Determining a clear vision for the future of commercial real estate (CRE) is a difficult task, but there are some things we know for certain.
Our cities are fundamental to the future workplace experience. Cities were hit hard by COVID-19, and many are still feeling the effects. City growth is expected to experience a slowdown, and revenues are expected to plunge around 15 to 25% due to reduced use of public transit and less income from property and sales taxes.
In order for our cities to thrive, they must adapt. Let’s dive into what this might look like.
What Does the Future of CRE Look Like?
In their recent report, The World Economic Forum (WEF) outlined the way forward for real estate and our cities. They introduce four key pillars as a pathway for the industry to transition towards a future in which “buildings provide comfort, are equipped for the most unprecedented events, support human and planetary health, and are affordable and accessible for all of society.”
The future of real estate is…
Livable. Smart buildings are healthy, human-centric, and enhance the well-being of their occupants.
Sustainable. Decarbonized, energy efficient buildings will deliver environmental and social benefits.
Resilient. “Future-proofed” cities are prepared for risks, while still preserving a sense of community.
Affordable. Inclusive and accessible spaces minimize the effects of inequality.
These pillars also mean that public services will be accessible and secure online, and green mobility will reinforce a net zero carbon ecosystem. Increased affordable housing and equitable access to key services will put residents first, in addition to climate-smart infrastructure and operations.
But how will this vision really look in the CRE industry? Progress is driven by the digitalization and use of data from tech-enabled properties, along with public services that embrace a people-first model.
The pandemic served as a catalyst for the digitization process across the industry, and 2022 will see increased adoption of new technologies. In a 2022 commercial real estate outlook, Deloitte reported that 53% of professionals have a roadmap of where they’d like technology to take them, and 32% are restructuring internal processes based on technology and tools. Our office spaces are far from fully modernized, but the experience for tenants will only continue to improve as a result of this digital transformation.
The New Office Tenant Experience
How does this specifically impact the workplace?
Despite the variety of work modes that are being used, the future of the workplace is indubitably hybrid. The majority of workers expect to continue operating in a hybrid capacity, and many employees see value in working at their company office building to ideate with coworkers, solve urgent problems with coworkers, and more.
Our CEO and Co-Founder Chase Garbarino spoke to the power of real connections in the workplace in a recent blog: “Engaging with people in real life humanizes us. Looking someone in the eye and having a real-world shared experience will always make a more meaningful connection than a tweet.”
Additionally, to accommodate hybrid working models that enhance real connections, workplaces must adapt even further. Alongside new technologies, physical office design can improve the office tenant experience and drive tenant satisfaction.
Property owners should ensure that their assets are working towards net zero carbon goals and that their operations reflect these goals. Property management teams must also help foster workplace experiences that enhance the employee experience, not hinder it.
When it comes to sustainability, the WEF emphasized that the office sector can lead the charge towards innovative, low-carbon solutions: “offices can become the innovation lab for the industry to not only incorporate current best practices but also to test new solutions at scale.” Now is not the time to fall short on climate goals: CRE leaders can make a substantial impact by committing to and executing sustainable practices.
A Resilient Future
The future of our cities and workplaces are inextricably linked. Cities and the real estate industry must work together to deliver tech-enabled, affordable, and sustainable solutions for all.
In the new year, building owners and operators can enhance their operations and continue to retain and attract top tenants by adopting technologies such as a tenant experience platform, and property mobile app.
To learn how to stay ahead of the curve and enhance your portfolio’s digital technologies, schedule a free consultation today.