A New Era for Corporate Real Estate
The trend of denser office layouts, fewer and smaller private offices, collaborative work areas and mobile work strategies have become top priorities for many corporate office tenants. Corporate real estate departments have always been about controlling costs and maximizing efficiency, but today we enter a brave new world.
Once in a Lifetime
Some four years ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers marked the beginning of the “Great Recession” and the worst period of economic turmoil since the Great Depression. The response by corporate real estate departments to the economic challenges was “the same as it ever was,” shed excess space and reduce occupancy costs, in some cases to survive and in other scenarios to “get lean” until the economic storm passed.
Same As It “Never” Was
Today, the world has clearly changed and how we adapt remains to be seen. While the economic recovery is in progress, the rebound has been painfully slow and the new approach to workspace has expanded beyond cost-cutting initiatives. Beyond economic uncertainty the way companies use real estate is changing due to shifting demographics and rapid advances in communication technology. Companies are now placing an increasing focus on how workspace impacts human capital and business processes.
Companies today compete in an increasingly uncertain global economy and we have four generations of employees in the workplace at a time when the introduction of new technology can transcend entire industries.
Corporate real estate is charged with integrating the objectives of Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance into real estate solutions that compliment the business objectives of the enterprise while controlling costs. The only certainty is uncertainty and I expect corporate real estate initiatives to place more emphasis on agility and qualitative factors. Today’s hot trends may accelerate or fade away, but corporate real estate in my twenty-two years of experience is the “same as it never was”.