BR ANALYSIS. Millennial mores prompt developers to focus on “business communities”

Sorin Melenciuc 10/07/2019 | 17:11

The rise of the millennial generation has become a challenge for many businesses, but office developers across the globe, including in Romania, see business opportunities from the realization that adapting to the new lifestyles could be a win-win strategy.

According to experts, millennials want employers to grant them autonomy and flexibility in their work schedule, and they like workspaces with places dedicated to socialization and interaction between teams.

These new lifestyles have been carefully analyzed by office developers, which are now designing projects adapted to younger employees. “The mixed projects developed by Iulius group, such as Palas Iasi and Iulius Town Timisoara, which include extensive business communities, have the advantage of integrating various functions and facilities that are very useful for employees in office buildings, including for millennials,” Iulius Town representatives told Business Review.

Socializing places, a key aspect

Millennials are more connected with technology and social sites than older employees. At the same time, they like to have socializing opportunities during the week and at the weekend.

These young workers enjoy meeting friends and colleagues after work, in cafes and restaurants, for fun and socializing. “Our office buildings, developed under the United Business Center (UBC) brand, are integrated into projects that meet all the main aspects of a community’s life: business, shopping, malls, relaxation and entertainment, the presence of parks, cafes, restaurants and various dedicated venues. All these facilities meet active people’s goals by minimizing the effort and time needed to accomplish the multitude of daily activities,” say Iulius group officials.

Millennials are also known for being receptive and involved in social projects, eco projects and sports competitions, and they enjoy having facilities and services in the immediate vicinity that help them save time. “For example, in Iulius Town Timisoara, through the three class A office buildings opened so far, a strong community of about 3,300 employees has grown from 20 multinational companies that enjoy many benefits in Iulius Mall, part of the project: immediate access to more than 350 stores, food court, themed restaurants and cafes, a fitness center and a wide range of services such as medical clinics, launderettes, bank offices, insurance brokers, travel agencies, spa and massage salons, body remodeling, hairdressing salons etc,” Iulius representatives point out.

Saving time on bureaucracy

Romania is well known for the excessive bureaucracy that erodes people’s spare time. For developers, adapting to local realities and saving time on bureaucratic procedures may prove to be a key aspect in attracting the interest of millennials. “They can solve administrative issues in a short time as many public institutions have relocated their public relations centers to the mall. The offices of the Inspection and Driving License Exam Bureau, Driving License Office, Car Registration Bureau, Posta Romana (Romanian Postal Company) and Tax Department are located in the same area, on Iulius Mall’s first floor. There is also an office of Timis County’s Community Public Service for the Issuance and Registration of Passports,” say Iulius Town Timisoara representatives.

Education & health

Another key issue for many employees in Romania is education infrastructure, as highly educated people are very interested in ensuring a good education for their offspring. “Another benefit for those working in UBC Timisoara buildings will be proximity to the first kindergarten and primary school in Timisoara based on the British model, with offers courses exclusively taught in English,” say project representatives. Access to quality medical services is also a strong incentive for young employees who typically pay more attention to their health than previous generations.

“With the completion of the fourth office building, from next year employees will have access to the largest medical hub in the west of the country. Developed on an area of 3,000 sqm, it will provide diagnostic and treatment services for many medical specialties, mainly treating the diseases associated with the modern world, which impact on development and quality of life. The specialties that will be available will include: physical therapy, acupuncture, cardiology, obstetrics-gynecology and infertility treatment, aesthetics and dermatology, body remodeling, dentistry, neurology and microsurgery,” Iulius representatives outline.

Active spare time

As regards the millennial generation’s desire to be involved in social projects, eco projects and sporting competitions, Iulius has sought to develop and focus on a community through its projects. It supports partner companies in their work projects, but also offers a rich calendar of events and actions, on varied themes, according to their concerns, passions and rhythm of life. For them, but also for their families, it organizes social campaigns such as afforestation (so far the company has planted over 10,000 trees), greening, blood donation, fundraising and charity. In addition, it regularly holds sports competitions, inter-company video or board games, Valentine’s Day Cooking Workshops, cross-company cake baking, etc.

Easy access

Compared with the past, employees now carefully look at both the work environment and workplace inside the office, as well as the location where the workplace is and what it offers in terms of services, HR experts say. Developers have therefore begun to focus on integrating office buildings into mixed projects where employees can access facilities and services that are useful both during and after work. In Romania’s secondary cities like Timisoara or Iasi, location is considered one of the most important criteria when choosing an office space. That’s why developers are looking for ultra-central locations with good access to the city and suburban road infrastructure, and good connectivity to the public transport network and cycle lanes. As a consequence, companies spend more than they did in the past on office space. “Our office buildings have a great advantage by being located in the city center, both in Iasi and Timisoara. Our mixed projects are easily accessible both by public transport and on foot, or alternative means of transport. For example, in the office buildings in Timisoara, we included special parking lots, showers and changing rooms for those who cycle to work,” say Iulius Town developers. “We also provide our employees with parking facilities and we are constantly looking to extend them. For example, more than 4,000 parking spaces will be available in Iulius Town Timisoara, after we built a parking lot and another underground parking lot besides the underground parking lot under the Iulius Mall,” they added.

In many cases, developers in Romania are also investing in infrastructure modernization to ease access and traffic. Iulius Town developers are building a tunnel that passes under their project and connects two major crossroads in Timisoara. The cost of this investment will be borne by project developers, and the tunnel donated to the municipality.

Preparing for teleworking

Remote working is still a rare option in Romania, but studies conducted by experts in more advanced economies show that employees are more productive and attached to their company if they interact with the rest of the team on a regular basis. However, the growing number of people working remotely and new technologies have led companies to adapt and make changes in office space management. They have designed large areas and devoted regular sums to social spaces or unconventional work areas.

Other firms that offer their employees the option of working from elsewhere rent offices in coworking spaces. This gives employees flexibility in choosing where to work, but also the chance to interact with other professionals or team members. At the same time, developers are concerned about facilitating employees’ access to green spaces, where they can relax in breaks and after work.

“At both Palas Iasi and Iulius Town Timisoara, we have established generous parks and green spaces as an area where people can relax, but also have the opportunity to attend theme fairs we organize, outdoor concerts or other events,” say Iulius representatives. On August 30, Iulius and Atterbury Europe will open the first stage of Iulius Town Timisoara (previously called Openville), the largest real estate investment in the region, worth more than EUR 220 million. This will be the first mixed project in western Romania and the most important real estate project to be inaugurated this year on the local market.

 

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