The New Bottom Lines
Corporations recalibrate their real estate strategies.
is still the main driver when most corporations consider the future of their
office space portfolios, and for good reason. But according to Johnson
Controls’ recent Collaboration 2020 study,
this narrow perspective signals lost opportunities in the areas of knowledge
worker productivity and innovation.
create the most efficient workplace possible is a decision that goes beyond
economics,” says Andrew Harnish, CCIM, director of enterprise development for
Johnson Controls in Seattle. “A smaller, more-efficient, and more-comfortable
footprint supports the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.”
can brokers and portfolio managers integrate this triple bottom line into
strategic planning for evolving office space? First, consider the people who
power your organization: staff and customers. Before building or renovating, conduct
a change management survey, says Ryan M. Lorey, CCIM, director of global real
estate at Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va.
assume new is better,” he explains. “Companies need to assess how they deliver
work to their clients and how the workforce likes to create and deliver the
product.” For example, a corporation’s office space might have client proximity
requirements. “In consulting, there’s a strong argument for a hoteling model,
since the staff should be out there with the customers,” Lorey adds.
changes in work habits can be stressful to a workforce, so hoteling,
hot-desking, and other programs need to be carried out carefully, Harnish says.
is also becoming a concern for corporations –- especially because it often serves
the people and profit bottom lines too. For example, AT&T considers any
sustainability driven project that has a cost-reduction payback of less than
three years. “Lighting is the obvious one, but variable-frequency drives on
large air handlers can have a good return as well,” says Dennis Virzi, CCIM, a
senior portfolio manager with AT&T in Dallas.
when Lorey and his team were planning the development of new, more-efficient
office buildings, they worked with mapping programs indicating where each staff
member lived. The company determined the locations of the new buildings based
on the highest concentrations of employees. “This has been a highly successful
effort to reduce staff commute, automobile traffic, and carbon emissions,”
knowledge can’t be gained in a silo. Preparing for tomorrow’s office requires
collaboration among brokers, portfolio managers, company leaders, and
employees. If project managers learn how a corporation’s real estate goals can
serve its business goals, they can capture that lowest of bottom lines.
Rich Rosfelder is
associate editor of Commercial Investment