Business Review sat down with Andreea Mihai, the recently appointed CEO of Hagag Development Europe, to talk about the “private office” concept accessed by the real estate developer with the H Private Arghezi project announced in October and planned to be inaugurated in Q3 2023.
- What is, exactly, a „private office”? Where does this concept come from?
A private office is a dedicated workspace, separated and out of the ear shot of other companies, that tenants rent for exclusive use. Much more, private offices provide full control over the leased space and the linked costs, and typically come with a selection of services to accommodate a wide range of business needs. Essentially, when located within a full-service Business Center such is H Private Arghezi, these offices are fully serviced and supply all the amenities that usually come with leasing a traditional corporate space, yet on a more flexible and effective basis.
But the „private office” concept is not something we came up with, nor is it something new on the market. If we take a look back into the history of workspaces, we will find out that it was the Romans who left us the legacy of the office. Not contented enough with inventing roads, concrete, aqueducts, newspapers, sewers and sanitation, and with a vast empire to control, Romans had their very own business district and it was them who created the “officium”, the Latin term for ‘bureau,’ which gives us the word we use today. Over time, the emphasis of office design has shifted in shape and layout, but never in purpose. And subject to industry, employee preference, and job function is it only natural for workspaces to differ. Nonetheless, one thing remains certain: private offices can give employees a better chance of focusing on their work without distractions, cutting down to zero the stress related to administrative tasks. Nowadays, working from a private office is becoming more and more popular worldwide, as businesses are looking for more efficient and productive ways to conduct their operations.
- What makes you say this?
When choosing to rent an “all-inclusive” private office that is located in a Business Center, as we offer with H Private Arghezi, tenants practically get a serviced office, meaning their workspace is much more than a simple workspace: it is a compilation of services designed to meet the needs of their business. As far H Private is concerned, aside from having the office space all set up and ready to go from the date they move in – from individual, fully furnished spaces, to broadband and reception services, the Center also offers a Business Concierge and a dedicated Community Manager that will see to assist our tenants with all their daily operational aspects.
- Were there any signs that this new office product was in demand?
Yes. Especially during the second half of 2021 and the first three quarters of this year. Needless to say that over the last two years we have witnessed a paradigm shift in corporate culture regarding the way large and small organizations are perceiving the workspace. Financial constraints, the lack of predictability, the increased need for flexibility and the hybrid work system have left a mark on the office space market around the world. Even so, people have manifested a desire to physically return to the office, interact with colleagues and collaborators alike, and resume their social activities. They have consistently found that they are much more productive and can easily achieve a state of balance between their personal and professional lives if they get up in the morning and come to the office, instead of working from home. The hybrid work model, the sanitary crises generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic pressure, all of these contributed in intensifying the demand for office spaces with smaller leasable areas, and generated a need for more flexible contracts in terms of duration, services and facilities.
We are usually investing in top-of-the-line products, where demand is strong, and as far as the private offices segment goes, we have reasons to believe that it will not slowdown. On the contrary.
Furthermore, we actually consider that the pandemic did something great for the office world – it made people care about where they work. And H Private Arghezi represents an enormous flight to quality in terms of Business Centers and private offices, as do our office buildings H Tudor Arghezi 21 and H Victoriei 109.
- Why would anybody choose H Private Arghezi?
Our location is designed as the optimal solution for both entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups, small and medium-sized companies and teams, as well as for large corporations that need additional flexible space, but, at the same time, would like to benefit from premium services. We are talking about an individual workspace, fully furnished and dedicated exclusively to the tenant and/or his team, with secure access to the office and implicitly to the Center and its facilities, all covered by a fixed monthly cost. This all-inclusive rent includes from facility management and cleaning services, to internet, front desk assistance, mailing services, Business Concierge, Community Manager, utility costs, unlimited water, tea and coffee, and up to the free hosting of one’s company social address. Compared to corporate leasing, private offices have no service charge.
As for our offer, it is customizable for each individual tenant, depending on their business needs. We can talk about small offices that comfortably accommodate up to 3 people, but also about larger, more generous spaces. Clients can, of course, lease several offices simultaneously and, why not, even the entire floor. The meeting rooms, on the other hand, are an independent product and can be rented per hour by absolutely everyone interested, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, whether they are, or not, active tenants of H Private.
All in all, H Private Arghezi wins through flexibility, by offering a “turnkey” space, advantageous conditions and facilities, cost efficiency, and the benefits of working at the city’s KM 0. And it is our strong belief that the „all-inclusive rent” concept will become extremely popular among our tenants, especially during these turbulent times, when there is so much need for predictability over costs and budgets.
- What is Hagag offering, compared to other players already present in this segment?
First of all, we offer more than a workspace. H Private Arghezi is a full-service Business Center that brings to the table not only private offices, meeting rooms or virtual offices, but a curated collection of prime facilities and services, and a new, modern and elegant office set-up within one of Bucharest’s most emblematic office buildings – H Tudor Arghezi 21. To these, an exceptional location right in the beating heart of the city, years of know-how and international experience, competitive prices, and a team of professionals who will stay close to our tenants’ needs and support them with all the operational aspects are added. And in line with our brand’s business philosophy, our offer encompasses tailored services that meet the needs and requirements of the business environment, all while presenting working professionals with a bold, innovative concept, designed to combine the excellence of services and the sobriety of a professional environment with the bohemian atmosphere of an art gallery, proposing a unique vibe for the business community growing in downtown Bucharest. Business with a „touch of art” if you prefer, because in addition to the interior design elements and independent art objects that will decorate the common spaces, the lounge area of the Center will also act as an exhibition space, which we offer pro bono to young Romanian artists. Every three months, H Private Arghezi will host a series of micro-exhibitions in which various artworks – sculptures, paintings or other artistic formats – will be displayed across certain spaces and which our tenants have the opportunity to purchase, if desired.
In short: we are offering fewer overhead costs, minimal distractions, and a prestigious and artsy workspace. And do take into account that there are loads of advantages to having a private office space, whether you’ve just launched a business, are looking to relocate, or want to scale. Renting a private office is like plug-and-play — there’s virtually no effort needed to set up a physical space, and administrative costs are minimal to none. On top of this, H Private Arghezi is located in the heart of the city centre, within walking distance to everything that matters for one’s business: public institutions, 4 and 5* hotels, banks and other financial institutions, bars, caffes, schools and kindergartens, theatres, public transportation and a direct link to all the other districts.
- How do you see the growth perspectives for this particular niche and how much have you invested in your first Business Center serving this segment?
The private office segment has, undoubtedly, a genuine growth potential with real prospects for long-term development. Our first location, H Private Arghezi, will be inaugurated in the first part of 2023, following a consolidated investment of approximately EUR 1,5 MLN and will feature 30 individual workspaces, fully furnished offices & high-tech meeting rooms, an elegant lounge, cosy kitchenettes and a dedicated front desk, displayed over 1,500 square metres. The Center occupies the first two levels of H Tudor Arghezi 21 and promotes the idea of privacy and security, bringing competitive advantages to the business environment, both in terms of costs and facilities.