We have recently announced our latest product and our partnership with Avison Young Romania, the first company to adopt it. Custom 3D Office Space Planning is meant to streamline the planning and leasing process by offering future tenants a more comprehensive, 3D digital image of their future space.

To learn more about the future of office and the importance of such a product, we sat down with Otilia Bordei, Head of Office Agency at Avison Young. She is an experienced professional in the industry, with more than 9 years of experience in Commercial Real Estate. She’s been involved in the transaction of more the 120.000 sqm of office space within the Romanian market and has been involved in the fit-out execution process and handover of the premises to the clients.

Main takeaways:

  • By adopting the hybrid model of work, organizations have a unique opportunity to recalibrate their workforces and support workplaces to drive productivity and efficiency;
  • A focus on sustainability and commitments toward net zero compliance are no longer optional when choosing an office space;
  • There is a high demand in the market for specialized advice and an innovative approach to tackle the return to office strategy;
  • Today people prefer flexibility and a hybrid type of working and that’s why being able to „visit” a project virtually will become mandatory.

When it comes to the future of work – and implicitly, of office, Otilia says that it is important to start by looking back at how the role of this space has changed over the past couple of years and why these new trends related to “flexibility” and “hybrid work” are not just trends – they became the norm.

A multitude of surveys have shown that working from home has been a positive experience for many people. They have identified aspects of remote work beneficial to their performance, and they have enjoyed the upsides of working flexibly that they would like to experience in the long run. 

But the longer people have been away from offices, the more they have missed their colleagues. For some, inadequate work infrastructure or crowded, distracted living spaces are an ongoing trial. And self-perceptions of productivity, while useful, do not capture everything important about “office work”. 

Therefore, I see a major shift towards working in a „hybrid” model, employees going to the office a few days per week or benefitting from flexible schedule hours, depending on each company’s internal work model policy. I find this „flexible way of working” extremely successful among office workers as they can find their own work-life balance without the barriers of the typical 9-18 schedule. 

As a result, organizations have a unique opportunity to recalibrate their workforces and support workplaces to drive productivity and efficiency.

So the office will still play an important role in the future, but it will have to serve its clients differently. Future occupiers need an office to network, be productive, and brainstorm. Furthermore, they need a space that meets some new criteria, besides traditional ones like location and amenities, and the requirements of some new decision-makers, Otilia argues.

After 2 years of postponing the decisions related to the office space, the processes have restarted. What matters the most is still the location of the property, as well as the availability of multiple transportation services, and I see that now more than ever, decision-makers take into consideration the average commuting time per employee so they can decrease it as much as possible. 

In addition, what started to be of utmost importance are the green technologies of the buildings. Questions like: “is it a green building? What kind of certifications does it have? How much fresh air is provided within the office area?” are being addressed by almost every company that considers relocation of their office. If 3-5 years ago these features were nice to have, nowadays a focus on sustainability and commitments towards net zero compliance are no longer optional, but critical to workplace standards and practices. 

Moreover, today the decision related to the office space is not taken only by the CEO. We see that many other key people from the companies are being involved in this process, especially from the HR and CSR departments.   

Shifting the conversation toward what made Avison Young Romania adopt the new Bright Spaces solution, Otilia says that one of the main challenges it will tackle is that of people having a hard time imagining how an empty office space will look and feel like after the fit-out works.

Many times when a company decides to relocate its office and looks for new premises the space they will see is on an empty floor, maybe even only concrete or a construction site. Therefore it is very difficult for people who are not working in the real estate industry to imagine how the space will look like after the fit-out will be done. 

That’s why we choose to embrace the product developed by Bright Spaces, as we believe it will give our clients the opportunity to see and „feel” their future office space in the most accurate way. In our opinion, renderings are good, but having the opportunity to walk through your office and see all the details before signing a lease for it is priceless and it helps in the decision process.  

She continues, by adding that this Custom 3D Office Space Planning solution will be an instrument to optimize the process of presenting and leasing an office space. 

There is a high demand in the market for specialized advice and an innovative approach to tackle the return to office strategy and with the help of this tool we believe we will be able to make a difference. In addition, it will definitely smoothen and fasten the decision process.

Finally, we couldn’t have ended our interview without addressing the future of office showcasing and leasing and the impact of technology. Digitalization doesn’t bypass real estate, and even though many things are done mostly the same as 10 – 15 years ago, Otilia says that in the past years we’ve witnessed a shift in the mindset of all stakeholders involved in the development and leasing of new projects.

Therefore, new technologies were implemented in the technical part of the buildings and innovations like virtual reception, license plate recognition and activity-based parking are nowadays pretty common. 

At the same time, office showcasing and leasing were still done mostly the same, until the pandemic period when we understood the importance of technology in this area as well. 

Today people prefer flexibility and a hybrid type of working and that’s why being able to „visit” a project virtually will become mandatory. 

Multinational companies have real estate departments that are spread all over the world and it will be more and more difficult to bring all decision-makers to see the potential offices, when through technology you can do that at a click distance. 

It is true that the human touch is still very important in this industry and it will remain so, but I believe that with the help of technology we, as consultants, can focus even more on the client’s needs.

Discover the Custom 3D Office Space Planning solution adopted by Avison Young Romania here: https://brightspaces.tech/space-planning/ 

Learn more about our partnership here: https://www.insights.brightspaces.tech/press-release-bright-spaces-launches-a-new-product-and-avison-young-romania-is-the-first-to-adopt-it/ 

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