Fulga Dinu, country manager operations at IMMOFINANZ Romania, spoke to Business Review about the growing demand for flexible office spaces and the improved performance of companies that are willing to adapt to their employees’ real needs.
By Ovidiu Posirca
How did you adapt your local office stock to the emerging hybrid work arrangements?
At IMMOFINANZ, we have been on a track of re-thinking office spaces for a few years now. We launched myhive as a modern office concept that’s anchored in flexibility and we have been successfully deploying it across most of our properties. As the landlord of many top active properties in prime locations in Bucharest, we always try to meet—and even anticipate—the needs of our tenants and their teams. Our office portfolio and our coworking spaces offer optimal conditions for companies and their hybrid work or project-based activities.
Have you updated the design of your offices to respond to the demand for flexibility from tenant companies?
Our offices are defined by innovative design, which allows us to both meet companies’ basic needs as well as customise our offering to their specific demands. The myhive buildings feel more like hotels than offices: welcoming lobbies with supportive staff who immediately make you feel at home, lively indoor and outdoor lounge areas, inviting spaces for tenants to mingle, and services ranging from laundry to flower delivery services.
Furthermore, we can design the offices based on our tenants’ individual requirements.
Is IMMOFINANZ looking to expand its presence in the coworking niche after having launched the first mycowork project in Bucharest earlier this year?
We’ve received very good feedback since the launch of the mycowork concept and we are considering a further expansion. It provides a working environment of unprecedented quality on the market and responds to the needs of many small and mid-size companies’ needs. Our coworking offer is also unprecedentedly flexible—tenants can rent out their personal desk or a free workspace in a coworking area for a period as short as one month. Here they benefit from a full range of services, including cleaning, maintenance, internet access, post and package service, drinks, and guest reception. They can also book meeting rooms if and when they need them.
How is corporate culture being influenced by the adoption of hybrid work systems and what does it mean for future office investments?
We’re seeing increased interest in offices with more generous spaces, larger breakout areas, and natural surroundings, and in those that take measures to keep their environmental impact to a minimum.We believe that any form of adaptation to the needs of employees will improve companies’ business performance. As those needs are many and varied, office spaces need continuous improvement and higher flexibility. Coworking spaces can be key in these cases as well, cultivating a healthy corporate culture and generating optimised costs for companies.
What is the occupancy rate of your office portfolio in Romania and what is your outlook on demand by the end of 2022? What about your retail projects?
We have a constant occupancy rate of around 90 percent, which we expect to maintain. Our retail properties are fully let.
What is your perspective on ESG principles and what is your strategy for the Romanian market in this regard?
As a group, we are working on integrating ESG principles at all levels of our activity and have very ambitious plans: becoming emission-free along our entire value chain by 2040.
In Romania, we’re looking at upgrading our spaces to meet the latest and safest operating requirements. We are preparing to start the refurbishment of Bucharest Financial Plaza office building , where we aim to obtain at least a “Gold” sustainability certificate. We are particularly looking forward to creating sustainable and modern public spaces featuring urban terraces.
Are you looking to make new property acquisitions in Romania?
We are constantly looking to improve and expand our portfolio through acquisitions and developments to strengthen our leading position, in line with our strategy.
What are some of Romania’s competitive advantages on the property market compared to other CEE countries?
Romania has consistently been one of the most important markets for IMMOFINANZ Group, due to the pace of development and the opportunities it has offered to globally active companies. Several economic sectors have seen substantial growth in recent years, notably services, IT, and retail. The Romanian market and economy continue to show high growth potential.
The healthcare industry is also growing at a fast pace, and private medical networks require high-quality spaces to deploy their facilities. Within the next two years, our properties will be hosting two new private hospitals, further demonstrating our flexibility in adapting to our tenants’ needs, and development capability.
We expect to see steady demand for office properties to meet the concrete needs of employees in the new labour market context. In the retail segment, we are seeing changes in consumer behaviour, and companies operating in this segment need partners like IMMOFINANZ to support them by providing a platform that can attract new categories of customers.