There’s a new kid on Saigon’s commercial real estate block and the newcomer is turning heads. OfficeHaus, a modernist marvel opening in Saigon’s ‘green lung’ in late 2021, hopes to revolutionize the way the city works. A handsome Bauhaus-inspired 7-storey building located within Celadon City, OfficeHaus has residential zones, the country’s largest Aeon Mall and Tan Son Nhat International Airport all within easy reach. Formed for function and built to be affordable, it offers a LEED-certified, human-scale alternative outside of the downtown core.
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With companies taking a fresh look at how they use their space, the general sentiment is that the office will remain at the heart of company workflows. In the brewing debate about the future of work, it is the function of the office building, not its relevance, that gets most of the air time.
If it’s a teeming office tower in a business district you’re picturing right now, you’re not alone. A tidal wave of coffee-toting urbanites rushing into a high-rise is a long-standing symbol of the modern work environment. Yet according to experts, these bastions of office culture are facing competition from an unlikely corner: the suburbs. In addition to cutting commute time and offering superior work-life balance, moving out of the CBD comes with significant bottom line savings.
Whether it’s downsizing to create a more distributed workforce or moving to a bigger office to use it as a hub, the patterns of attendance are changing and with them, our expectations of the workplace. And as organizations are taking stock of their office requirements — how to reconfigure them and how much space they need — the real estate market is responding with solutions that address the unique circumstances of today.
The rising demand for high-quality office space outside of the downtown core can be explained by a number of factors. First, as governments are putting more emphasis on health, safety and wellness features, buildings that offer wellness solutions that go beyond clean-desk policies and socially distanced seating are seen as more desirable.
This shift is happening just as residents in commuter towns and suburban zones, who previously thought nothing of spending an hour each morning sitting in bumber-to-bumber traffic, are reconsidering their lifestyle choices and looking to work closer to where they live. New developments offer just that, plus cutting-edge technology designed for the new normal of work when keeping employees healthy is the priority.
Pioneering developments such as OfficeHaus are introducing the ‘contactless office’ concept with touch-free features that were once a luxury very few could afford and the sole prerogative of Tier 1 markets. Such buildings feature smart management systems that create contactless pathways for all occupants from the street to their workstation. This eliminates direct contact with communal surfaces, such as door handles, and could include AI-assisted elevator controls or biometric recognition technology at security checkpoints. Mobile phones and contactless smart cards make entering and exiting the office floor and access other zones such as lounge areas and washrooms a seamless process.
Another reason companies choose to relocate to integrated lifestyle townships like Celadon City is the rekindled interest in finding the elusive life-work balance. Mental health being a recurrent theme in 2020, moving to the leafy suburbs with the promise of alfresco lunch breaks and ample jogging space becomes another way to boost team morale and coax employees from behind their lived-in kitchen table workstations.
And while parks and green spaces are all good and well, considering that the bulk of the workday is spent indoors, prioritizing healthier and more productive workplaces is another growing trend. Thankfully, the industry has made great strides with the adoption of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards – a globally-recognized green building rating system.
As the name suggests, buildings with LEED certification promise a reduced stress on the environment by encouraging energy conservation, but they are meant to be just as good for the morale and wellness of the workers typing away or answering calls inside.
LEED-certified buildings have plenty of natural daylight thanks to large windows and typically come with open spaces built with employee or occupant comfort in mind as much as energy savings.
Besides boasting increased sunlight, the latest crop of such green projects also have significantly higher air quality and more comfortable work space for employees – somewhere workers would actually want to spend their days. Saigon’s OfficeHaus, for example, comes with the largest available floorplate in the market offering plenty of adaptable space for the tenants to create a work environment that best suits their needs.
Something you can only earn but not buy, as a mark of quality the LEED plaque on a building is worth its weight in gold. And as the buildings and their owners get awarded for the good behavior, the occupiers get to enjoy a better lifestyle. A win-win solution.