In the following part I try to highlight the most crucial challenges of Corporate Real Estate. As a Corporate Real Estate Manager, it was one of my main tasks to build a partnership with the internal clients: the different business units and departments. The Real Estate department – not being at the company’s core – was mostly considered to have a supportive function. Further, the team was mostly approached as “order-takers”, not as partners. So, our goal was to connect with the business and gain their trust by offering them the insight and expertise they lacked to make educated decisions about their space demands, so in the future, we would be able to team up on eye level.
We mostly looked at the cost of their locations and at market comparison in order to derive a location strategy. However, we were not able to grasp and share fact-based evidence of workplace utilisation. It would have been highly appreciated to be able to lead the discussions we had in a more appropriate way.
The most pressing questions
- Do we have the space that is needed today?
- How are we going to tackle the demand for space in the future?
- Is the space we have supportive for the work that needs to be done?
- Are we using our properties as effectively as we can?
- How well are we utilising our current capacity?
- Can we maximise the use of our assets?
- How can space be reduced?
Instead, we had to rely on the business’s estimates combined with global benchmarking for space consumption and corporate policies to project space demand. Or we hired external consultants and planners on a case-by-case basis, who would apply their experience from the market. Could we have done better with underlying data to tailor concepts specifically to our demand? Of course.
New workspace solutions were implemented relying on 2 to 4 weeks occupancy studies, as was the state-of-the-art then, limiting investigation of workplace behaviour to a snapshot view (read more about different measurement methods). What is more, post-occupancy studies were mostly limited to feedback surveys, thus not really evaluating long-term success of solutions.
With a utilisation data platform, I could have had this data readily available. Not only for two weeks, but for whatever timespan I would have chosen. The access to data prior to the conversation with the business would have enabled me to gain an impression of their working patterns beforehand and to bring an important piece of the Real Estate puzzle with me to these discussions. Also, I could have checked in after the completion of a move or refurbishment in order to do a health check.
Do you recognise your own daily challenges of corporate real estate in Sabine’s report? Let’s get in touch if you too would like access to fact-based data to make faster and better Real Estate decisions.