Volume 10 (2020-21)

Each volume of Corporate Real Estate Journal consists of four 100-page issues published in both print and online. The articles published in Volume 10 are listed below. 

Volume 10 Number 4

  • Editorial: Focusing on the human experience is key to building a thriving and more inclusive postpandemic world
    David Bourke, Co-President/CEO, IA Interior Architects
  • How to survive in an era of lower office space demand, higher supply and shorter leases
    Maciej Markowski, Co-founder and CRO, spaceOS

    The COVID-19 epidemic has brought with it dramatic changes in the commercial real estate industry. Many corporates decided to transit into hybrid working, allowing their staff to work remotely at least part of the week, which is likely to lead to lower demand for office space even in the mid and long term. This situation is exacerbated for office building landlords by the explosion in subleasing activity and is even tougher for retail space landlords, leading to a parallel increase in supply of office space. Adding to that the growing demand for higher flexibility from tenants and likely decrease in length of an average office lease, we see a perfect storm requiring office building landlords to take serious actions to remain relevant and succeed in the new market reality. Improving the safety of their buildings and perception of safety via better direct communication with building’s end users, providing more robust services and utilising technology to streamline operations and to enable more flexibility will be vital to landlords’ and asset managers’ success in the coming years. The likely increase in vacancy rates will not hit all office buildings equally; there will be winners and losers in the new reality. This situation can also become a catalyst for the whole industry to move from being a cost centre and become a value provider for tenants, enabling them to drive talent attraction and retention while keeping their workforce safe and informed.
    Keywords: PropTech, tenant experience, future of work, hybrid working, flexible workspace, office building landlord, commercial real estate

  • Managing global property portfolios, transactions and teams: A primer for corporate real estate executives — Part 4: Transactional Risk Management in Multinational Context
    James Hagy, Distinguished Lecturer in Residence, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

    Part 4, the concluding segment in this series of articles, considers transactional risk management in the relationship-building and deal-making phases of a new project, including intended and potentially unintended impacts of exploratory discussions and preliminary documents such as term sheets, letters of intent and memoranda of understanding. There is also an overview of the importance of legal compliance and ethical considerations in an increasingly regulated and multicultural context.
    Keywords: corporate real estate (CRE), planning projects abroad operational challenges, domestic project, local customs, cultural styles, clearly expressed business objectives

  • New journeys in change: A ‘hybrid’ primer — Part one
    Neil Usher, Chief Workplace and Change Strategist, GoSpace AI

    The emergence from enforced home working driven by the 2020–21 global COVID-19 pandemic appears set to reverse two decades of workplace strategy and design homogenisation. Responses under consideration by organisations span a divergent spectrum, from returning to pre-pandemic ways of working at one extreme to entirely location-agnostic approaches at the other. In the vast majority of cases, the need to effectively lead and manage change will be of paramount importance where case studies and best practice on which to draw are rare. There remains a risk that a thoroughly considered workplace strategy may still fail, not on account of its technical robustness or philosophical cohesion but because people were not informed, engaged and involved in determining the outcome. Using modified extracts from the author’s latest book, the paper illustrates how we often approach and understand the subject of change in order to suggest more appropriate ways to manage the migration to hybrid working.
    Keywords: hybrid, change, workplace, future

  • Organisational futureproofing in a post COVID-19 era
    Chelsea Perino, Managing Director, The Executive Centre

    This paper is concerned with how our organisational attitudes about workspace have been — and will continue to be — affected by public and organisational policies that dictate how and where we work, and most recently, those pertaining specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic. We begin by identifying the flexible workplace model as a site of important organisational dynamics concerning people’s dialectically tensional needs for physical convergence (being physically situated with others) and divergence (being individually sequestered). By considering industry research about organisations’ and individuals’ attitudes about and uses of space, we realise that organisational challenges pertaining to spatial design, collaboration and communication technologies can be overcome by a holistic strategy that combines an understanding of these elements and their relationship to one another. In addition, we can identify the tensions between building business resilience through efficiency planning, ensuring quality employee experience, and their relationship with productivity and profitability. These insights are relevant to organisational ‘futureproofing’ strategies. The defining characteristic of work in the post-COVID-19 era will be the importance of choice. Leaders’ sensitivity to how their people work best will be key to organisations’ futureproofing strategies, simultaneously creating cost-saving opportunities and increasing employee satisfaction.
    Keywords: real estate, office, corporate real estate (CRE), consumer experience, experience, change management, COVID-19, flexible working, coworking, collaboration

  • Modern monetary theory: Why real estate is fundamental to economic growth
    Andrew Phipps, Global Futurist, Cushman & Wakefield

    Individuals and businesses across the world continue to look to government for economic support through the turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the flow of money into the economy we would be in a far worse state than we are now. The only reason that this is possible has been because governments and central banks have been able, in many major economies, to print increasing amounts of money. They have recognised that the way government debt and corporate debt or individual debt operate are quite different. In essence, there is no such thing as government debt (in a country that controls its own supply of currency). Governments do not collect taxes in order to spend, they collect taxes to replenish the coffers once they have spent. This forward-looking approach is called modern monetary theory and the time to embrace this is now.
    Keywords: economy, government, debt, real estate, future, modern monetary theory, economists

  • How will today’s workforce change the geographical footprint of tomorrow’s workspace? The ‘Hub and Spoke’ model: Case studies
    James Rankin, Head of Research and Insight, The Instant Group

    COVID-19 has forced companies to introduce remote working practices at a wholescale level, a trend that had slowly been increasing over the last decade. Both positives and negatives have emerged as we all wrestle with the implications of removing the office from our daily routine. For the majority of the workforce, the lack of a long commute has been a huge benefit to the employee from a cost and time perspective, but is that reason enough to envisage a radically altered office experience? As companies look at new workplace strategies that allow them to retain the best staff, we anticipate a period of test, measure, learn and adapt from the majority of progressive corporate real estate (CRE) teams. They have to balance the need to retain their corporate culture and identity, imbue a sense direction and a positive sense of collaboration while hybrid working experiments are carried out. One solution that many clients and contacts have referred to within their testing strategy is the dispersed portfolio model, or ‘Hub and Spoke’. The Instant Group and its partners in the project, Hickey & Associates, explored the impact of a people-focused, agile disaggregated portfolio. The aim was to understand what benefits could exist to both the employee and employer by adopting such a strategy and what factors should be considered by a company looking to test such a model. The findings showed the types of location that appear highly suited to satellite offices, alongside the benefits from a cost perspective the employer could expect to see. Surprisingly, large time savings can also be achieved by employees on an annual basis; it is not uncommon for those used to commuting an hour and a half a day to save over 35 standard working days a year. While these outcomes are positive, difficulties do exist — not only from a business perspective in ensuring senior stakeholders are spread across the portfolio, but also from a purely real estate perspective. In many of the locations highlighted, supply of quality office stock is limited, and future developments are far less prevalent than in major cities. This suggests that while the methodology stacks up on paper, there will be practical challenges for businesses that are slower to react, unless we see a major change in commercial real estate investment and development.
    Keywords: from property to people, disaggregated workspace model, employee-focused

  • Shaping employee experience through always-on space optimisation
    Tony Josipovic, Executive Director, JLL

    Today’s office is only one piece in a complex workplace puzzle, where fluidity and flexibility reign. While it remains an important and integral part of the workplace ecosystem, the office needs to be actively managed to support an engaged workforce, drive operational efficiency and minimise impact to the environment. To meet this radically evolving set of sometimes competing demands, occupancy management and planning models, tools and activities must evolve to provide always-on insights, analysis and optimisation.
    Keywords: dynamic portfolio optimisation, always-on space optimisation, dynamic zones, hybrid workforce, postpandemic real estate strategy

  • What can corporate real estate learn from the sports and entertainment industry?
    Chris Grundy, Technology Group Leader, ME Engineers

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the office to become a destination and more than a physical space that brings people together. The experience of going to the office needs to be a great one; the environment should be designed to promote a person’s/team’s performance, supplemented by technology to allow those creative sparks to be shared — all with a greater focus on the health and safety of building occupants and lower operational costs. This paper discusses how enhancing the user experience and adopting an efficiency to operations approach when thinking about space contributes to making the workplace a great place to work. The paper uses examples from ME Engineers’ work designing building services and technology systems for some of the most notable sports and entertainment facilities in the world, where venues have invested heavily in the customer experience to compete against at-home and virtual environments.
    Keywords: customer experience, operational efficiency, smart buildings

Volume 10 Number 3

  • Editorial: Whither corporate real estate: CRE-risk reboot
    Margaret Latshaw, CRE Consultant and Board Member, Real Estate Center—University of Missouri
  • Managing global property portfolios, transactions and teams: A primer for corporate real estate executives — Part 2: Communications
    James Hagy, Distinguished Lecturer in Residence, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

    Part 2 in this series of papers evaluates the challenges of managing global property portfolios, and offers tips on communicating with colleagues, advisers and counterparties across countries and cultures, including where there may not be a shared primary language for conversations and where the negotiations and controlling documents may be in a language other than your own.
    Keywords: corporate real estate (CRE), planning projects abroad operational challenges, domestic project, local customs, cultural styles, clearly expressed business objectives

  • Managing global property portfolios, transactions and teams: A primer for corporate real estate executives — Part 3: Assembling and managing in-market teams
    James Hagy, Distinguished Lecturer in Residence, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

    Part 3 in this series of papers begins with a self-assessment exercise in which the reader is invited to recognise how his or her planned on-site or remote involvement (and level of authority) can dramatically affect the selection, organisation and management of the team working on an in-market project. There is then consideration of scheduling and team management, as well as effective collaborations with chosen multinational and in-market legal and professional advisers.
    Keywords: corporate real estate (CRE), planning projects abroad operational challenges, domestic project, local customs, cultural styles, clearly expressed business objectives

  • Fresh perspectives on the future of the office: A way forward
    Chris Diming, Workplace strategist and applied anthropologist, et al.

    The debate about the future of the office has taken on a life of its own as a result of pandemic-induced lockdowns. The viability and utility of the home/remote/anywhere working experiment at scale has opened up challenges and opportunities — so much so that the traditional ecosystem of commercial property investment is under challenge, together with the viability of the traditional office from both the suppliers’ and users’ perspective, and even the future of city centres is being evaluated. COVID-19 has shifted the focus to the people aspect of the equation and how and where work will be carried out, given the rise in importance of employee and community health and well-being. It has also highlighted the work-from-home versus living-at-work debate. This paper engages a broad range of diverse contributors with a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with various aspects of the built, technological and workplace landscape, including the health, well-being, anthropological, behavioural change and sustainability factors. This wide-ranging holistic approach forms the basis for creating greater awareness and proposing frameworks and approaches within the corporate real estate (CRE) space to move forward.
    Keywords: lockdown, remote working, commercial property investment, COVID-19, health and well-being, living-at-work

  • Rapidly changing landscape: Commercial real estate and the new perspective
    Andrew Phipps, Head of Business Development, Cushman & Wakefield, EMEA

    This paper discusses how the commercial real estate industry has been heavily affected by the changes experienced during 2020 as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and employees have been unable to work in their regular locations; retail stores and other sectors have been shuttered for extended periods of time; student housing, logistics and warehousing, life sciences have all faced the unknown. The paper stipulates that the future survival of the physical environment hinges on an acceptance that change is needed, that a new approach must be taken. The need to evolve buildings physically has never been as urgent. It discusses how owners have recognised that they must adapt their buildings or increasingly face challenges in attracting and retaining the tenants they want.
    Keywords: office, remote, pandemic, workplace, location, culture, values, flexible

  • An environmental, social and governance programme for corporate real estate and facilities departments
    Colette Temmink, Chief Strategy and Product Officer and David Flynn, Chief Operating Officer, Blue Skyre IBE

    A favourable environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating is of rising importance to companies because of expanding awareness and the growing acceptance among large investors that a robust ESG programme translates into strong market performance. Corporate real estate (CRE) intersects with many of the elements affecting a company’s ESG objectives and plays a significant role in helping it design and achieve its ESG objectives. There is a lack of clarity among rating systems and users have difficulty correlating ratings to a CRE programme. While the make-up of a CRE programme for environmental is well developed, there are great opportunities for advancement in the areas of societal and governance. This paper addresses current ESG programme issues for CRE, offers suggestions for how CRE can approach them and provides a sample of how to develop an ESG programme for real estate that will help improve the company’s performance and ultimately its market performance.
    Keywords: environmental, social and governance, ESG, ESG programme, facilities management, corporate real estate, sustainability

  • Portfolio management and occupancy planning in a post-pandemic world
    Steve Ramseur, Chief Innovation Officer, JLL

    Corporate real estate (CRE) leaders must prepare for a post-pandemic digital revolution, where access to digitally culled and analysed information will power the value of the workplace as a driver of human interaction and collaboration. The next-generation real estate portfolio must offer a compelling reason for employees to return to the office — while also enabling individuals who opt to work elsewhere — and realise a return on its investment in terms of productivity, engagement, empowerment and fulfilment that fuel corporate culture. This paper explores how, in order to meet this high bar, real estate leaders need to be prepared to adopt new technology that will power always-on optimisation and digitally enabled control, visibility and alignment with enterprise goals.
    Keywords: post-pandemic digital revolution, next-generation real estate portfolio, corporate culture, always-on optimisation, digitally enabled control, enterprise goals

  • COVID-19 and the economic implications for office occupiers
    Neil Blake, Global Head of Forecasting and Analytics, CBRE

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been a severe shock to the world economy and the renewed surges in late 2020 and early 2021 have been an unwelcome development. Nonetheless, the prospect of mass vaccination has opened up the possibility of a return to some kind of social and economic normality in the second half of the year. This paper focuses on economic prospects, both in the UK and elsewhere, and what it means for office occupiers. When the restrictions associated with the pandemic are eased and then eventually removed, there are several reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for economic recovery. Households have built up considerable savings over the last year as their incomes have been supported by governments and their spending plans have been thwarted. This is likely to lead to a rush in spending on travel and leisure services when the opportunity arises. Governments also appear committed to providing continued support for the economy for the time being. Both of these factors bode well for an economic recovery and a recovery in labour demand, including demand from office-based sectors. This is in stark contrast to the aftermath of the global financial crisis (GFC). It may turn out that the lasting impact of the crisis on real estate come not from any lingering effects on the economy but from some of the rather less expected consequences. Chief among these for office occupiers is the potential for a structural shift towards more working from home even when it is safe for employees to return to the office. Working from home versus working in the office is not a clear-cut decision and a hybrid model is likely to emerge that sees some but not all days spent working from home. There are also complications in realising the potential occupational cost savings from having more working from home. The overall result will be that a switch to more working from home will certainly have an impact, but it might not be the devastating impact on the office market that some expect. It will, nevertheless, be a topic of debate for many years to come.
    Keywords: COVID-19, economy, recovery, outlook, office, work from home, inflation, interest rates

  • Book review
    Where is My Office? Reimagining the Workplace for the 21st Century
    Reviewed by Chris Hood

Volume 10 Number 2

  • Editorial: Eliciting the right decisions in times of chaos
    Doug Gottschalk, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP and Editorial Board Member, Corporate Real Estate Journal
  • The importance of community in public–private partnerships and development
    Gabrielle Rechler, Hirsh Fellow, New York University

    The past three decades of public–private partnerships has altered urban development and city building in ways that have and will continue to shape the future. Historically, there has been a gap in academia between the theory and practice of successful public–private partnerships. While theoretical knowledge on the ‘how-tos’ of working with public officials is documented, there is very little written by developers on the actual practices they have used in redevelopment cases. Experts in the field, however, such as Lynne Sagalyn of Columbia University, state that even though each public–private partnership project is unique, the only way for the next generation to understand a partnership’s success, and therefore a project’s success, is by current developers documenting the ins and outs of their work. In today’s political and socio-economic climate, communities surrounding (re-)developments are quick to view real estate developers as the ‘bad guy’, having little care for what the local population needs to be successful in the 21st century. Recent trends also demonstrate that a community’s decision can make or break the future of a development project. Yet, this sentiment occurs during a time when all forms of development and city building are needed to act as a form of resilience against macro socio-economic issues, such as the affordable housing crisis. If developers were to document both the successes and failures in their past development projects, the next generation of real estate professionals would more efficiently gain knowledge about the benefits of working with the community, and how it leads to innovative, responsible developments. Moreover, documenting past and current public–private development projects does not only benefit the next generation, but is also an effective tool for current developers to learn from their past wins and losses. As the real estate industry has entered a new era full of technological and industrial advancements, it is more important to analyse past public–private partnerships and developments. As the functions, abilities, and goals of the public and private sectors, as well as the goals of the surrounding communities, continue to evolve, so too do the means of securing a successful public–private partnership. By comparing RXR Realty’s redevelopment of the Nassau Hub in Nassau County, New York to the former Lighthouse Project proposed for the same land, as well as aspects from other New York City development projects, this paper aims to analyse how the success of 21st-century public–private partnerships is not only the result of a shared vision between the public and private parties, but also requires transparency, compromise and co-creation.
    Keywords: public–private partnerships, public officials, socio-economic issues, responsible developments, real estate industry, technological and industrial advancements, RXR Realty, Nassau Hub, Nassau County, Lighthouse Project

  • Managing global property portfolios, transactions and teams: A primer for corporate real estate executives - Part 1
    James Hagy, Distinguished Lecturer in Residence, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

    More than ever, corporate real estate (CRE) executives and their advisers are afforded the opportunity to coordinate projects in markets unfamiliar to them. This paper discusses the reader’s commitment to the site and the economic investment you have made to the property and to the business. In many cases this may be dependent upon the ability to exit later in a way that allows corporate real estate (CRE) executives to derive residual value rather than to abandon their investments. Its aim is to inform CRE executives’ questions and to encourage them to educate themselves about the faraway location of their next property investment, and to expand their peripheral vision.
    Keywords: corporate real estate (CRE), planning projects abroad, operational challenges, domestic project, local customs, cultural styles, clearly expressed business objectives

  • Tokenisation of corporate real estate on the blockchain: New strategies for corporate ownership and financial management
    Davin Wang, Venture Partner, CapBridge Financial

    Real estate tokenisation is the process of creating a digital asset that represents ownership rights in a physical or digital asset, such as a physical property or real estate fund, on a blockchain-based system. Features of a ‘token-based economy’ on the blockchain can quicken the transformation of corporate real estate (CRE) ownership by flipping the equity and liquidity paradigm that traditionally plagues investment. For example, by providing new financial infrastructure for private secondary markets, the token economy taps global capital markets to provide an important liquidity option that was not previously available for privately held CRE assets. Separately, security tokens used together with programmable algorithms, also known as ‘smart contracts’, bring about unprecedented levels of connectivity and programmability that enhance CRE financial management, thereby removing much of the costly inefficiencies found in traditional systems. Industry experts agree that the digitisation of CRE on the blockchain — comprising tokenised real estate assets and smart contracts working off digital ledger technology — will bring about unprecedented levels of benefit to the CRE industry and the wider general economy. The impact of CRE tokenisation must not be studied in isolation, however, but within a greater perspective of ongoing industry themes. The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is driving disruptive change across all industries by fundamentally changing the way business models operate. By extension, this influences corporate motivations for how much CRE ownership is needed in the future. Separately, the continued shift towards privatisation instead of public listings over the last two decades have implications for how companies access capital markets, and consequently, how working capital in CRE asset portfolios can be recycled. This paper explores the disruptive benefits that the tokenisation of real estate on the blockchain brings to the CRE industry, in linkage with these overarching industry themes, with the aim of adding cross-disciplinary insight to the literature.
    Keywords: corporate real estate, blockchain, smart contracts, tokenisation, securitisation, capital recycling, asset management, servitisation

  • Telia and Veolia: A case study of shifting from supplier to strategic partner
    Kate Vitasek, Faculty Member, University of Tennessee, Magnus Kuchler, Partner and Robin Warchalowski, Director, EY Consulting Services and Erik Linarsson, Senior Counsel, Cirio

    This paper is part 3 in a series on how corporate real estate (CRE) organisations can leverage collaborative approaches during the competitive bidding process. (Part 1 was featured in Corporate Real Estate Journal Volume 9, Issue 3 and part 2 was featured in Corporate Real Estate Journal Volume 9 Issue 4). The purpose of this paper is to expand upon the concept of the ‘request for partner’ (RFPartner) process introduced in the first paper by doing a deep dive into how the Swedish telecommunication company, Telia, managed to transform its business procurement processes. The paper explores why Telia decided to use a more collaborative RFPartner process and how they deployed the concept for selecting a CRE partner that ultimately managed a broad range of technical services across 16,000 technical sites.
    Keywords: sourcing, outsourcing, Vested Outsourcing, request for partner, real estate, facilities management, strategic suppliers, governance, Telia, Veolia

  • Back to the future: Changing business priorities have accelerated trends and are driving fundamental shifts in the structure and approach to corporate real estate outsourcing
    Maureen Ehrenberg, CEO, Blue Skyre

    Environmental, social and governance (ESG) trends over recent years have driven stronger alignment of corporate real estate (CRE) management with core business transformation. Stakeholder expectations for demonstrable change are necessitating business to respond to issues at an unprecedented pace. The intense C-suite focus on purpose and accountability is demanding a reset of CRE management. Digital transformation is seen as key. ESG initiatives have caused C-suite executives to become more aware of the strategic value of CRE management. No longer viewed as a cost centre focused on cost reduction, the mandate for CRE management is to deliver value, cost efficiency, continuous improvement and innovation. Fast-paced change and the need for agility has challenged the status quo of outsourcing. New technologies, automation and shared economy models have resulted in insourcing and demand for change. The cost of inflexible and inefficient ‘self-performance’ facility management (FM) outsourcing principal contracts presents market opportunity for disruption. CRE management requires more choice and very different, flexible models. When CRE outsourcing began over 20 years ago, models varied but were highly flexible and advancing as highly strategic. Service models devolved from strategic partnerships to contracted suppliers. Technology advances necessitate a look back to the more client-centric, strategic, flexible models of the past.
    Keywords: outsourcing, integrated facility management, facility services, sustainable development goals, environmental, social and corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, digitisation, business transformation, as-a-service (AAS)

  • The United States civil engineer transformation initiative: A case study of successfully leading CRE organisational change management
    Thomas L. Mitchell, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, FM3IS Associates

    Corporate real estate (CRE) constitutes a large percentage of fixed assets of an organisation. Changing economic, regulatory and financial situations causes organisations to undertaken corporate reorganisation and restructuring. The Air Force Director of Civil Engineers — the CRE director for the United States Air Force — is responsible for providing facilities, infrastructure and installation support functions at a total of over 180 US Air Force (AF) bases worldwide with an annual budget over US$11bn. This paper provides a case study of the way three successive AF Civil Engineer directors, faced with a 30 per cent annual operating budget reduction and a 20 per cent reduction in workforce, led the effort to conduct a whole organisational change management intervention that successfully transformed the systematic manner in which 60,000 personnel provided installation facility and infrastructure technical services across large, geographically separated real estate portfolios located in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It provides a review of the literature on the organisation leadership theories delineating the behavioural actions attributing to each director’s ability to lead and manage change as the chief executive decision maker of a mechanistic organisation, bound by a common cultural connection. Through the supplemental use of a retrospective interview, coupled with a literary review and an experiential perspective, the study examines the organisation leadership behaviour actions and the practical application of organisational change management theoretical concepts by each director in turn, resulting in the successful execution of the Air Force civil engineer transformation initiative during one of the most fiscally uncertain periods in modern Air Force history.
    Keywords: transformation, asset management culture, change management, organisational change portfolio

Volume 10 Number 1

Special issue: COVID-19, CRE and workplace response

  • Editorial: Comment from the publishing editor
    Brenda Rouse, Publishing Editor, Corporate Real Estate Journal
  • COVID-19: Reimagine: how and where the world will work differently
    Tamás Polster, International Partner, Nicola Gillen, Partner, and Dimitris Vlachopoulos, Partner, Cushman & Wakefield

    This paper focuses on potential long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on office accommodation. The paper reviews how work and technology could change workplace demand, as well as have an impact on location strategies, to predict where and what forms of offices would be required in the next 5 to 15 years.
    Keywords: future workplace, future of real estate, portfolio strategy, corporate real estate (CRE) 2021, post-COVID workplace, location strategy

  • Global warming, COVID-19 and a new world for conducting business
    Chris Hood, Advanced Workplace Associates

    A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts during the global COVID-19 pandemic, uncovered the fact that only 9 per cent of Britons wanted to go back to the way things were before the onset of the virus. Most of those surveyed have noticed a number of positive improvements in and around their lives, ranging from the quality of food they eat and prepare, to exercise, to air quality and the apparent presence of more wildlife. In making these observations they are signalling the fact that although there have been many hardships, there have been some deep and important improvements to the quality of their lives that have been worth the inconvenience and that they would like to hang on to long after the virus has passed. This paper is intended to draw together observations of two extremely topical disruptors — global warming and COVID-19 — in an effort to inform a third: the transformation of how we go to work. There is little doubt that an unintended symbiotic relationship now exists between these three game-changers and the YouGov survey respondents have issued a note of hope that the many lessons learned during the pandemic may have opened minds sufficiently to contemplate improvement in other areas.
    Keywords: workplace, workforce, productivity, collaboration, global warming, post-pandemic

  • Gen Z and the workplace: Can we all get along?
    Melissa Jancourt, Principal Consultant, TAC Design LLC

    Born between 1996 and 2012, Gen Z currently accounts for 20 per cent of the US population and 32 per cent of the global population, surpassing Millennials in size. Characterised as career-focused, hardworking and realistic, Gen Z is the most racially diverse and predicted to be the most highly educated generational cohort in US history. While much attention is currently being paid to their predecessors — the Millennials — Gen Z will comprise 30 per cent of the workforce by 2030, making knowledge of their workplace preferences and attitudes vital for corporate real estate (CRE) leaders globally. Gen Z is a truly global generation. If they have access to the Internet, they have access to the same news and information as their peers around the world, making geographical borders far less significant. This paper builds on previous work, published in the Corporate Real Estate Journal in 2018. As Gen Z enters the workforce, it will also have implications for office design and CRE strategies based on recent research. The paper will outline the findings of research led by Melissa Jancourt, now Principal Consultant for TAC Design LLC in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces (IDCHW) at the University of California Berkeley and in association with national design firm, HGA’s Digital Practice Group. Data for the study was gathered through focus groups, design charrettes and validated through virtual reality (VR) experiences and a post-VR debrief. Four themes emerged as important among Gen Z participants: 1) balancing connections with nature, technology, convenience and location; 2) a clear distinction between the roles of humans as problem solvers and technology as facilitating connection; 3) psychological safety is a more prominent concern than physical safety; 4) inclusive environments that prioritize choice, control, and proximity are essential. A broader lens was adopted in subsequent rounds of testing — one that included diverse age groups across three global organisations. These results begin to give shape to a future workplace where multiple generations will work side-by-side. The addendum to this paper recognises the sudden and profound impact that COVID-19 has had on work and personal lives across the globe. Many of the trends identified in the Gen Z research respond to change driven through an intrinsic tie between organisational thriving and personal and communal resiliency. COVID-19 has proven to be an accelerant of these trends underlining the importance of enterprise-wide learning, personal connection and mental well-being.
    Keywords: Gen Z, future workplace, generations, well-being, technology, research, COVID-19, nature, collaboration, learning, safety, VR

  • Recognising the socio-technical opportunity of workplace: An analysis of early responses to COVID-19
    Chris Moriarty, Director, Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, Matthew Tucker, Reader, Liverpool John Moores University, Ian Ellison, Co-founder, 3edges Workplace Ltd, James Pinder, Co-founder, 3edges Workplace Ltd and Hannah Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University

    COVID-19 has disrupted the ways in which we work, offering an opportunity to rethink our workplaces. Organisations have had to adapt and respond in unprecedented ways to enable continued organisational performance that have come to see many people working from home. Early responses to ‘return-to-work’ have sought to repurpose existing workspace arrangements, but they miss the unique opportunity to reconceive ‘workplace’ more comprehensively, as well as the role the property community has in enabling work. This paper aims to highlight the opportunity of viewing workplace holistically through the lens of socio-technical systems. An examination of the early responses to the pandemic identified a focus on the technical aspects of reoccupying workspaces, but taking from socio-technical systems, this should not be to the detriment of other factors. A more nuanced debate regarding who should return to work and how this will occur is presented, which highlights further a need to move beyond the physical workspace and to reflect on how we can enable ways of working.
    Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic, built environment, facility/facilities management (FM), socio-technical systems, workspace, workplace

  • The technology-enabled future of real estate? A present-day necessity
    Neil Usher, Chief Partnerships Officer, GoSpace

    The global COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the purpose of the workplace into a realm of uncertainty barely imaginable even in late 2019. Emerging into the midst of Industry 5.0, it has accelerated a number of trends that were already apparent, but that are now causing us to re-evaluate the assumptions on which for several decades we have created and managed physical workplace. The opportunities for repurposing the workplace to satisfy the triple bottom line — social, commercial and environmental performance — using new and emerging technologies are vast. In particular, the smart scheduling of workspace may be the essential draw-down on the much-imagined tech-enabled future of real estate that we need today.
    Keywords: workplace, technology, AI, real estate, future, Industry 5.0

  • Workplace strategy and scenario planning: Moving beyond the tangible to understand the future of work and place in a post COVID-19 world
    Arnold Craig Levin, Regional Strategy Practice Area Leader, Gensler

    Our current global situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic creates an opportunity to revisit a paper I authored that was published in the Summer 2017 issue of Corporate Real Estate Journal. In that paper I cautioned that the traditional methodologies used in the corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace strategy arena to predict the future of an organisation’s workplace were short-sighted and did not provide the breadth of vision that would take into consideration a broader sphere of disruptions and changes to any given organisation. I recommended adopting scenario planning methodologies that would include an analysis of the conventional areas but would also include disruptions resulting from political, social, economic and health threats. Four years later, this paper revisits that hypothesis and examines our current COVID-19 condition and poses the same opportunity for helping organisations develop viable strategies for both their initial re-entry phase back to the workplace and, more importantly, in planning for a ‘reimagined’ workplace where both the nature of work and place are potentially redefined. The paper cautions against predictions based on limited knowledge and trends, as well as definitive solutions, but puts forth the proposition that scenario planning will be a more effective means to help organisations guide their enterprises into this reimagined world of work.
    Keywords: workplace, strategy, scenarios, organisation, pandemic, disruptions

  • Exploring the meaning of ‘workplace’ in a post-pandemic world: The future of corporate real estate in delivering ‘place’
    Chris Lees, Founder, Serendipity29

    At the heart of corporate real estate (CRE) is workplace: a hybrid word bringing together the ideas of ‘work’ and ‘place’. This connection between work and place has been necessary since the beginning of time: to hunt, we had to go to the prey; to farm, we had to locate and tend to the land; to trade in goods, we needed markets and shops and storage. It was not until ‘administration’ became a job, and ‘offices’ were conceived, that the need for physical proximity really began to change in nature from the need for access to tools and resources into a need to communicate and collaborate in ever more complex processes. At a stroke, the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in countries around the world encouraging or compelling people to work from home. This sudden, external force acting on how we can work has resulted in rapid, and for many uncomfortable, change. Working from home will, and possibly for many already has, become the new normal. Is it even possible to go back to how things were before? In this paper, we look at this unintended ‘grand experiment’ in occupant experience — considering the interplay of corporate objectives, workplace strategy, and organisational psychology — to explore some of the likely challenges and opportunities of some of the possible new definitions of ‘workplace’.
    Keywords: workplace, administration, sars-cov-2, covid-19, pandemic, work from home, new normal, corporate objectives, workplace strategy, organisational psychology

  • New demands for resilience in real estate: Resilience and adaptability after the COVID-19 pandemic
    David Karpook, Vice President of North American Operations, Planon Corporation, David Stillebroer, Solution Strategy and the Solution Center RE&FM, Planon Software and Erik Jaspers, Information Technology for FM and Real Estate, Planon Software

    The global coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has made it clear that the existing stock of commercial buildings was not well suited to provide for the health and safety of occupants. This paper explores the primary focus areas for enhanced facility management (FM) measures creating resilient buildings in view of defence against contamination risks. The real estate ecosystem learns fast and provides new policies, technology solutions and best practices that help to build resilience. But the real value in creating resilient buildings is not only in supporting organisations to continue their operations during a next COVID-19 wave, it can be a catalyst to change the workplace to a more resilient and adaptive way of working that fits a next generation of office workers and a more connected, sustainable organisation that is resilient to more than just a next virus.
    Keywords: real estate resilience, real estate strategy, COVID-19, IWMS/CAFM, coordinated outbreak management, workplace

  • Editorial thought pieces
    CRE leadership: Crisis demands transition to a digital ecosystem
    Lisa Stanley, Editorial Board member, Corporate Real Estate Journal
  • My home is my castle: An experiment-based home office analysis during COVID-19
    Prof. Dr. Thomas Glatte, Director Global Real Estate, BASF SE, Ludwigshafen/Germany and Professor of Real Estate Economics, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences
  • COVID-19: Implications for real estate
    Michele Flynn, Executive Chairman, SIREAS