The office of the future, which is promoted with great success in the Greek market by the new coworking space of Athens, is revealed by the COO of ViOS Coworking Corinna Saias in an exclusive interview with STARTUPPER MAG, while explaining the reasons why companies are now focusing on a new working model as well as a modern working environment, which focuses on both flexibility and the mental and physical health of employees.
S.M. In 2021, in a difficult period, you made an extremely bold move: you inaugurated a new coworking space in the center of Athens. What is the review of this period?
Corinna Saias: I think we have won the bet. Suffice to say that in August and in the midst of Covid-19 we reached 87% occupancy. People have embraced our project and appreciated our efforts. Basically we exceeded all the predictions of the office rental market!
Our goal is to provide a workplace that is based on the standards of the world’s largest companies and promotes the health and well-being of our members.
The truth is that the professional world has now realized how important it is to invest in the wellbeing of human resources and how it has to do with increasing the efficiency and productivity of employees.
Also, I think that the preference that people have shown to us derives from the fact that we are one of the safest workplaces in Greece. We were built in the midst of the pandemic, so we implemented the most strict measures against Covid-19, which are not easy to implement once a building has been completed, such as the proper ventilation of the premises.
In conclusion, coronavirus has not stopped us, instead it has created the conditions for ViOS services to be appreciated even more.
S.M. The great differentiation of ViOS in relation to the competition is the emphasis on well being with unique benefits. How have your customers accept it?
Corinna Saias: The truth is that the emphasis on wellness is indeed one of our greatest advantages. Many of our member companies offer their workforce as a privilege the ability to work from ViOS. More specifically, they use our benefits as a means of retaining satisfied employees. The aim is to reduce the frequent turnover of employees, an issue that is now one of the most important problems for businesses.
However, I should stress that our differences do not stop there. Our facilities are state-of-the-art and technologically we can support even the most demanding customers. After all, we have successfully worked with multiple multinationals.
Nevertheless, our most important difference I would say is our focus on serving our members. Our customers have direct contact with the entire ViOS team, including the management and therefore there is personalized service.
S.M. One of the “trends” “highlighted” by the coronavirus was the so-called “digital nomads”. In this context, how did ViOS move?
Corinna Saias: Research shows that digital nomads will reach one billion by 2035. If Greece attracted 100,000 digital nomads for just six months, it is estimated that we would have a benefit of 1.6 billion euros (MIT enterprise Forum), which is equivalent to receipts of 2.5 million tourist arrivals for one week of stay.
Athens has great potential for the development of similar communities and our country in the future will attract a large share of digital nomads. Specifically, HSBC’s research ranks Greece as the number 1 destination of digital nomads in terms of wellbeing. At this point you realize, of course, how our services converge with the needs of this particular public.
For our part, we have created attractive and flexible subscriptions, which cover all the technological (and non-technological) needs of digital nomads.
We are in constant contact with organizations that specialize in attracting them, so that we are better informed and provide a high level of service. Unlike the competition, every month we have a steady percentage of digital nomadic traffic.
S.M. In addition to the digital nomads, we have also seen the model of hybrid work developed. Do you think that ViOS can play a leading role – and how – in this new reality that has come and is coming into the field of work?
Corinna Saias: In my point of view, the future of work is hybrid. In a survey conducted by Blueground, 70% of employees find the existence of flexibility extremely important, compared to other work privileges. Also, in many cases it has been found that employees would even accept a reduction in their salary in order to have the flexibility to work remotely.
We were among the first in the market to believe in this work model and created the ViOS Hybrid Office subscription to enable companies to divide their time between face-to-face and remote work.
Specifically, our members can rent a private office per day(s) per month without any other obligation. They choose a day of the week that they wish to be together in the office and the rest operate remotely.
S.M. What are your plans for 2022, but also for years to come? Do you have – among other things – plans to expand to other sites or even to cities?
Corinna Saias: The truth is that we are already in negotiations on ViOS 2. Our next expansion will be again in Attica and then we will explore other cities.
We also intend to expand to other services, which will be complementary to the existing ones and will cover an even greater range of needs of our members. We will be able to announce more information in the coming months.
S.M. What is the picture you have formed regarding the Greek Startup scene so far?
Corinna Saias: I think the scene has become very interesting, attracting the attention of more and more companies. Greek Startups now have a strong performance, attracting large investments from abroad.
According to Marathon VC data, Startups with Greek founders set new records in 2021, amassing a total of 4.5 billion dollars in 2021 and an increase of 239%, compared to 1.3 billion dollars in 2020.
I think that Startups are a business activity that fits the characteristics of the Greek economy and in the future we will see more and more efforts. However, it would be interesting for the state to support similar efforts in other cities in Greece, beyond Athens and Thessaloniki.