”At Vastint, we create the canvas in which our tenants can draw what is best for their employees,” said Antoniu Panait, Managing Director at Vastint Romania at Business Review’s #futureofwork – Working Romania HR Conference. The developer that has two projects in Romania, Timpuri Noi Square and Business Garden Bucharest, shows that ”employee safety has been important to us until now, until the pandemic, but it was not as strong as it is during the pandemic.”
”We started to analyze what we can do in addition to what we were already doing, to see if the buildings are up to date in terms of equipment and measures taken for employee safety. Modern buildings are ready to handle this new situation as well. I mean buildings that have one hundred percent fresh air. Unfortunately, technology or costs did not allow this in the past, so many older buildings out of a total of 3 million square meters of offices that have equipment that does not allow the total supply of fresh air, but recirculates some of the contaminated air mixed with fresh air,” says Antoniu Panait.
”We decided before the pandemic that we only use equipment that allows the full supply of fresh air in the building, which helps us today. And the recommendations of the authorities include this frequent ventilation of the offices. It is very important that when choosing an office we focus on employee safety and make an analysis from this point of view: when the building was built, what equipment it has, what security measures it has implemented,” explains Panait.
Watch Antoniu Panait’s first live intervention at Working Romania | Spring 2021 below:
A study shows that 75% of employees live in the southern part of Bucharest, but the offices are in the northern area.
”This is a problem in terms of employee time, but also the pollution that is caused by this daily migration. Moreover, being in a pandemic, employees are obliged, if they do not come with their own car, to change several means of public transport. And they are more exposed to the danger of coronavirus infection. That’s why we have projects in which we seek to be as close as possible to the employees, to the big sleeping neighborhoods in the city. It is important that employees travel as little as possible. The proximity of the home to the office is thus very important,” shows Panait.
In order to ensure the health of the employees, the fresh air is important, but also the height of the rooms, which should ensure a large volume of air.
”We have as standard in our portfolio the height of 3 meters free between the floor and the false ceiling. We also learned what the contact points in the building mean, which are the most affected, to secure against the risk of transmitting the virus. In addition to nebulization, we have implemented surfaces that do not allow transmission. We turned to Bioveritas for these checks and we were certified Safe Guard Certification in June 2020.”
Watch Antoniu Panait’s second live intervention at Working Romania | Spring 2021 below:
Another important aspect is that the building is certified as green, which reduces maintenance costs.
The figures show us that we must be very careful with work from home. After a year we can draw some conclusions from this point of view. We notice that 7 out of 10 employees are very stressed by the pandemic and by the knowledge itself, and 70% experience exhaustion due to the pandemic and work from home. Most of us know that psychologists are no longer able to cope.
”Human interaction is in our DNA. Technology allows us to work from home, but is it the right solution? Inertia has shown us that the efficiency of employees is very good, but this efficiency begins to disappear after a while. The barrier between personal life and work disappears, the program is practically over, but you are still working a little. We must be careful if the solution of working from home is the best, not to lose good employees. 30% already say they are less connected to colleagues. That routine where I went to the office, left my laptop and the building behind and started my private life, no longer exists. Another aspect is that the equivalent of an hour of online meeting is 3 hours face to face,” says Antoniu Panait.
Exhaustion affects more than half of employees due to working from home. We need to carefully structure the percentages of work from home with that from the office.
„A quote seems relevant to me for this situation: They reported feeling isolated, lonely and depressed at home. So, I fear an extended period of working from home will not only kill office productivity but is building a mental health crisis”, said Professor Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University,” concludes the Vastint Romania Managing Director.