Compare the endless, identical cubes in the movie “Office Space” to the open, collegial workspaces in the fictional company Hooli’s headquarters.
This change in workspaces directly ties to the massive shift in power from large corporate employers to the candidates they seek to employ. Gone are the days of simply creating jobs, providing a place to work, and expecting a deluge of qualified applicants.
Today, employers battle not only each other for top talent but also non-traditional work arrangements like freelancing and online marketplace sales. And it isn’t just recruiters on the front lines. Corporate real estate (CRE) professionals, whether in-sourced or outsourced, are striving to continually create and maintain workspaces that attract the best candidates.
So how can CRE professionals play a part in an outstanding customer experience? In order to attract and retain the top talent in any given field, CRE professionals must employ a number of strategies to optimize the customer experience in the workplace. And the customer (in this case) is both the employee and the corporation!
Aside from the visual layout of an office, one of the first things any visitor (employee or not) will notice is cleanliness.
The same types of questions apply to kitchens, cafeterias, and even outdoor landscaping.
Employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from well-maintained work environments, either. Employers may not know it, but slacking on facilities management can cost them big in terms of employee productivity.
A study conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that Australian businesses lose $11.4 billion per year due to workplace cleanliness issues. A little more than half ($6 billion) of that total includes losses accumulating from employees avoiding soiled work areas - like waiting for the cleanest toilet and going out for coffee rather than using a dirty kitchen.
In addition to facilities management, CRE professionals are responsible for planning any additions to current office space. That means designing how work areas will be set up, keeping the project on time, and most importantly (to the corporation, anyway) staying within the required budget.
This means CRE professionals need to know which business units and corresponding teams will work in the new space. What does their workspace look like today? Should the new layout be the same, or are there additional requirements for the new office?
And if the company is hiring more staff to fill the new space, it needs to be ready on time to accommodate those new employees. No one wants to sit 2- or 3-to-a-cube while waiting for a delayed buildout. Once the agreed upon Tenant Improvement project timeline has expired, the corporation is responsible for rent - regardless of whether or not the space can be occupied.
CRE professionals are also under pressure to stay at or under budget for the project, especially with private office construction in the U.S. topping out at $60 billion in 2017. If any mistakes are made along the way (like cube walls covering large windows), the corporation incurs the cost of resolving them to meet the new workspace requirements.
Employee desires aren’t the only factors that play into decisions about work areas and new real estate investments. CRE professionals must also be mindful of sweeping impacts on the corporation, like:
When you’re dealing with construction projects that cost millions of dollars, it’s critical to understand the entire corporate landscape before making a decision.
In order to manage all these moving pieces, CRE professionals need real-time, automated tools that help them proactively assess scenarios and keep problems from slipping through the cracks. Proactive workflows and detailed dashboards can provide the visibility they need to stay ahead.
Building audits, cleaning inspections, safety inspections, and preventative maintenance checks are all facilities management tasks that can be supported by an execution management platform.
Deliverables for office expansions can be tracked through an execution management platform as well. CRE professionals can request status updates from general contractors or subcontractors to insure timeliness and budget compliance.
Execution management tools can also serve as the backdrop for workplace optimization and strategic real estate planning. CRE professionals can conduct and store workplace studies and other relevant planning data in the platform for easy future modeling.