The experts of the South East European Property Forum organised in Bucharest reviewed the situation affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our company was represented by Angelica Pantilie, CEO of B+N Romania at the “Back to the Office – New Workplace Strategies” panel discussion.
The moderator opened the discussion by putting fundamental questions people are most interested about: “How will companies organise hybrid working models in the future?” or “How will they combine home office and office work?”
Hybrid working arrangements depend on several factors, such as the distance between home and the office or how the safety of office work is ensured. Companies must consider the advantages and disadvantages of teleworking. They gain time, since employees do not have to travel, which also means saving on costs. However, you cannot hire new employees in remote work arrangements. Other cons include the negative impacts on team work, cooperation, the sense of common success and social interactions among colleagues. These are the factors that you cannot – and should not – cut out from daily routines.
Naturally, the proportion of the staff being vaccinated is a very important consideration. And you cannot disregard the tenant mix of an office building, the various types of companies or corporate cultures.
B+N PROVIDES ITS SERVICES TO AN EXTREMELY DIVERSE PROPERTY PORTFOLIO IN THE REGION
Angelica Pantilie said that B+N provides its services to an extremely diverse property portfolio in the region. It is perfectly natural in the case of a large number of firms engaged in various sectors that you see different approaches day by day. The office market is totally different from the manufacturing sector or logistics. You cannot even talk about telecommuting in the latter case. At present, 30% of the office employees are physically present at their workplace in Romania.
She also added that, in addition to the human considerations of the issue, it needs a lot of work arrangements as well, for everybody would like to work from home on Friday or Monday, thus extending the weekend. The employees and the employers are jointly responsible for such arrangements. Multinational companies are likely to make central decisions on this, while smaller, more flexible entities will treat this as a local issue.
B+N ROMANIA: THE LACK OF PRESENCE HAS NOWHERE SET BUSINESS BACK DURING THE PANDEMIC
Regarding hybrid work schemes, a relevant question that goes beyond the office market is whether the company is paying for the employees’ time, i.e. 8 hours a day or their performance, i.e. the job done. In Romania, several large banks have started following the latter path.
The CEO of B+N Romania commented: it was a surprising realisation in the world that the lack of presence has almost nowhere set business back during the pandemic; the efficiency of work has not decreased. Most of the projects have been running smoothly.
However, in her opinion, models based solely on telework cannot be sustained for long, since there is a risk that corporate culture and values cannot be retained without meetings in person, team work and a sense of common success. This is one of the most important questions of our present and the near future.
ANGELICA PANTILIE: THESE HAVE BEEN THE MONTHS OF AN IT AND TECHNOLOGY BOOM
The participants of the discussion said that the emergence of remote working was good business for the entire Central European region, including Romania where a lot of office space is offered to international clients, and not only in Bucharest but in the other cities as well.
Angelica Pantilie explained: this period has seen an IT and technology boom and new communication platforms have been developed for those working from home.
B+N has brought pioneering solutions to the market, such as its proprietary cleaning robot or the so-called gene sequencing procedure aimed at detecting infections and heavily reducing their spreading, for, as we all know, crises are always a source of new solutions and creativity.