilitytime efficiency, safety & hygiene and constant adaptability. The majority of real estate players expect a space reduction as a result of changing working patterns. However, these changes are also supported by the significant changes in technology and companies anticipate a substantial increase in IT costs in parallel with the reduction of real estate costs.

In other words, the future is hybrid. Overall, we expect that up to 40% of employees will utilize a remote working model. People will work remotely, especially in the realm of execution tasksOther tasks like strategic and talent management, business development, and creativity, require much more on-site presence. The more collaborative and creative jobs are the less suitable they are for remote working. However, hybrid work models will have to be incorporated within each company culture.

We predict that the spread of the emerging concept of “hub & spokes” will be strongly accelerated in the next period. The Hubwill be represented by the headquarter and it will serve as the “hive” of the business, while the spokes will be a geographically distributed network of offices, usually based on talent distribution and client needs. The headquarter will consequently be placed in a core location, accessible to public transportation and will act as the cultural center of the business. The Spokes – aka the satellite offices – will be spread around the city, close to residential districts. 

Major or minor ROCHADE?

COVID-19 will not kill the office, but will transform it to become more dynamic than ever, while causing its fair share of disruption. Some workspaces in central business districts may become housing, and some housing in residential areas will become workspaces. The magnitude of this shift is still to be determined. The ability to work remotely will not drive most people away from cities and offices, but it will allow many to live and work in new places. 

Traditional office leases have a significant negative impact on the agility, flexibility and crisis fitness of companies.  Therefore new office concepts with flexible spaces, private or shared offices, shorter-term leases and complex hospitality services will spread even faster. On the long term, traditional office leases for 5-7-10 years might become the exception.

Consequently, the whole real estate „food chain“ will have to adapt, with banks and investors searching for the (currently non existing) flexibility to finance these new business models and to stay relevant and up-to-date.

 

Tudor Popp

REC Partners and founder Hotspot Workhub

 

About REC Partners

REC Partners is an international team of engineers, architects and economists. Founded 2004 in Germany and 2006 in Bucharest, REC has been supporting clients all over Europe to develop, operate or improve real estate properties of over 10 million sqm over the last 16 years. Clients include investmentd funds, banks, real estate developers and corporations searching to improve the efficiency of their real estate assets.

 

About Hotspot

Opened in 2020 in Bucharest, Hotspot Workhub is the first of a series of high-standard coworking spaces based on the innovative and open-minded business concept developed by REC Partners. The space incorporates the company’s vision of flexible working and office hospitality, creating a unique mixture designed for productivity, community and lifestyle. 

 

Remote work turns green: Hotspot Workhub Bucharest certified BREEAM Excellent

  • Remote working is on the verge of making work not only flexible, but also very well-being and environmentally friendly oriented
  • Hotspot Workhub is among the early adopters of sustainable flex-work environments and it was recently certified as BREEAM Excellent.
  • The consultant that coordinated the certification process was BuildGreen, leading advisor in the field of sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Bucharest, December 3rd 2020 – Hotspot Workhub, the office space dedicated to flex-work right in the heart of Bucharest, Romania, has recently obtained the BREEAM Excellent certification for sustainable fit-out. Hotspot is thus one of the early adopters of “green” remote work environments, adding a higher level of comfort and efficiency to the standard design, development and management of sustainable office buildings.  

“The implementation of sustainable principles already became a widespread practice on the real estate market. With office buildings as icebreakers, sustainability is today’s strategic element in the development and management of all types of properties – retail, residential, industrial, mixed-use, factories or public buildings.

Going further, sustainability exceeded the standard approach in the real estate market, went beyond the doors of office buildings and offered owners and occupants a new perspective on their work environment. Hotspot Workhub is among the early adopters of sustainable fit-out concept and an active promoter of remote work that offers both flexibility and business performance”, stated Razvan Nica, Managing Director BuildGreen.    

Hotspot Workhub is the newest and most modern flex office space in Bucharest, offering premium workhub services and facilities. Hotspot comes with a high-quality mix of flexible team and bright open-space offices with access to high-tech conference rooms, events area and a live streaming Studio around a spectacular lobby with reception and speciality coffee. The space of around 2,000 sq.m is located in “The Mark”, one of the most stylish and state-of-the-art office buildings in Bucharest CBD. 

The exclusive central address of Hotspot Workhub opens up new perspectives on working: Hotspot combines productivity with clever details and flexible office equipment. It’s also a place with international flair, an inviting lobby area, and array of upscale and useful features. “An office is not only about work, it’s about lifestyle” Norman Foster

“As a German company with 15 years of experience on the Romanian market, we welcome amongst our members the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and multinational companies that appreciate quality and efficiency. Our first concern was to configure the work space for safety and well-being and now we have the only fit-out that is under BREEAM Excellent certification in Romania” says Tudor Popp, founder of Hotspot, the flex offices pilot project of REC Partners. REC’s team of experts, or “buildings’ doctors” as they are called,  is specialized in consulting, planning and project management and has been involved in major construction, refurbishment and successful fit-out projects all over Europe. 

High certification levels were obtained in the following categories: Health & Well-Being, Water, Waste and Pollution. Energy, Transport and Management of the space also obtained very good scores. The assessment has been carried out according to the technical manual for BREEAM International Refurbishment and Fitout 2015: Office.

BuildGreen assisted the client from the start, offering consultancy and assessment services in line with BREEAM requirements, advice for sustainable design and acquisitions, as well as BREEAM strategy definition, energy performance, natural water and ventilation optimization, materials, waste management etc. 

Founded in 2010, BuildGreen was involved in the first certification of a green building in Romania; its expertise now covers over 17 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. In its 10 years of activity, BuildGreen managed the sustainable development and certification processes of over 200 real estate projects, with a surface of over 5 million sq.m. and an overall investment value of over €8 billion. Razvan Nica, founder and managing director of the company, is also the first BREEAM International Quality Auditor outside the UK, a position from which he supervises BREEAM certification processes across the entire Globe. 

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