Real Estate for a changing world

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Working with occupiers to best exploit office space


For our occupier clients, different parts of their business including Human Resources, Financial Directors and CSR management recently shared with us their new requirements, in light of the health crisis. Here Deputy Managing Director, Head of Lettings, Paris Region at BNP Paribas Real Estate, Eric Siesse shares his thoughts on the new ways we may be using space.

Eric Siesse

The office building must respond to a new paradigm which is characterised by agility, resilience and appeal and a new form of safety expected by our occupiers

Eric Siesse
Deputy Managing Director, Head of Lettings, Paris Region, BNP Paribas Real Estate

The Office Rental Division of BNP Paribas Real Estate teams have been working closely with workplace and project specialists in order to help our clients navigate the post-Covid-19 world. A quick evaluation was created especially for this. It includes three main objectives:

  • Conduct a personalised analysis of each client's situation
  • Assess different parameters within the context of the current health crisis
  • Understand that we must ask ourselves the right questions, and decipher what are short and long term trends 

It is thus necessary to assess the full extent of the current transformation of how places are being used in response to the post-Covid-19 period, while adjusting to the specificities of each occupier client accordingly, in their main field but also the different professions within the organisation.

Fortunately, real estate professionals, investors and developers have not waited for the end of the Covid-19 crisis to start thinking differently about the office building and integrating these changes into how the space is used. It is the value stemming from how a building is used which is sometimes accompanied by an intangible value that is difficult to quantify, which will start to challenge or complete the price-per-square-metre value of office buildings. The location and the quality of the building won’t be the only elements which make up the price.

The office building must respond to a new paradigm which is characterised by agility, resilience and appeal and a new form of safety expected by our occupiers. Appeal will be promoted by how we feel in a space; a meaningful location and one that is recognised as such by its occupiers or in attracting new recruits.

Agility will translate into more flexible, reversible and even inclusive spaces when possible in order to accommodate more hybridisation in how buildings are used and promote collective, creative and collaborative intelligence. Design that is adapted to how we interact with space is a must-have!

Resilience will be closely linked to this notion of “square metre quality over square metre quantity” or a space that often changes. Safety, for which the health crisis will play an accelerating role, will meet the new expectations that will arise in terms of air quality, space modularity, furniture adaptability, making spaces private, and flow optimisation etc. In conclusion, even though I am sure that the office building will maintain a central role, it will become more and more an “activity hotel”, digital, transverse and customisable, that co-working and remote working will simply serve to complement.

When we start going to the office because we need to, to consolidate a project, to meet, to take part in training sessions, and to collaborate. We will completely disrupt the perpetual routine of going back and forth from work and give more meaning to the commute.

The office, whether it be the headquarters, middle office or back office will hold pride of place for the employees, be a flagship and a trust catalyst for clients and an essential advocate for the employer’s brand in order to attract new recruits.