Real estate has now become «inescapable» in terms of companies’ corporate strategies

Real estate has now become «inescapable» in terms of companies’ corporate strategies

Maria Empis, JLL

Corporate real estate’s transformation will accelerate this year, as a response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, concluded a recent global study from JLL.

The 6th edition of the «Top 10 Global CRE Trends» from the consultant, identified the turning points for corporate real estate in 2021, meaning real estate which support companies’ activities, such as offices. The study pointed the ways companies may follow to reinvent their strategies in this area so as to face the structural changes which are occurring.

The study showed that real estate strategies are at the top of managers’ priorities, by attributing to buildings a crucial role when the time comes to implement new measures to improve workers’ healthcare and well-being, new ways of working or real estates’ decarburisation.

Maria Empis, Head of Corporate Solutions at JLL, commented in a release that «if before the real estate properties where companies carried out their work, were considered important for their competitiveness, influencing their workers’ productivity and economic gains, after the pandemic, they became an inescapable element in terms of corporate strategies and this will, without a doubt, accelerate change in this area on the way towards a new normal».

She explained that «in the post-Covid, corporate real estate positions will not remain under the same formulas. The pandemic brought a clear change to expectations in terms of healthcare and well-being, hybrid work models are here to stay, besides a larger investment on digital and increasingly more sustainable business practices».

That is why, «real estate must adapt itself to this new normal and executives need to remodel their real estate strategies so that buildings become more adaptable, resilient, sustainable and responsible. Business success resides in anticipating trends and reacting so as to generate the best results for people, for the planet and for the company’s financial success. This study seeks to support companies with that anticipation process».

Corporate real estate’s 10 trends for 2020

Hybrid future – To work from anywhere will boost the dispersion of the carbon footprint and the transformation of portfolios, according to JLL. The study revealed that 50% of collaborators want to use the hybrid work model, with an average 2.4 days a week working remotely. According to the consultant, «exploring the mobility generated by this hybrid work model is a way to reach a greater resilience in the future».

More humanised work space – Next generation work spaces will create environments where people will prosper and their performances will improve. Despite the implementation of remote work, the office remains the preferred location for tasks that demand cooperation, management, training and even socialisation. The space is thus seen as a performance facilitator. «Improving the performance or our collaborators means «reimagining» the work space and creating positive environments in cooperation with HR and IT», said JLL.

Health imperative – The workers’ health and well-being will become increasingly more central within future strategies and real estate corporate investment. The study mentioned that 58% of collaborators prioritised working in companies which insured their physical and mental well-being. Hence, JLL concluded that «it is important to develop a robust healthcare and well-being plan for the collaborators and to approach the impact their professional activity  can have on their mental health and fatigue».

Digital first – «Technology allows everything, and it is essential for companies to have a dynamic ecosystem interconnected between partners and technologies. The rapid digital transformation meant having access to everything, at any time, from anywhere, with any equipment or any app», highlighted JLL, which further remarked that «it is crucial to capitalise the power of the digital ecosystems to improve the transformation of work, collaborators and workspaces».

Race for zero net emissions – This report concluded that corporate real estate will be critical to reach the carbon net emissions goals. The global commitment for these goals doubled in less than a year. It now includes 452 cities, 1.101 companies, 549 universities and 45 of the world’s largest investors, at a time when 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by buildings (if not controlled, these may double until 2050) and that buildings also generate one third of global energy consumption. The consultant highlighted that «it is crucial to adopt decarbonisation strategies within corporate real estate portfolios and throughout the assets’ life cycles».

Responsible real estate – The commitment to bring positive change through real estate will be at the top of corporate real estate strategies agenda for 2021. Thus, «it is important to improve the environment which was created so as to bring a positive and sustainable change which encourages health and prosperity among people and for the planet».

Distributed urbanisation – The search for a more sustainable and resilient urban model will result in changing the city’s spatial logic. A polycentric, but highly connected city will emerge. Hence, «aligning location strategies with the cities’ new spatial logic will be a way to bring sustainability and resilience to the real estate portfolio».

Flex transformation – «The flexible workspace will be a strategic tool to provide post-Covid portfolios with flexibility», stated JLL. The study showed that 33% of corporate real estate directors anticipate the use of coworking/flexible space will increase in the post-Covid period, along with innovation on this type of product.

Thus, «integrating flexible workspaces on a company’s real estate portfolio will be a way to meet the changing work preferences».

Future metrics – New metrics and prospects will be the basis to improve portfolios with data monitoring streamlining the future of work, as this report pointed out. Within the next three years, 70% of the metrics companies will adopt will be non-traditional and mainly focused on human performance, portfolio and responsible real estate. It matters «to build a culture oriented towards monitoring through metrics», which will allow «taking decisions based on real time data».

Resilience – Constant transformation will require constant resilience, adaptability, flexibility and responsibility from companies. The study concluded that 42% of collaborators said that their company wanted to promote a resilient company, able to innovate and adapt to future crises. Thus, «integrating a high level of elasticity within corporate real estate strategies will allow companies to adapt to the constant changes in demand».

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