Corporate Real Estate Responsibilities For 2022
There has perhaps never been a more challenging or exciting time to be a corporate real estate leader.
Today’s CRE leaders must tackle space challenges in the hybrid workplace and make lease and purchasing decisions to optimize their real estate portfolio. They must strike a balance between managing costs and improving the tenant or employee experience. While it’s a lot for anyone to juggle, these challenges also bring new opportunities to work smarter, use data to drive decision-making, and rethink the traditional approach to the office.
Here’s a closer look at what it takes to be a corporate real estate leader today and how to prepare for the future amid a changing CRE landscape.
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What are a corporate real estate leader’s responsibilities?
Space planning and forecasting
Corporate real estate leaders need to develop long-term plans for their company’s real estate strategy, taking into account their current needs and anticipated growth. They also need to consider economic factors and how employee work habits are changing, as well as larger business objectives like reducing costs or achieving sustainability goals, as they determine whether to lease new buildings or improve space utilization for the real estate they currently have.
Space accounting and cost analysis
As a corporate real estate leader, you need to justify the cost of every space to your finance team. That means keeping track of the total costs of square footage by building and department. You may even have multiple tenants using the same space, so being able to manage chargebacks is critical.
Conducting a cost-benefit analysis
Ultimately, CRE leaders need to determine whether each property in your corporate real estate portfolio is worth the cost of the lease and the cost of operations. You’ll need to work closely with your facilities manager to understand how these costs break down. How much are you spending on utilities and maintenance? Amenities? What is the return on investment in that property? Keep in mind that you may need to focus on new metrics to determine this, as it may not be immediately apparent.
That may mean using more advanced ways to measure space utilization, such as reservation data or occupancy sensors, instead of just looking at seating assignments.
The average company only used about 65% of its space prior to the pandemic, according to CBRE. Now, companies are targeting 75-80% utilization as they scale back their real estate footprint and focus on using space more efficiently.
Improving the employee and tenant experience
The latest CBRE research shows 87% of large enterprises plan to adopt hybrid work, allowing employees to split their time between home and the office. When employees aren’t required to be in the office, they want a workplace that is worth commuting to. It should be a comfortable, inspiring place where employees can choose from a variety of different workspaces or rooms depending on the work they’re doing that day. They want to be able to find and reserve those spaces quickly and access other workplace amenities at their fingertips. The employee experience is also becoming increasingly personalized.
These are just a few elements corporate real estate leaders need to consider as they plan new spaces and optimize existing ones.
Overseeing building design, construction, and vendors
While many corporate real estate leaders put new construction projects on hold during the pandemic, they are focusing instead on repurposing existing space and retrofitting it to meet the changing needs of the workforce. That includes reducing the number of private offices and reconfiguring large conference rooms that will likely host fewer people in person with several team members joining remotely.
This may require changing office layouts, adding new, multipurpose furniture, and managing in-office move requests or consolidations.
Managing multiple vendors is another important part of a corporate real estate leader’s responsibilities. That includes establishing and managing relationships with outsourced facility management partners, architects, electricians, plumbers, food service providers, and more.
Managing real estate technology
Property technology, or proptech, is becoming a crucial part of corporate real estate management. These solutions make it easier to see all your building data at a glance, make smarter decisions in real-time, and optimize the tenant experience.
In Deloitte’s 2022 commercial real estate outlook, 75% of CRE leaders said they plan to invest in or expand partnerships with proptech.
How can corporate real estate leaders prepare for the future?
Consider flexible space strategies
As you look at your real estate portfolio and your company’s needs, it’s a good time to re-evaluate the role of every building you lease or own. Consider the primary purpose of each space and how often employees actually need to use it. Do you really need your corporate headquarters to accommodate 500 people, or do you expect to have no more than 200 there on a typical day?
How many employees live an hour or more away from the corporate office? Would it be better to lease several smaller coworking spaces for those employees and reduce the amount of square footage you occupy in your more expensive downtown office?
Embrace a hospitality mindset
In this new era, space is a service and experience is everything. Office hoteling is a more cost-effective alternative to having an assigned seat for everyone. It’s also easier to manage than a more informal strategy like hot desking that doesn’t require reservations.
Successfully adopting a reservation-based model isn’t the only way real estate leaders can mirror the hotel industry.
3. Invest in the right workplace technology
A hybrid workplace won’t work for anyone without the right technology. First, you need space management software that allows you to adjust your real estate spaces and seating arrangements as quickly as your needs change.
You should be able to instantly reconfigure workspaces for appropriate physical distancing so you can reopen safely now, then update them as the CDC relaxes its guidelines.
To make it easy for everyone to navigate your new office spaces, you also need desk booking software and a user-friendly mobile app that allows employees to find people, reserve rooms, and request service or amenities when they need them.
Make smarter corporate real estate decisions with data at your fingertips
iOFFICE brings all your real estate portfolio data into one place so you can identify new opportunities to improve profitability and act on them immediately.
You can take advantage of flexible workspace strategies with room and desk reservations, plan office moves in days instead of weeks, and monitor space utilization, occupancy, and costs with sensor integrations and custom reporting. You can also create an exceptional experience for employees and tenants with mobile technology that helps them navigate your buildings and find what they need fast.
Learn more about how our solutions help you prepare for the future of corporate real estate with confidence.