What are the characteristics of “hybrid” work in Italy?
Francesco Barbieri: In line with what we are seeing in Europe, the current trend in Italy is towards widespread adoption of hybrid working methods. This way of working, switching between the office, the home and third places, is called “smart working” and was introduced into Italian law in 2017. Smart working has considerably impacted the expectations of employees, who are now demanding multiple and, above all, flexible workspaces.
Meanwhile, the practice of co-working is growing, fuelled by the ramp-up of different operators, whether they be pure players or not. Milan is certainly the prime location where co-working has taken root as a supplementary offer to conventional offices, followed by Rome.
Take us through Wellio Dante and Wellio Duomo
Francesco Barbieri: Opened in 2020 during the pandemic, Wellio Dante took shape in a neoclassic building owned by Covivio and located in Milan city centre, near Cordusio.
With a surface area of over 4,700 m², Wellio Dante offers 400 workstations (customisable private offices or shared spaces), meeting rooms and spaces suitable for different types of events. Designed as a genuine tribute to the Milan architectural style, each floor has its own particular character. Always mindful of offering a working environment conducive to user well-being, Wellio provides a wide range of services: bar, rooftop with views of the Duomo, restaurant run by Foorban, upper floor kitchens, a gym, lounge, and more.
The second Wellio spot in Milan, and the ninth in Europe, opened in a historic building in spring 2022 at the corner of Via dell’Unione and Via Torino, a stone’s throw from the famous Duomo from which it draws its name. We decided to open Wellio Duomo after the success of Wellio Dante, which was soon fully occupied, thus confirming that the concept was, and still is, fully in sync with the needs of employees and companies.
Wellio Duomo covers 5,000 m² and includes 500 customisable and flexible workstations, as well as meeting rooms, communal areas, a third-floor bar with terrace and a 500 m² rooftop offering a breathtaking view of the Duomo. And naturally, high-end services are the icing on the cake.
Our main clients at these two locations are major Italian and international companies which have signed firm commitments for several years, thereby confirming their conversion to the new hybrid working methods.Francesco BarbieriHead of Transactions and Special Projects, Covivio
In what way is the Wellio offering unique in Milan’s co-working landscape?
Francesco Barbieri: The Wellio offering is unique for several reasons. First, the two sites, Wellio Dante and Wellio Duomo, are located in prime city-centre locations. Second, Covivio’s real estate expertise in offices and hotels breathes life into unique premium places that enhance user well-being. In addition, the fact that Covivio owns and manages the Wellio buildings enables it to establish a close daily relationship with clients while increasing team responsiveness. Finally, we have an off-the-peg office solution for Wellio clients opting for private office mode. Operation is simple: the client can choose to delegate the management of all or some of its services, such as IT, to us. There are many advantages: time saving, economies of scale and a single point of contact, Wellio, for the management of all services. Basically, the management of the property is vastly simplified.
Open plan, flex-office, service offering, co-working spaces, operated office: the office is constantly evolving and is now a multi-faceted space.
What do you think will be the next major transformation of the office?
Francesco Barbieri: User expectations are increasingly turning towards office spaces offering experiences inspired by both hotels and residential real estate. Offices we enjoy going to and feel good in. It’s no longer a matter of feeling “like home”, but “better than home”.
In the future, shared workspaces will become an increasingly valued commodity. They will need to foster both formal and informal teamwork, mentoring, recruitment and the sharing of ideas. They will be comfortable spaces with all the requisite security measures, offering services to promote a better work-life balance. The hybrid use of space, which is the cornerstone of the Wellio concept, will gain increasingly more ground.