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If there is something that the quarantine revealed, it is that a large part of the work that was done in the offices could be carried out from the comfort of each employee’s home. The home office opened the doors for many people to find pleasure in working from home, saving travel time and preventing the much-feared contagion of the coronavirus. This not only generated cultural changes, but also favored the birth of a new market, not only local but also international, that of modular offices, also known as portable or “installable”.

This type of property, small in size and functional in design, quickly became a commercial success throughout the world. In times of isolation and social distancing Many entrepreneurs, designers and architects found office cabins a great business opportunity. This is how in a very short time in the international market the options began to multiply.

One of them is WorkPod. This model created by the firm Autonomous is distinguished by its 17 prefabricated components that, like a Lego They can be assembled in a single day and without the need for construction knowledge. In addition, its large windows (from floor to ceiling) connect the occupant with the outside.

Autonomous

The WorkPods are compatible with most types of ground – including gravel, brick, grass and concrete – which is undoubtedly a great advantage, since they can easily adapt to any type of terrain. Another benefit it has is its high sound and thermal insulation power. that allows each occupant not to be distracted by the sounds of nature or children. In addition, climatic variations are not a problem either. The office is made on a base of steel and cement and covered with strong and noble woods such as oak and walnut. They are equipped with an electrical wiring system configured in advance.

Autonomous

According to the website of its developers “you just have to assemble them and plug them into an electricity source so that the lighting, power outlets, portable air conditioning and an internal fan work.” The portable work structure has a three-year warranty and sells for $22,800. For this price, the company promises that the offices resist wind, rain, snow, humidity, high temperatures and even the cries of the most unruly little ones.

Another proposal is the one launched by the Irish startup Nooka. This company not only offers a different type of property, but also devised its business proposition in a different way. Their business is based on the rental of these mini-workspaces that they call “proximity offices”. “This is a practical and functional solution that can be rented temporarily and that can be installed both in the patio and in the garden of the house,” the same entrepreneurs explain in a press release.

These modular buildings are an alternative for those who do not want to return to the office or those who continue to work remotely and need to separate their work space from their home (and the children or the family). These job positions They come fully equipped with a desk, chair, wardrobe, high-speed Wi-Fi, power, lighting, smart lock, heating and cooling. The first versions that came onto the market are designed without a bathroom, although they are already evaluating the incorporation of this space for future designs.

Nooka

It should be clarified that This idea did not come from the hand of the pandemic, although with the appearance of Covid-19 and the massive implementation of the home office This alternative took much greater preponderance. “We, before the coronavirus arrived, we noticed that many people worked from home in less than ideal conditions. Most of the time they did it from the kitchen table, the couch and sometimes in bed,” says CEO Leanne Beesley. And he adds: “We understood that it was necessary to give a solution to all those people who do home office. And that’s how our ‘proximity offices’ were born”.

The great innovation that Nooka brings lies not so much in the workspace, but in the way people access it. “Currently, there are a number of companies that make small prefab buildings that homeowners can purchase for additional office space, but these properties are often out of pocket for most of the public. For this reason we thought of a much more accessible option”, comenta Beesley.

Nooka

The commercial strategy proposed by the startup, which is presented as “the first network of smart proximity offices”, is based on monthly memberships. “Our system contemplates that people can join Nooka, thus obtaining a pass for a minimum duration of one month, which will allow them to use our proximity offices. The smallest models (for one person) have a rental cost of €299 per month, while the one that offers two workstations can be rented for €399. For those who request it, a model with three work locations can be made”, says the CEO. It adds: “Becoming a member gives you instant access to the Nookas community and network around the world.”

For those who want to acquire a property of this type, they can do so making a deposit of around €1000 and then a series of installments which, according to the portal, is much more accessible than renting a job in any coworking space. The company claims that both those who rent and those who buy this type of mini-work structures are guaranteed free delivery, throughout Europe, within a maximum period of 60 days.

Many of the members who joined the network during the first stage They reside in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. According to the startup, most clients are looking for a quiet space to work or study from home. The company also offers the option to anyone who has a backyard on their property and see the business opportunity of subletting the workspace to neighbors, friends, or acquaintances. For those who see a temporary workspace sublease business, the startup offers not only to associate with them commercially, but also provides them with a simple application that allows them to manage the business.

Beesley says that Nooka is in talks with a few companies that are interested in leasing these units for their employees. One of the Irish firm’s first clients is a town in Romania that wants to add modern home comforts to make it easier for people to work remotely.

Nooka

According to the CEO of the company, before the pandemic, “a trend was observed: the multiplication of coworking spaces in suburban sectors. Today many people -fruit of Covid-19- they are trying to stay in their homes and for them the ‘proximity office’ is presented as a great solution”, Beesley concludes. For this year, which has just started, the company -which is currently present in six European countries- plans to expand to the United States.

In our country, modular offices have also become a kind of phenomenon that took a big boost from the pandemic. But it is worth clarifying that they were born a long time ago and that Among the items that made the most of their use, the oil and mining companies and those related to construction and roads stand out. As expected, the pandemic -somehow- helped to make them a more accessible and massive option.

One of the forerunners in these lands of modular offices is Juan Luis Basombrío, president and founder of U-Store, a firm that currently rents out shipping containers as storage space. Basombrío is a born entrepreneur, his business vision and his conviction have made him -in the last ten years- one of the benchmarks in the storage sector in Argentina, but his origins in the business are related to the so-called modular offices.

“Fifteen years ago I started with just a personal loan. with that money I bought eight shipping containers and started renting them to oil, gas and mining camps. Some were renovated as offices, homes, laboratories or changing rooms. After 60 days the company ‘gave the first peso’. Since then, it has never stopped making profits. The credit was paid by the business alone. In that world I stayed for five years. Then came the stage of storage with the birth of U-Store, an area to which I finally dedicated myself”, explains the entrepreneur who Currently, it has 5,200 square meters divided into two properties (one in Don Torcuato and the other in Escobar).

Since the appearance of Basombrío in the field of modular offices until today, not only the firms that offer these options have multiplied, but also the clients that demand them. “Currently, in this sector there is almost an option for every need,” concludes Basombrío.

With two decades of history and more than 980 projects carried out, Mobilbox has two branches (in Buenos Aires and Neuquén), offers turnkey projects and modular structures both for sale and for rent, for almost all items and functionalities. In what has to do with offices, they have three models, which can be combined to increase the surface. Another of the firms that stands out in the sector is Modules DOF ​​Housing Solutions. The company based in the town of Ensenada offers both modular housing options, gastronomic premises and offices with six models that range from free floors to structures with kitchen and bathroom).

Another of the brands that offers rental of habitable modules is Tcom, the firm from Villa Rosa, Buenos Aires, which offers five valid options to be used as work spaces. The smallest (3×2.4 meters) It has a multifunctional and efficient design and is designed for all kinds of functionalities. It is equipped with electricity system, air conditioning equipment and window.

The firm Mini Casas Argentinas builds offices, houses and barbecue areas made from maritime containers that they market them under the turnkey system at $78,000/m2. The service, with estimated delivery between 20 and 30 days, includes dry construction made with noble and sustainable high-quality materials. Also, customers can choose the finishing details.

Patricio Rozenblum, Marcelo Saul and Guido Cabrosi have been friends since high school and lead the Oslo Group, a group of companies made up of Oslo Properties, PBG Developments and Baires Apartments, which specializes in the execution of construction projects, second-hand buying and selling services, and traditional rentals.

His latest project is Azur, a building with a US$10 million investment and located in the heart of Palermo Nuevo. It has nine floors and 6,000 m2 of offices with the particularity of adapting to the area required by the client: each level is pre-divided into seven modules of 55 m², and those who buy directly can join or separate on demand.

If the building is already built and partitioned, the office can be given a different size than the existing one. How? The secret is to use “beamless slabs – if you take the wall out there won’t be a beam where the dividing wall was – and Durlock partition walls. As there is nothing on the roof, it can be moved like a box”, explains Marcelo Saul, commercial director of the Oslo group.

Azur would be ready by the end of 2023, there the square meter averages US$2700. Each module consists of 55 m² and an entire floor occupies 460 m². Undoubtedly, this innovation is a response to the market that seeks customization in spaces. “We realized that the possibility of modulating the plants offered much more versatility when it came to going out to market and we were not wrong”, concludes Rozenblum.ß


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