With almost 10 years’ experience on the office market, both in real estate and interior design, Mihaela Petrescu takes over the position of Business Development Director at Workspace Studio, a company specializing in ergonomic office design solutions and Herman Miller’s sole accredited partner in Romania. From this position, Mihaela facilitates the interaction between tenants and landlords, given the previous exposure, so that profound changes in the labor market are assimilated quickly and efficiently, and local offices are developed to new standards.
Our market is going through profound transformations, the paradigm of work changing completely in the context of the accentuated adoption of hybrid work. Mihaela Petrescu has experience in both office and real estate consulting, and the mission assumed by our team is to activate the dialogue with the main players on the market and to accelerate the implementation of high-quality solutions that differentiate us from competitors, while bringing added value to our clients – says Horațiu Didea, Managing Partner Workspace Studio.
The new office: a 360-degree user-centric approach
Studies show that hybrid work is preferred by almost 75% of Romanians who worked in offices before the pandemic, so local organizations adopt a hybrid work system for percentages ranging from 20% to 100% of employees. In this context, office arrangements and redesigns aim at adapting the company’s space to this system, emphasizing the areas of socialization, collaboration, and exchange of ideas, as well as connection solutions between colleagues who work in the office and those who work remotely.
Thus, the share of common areas in Workspace Studio projects – areas of socialization and teamwork – rose to almost 50% of the project’s value, compared to 20-25% as pre-pandemic. These are spaces with a relaxed, intimate design, more precisely adapted to specific activities, but also flexible and naturally integrated with the individual work areas. Most conference rooms and individual offices have disappeared, being replaced by acoustic booths, which accommodate up to 4-6 people, areas dedicated to individual work or multifunctional teamwork, mentoring, or presentations.
The occasional need for large conference rooms, amphitheaters or halls dedicated to presentations is addressed by the design projects started by the owners of top offices, the companies in the building having access to these areas on request.
Since last year, there has been a tendency to reorganize the workspace, which is now becoming more and more visible and concrete in the current arrangement. Open space areas are increasingly being transformed into informal areas, so that traditional furniture is partially replaced and/or doubled by furniture dedicated to interactive work.
The preferred hybrid concept now requires a reorganization of the workspace to accommodate a secure interaction environment, the integration of technologies that allow easy use of conference systems as well as social and co-working places – such as electrical offices, phone booths, acoustic panels, or landscape walls. The design of the office and the building are of major importance and are analyzed in detail to ensure a superior quality of the work environment. This trend is equally important for both the tenant and the landlord, because in the end its main goal is to increase productivity, says Mihaela Petrescu, Business Development Director of Workspace Studio.
The budget per workstation increased by 30% compared to the pre-pandemic period
At the same time as changing the market approach, companies are investing in designing or redesigning workspaces to attract employees back to the office.
90% of the workspace design projects carried out by Workspace Studio in 2021 were small and medium-sized projects, adapted for teams of 50-200 people. These have been distinguished by user-centered design, ergonomics, and superior quality of integrated furniture solutions, which ensure increased comfort for employees. Most projects were for spaces with areas between 300 and 1000 square meters, the total budget allocated per project being between 100,000 and 500,000 euros.
The overall design supports social distance, which at the psychological level most of those who return to the office need after almost 2 years of remote work, but at the same time allows connection and collaboration, these being the main reasons why you want to return to the office.
The average budget allocated per employee in Workspace Studio projects has increased compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic. Thus, organizations invest on average over 2,500 euros / workstation.