Contemporary office buildings and coworking spaces are comfortable, green and safe
What will be the future of office spaces and work processes? The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to rethink our ideas of what workspace should look like and function. Some specialists were even quick to announce the death of the office spaces, pointing out the large number of companies who transitioned to home operations during the lockdown.
As often happens with overambitious attempts to look into the future – particularly in an unpredictable situation as the current one, the news about the death of office spaces was greatly exaggerated. Life quickly demonstrated that office spaces have no alternative for big and small companies alike, and also for freelancers, with the opportunities they provide to organise work in an environment of optimal physical, technological and digital safety. Millions of employees all over the world realised that their productivity and ability to concentrate on tasks significantly decreased when they had to perform them on a laptop on their kitchen table, surrounded by children frustrated by the distance learning, in a dangerous proximity to the fridge and its tempting contents. Although convenient, video meetings and conferences were utterly incapable of adequately replacing live communication.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic inevitably affected the way we see office spaces today. Their adaptation to the new conditions is inevitable. Strict hygiene, regular disinfection, increased spaces between desks, implementation of social distancing measures are all needed for a company to guarantee its employees' health and its smooth and trouble-free work processes.
Considering all of these, it is hardly a surprise that many companies started looking for ways to leave their old offices not because they planned to transition to full or partial work from home, but because they needed new, improved and more adequate work conditions. What are they? Larger office spaces that allow for keeping up with the social distancing measures. Intelligently organised spaces with options for flexible layout, impeccable technical support, comfortable and safe work environment with plenty of natural light and flawless maintenance, hygiene and disinfection.
Luckily, there are projects on the office property market in Sofia that fit all requirements for a quality and safe work environment with impeccable management, elegant design and the best conditions possible.
Location, location, location: this is the key to each successful property development. Sofia Tech ONE (Sofia, 111 Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd, sales: Sofia, 61 Nikola Vaptsarov Blvd, phones: +359 888 099 099; +359 885 034 858, www.sofiatechone.bg) goes even further. The exclusive office building is located at the corporate heart of the Bulgarian capital – Sofia Tech Park, and is a harmonious combination of high technologies, green and energy efficient construction, elegant design and a pleasant ambience for the workers in the offices. Sofia Tech ONE meets the highest category of BREEAM standards and offers to its inhabitants 2,656 sq.m of open space offices on each floor that allow flexible and comfortable layout to fit the company's needs. The double floors, the acoustic ceiling, the intelligent air conditioning system, the fast-speed OTIS lifts and the 24/7 security service are just some of the details that make work at Sofia Tech ONE pleasant, effective and safe. The modern glazed facade with UV protection and the atrium bring in a lot of daylight in each office. Office workers at Tech ONE have at their disposal a restaurant, a cafe, a pharmacy, a bank branch, a dry cleaning and other amenities. Sofia Tech ONE uses professional property management services and the underground parking has 400 lots and an option for electric vehicle charging stations. All of these make Sofia Tech ONE the first choice for each company that is sticklers for location, innovation and elegant architecture.
Trade Center Europe (Sofia, 7 Iskarsko Shose Blvd, www.tce.bg) is a compound of 16 multifunctional trade and business buildings and adjacent spaces. The harmonic combination of offices and zones for recreation, services and entertainment makes an overall unit that in 2011, with Building 15, deservedly won the prestigious Building of the Year award. Trade Center Europe ambitiously and successfully uses the most advanced construction technologies. In 2012, Building 15 received the first BREEAM certificate in Bulgaria and four years later Building 1 became the first BREEAM certified building with an Excellent rating in Bulgaria. The same year it won "Building of the Year" in the category "Sustainable and Green Buildings." Trade Center Europe is also the winner of the Prix D'Excellence FIABCI award on national stage. What will you find in the compound? Besides Class A offices, the compound offers retail spaces, a sports center, halls for badminton and squash, warehouses. Tenants enjoy amenities such as five restaurants, a corporate kindergarten, three bank branches, a supermarket, a hairdresser, a dry cleaner, a drone showroom, a car wash, a service for tyre and oil change, electric vehicles charging stations, plenty of parking spaces, carefully maintained green areas and water fountains.
During the lockdown this spring we suddenly and strongly realised how important was our contact with nature for our physical and psychological health. Sofia is blessed with the proximity of the Vitosha and companies that want to be close to the mountain and its clean air have a solution.
XS Tower Business Centre (Sofia, 5 Panorama Sofia St, phone: +359 2 405 9888, www.xstower.bg) is a 6,500-square-metre Class A office building located in a dynamically developing area at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain. Some of Bulgaria's leading high-tech companies have their offices at XS Tower's five above ground floors and underground level. Top-class architecture, effective and functional floor layout, high quality of the construction and all structural installations make XS Tower's key characteristics.
Sofia's centre has indisputable advantages as a business location because of the proximity of the institutions, its historical atmosphere and parks, and the abundance of nice restaurants and cafés where employees can spend their break and where managers can organise their meetings.
An exclusive environment, a central location and excellent conditions – this is what defines the offices at the multifunctional San Stefano Plaza building (Sofia, 22 San Stefano St, phone: +359 2 846 4070, www.sanstefanoplaza.com). Each of the luxury offices is spacious, connected to all levels of the building and the underground parkings, and has its own sanitary facility and kitchenette. The blinds that protect from the sun are operated by a meteorological station on the roof to enable better energy efficiency. Ceilings are acoustic and floorings are sound-proof. The air conditioning and the ventilation systems can be regulated depending on the CO2 levels in the room. The workers in the offices and their guests have at their disposal 300 parking places. The opportunity to rent an apartment at San Stefano Plaza is an excellent solution not only for companies which have settled in the compound, but also to any Sofia-based firm that wants to provide its international partners with a stay in the heart of the city in an ambience of luxury and comfort.
At a first glance, individual entrepreneurs, freelancers, creative types and startup founders can easily adapt to work from home – many of them anyways do most of their job from a laptop. However the reality, as it often happens, is more complex. These professionals often rely on creative ideas generated during active contacts with other people – online communication cannot replace such contacts. And it is hardly sensible for such a professional to invest in a printer, for example, if they need this technology relatively rarely. This is why such professionals need a well designed space where they can do their immediate work and which gives them the opportunity for online and offline contacts with kindred spirits.
In the past few years in Sofia appeared a number of coworking spaces that vary from nice cafés with a designated work area to professionally designed and maintained places. The sector was affected by the lockdown but is now reviving, adapted to the new realities – safe, comfortable, and equipped with all needed amenities.
Bulgaria's first coworking space appeared in 2004 thanks to Sterling Serviced Office Group (www.sterlingoffice.com). Last year, the company also gave us This Way (Sofia, 2 Ivan Abadzhiev St, floor 4, office А, phone: +359 2 9264 264, www.thisway.com). Designed by ambitious and talented Bulgarian designers with nature-friendly materials and after a concept for flexible layout, This Way suits equally well freelancers, startups and large companies who want more creative solutions for their teams. At This Way you will find 2,100 sq.m of shared work spaces, separate offices, meeting rooms and an event hall that can accommodate more than 100 workers. Following its philosophy to provide its clients with what they need when they need it, This Way has created optimally flexible conditions. Rent payment is on a monthly basis, without administrative fees and CAPEX, and besides your office you can also use 700 sq.m of shared spaces with zones for meetings and relaxation furnished with comfortable furniture and with the option to have a cup of really good coffee or selected tea. Trouble-free work is possible thanks to fast Internet connection and technical maintenance team. All that is left to you is to concentrate on your work.
Truly creative ideas are born more easily and materialise more effectively when their authors are in a space that inspires them to unleash their potential and to meet kindred spirits. This is the philosophy of the young and ambitious team of KО-ОP (Sofia, 17 Yanko Sakazov Blvd, www.ko-op.bg). Centrally located, impressively designed and open 24/7, KО-ОP is a creative space where inspiration is the natural result of the environment and the free exchange of ideas. True to its philosophy, KО-ОP boldly breaks the confines of the general shared workspace and provides home for art events and exhibitions by established and young authors. Of course, the amenities provided are at the same level of quality. The furniture is custom-made, the Internet connection is fast, and tenants have at their disposal all the services and stationary they need, plus an equipped kitchenette and even a place to shower after a busy creative session.
Providing clients' safety and securing flexible conditions adapted to their needs are the main priority for the professionals at Cherryz.Work Managed Offices (Sofia, Mladost 1, block 54 А, phone: 0888 00 74 41, www.cherryz.work). How do they achieve it? Thanks to separate offices, clients of Cherryz.Work Managed Offices can work at a social distance and have the tranquility they need to concentrate fully on their projects. While tenants are busy with their immediate tasks, Pavel and Yanko from Cherryz.Work Managed Offices are occupied with the important, but boring details of providing a smooth work process, from high speed Internet connection to office supplies and regular room disinfection. To make things even better, partnership with Cherryz.Work Managed Offices is efficient, without cumbersome contracts and hidden legal traps.
The variety of options for small and large businesses to find a safe home in 2020 brings in the hope that in a challenging year there are loyal and caring partners on the market who offer the optimal conditions for the growth of both companies and ideas.