Andreea Cotiga, Senior Leasing Manager at Immofinanz, was a speaker in the New Trends in Office/Residential/Industrial panel during the 18th edition of BR’s REALTY Forum, and talked about the expected office stock in 2019 in primary and secondary cities, the key locations of new projects, how office spaces must be built around the culture of collaboration, whether technology can make tenants happy and how the right working space can support the recruitment and retention of skilled employees.
“The Bucharest office market looks good: we’re expecting about 300,000 sqm of offices to be delivered by the end of the year, more than double compared to last year’s deliveries. Almost half of the 14 or 15 upcoming projects in Bucharest have already found tenants, which reflects companies’ desire to find quality office spaces in advance,” she explained.
Although the Bucharest office stock is going to come close to 3 million square meters by the end of the year, which is a significant indicator, Andreea Cotiga noted that Romania is still lagging behind other countries in the region, like Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic.
“It remains to be seen what kind of effect all these deliveries will have on rents and what will happen with the vacancy rate towards the end of 2019 and the beginning 0f 2020. But we can definitely say that market signals are positive and optimistic. At Immofinanz, almost half of the net rental volume is represented by new companies entering the market or expansions of existing tenants – that is a sign of healthy development and a good quantitative indicator,” Cotiga said.
In terms of quality, according to Andreea Cotiga, projects scheduled for delivery in 2019 are truly built according to western standards. “It is encouraging to see that developers and investors understand that they have to adapt their product to the needs of their tenants; and when I say tenants I don’t just mean companies, but also the final consumers – the employees who work in those buildings. Companies are interested in the well-known criteria for offices – accessibility, quality and price – but to this we can also add ensuring a friendly and interactive work environment. An office space should be more than a simple working area,” she explained.
Cotiga also brought up the issues companies are facing when looking to recruit new employees and how important the working environment is in order to attract and retain top talents.
“I keep hearing about the labour crisis. There are companies who commit to business projects and lease offices spaces in advance but later have major difficulties in recruiting the right people. This increasingly forces companies to find new types of incentives and benefits. Meal tickets, health insurance or gym subscriptions are no longer persuasive enough. The work environment is truly being used by companies as a competitive advantage,” she explained.
She spoke about an office concept launched recently by Immofinanz, called myhive, which responds to these new requirements.
“The concept is based on three main pillars: innovative design – buildings having lobby areas that look like 5-star hotels; facilities and services – everyone wants things to happen quickly and conveniently, so we bring all the services a person may need to these buildings – pharma, banking, food, fitness, beauty, etc.; the third and most important pillar is community – making people feel like they belong to a real community through events, workshops – we are happy to report that the participation rate is growing significantly for these types of activities,” Cotiga said.