No te pierdas los nuevos Encuentros Directivos OBS en colaboración con Onda Cero

Executive Meeting with Anna Gener

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Sustainability and digitalisation: the future of the real estate sector

Durante el Encuentro Directivo de OBS , hemos hablado con Ana Gener sobre el futuro del sector inmobiliario
  • In the year 2000, the 22@ district in Barcelona represented 4% of the city's GDP; today it represents 16%.
  • Nowadays, the ideal working model is what we call a 'liquid hybrid'. This model is based on each professional deciding where he or she will work that day. 

We present the fourth interview of the 2022 Executive Meetings, in which Dr. Casilda Güell, Dean of the school, has talked to Anna Gener, CEO of Savills Barcelona.

Gener was working in audit activity sectors when the 22@ project - Barcelona's Poble Nou district - drove her to dive into the real estate sector. "We were very much aware of how the city was being transformed and of the amount of opportunities that could be generated if we attracted the right companies.I simply wanted to be a part of this huge opportunity," said the CEO of Savills Barcelona. With the 22@ project, 200 hectares of industrial land in the Poble Nou neighbourhood were transformed, giving way to a space for companies and their offices.

"Nowadays, 22@ is where the city's main talent is to be found"

During the meeting, different issues were addressed in relation to the national and international overview of the real estate sector. After the economic crisis of 2008, professionals in the sector saw a new future. But the pandemic caused by Covid-19, as well as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have caused new difficulties in the sector.

"The cost of production is rising due to the shortage of materials, some supply chains are going bankrupt, and this makes our work difficult, as we are struggling to make products accessible to all profiles," stated the real estate expert

After the pandemic, Anna Gener has learned different lessons not only applicable to her sector, but also to the economic and business world. "We must be able to respond quickly, to be very accurate and to read what is happening around us in the world; this is how we can try to anticipate adversities such as this crisis".

A new path towards sustainability and digitalisation

The real estate sector has several unresolved issues, as it is one of the most polluting industries. "We should move towards sustainability and digitalisation, both cities and buildings have to be zero-emission," said the expert. In recent months, the cost of production and energy has been rising, which isn't optimal, considering that it should be more sustainable and affordable for all profiles. "We know that we have a lot of homework to do, especially in the housing market; we have a problem of access to this type of contracting. It is extremely difficult to access it for certain profiles".

However, this problem is not found in the office park, despite the fact that the current working model has changed. The real estate sector is a reflection of society's habits, and the pandemic has brought about some changes that could be considered transitory and others that are going to be structural. Before the pandemic, talent was already demanding more flexibility.

"In the end, confinement has been a forced experiment towards a more hybrid model"

For Gener, the ideal model is what she calls a 'liquid hybrid', which means that every professional decides where to work that day

Not only has the work model changed, but its management has been transformed in different sectors. The rise of e-commerce is forcing companies to have more storage space. At the moment, more logistics space is needed because due to the shortage caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, "companies are looking to store more stock, which means having more space", said Anna Gener.

"I am very proud of the operation we now have underway in the 22@ district"

The CEO of Savills Barcelona told OBS that they are currently working on what will be the future headquarters of Glovo, a space that will have more than 30,000 m2. This success, according to Gener, is mostly based on great teamwork. "For a team to be successful nowadays I believe that the common objective no longer has to be exclusively for the company to achieve good results, which is a given; there should be something more, there has to be professional respect". Our guest says that this is invebitably linked to female leadership: "There is a female way of leading, but fortunately, it isn't exclusively women's. I believe that more men are adopting this type of leadership every day", Gener argued.

The feminine way of leading has a lot to do with the relationship between people, the care for people, the incorporation of all points of view and a leadership that is not hierarchical, but one that takes pride in belonging to a collective.

Find out more about the real estate sector and management with the videopodcast of this interview with Anna Gener here: