"Change is inevitable. It should not be feared but embraced by building companies, investors and property managers," asserted our General Manager and BASSCOM advisory board member George Brashnarov at this year's Office Investments & Workspace Forum, organized by The City Media Group.
He participated in the opening discussion panel Office Space Market 2021 – Attitudes, Support and Expectations. Main topics included innovative market concepts in the context of the growing need for flexibility, current demand for new office spaces and expert predictions of what 2021 holds for local business. Panel participants featured directors and regional managers of important real estate companies like RPHI, Prodea Investments, Park Lane Developments, Concentrix and Garitage Park.
Brashnarov stated his firm belief that even though some employees will start transitioning from remote to on-site work, that is not likely to lead to a high demand for new office spaces.
"Lately, lots of professionals started rethinking remote work perks. Some of them will return to their offices permanently while others would go for the hybrid working model. Yet this in itself won't benefit the office space market significantly. The main issue is the scarcity of local talent on Bulgarian markets. Even if all employees miraculously go back to their workplaces this Fall, this won't create a demand for a large number of new office buildings."
And that this, combined with the new way people approach work and office hours, would lead to a major shift in the way office space is being managed and rented, argued Brashnarov.
"This change won't happen overnight – it might take up to 10 years. But preparation for it should start right away. I've been talking about it for ages – the implementation of BIM is the next big thing. The idea that each building should not be a finished project but a work in progress, a constantly evolving high-tech product."
All in all, Brashnarov was cautiously optimistic about what the future holds.
"And that's a positive prospect. The future is full of unexplored opportunities for achieving new levels of quality and service. And in order to get ready for that future, real estate companies should become more flexible. They should forget the idea that an office building is simply a workspace that is up for rent. It should be a much, much more complicated entity – it should deliver more added value, it should offer new services. It's insane not to take advantage of what technology and information technology offers you in times like these."
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