Occupiers Looking To Make Efficiency Gains And Refine Workplace Strategies Says CBRE
March 29th 2017 - Occupiers’ real estate priorities are increasingly focussed on introducing efficiency gains and enhancing workplace strategies in a quest to make space work smarter, according to the 2017 CBRE European Occupier Survey. Greater use of technology is seen as key enabler of these objectives.
The report, which identified the goals, future challenges and workplace strategy of occupiers also revealed:
64% of companies cited economic uncertainty as a major challenge to their future operations
The desire for collaboration between customers, colleagues and co-workers is still the top driver of workplace strategy, cited by 65% of occupiers
50% of recipients view technology as a component of successful flexible working strategy
70% had sought to reduce costs over the past year by introducing efficiency measures in their existing space
The overriding challenge for businesses is economic uncertainty, which is up by six percentage points to 64%, and is more than thirty percentage points higher than any other response this year. Political developments will have undoubtedly played a part in this, specifically uncertainty over the timing and terms of Brexit, and the changing policy regime in the US.
Corporate real estate (CRE) goals focus on two clear elements: cost-reduction and strategic alignment between real estate and wider business aims. Both were mentioned as essential by around 90% of companies. Talent attraction is not far behind, with 77% citing this is as a key goal of CRE.
The main influences on corporates’ location strategies are high-quality labour and skills, and cost management. Of those who highlighted these factors, 78% regard labour and skills as essential or somewhat essential. The corresponding figure for cost was 86%, with business alignment at 64%.
These findings reflect a smart and creative approach to delivering space efficiency while also aligning with wider corporate strategy. Collaboration drives more efficient occupation of floor space thereby reducing costs, while also driving innovation, through encouraging sharing of ideas and group approaches to problem solving. Finding ways to measure and demonstrate the benefits of such innovations will be a key focus for some companies.
When it comes to Workplace Strategy, the desire for collaboration between customers, colleagues and co-workers is still the top driver, cited by 65% of occupiers, followed by cost (61%) and business flexibility (47%). The most important feature in the eyes of the labour force is indoor environmental quality according to 66% of companies, while flexible working practices and the provision of amenities are also highly-rated. Wellness programmes are also becoming more wide-ranging, with 72% of businesses stating some level of preference for WELL-certified buildings.
Paddy continues: “These findings reflect a smart and creative approach to delivering space efficiency while also aligning with wider corporate strategy. Collaboration drives more efficient occupation of floor space thereby reducing costs, while also driving innovation, through encouraging sharing of ideas and group approaches to problem solving. Finding ways to measure and demonstrate the benefits of such innovations will be a key focus for some companies”.
The survey makes clear that technology and innovative thinking are driving occupiers’ attempts to make their space work smarter. The three key areas of focus are:
the application of disruptive technology
flexible working strategy and
the use of shared space.
The application of disruptive technologies is focused on occupancy management (66%) facilities management (60%) and customer experience (49%). Innovative technologies are clearly seen as as one of the tools for securing efficiencies and are strongly focussed on better occupancy management. This means refining the measurement of utilisation, internal occupancy patterns and people flows. Nearly 60% see a role for smart building sensors in this effort.
Flexible working strategies have clearly evolved and their principles are more widely accepted at C-Suite level. The focus is now on the tools needed to support flexible working and these have a strong technology element: virtual desktop and video conferencing have seen large increases in popularity since last year.
Finally, the survey reports significant growth in interest in shared space over the next three years, to support goals of flexibility, cost management and short-term space solutions.
Paddy Conlon concludes: “Technology is being increasingly widely used to generate data that help corporates to understand, manage and predict space usage. It offers the potential for greater value-add through enhancing working environments, improving employee experience and ultimately supporting business performance. Turning these insights into advantage through intelligent application of building and workspace technologies is the next challenge for forward-looking occupiers.
“The survey findings present challenges for investors and developers as well. There is a growing need to ensure that investments are future-proofed and capable of delivering the internal infrastructure to support future technologies and sustain buildings’ tenant appeal. Understanding the need for, and investment characteristics, of shared space will also become increasingly important.”
The study surveyed 131 companies, the majority of which are headquartered in either Europe or North America.
About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.
In Ireland, with offices in Dublin and Belfast, CBRE is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company, now employing over 165 employees and offering a full range of property services including property sales and acquisitions, leasing and management, investment, corporate services, debt advisory, project management, consultancy, business rates and compulsory purchase, valuations and research. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie or www.cbre.ie/ni.