The next frontier: how corporate real estate is changing

How have key priorities for corporate real estate shifted in the aftermath of the pandemic? A new report by MRI Software with WORKTECH Academy explores the new office landscape

Since the global pandemic, the role of corporate real estate has undergone a huge transformation. No longer is the office the exclusive workspace for employees. Working from home or from a third space has become part of the mix and, as a consequence, employers are revaluating their investments in office space.

Against this background, real estate professionals are having to adapt to new expectations of their roles and what employees expect from office space. Coming into the office is no longer a guarantee.  The workplace has to compete with work-from-home comfort and convenience in order to make the commute worth it for employees.

 ‘The office now has to compete with home comforts in order to make the commute worth it for employees …’

Previously, choosing an office space was often based on practicality alone but now offices must provide employees with a high-quality experience, meeting requirements for wellbeing and sustainability.

A new report from real estate software company MRI in partnership with WORKTECH Academy, ‘The Next Frontier: Charting the changing landscape of corporate real estate’, identifies six core areas of change and charts how CRE departments will manage these shifts.

Changes in the industry

The first shift is towards customer-centric real estate, with flexible work strategies giving employees more power and autonomy over where and how they work.

The second change is in creating people-centric real estate models which focuses on creating experiences that people want rather than just providing space that people need, and moving from a mindset of cost reduction to generating competitive advantage.

‘Employers must offer a workplace “experience” to attract the best talent…’

The third shift is towards real estate playing an active role in boosting performance and increasing productivity. This may result in a shift in CRE roles, with new titles and functions such as ‘Welcome Experience Hosts’, and more people dedicated to improving specific areas of workplace experience.

The fourth shift is towards ‘responsible real estate’  as companies seek to reduce their carbon footprint and prospective employees watch their approach closely. CRE teams will take control of targets to reach net-zero as more organisations get on board with the ESG agenda.

The fifth major change in corporate real estate has been the rise of real estate as a corporate resource. Real estate needs to become a flexible resource that companies can turn on and off as needed, prompting the rise in Space-as-a-Service models, as opposed to traditional lease arrangements.

‘Real estate needs to become a resource that companies can turn on and off as needed …’

The final shift identified in the report is towards data-centric real estate. CRE professionals need to be on board with this approach in order to make informed and effective decisions about the needs of the workforce and action this information to curate a space tailored to staff needs.

Addressing new priorities

In order to balance the changing demands of real estate portfolios, CRE experts need software that reflects their new priorities and empowers them to make decisions. In recognising this, MRI Software originated the idea of an Extensible Workplace Management System (XWMS), which is an interoperable cloud-based platform. MRI defines XWMS as an open ecosystem, it is easily integrated with other technologies in order to allow companies to optimise their real estate investments.

Using this software CRE professionals can visualise floor plans, collect data on employee behaviour and monitor the sustainability of their buildings all in one place. This bird’s-eye view over all the key areas of real estate planning creates a stable platform from which companies can make significant decisions about where the future of their real estate investment lies.

Read more about the MRI Software and WORKTECH Academy’s predictions about the future of corporate real estate here.

MRI Software is a Corporate Member of WORKTECH Academy
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