We joined the GCUC community for The Future edition of the Mastermind series. Meyer Prinsloo, essensys’ Chief Marketing Officer, was featured on a panel with Georgia Collins, EVP of Strategic Client Solutions at Hana and Melissa Ansley, Advisory Lead at JLL, to discuss the future of real estate.
Moderated by GCUC founder Liz Elam, the panellists considered what is needed to meet occupier demands. The consensus was on flexibility and preparing a space portfolio for broader tenant engagement and improved workspace experiences. The session covered what flexibility means and how to drive value to occupiers and activate tech-enabled working environments.
Amenities and services
The office market is rapidly evolving. You must be thinking about how to amenitise the built environment, offer services that attract and retain tenants, and take a strategic and more active interest in tenant engagement. By providing value-added services to a proposition and tracking usage, end-users can feel connected to the space, driving additional value over time.
Through a spectrum of flexible products, you can position the value of assets in a way that puts the tenant at the heart of your proposition. It’s about stripping the administrative component from work so they can focus on what they’re in the office to do. Now is the time to think about how occupiers will use space in the future. From coworking and collaborative space to private offices and spec suites, occupiers are looking for options.
Offer greater choice
The office has become a more dynamic place. Organizations are more considered in how they think about work, space, and their community. The building stack must touch on all of these components and offer a range of possibilities for how occupiers adopt and utilize space. In this regard, it’s critical to consider two-tiers: the enterprise and the employee.
The panelists referenced the increasing trend of enterprise organizations seeking turnkey and activated suites that accommodate larger headcount, building amenities and flex space. For their employees, a compelling space proposition should accommodate varying workstyle zones that give end-users access to activity-based working areas, such as breakout spaces, collaboration areas, phone booths, meeting rooms, and more.
It comes down to supporting the client’s complete lifecycle and enabling them to scale up or down in uncertain times. Integrating and creating more flexibility across your space portfolio means offering a spectrum of choices. A compelling space proposition should align with each occupiers’ needs and objectives and provide a productive and safe office experience.
When you boil it down, we’re beginning to see the office sector shift to provide the best of a flexible workspace proposition, with landlords and developers taking a more active interest in focusing on the occupier. Technology is a key component in supporting the strategic move to a flex-enabled portfolio.
Tech-enabled office environments
A strong tech operating model promotes broader tenant engagement and connects occupiers to the building, their work, and value-added services. As part of a strategic approach to technology, you can bring your space proposition together by integrating disparate, complex components into a single infrastructure layer. Meyer Prinsloo, essensys Chief Marketing Officer, outlined how technology plays a critical role in enabling flexibility and focusing on occupier requirements:
- Process automation
Occupiers want agility and flexibility as they move to more distributed ways of working. What processes have you deployed and how well do they fit into your business model? Automating key operational practices reduces time and resources historically spent on repetitive administrative tasks.
- Tech strategy
What does your technology stack look like today? When exploring new business models, it’s critical to evaluate if your current systems and tools will enable the spaces and processes and meet occupier requirements. Identifying the best approach – whether DIY, outsourced, or software-enabled tech and infrastructure – can be complex and overwhelming. Here’s a guide that may help.
- Standardized experience
For a consistent and quality occupier experience, standardized tech and systems are critical. If you’re delivering office space, chances are you’re not actively developing technology. Futureproofed and reliable tech and software solutions require constant development and investment.
- Liberate your staff
Implementing a reliable tech operating model doesn’t necessarily entail more overhead, headcount, or training hours. Software and tech platforms that align with your space strategy can free your staff to focus on strategic initiatives and customer relationships.
Does your current technology enable you to roll out flex across your portfolio at scale? Cloud infrastructure reduces on-premise space requirements and gives you the ability to scale services across multiple locations and regions effectively.
Service performance and security are critical considerations. As enterprise demand for flex-space rises, so do its requirements for enterprise-grade security, high quality services and compliance. An integrated private cloud network can protect critical data, services, and intellectual property. It should be a core component of your tech platform.
Does your tech allow visibility into how occupiers are using your space? Data and insight into your operation are critical to make informed business decisions and identify new opportunities and challenges. From financial reporting to bandwidth consumption, capturing and analyzing data is essential.
The panellists made it very clear that the office is no longer a mere place where work gets done. It’s a space that fosters community, collaboration, and culture. It thrives on hospitality and value-added services and can drive productivity and ambition. From strategy and operations to tech functionality, putting occupier requirements at the core of your flex office proposition is vital.