Antoniu Panait, Vastint Romania: “We are focusing on the tenant and existing projects and based on the market’s demand we are ready to deliver new projects”
“The lockdown period came as for all the developers, with a certain decrease of the demand regarding the leasing process. It was an effect that we consider normal, as each company started to evaluate its structure and needs,” Antoniu Panait, Managing Director of Vastint Romania told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“We are in a lucky position because we completed last year up to 60.000 square meters that are fully functional and equipped with the latest technology. While the present is stable, for the future we are focusing on the tenant and existing projects and based on the market’s demand we are ready to deliver new projects,” he explained.
How do you perceive the importance of reshaping the current workplace in the overall context of the work environment?
The workplace environment should be able to adapt its functionalities in order to continue offering a safe and secure place, and the pandemic period has shown us the importance of technical details and other amenities like: 100 percent fresh air supply, open-able windows, extended outdoor areas that may be used for informal meetings and working. We are very fortunate that both our projects, Business Garden Bucharest and Timpuri Noi Square, are equipped with all the new technologies, having the premises to offer a proper space for the tenants.
The present requests to extend the existing spaces, show us that the companies are taking into consideration a comeback into the office, ensuring all the necessary safety measures in order for their employees to consider themselves safe.
What new competencies emerged from virtual working in your company?
As a team, we are used to interact a lot, to take decisions based on face to face meetings, and by consulting each other. Virtual working was a bit difficult due to the lack of human interaction and dependency on the great number of platforms, and also because for some of us, drawing the line between the professional and personal life was very difficult having to be in the same time a professional and a parent for their children.
What plans do you have for the near future in terms of business development? Which are the company’s priorities and focus?
We are in a lucky position because we completed last year up to 60.000 square meters that are fully functional and equipped with the latest technology. While the present is stable, for the future we are focusing on the tenant and existing projects and based on the market’s demand we are ready to deliver new projects.
What aspects of businesses have been impacted more in this period and how should they be revamped or reinvented?
The lockdown period came as for all the developers, with a certain decrease of the demand regarding the leasing process. It was an effect that we consider normal, as each company started to evaluate its structure and needs.
The good surprise came after the lockdown when some of our tenants have decided to lease extra spaces either needed to ensure the social distancing requirements and to make their employees feel safe in the office or to make room for new employees. So, currently we have new contracts waiting to be signed and expansions for existing Tenants. This outcome made us feel very positive regarding the future.
What is your approach in terms of HR this year? How do you feel about the current workforce market and which are the challenges to be addressed in this respect?
After a work from home period, during the emergency state, coming back into the office was one of our one most important internal decisions, in order to reestablish the workflow and also to ensure all our employees that everything is under control, and working as a team will help us surpass this period. Our human nature, of social creatures that eager to socialize and interact was at great test during the lockdown.
What is your feeling regarding the evolution of the workplace developments in the next years and with what effects on the market and companies?
The future of the workplace as we envision it, will be a mix of working from home from the industries that can easily adapt their activity to this solution, and for the ones that are coming into the office, there will be a bigger space dedicated to the employee, to ensure that all the safety measures are taken. We are positive that all the details will be easily adapted when needed.
What kind of specific needs and solutions did you identify in respect of your clients’ demands at this point and after this period?
The majority of our tenants are important names in the IT sector, banking and medical service, one the most important players during this pandemic period. As I already mentioned, for the tenants that were in search of extra space we tried to find solutions to expand their offices, and for the others, we analyzed and customized solutions, in order to help them surpass this period.
At a wider economic level in your activity field, what disruptive changes do you anticipate for the future and how should the companies in the industry address them?
It’s hard to envision the impact of the pandemic situation and what will be the implications in the futures economy. The most noticeable differences that might come in the real estate sector, regarding the office building development and lease, is the need of the tenants for bigger spaces in order to keep everything under control during critical situations, while some other companies will optimize their resources.
How should a real estate developer think and evolve to better adjust to the new global realities?
I always compare our business to a boat. In order to cross a swirling sea, you need to have a crew that you trust and with whom you can sail through any storm. In order to surpass this period that is “different” and new for all of us, we need to build strong partnerships with our tenants and to rely on each other, to find the best solution for all of us.