The pandemic has affected all our lives, children missing school, holiday plans being pushed further and further back, family events simply not happening and not forgetting our taste buds taking ‘forced leave’ with all the restaurants having to close doors. We have been hit from every side, health concerns, economic hardship, both the physical and psychological effects on us have been tested to the max. Let’s be honest, we were not expecting or believe something in 2020 could impact the world to such a degree…. Unfortunately we were all mistaken, it seems we went to war..
Homeworking, teleworking all became buzzwords across most industries. The thought of being able to work from home wearing your PJs and simply log into ZOOM excited most. The flexibility it gave the average worker was great, walk the dog at lunch time, squeeze in a wash load between meetings, you could even put the shopping away whilst using your newly purchased Air Pods.
As with everything new, the novelty of homeworking wore off quickly. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we Maltese are not disciplined. I am sure the concept works very efficiently for our Scandinavian brothers and sisters but for us we simply don’t have the ability to draw lines. We either take the dog for an extra-long walk (sometimes twice a day) or the emails which used to ‘wait for tomorrow’ certainly become priority over eating Sunday lunch with the kids – modern technology has allowed us to work from everywhere pretty much unnoticed, any working adult who owns a smart phone has said “No Dear, I’m not working, I’m checking my Facebook page”, a white lie, but demonstrates our inability to draw a line between office and home life.
The concept of waving goodbye to the kids in the morning and heading to an office, might be conceived as traditional but let’s be honest it’s great. We arrive at the office, we make a coffee (or a fruit smoothie for the healthy few out there) have a chat, discuss the latest trending must reads and obviously review the last 24hr COVID stats. Oh I forgot one thing… i’ts imperative that the latest government announcement is dissected and an improved action plan is formulated whilst queuing to fill up your water glass. It’s amazing how knowledgeable we all are on current affairs and how best to resolve world problems.
So what’s the future? Traditional office, home working or a hybrid solution? The answer is simple, all three! One thing we have learnt during the pandemic is work home life balance is vital for the psychological welfare of employees, yet engagement plays a major part in productivity and the success of business and personal career development. Do employees need to be stuck at their desks to be productive ? Simply put, ‘no’ but they do need direction and getting this direction from behind a computer screen does not have the same impact as sitting round a table slurping a coffee and brainstorming an idea.
VBL Group operate a number of office units around Valletta and are in the process of developing a further 2000m2 within an exciting mixed use development. We certainly don’t think the physical office is dead, but we do acknowledge that the office scene is changing and we are up to the challenge of office space rental post covid realities. Gone are the days of huge open plan offices, with hundreds of personal cubicles utilizing every square meter. The future is developing spaces for brain storming, collaboration, engagement, for want of a better word: a catalyst hub. We are not talking boring meeting rooms, but roof gardens with lush vegetation similar to the one we are developing on top of VBL Buildings, open plan kitchens with chill out areas, bean bag rooms and the ever-popular coffee shop style setup. Areas which will enhance idea development, creativint and ingenuity. Hot desks will be sporadically placed to allow co-working but spaced sufficiently to allow for concentration for the task at hand. Ventilation systems will take center stage, low leveled glass partitioning will allow for division of space but allow maximum ventilation and air exchange.
Valletta office space has retained its square meter value throughout the pandemic, far better than other localities in Malta, due to its limited supply. Having a Valletta based office is a must for any established business. Valletta has been for many years and still is till today the administrative, cultural and touristic center of the island. The future of office space within the Capital is brighter than ever, more creative space needs to be carved out or additional space added to existing offerings, either option puts VBL Group at the forefront of the future of Valletta office space rentals.