Last Updated on August 30, 2022 by Neil Patel Accel
The commercial real estate space has been on a rollercoaster of evolution over the past two years. The landscape in which CRE professionals operate has seen an accelerated adoption of technology, a re-evaluation of real estate strategy and complete shift in the methodologies in which one occupies a given space.
What is the future of the tenant experience? And how will it evolve in 2022? We predict the next phase of change in commercial real estate will be humanization of the spaces in which we work and shop, and that the companies that get it right will be on the right side of history. First, let’s dive into what is the tenant experience?
What is The Tenant Experience?
The tenant experience refers to the human-centric experience within a commercial real estate space. Space that powers community, well-being, and that is technology-enabled has become most in demand, and owners of commercial space have begun to take notice.
As tenants search for office space, price and location are no longer the core considerations. Ensuring that the space will meet and/or exceed employee satisfaction is a must. The way in which employees work has changed drastically over the past two years. So, if workers are to come into an office space, then they will expect enhanced technology experiences, flexible work scenarios, as well as amenities and community-centric designs.
Our Predictions for the Future of the Tenant Experience
1. Organizational Community
In 2021, the average office user on our platform increased location count by 38%. In other words, as companies adjust to the distributed work model, they are finding that their employees still want a space to gather and collaborate. Albeit, maybe not on a daily cadence. But having a space in which to connect with your colleagues, meet face-to-face with clients and simply feel a sense of community with their organization is essential.
Community outside the workplace is integral to the tenant experience as well. Employees want to be closer to home, closer to their families and closer to their everyday lives. Are there coffee shops, lunch options, groceries stores, schools and/or daycare nearby so your employees can feel woven into their community even while at work?
Adapting your organization’s real estate strategy to meet the evolving needs of your employees involves a number of steps. First understanding where your employees live and how far they are willing to travel to meet in-office. And second, analyzing your office locations and lease contracts to see if they still meet the demands of your workforce or if a new strategy is necessary. Our Lease Administration module centralizes your real estate portfolio so all internal and external stakeholders can evaluate their portion of the lease lifecycle from new deals to expense reports.
2. Next Level Amenities
The aughts and twenty-teens unveiled free lunches, on-site laundry services, beers-on-tap, ping-pong tables and nap rooms as organizational amenities. With the seismic shift in how, where, and why employees work, those types of amenities are simply a bandaid for culture and community. Employees want amenities that provide authentic value in terms of health & wellness, safety & security, flexibility, upskilling, mentorship and community.
In terms of health, wellness, and safety, ensuring that your building meets requirements for occupancy health like air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind is step one. These are unconscious needs that when not met have negative effects on tenants and their employees. In fact, there are two healthy building certifications, WELL and Fitwel, that measure building health quality. Of course, there is the added benefit of having a gym, yoga studio, or fitness center as a neighboring tenant in your building as well.
When addressing the employee need of community, and mentorship, you have to evaluate the design of the corporate space. Is the leadership team stationed in office on one-side of the building while employees are sitting in cubbies? While this is also a cultural mindset on an organization level, it’s important for the tenant to consider how they are facilitating work and collaboration. If employees are to come into an office, it’s to connect, collaborate, and cultivate their skillset. The office of the future should cater to the needs of the employees and the overall tenant experience.
3. Tenant Experience Technology
“Technology designed and built with human beings at the center are the solutions that make everyone’s lives easier,” said Kofi Gyekye via Forbes Magazine. If there is one common thread in how the tenant experience is evolving, it is that it’s becoming more human-centric. Employees, aka humans, are writing the future of work and the future of the tenant experience.
Technology is here to aid in that process. In addition to the methodology of the tenant experience, there are a suite of tools enabling smarter processes. After your real estate strategy is designed, you’ll want to understand how your employees are using the building. Our favorite tenant-experience platforms are HqO, VTS, and CrowdComfort. Each offers a range of real time reporting data that unlocks insights into workplace and facilities management. Their tools are elevating the tenant experience via in-app messaging, digital community building, and geo-location enabled facilities management and more.
Take Control of Your Real Estate
Here at Occupier, we are helping tenants take control of their real estate portfolio with lease administration, transaction management and lease accounting modules that unlock real estate data so that it’s at your fingertips. We look forward to seeing how the future of work and the future of the tenant experience unfolds into this year and beyond.