Adapt or else
By Ovidiu Nicolae Posirca, Contributing Editor
We have gone through the biggest work from home exercise in the history of the labour market, and the results are in. Yes, professionals still need offices, but they might opt for more flexible arrangements that were already starting to creep onto the local property market. In last year’s guide, I wrote that working from home for one day every week was becoming an acceptable practice among large companies. Now, a year later, we are wondering whether some employees will ever come back to their offices, as we’ve found out that “Zooming” can get things done just as well.
While companies could measure things such as their employees’ productivity and affinity to corporate values, landlords are working to redesign workspaces with more focus on ergonomics and wellbeing, which is not something new, as some of the newly-delivered office projects were designed this way from the beginning.
Owners of large retail centres are already drawing up strategies to attract Romanian shoppers back to the stores by using tech-based solutions to boost shopping experiences. For some retailers, e-commerce was what kept them afloat while shopping malls were shut down for about 2 months. On the industrial and logistics market, investment activity was unabated thanks to the fact that more companies are boosting their digital sales operations. The health crisis has reinforced some of the trends that had been marking the commercial real estate sector for years. Local startups are providing platforms that can help real estate professionals do their jobs in a more restrictive environment.
On the residential market, developers are paying close attention to new forms of demand which have popped up this year and more premium projects could get co-working spaces or improved design solutions to help residents create an office at home. Leadership on the part of real estate executives matters more than ever in these uncertain times and a crisis of this magnitude could further upend the ways in which we work, shop, and live. As Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said this fall: “I didn’t know that I would make 10 years’ worth of decisions in 10 weeks.