Being a corporate real estate leader is like trying to solve an enormous Rubik’s cube each and every day.
Today’s CRE leaders must tackle space challenges, 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.
They also need to be masters of technology and data analytics.
The Schedule for A Corporate Real Estate Leader
To illustrate these challenges, let’s look at a day in the life of Emily, a fictional corporate real estate leader for Creative Tech International.
7:15 a.m. — Emily checks her email while eating breakfast. There’s an estimate of the additional costs of bringing one of her company’s offices up to code (a project that’s already over budget), a request to replace the HVAC system from the facilities manager at another site and a reminder that the annual 10-K filings are due by the end of the week.
8:30 a.m. — Emily arrives at the office and checks in with the accounting director to make sure she has the right documents in order to meet the upcoming deadline.
She’s about to sit down at her desk when the phone rings. It’s the chief compliance director, informing her of additional lease documents that need to be filed.
9 a.m. — Emily meets with her colleagues Dennis, the VP of product development, and Alex, the department manager for engineering, to discuss plans for accommodating more employees. The executive team has committed the company to a major product initiative that will require adding 50 new developers in the next six months and potentially another 50 next year. Emily needs to figure out where to put them.
10:30 a.m. — Emily gets to work gathering floor plans and space utilization data for Creative Tech’s 35 locations across the country. Without a central database for lease information, it would have taken her several weeks to obtain the information, causing the project to fall further behind schedule. Fortunately, with a simple search of her company’s space management software, she can easily see how many desks are available in each office.
11:30 a.m. — Within the hour, Emily has identified 15 unoccupied desks and five sales team offices that are occupied less than 50 percent of the time. She suspected these offices weren’t being used very often with the sales team on the road, so she installed occupancy sensors to monitor usage several months ago.
She decides to work with the department manager to consolidate several of these offices into team spaces the developers can reserve when they need a place to collaborate, using room scheduling panels.
Because the developers have the option to work from home and aren’t usually all in the office at the same time, they don’t all need assigned desks. This will allow each of the seats to support 1.5 employees instead of just one, bringing down the cost per employee.
11:50 a.m. — Emily is interrupted by a knock at the door. It’s a client coming to meet with one of the account managers, who is running a few minutes late. Thankfully the manager has already entered her information in the company’s visitor management software, so Emily is able to quickly verify her identity. She uses a workplace app connected to the employee directory to locate and notify the account manager, then point the client in the right direction.
12 p.m. — Emily is running late for a site visit to another office location that’s under construction 30 miles away. She eats a bagel in her car while responding to a voicemail about a new property the company is considering purchasing.
1 p.m. — Emily does a walk-through with the construction manager and discovers the project will be delayed by nearly two months due to the excessive rains they’ve had the past few months. The 75 employees she was planning to move into the new building will need a temporary location.
2:30 p.m. — Emily returns to the office and returns a call from the facility manager at another location, who is asking to purchase a new industrial copier and printer at a cost of nearly $5,000. Emily is almost certain the company has another printer that isn’t being used, so she checks her company’s asset management software and finds it sitting in an adjacent building. It just needs a new cartridge and minor repairs—which can be done for less than $100.
3:15 p.m. — Emily realizes she needs a quiet place to review the terms of a lease for one of the company’s properties to prepare for a renegotiation call with the property owner. Thankfully, she’s able to find one nearby and book it with just a tap on the screen outside the door.
4:30 p.m. — Emily returns to the space dilemma caused by the construction delay. She’s able to work out an arrangement to move the employees to an available space on another floor until the new building is ready. She spends the next hour planning the move and creating work orders for the maintenance team so they can begin moving the essentials. This could have been a major setback, but with move management software allowing her to create move scenarios and share them with department heads, it’s just a minor inconvenience.
Thanks to Emily and her team, Creative Tech International is able to continue its steady growth. You don’t have to be a fortune teller or a puzzle master to plan for growth and manage office moves. All it takes is the right tools.