Colliers transforms its offices and achieves WELL Health-Safety certification for safer workplaces in a pandemic context, marking 25 years of presence on the Romanian market

Business

Real estate consulting company Colliers marks 25 years of presence on the Romanian market by transforming its head office and implementing the WELL Health-Safety standard, the newest building rating system introduced by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) in the context of health challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, Colliers shows leadership in adapting offices to the pandemic and post-pandemic working model and confirms its commitment not only to helping companies achieve LEED, BREEAM and WELL, but also to ensure a working environment with high health and safety standards for their own team.

2020 has fundamentally changed the role of the office, which is no longer seen as just a cost centre, but rather as an essential space where team members can work together in a collaborative and agile way, but at the same time safely, while respecting measures to limit health risks. For 25 years in the Romanian real estate market, Colliers continuously invests in innovation and technologies to support the team, including new experiences from an office life perspective, to grow and perform, to provide the best services to clients and have more time for relevant activities. Colliers has therefore rethought the strategy for the new office based on the innovative Office 360° service in its own portfolio, which provides a complete office approach from all points of view, achieved through a unique and highly complex process, tailored down to the last detail to suit the companies’ future needs and strategic plans.

“In everything we do, we seek to add real value to our partners and clients, as well as create a pleasant working environment for the Colliers team. The office is much more than a location, it’s an experience. The past year has shown us that this experience will be different and that it is up to us to make it as enjoyable as possible. Therefore, we at Colliers decided to be agile, adapt and turn a period of uncertainty into an opportunity to rethink and redesign our office, in a very important moment for us – the 25th anniversary of our presence on the Romanian market”, explains Laurentiu Lazar, Managing Partner Colliers Romania.

“We also recorded a first in Colliers, that of becoming our own client across multiple lines of business. The Leasing, Workplace Advisory, Design, Project Management and WELL Health-Safety certification teams had the opportunity to implement for their colleagues many of the solutions in the Office 360° service that they recommend to clients. On one hand, our new headquarters is the result of combining these varied skills, and on the other it represents the desire and voice of the whole team. We’ve created a warm, home-like atmosphere, a vibe representative of our culture, so that the office continues to be a place where we can focus on collaboration, innovation and teamwork”, adds Laurentiu Lazar.

To determine what is the optimal working environment for the organization and its employees, Colliers started with the needs and expectations of the people on the team and asked them what is most important to them when it comes to their office. This took into account both the team’s preferences regarding the visibility and accessibility of the office and the facilities in the area, as expressed in an internal survey, and Colliers’ business objectives as an employer. To ensure the objectivity of the selection process in shaping the strategy for the new workspace Colliers used Workplace Expert, an innovative online tool developed by the company that recommends different environments and configurations for each office, based on companies’ answers to questions about goals, work patterns and factors underlying organizational culture.

The result is an office that is an extension of the atmosphere at home, but also takes into account the new brand requirements. Based on the idea of 360°, the spatial solution chosen for the Colliers office renders the circular theme in various shapes and planes, giving fluidity and movement to the space, but it also reflects a universal symbolism that resonates very well with what the circle represents for Colliers, i.e. unity, the energy of belonging and the delineation of a safe space of learning and evolution. The strong blue of the semi-open ceilings is designed to give height to the space, to combine the different types of work proposed into a unified whole. For example, the new headquarters combines concentration areas, operational work areas, casual work areas, informal discussion, private discussions and telephone calls areas, which are defined by specific furniture and other associated architectural elements such as acoustic ceilings, acoustic walls, architectural lighting and biophilic elements. All these elements are designed to reduce stress, create a calm, welcoming working environment and stimulate creativity in a direct and natural way.

“Like the partners who have turned to us to coordinate the certification process with the WELL Health-Safety standard, we also put the safety of our team first, so we started this process for our office as well. We want all colleagues to feel safe when working from the new office, designed to allow a dynamic way of working, adapted to combine remote working with office presence for the whole team”, explains Oana Stamatin, Deputy Head Green and Healthy Buildings Certifications at Colliers.

“With this certification we have initiated new health and wellbeing measures aimed at positively influencing the health and wellbeing of our colleagues. We will also have an official recognition of the benefits that Colliers offers or will offer to the whole team, a collective of almost 90 members. During the certification, technical checks of the water and ventilation systems took place in order to get a confirmation of the air and water quality in our space. All efforts towards WELL Health-Safety certification contribute to Colliers’ commitment to its own team first and foremost, but also to its global CSR policy”, continues Oana Stamatin.

The WELL Health-Safety Rating Standard emerged from recommendations received from the IWBI Task Force on Covid-19, a group of approximately 600 health experts, virologists, academics, government officials, construction specialists and real estate professionals. WELL Health-Safety certification addresses all building types, is evidence-based and focuses on adopting operational policies, implementing maintenance protocols and developing emergency plans. In order to maintain certification, projects must go through an annual certification renewal process, which helps ensure a high standard of health and safety is met in the long term.

In total, Colliers, the only real estate consulting firm with a dedicated team of LEED, BREEAM and WELL specialists, has advised on more than 100 projects for certification to all these standards, totaling approximately 3 million square meters during its 10 years of activity in the Green and Healthy Buildings Certifications segment. Of these, 67 coordinated projects have been completed and a further 40 projects are in the process of being certified. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of buildings in protecting people’s health, safety and wellbeing, so this year alone 24 projects have achieved various certifications following advice from the Colliers team.

Colliers Romania has 15 main and different business lines, and half of the company’s revenues are generated from repetitive services such as property management, project management, valuations, certifications, monitoring.

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