The Many Ways Technology is Transforming CRE

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New technologies can be intimidating, and it’s not always easy to figure out the best ways to use them effectively and profitably in commercial real estate. But there’s no doubt that tech innovations will keep advancing, so the sooner you embrace them, the better equipped you’ll be to remain a strong competitor in the market. These are some of the main tech trends you should be following if you’re in CRE.

Data, Analytics and IT Infrastructure

Many CRE companies are not fully tapping into the power of their data to make sound investment and operations decisions. Investing in advanced business intelligence software enables better management of business functions, reduces manual work and equips property managers to make fast, informed decisions. A key step in effectively deploying and integrating technology internally at a property management company is developing an enterprise-wide technology strategy. You can upgrade your technology infrastructure while still accommodating legacy systems, but a well-thought out plan for integration across the enterprise is still essential.

And, upgrading internal technology to newer, more efficient and user-friendly options doesn’t necessarily mean it has to happen in-house. Companies now have the option to contract with external cloud-based service providers for certain business areas or even outsource entire functions to specialized firms that handle payroll, HR, accounting and more.

AI and Smart Technology

Smart building management systems can carry out automated procedures and track building operations, and smart devices and AI-augmented technology can be used to identify patterns and anomalies in the data. Data can include anything from tenant satisfaction to business functions to building temperature. These innovations allow property managers and building engineers to more effectively apply predictive analytics, perform preventative maintenance, optimize energy usage and save costs.

Tech-Savvy Building Design

Today’s tenants rely on connected devices in their workspaces, and to meet their expectations, property owners and managers need to consider upgrading the digital infrastructure in their buildings. CRE companies must recognize that IoT technology is a priority when designing or retrofitting their buildings. Also, modern tenants increasingly value tech-based sustainability initiatives such as solar-powered outdoor lighting and installing green technologies will not only boost tenant satisfaction, it can also reduce energy bills and improve property value.

Drones

Small unmanned aerial vehicles now have many commercial applications. Drone technology is being used in real estate to photograph properties from appealing bird’s-eye vantage points and other normally inaccessible angles. Using high-quality visual imagery from drones when advertising your properties can increase perceived value, which can translate into a higher asking price and a faster rental cycle. Some security departments are using them for surveillance to be able to monitor larger properties with less required manpower. Drones are also being deployed for surveying, architecture and construction—something to keep in mind if you’re building a new property.

The Sharing Economy and PropTech

Innovative business models inspired by the new sharing economy are now arising in commercial real estate. The most notable, WeWork, provides shared workspace and particularly appeals to tech startups and freelancers looking for flexibility, convenience, special amenities and technologies that enable their mobile workstyle. At the same time, CRE is moving online, with internet-based PropTech startups transforming the traditional business model. Zillow, Trulia and Redfin have been disruptors in the residential sector, and emerging companies are now aiming to shake up the CRE industry in a similar manner – are you prepared for what this might mean for your building?

Technology is advancing every day, and if you’re not making efforts to stay current, you’re likely falling behind. By embracing new innovations like these, your property, your tenants and ultimately your profitability will benefit.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the NREI website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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The Evolution of Office Dress Codes

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Amenities with Meaning: What the Modern Marketplace Demands

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We talk about trends in the workspace sector all the time, but what’s happened to the office landscape in recent years has been nothing less than a seismic shift. In a relatively short period, office buildings have gone from being places where people do things to being places that do things for people. And, in today’s fierce war for talent, being able to offer a workplace environment that employees want to spend time in – one that actually enhances their working life – can give businesses that all-important competitive edge. A big part of this is having the right blend and standard of amenities in place.

The demand for meaningful workplace amenities is being driven by a multitude of factors, each one influencing the way our workplaces evolve. A rise in the number of freelancers and self-employed workers, now accounting for around 15 percent of the working population in the UK, has spurred increased demand for co-working space with shared amenities that support networking and collaboration, the growing appeal of flexible workspace to businesses of all sizes is, again, fueling demand for high-quality shared amenity, as is the continuing influence of the Millennial generation that places an onus on the social aspect of work and the impact of workplace wellbeing  – with a healthy office now being an essential aspect of the employee experience.

Successful amenity provision speaks to each of these demands, helping to create workspaces that support businesses in attracting and retaining talent; contributing to their growth. Planned in the right way, workplace amenity can also bond building clusters together, forging vibrant new communities in our towns and cities.

The Wellbeing Factor

Happy, healthy people are the biggest asset to any business. Human beings aren’t just units of production, and workspaces that treat them as such create a battery hen experience where wellbeing suffers and productivity drops. Encouragingly, increasing numbers of employers are recognizing the benefits of having a workspace that supports wellness; a recent survey from the Confederation of British Industry, in partnership with Bupa and HCA Healthcare, found that 63 percent of respondent companies viewed workplace health and wellbeing as an important business issue.

This reflects what we’re hearing from our customer steering groups. They’re telling us that that wellbeing at work is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘must have’ and they want to be able to offer employees convenient access to high-quality health and fitness amenities. Today’s workforce is more health aware than ever before and with retirement ages being pushed further and further back, employees expect their employers to take a responsible attitude towards their long-term health and wellbeing. Everyone wants to feel like their employer is looking after them. So, we must ensure buildings and developments provide amenities that can really help customers to support employee wellness, from both a physical and mental point of view. This goes far beyond providing the essentials like bike storage and shower facilities, to offering access to things like yoga studios, virtual fitness classes, guided meditation sessions, on-site gyms, astro-turf training areas, holistic therapy pop-ups, and chill-out zones.

We’re focused on taking these benefits to as broad a range of customers as possible, so we cluster buildings together and share amenities across them. What we say is that, if you’re part of the Bruntwood community, you can come and enjoy the facilities at any of our other buildings too.

Green Space as Amenity

According to the United Nations, by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. And as urban infrastructure expands to cater to this influx, access to green space and a connection to nature as an amenity will become increasingly desirable. Exposure to green space has been linked to employee well-being and productivity, and some big players have taken note. Facebook, for instance, has topped its Silicon Valley headquarters with a huge rooftop park and Google plans to incorporate a 300m-long rooftop garden, complete with running track into its new London headquarters in King’s Cross.

We see green space as a multi-functional amenity, it can provide a place for customers to work, collaborate and relax. A number of our flagship buildings such as Platform in Leeds and Neo in Manchester have green rooftop terraces and the new urban neighborhood we are creating in Manchester, Circle Square will be centered on one of the largest new city center green spaces for generations. Not only will the inclusion of green space in and around our workspaces help to address the future needs of urban workers but it will also ensure that our growing cities are sustainable.

Collaboration and Community

Amenities have to work hard these days. Used in the right way they can help to facilitate a sense of belonging and stimulate a collaborative, creative culture – essential parts of the modern, co-working scene.

Businesses want shared amenities that provide opportunities to collide and interact with like-minded ventures within the workspace community. Where, once upon a time, people might have congregated by the water dispenser, they’re now coming together in open plan kitchen areas, shared lounges and on communal roof terraces and this type of amenity is in big demand.

For small businesses, freelancers, and start-ups, shared amenities like these can be places to source invaluable peer support and advice. They act as the center of a workspace community and we’ve seen them reap serious rewards for our customers in terms of knowledge exchange and network building that supports growth. Larger companies are switching on to the benefits of collaborative amenities too and, as a result, we’re seeing more of them taking up space in co-working buildings in a bid to gain access to innovative start-ups and rich talent pool

Retail Amenity Reimagined

Workspace amenity can inject energy and interest in developments. We’re now blurring the lines between retail and office space to provide quality services and provision within buildings themselves. This not only ensures that customers benefit from easy and convenient access to stand-out retail, including independent food and beverage providers, but it adds to the overall vibrancy and amenity of buildings. It’s all about using amenity to create a destination for the entire business community. And the perfect example would be Hatch, the existing new pop-up food and drink destination we’ve created at the Oxford Road corridor in Manchester. Hatch is satisfying a number of objectives – providing an incubator for innovative start-up retail and leisure ventures, a fantastic amenity for businesses that will be based within our new Circle Square neighborhood and a new must-visit ‘foodie’ attraction for Manchester as a whole. Amenities like Hatch also act as an effective ‘third space’ for the businesses around it – another place where co-workers and colleagues can connect and recharge.

In this brave new workplace world, businesses that can offer a meaningful amenity to their employees are bound to have the advantage. And, for developers, this means constantly redefining what ‘amenity’ means and always pushing it to deliver more.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

The Most Useful and Universal Mental Models

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Three Approaches to Prospecting

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When you think about prospecting, is cold calling the first thing that comes to mind?

It is for many commercial real estate professionals, and it’s easy to see why — if you want to find new prospects, you first need to call them, right?

It’s hard to argue with that, and while cold calling does play a role in every prospecting strategy, it shouldn’t be your entire strategy. Instead, the best prospecting strategies are rethinking the use of cold calling, transforming it from an end in itself to just one part of a larger approach to securing new business.

From building your market presence to using technology to segment and systematize your efforts, use these three prospecting strategies to move beyond cold calling and make more meaningful relationships in your market.

  1. Top-of-mind

The traditional approach to cold calling is all about volume. The logic goes that more is better, so 200 calls a week is better than 100, but worse than 500. That may be true if every call is a shot in the dark, but what are the chances of actually connecting with the right person at the right time?

It happens, but it doesn’t happen often.

So instead of playing a tedious, time-consuming numbers game, try the top-of-mind approach outlined by Blaine Strickland in his book Thrive: Ten Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent. The key idea is that instead of trying to reach the perfect person at the perfect time, you should aim to become the first real estate advisor prospects think of when they decide to look for trusted counsel.

To put this approach into action, begin by identifying about 125 of your best prospects. These are the people who are likely to interact with you and will need a broker at least once every five years. Try to make a high-quality connection with at least two of these people every day, and work towards connecting with each person at least once a quarter.

Don’t focus on making a hard sell; simply build the relationship, make a connection and provide value each time you talk. After a year of this you’ll have made several strong connections with key prospects in your market, and when they eventually need professional counsel, don’t be surprised if you’re the first person they call.

  1. Build your presence

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

You’ve probably heard that saying before, and the next time you’re about to dial some cold calls, take a moment to ask yourself the question: How many key players in my market know me?

If you’re a junior broker, the answer is probably few to none. There’s nothing wrong with that, everybody has to start somewhere, but you don’t want that to be the answer forever. Use the presence approach outlined by the Massimo Group to change that and elevate your name in the market.

Building your presence is all about getting out there and making the right connections. There are many ways to grow your network, but if you’re a junior broker, start by finding the right mentor. Not only will a strong mentor share experience and strategies — their network will open doors for you and create opportunities to build your presence.

Once you’ve started building your presence, you’ll notice that cold calls are turning into warm calls. While you should always try to learn something about your prospect and know how you can provide value, the conversation changes when your prospect knows about you.

This strategy’s end game? Transform your presence until you’re seen as a source of information and expertise in your market. At that point, the prospects will come to you.

  1. Segmentation

To make your prospecting efforts as efficient as possible, segment prospects into actionable lists.

How effectively you segment prospects has a lot to do with the quality of your databases and technology — you could create lists with nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet and a post-it note (we don’t recommend that), or you could leverage your databases through a commercial real estate-specific CRM to segment lists according to real-time data.

Either way, you want to segment prospects into the key groups that will fuel your success. That means different things for different commercial real estate professionals, but if you’re looking for ideas, start by breaking prospects into these groups: previous clients, top owners and market principals. You should always keep in touch with past clients, many will prove to be consistent sources of business, and you definitely want to be building relationships with the key players in your market.

Segmenting prospects boosts your efficiency and helps you build your market presence. If you’re using software that tracks your prospecting efforts and prompts you with follow up dates, you can also effectively segment prospects to stay on track of the top-of-mind strategy.

Cold calling isn’t going away. Picking up the phone and reaching out to someone new is a fundamental part of what it means to be a broker, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

But thanks to technology and some clever strategies, prospecting is evolving into more than just a numbers game. Sure, volume is still a key part of it; but whether it’s winning the top-of-mind game or building a presence in the market, brokers who move beyond the traditional prospecting mentality will outperform the rest.

 

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Apto website.

 

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

The Data Big Tech Companies Have On You

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

Ideas That Align and Strengthen Your Organization

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To have another conversation about the benefits of open plan versus private office is missing the point. There are countless established advantages and disadvantages of both types of workspaces. For 2019, we need to change and elevate the conversation about our workplaces. Facility and HR professionals need to focus discussions on how to make strategic decisions together to strengthen the workplace experience for employees.

The following ideas are changes FM and HR leaders can put into immediate practice to develop collaborative behaviors and mindsets. We seek to inspire a new way for leaders to intentionally build intra-departmental relationships and influence how their teams can work together so their workforces can reach a higher potential in the workplace every day.

Idea 1: Build a Joint Agenda by Starting with Transparency

Recommendations: Most Facilities leaders understand the basic daily role of HR. Attraction, retention, benefits, compliance, and suddenly, eyes get hazy and glazed over. Most HR leaders understand Facilities is about space plans, layouts, furniture, fabrics and finishes, HVAC, IEQ and then snoring commences. To start aligning agendas, Facilities leaders should ask HR leaders to share their strategic plan for 2019. Then, ask for HR’s perspective on areas where they see future opportunities to collaborate in capacities to benefit employees. Make sure you are prepared to reciprocate and share your facilities and real estate plan too. Over coffee or lunch build your relationship by offering feedback to each other on the plans and determine where they converge through efforts that will uplift and benefit your workforce. Also determine how you can build a fully integrated HR and Facilities plan for the next fiscal year based on strategic organizational goals.

Idea 2: Develop an Integrated Facilities and HR Journey Map

Recommendations: Consider the employee, recruiting, and visitor lifecycles and map out all touchpoints where real estate and facilities have the potential to impact employees, prospective employees, and guests. As an example, consider the following types of spaces to begin your mapping:

Lobby/Reception areas – What message does the reception area send to visitors, recruits and employees? What should each constituency feel, think, and do when they enter and after? Is your brand well integrated? A recent study by Proxyclick indicates that we’re not delivering in our lobbies and reception areas.

Interview Rooms and Office Tour Paths – What message are you sending to employees? Does the quality of these spaces strengthen or hurt your employer value proposition? How integrated is your brand in your workplace? How does your culture show up in the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs demonstrated in shared spaces and when observed?

Amenity Spaces – Whether your office has a rooftop with BBQs or a five-star gym that has capacity for yoga and meditation classes, what messages do these spaces send to employees on how your organization prioritizes wellness, work-life balance, staff engagement, and fun? Do your amenities complement the culture you’re grooming or work against it?

Conference Rooms – Determine what each unique audience (employees, clients, board members, prospective employees, etc.) should experience in your conference spaces. What should these spaces look and feel like? What call to action are you asking of them after they leave the meeting or event?

After you map the employee lifecycle and corresponding spaces, determine which spaces require immediate attention and make these your priority through budget allocation and resource designation. Note: these should align with your integrated Facilities and HR strategic plans.

Idea 3: Become a Force Multiplier by Amplifying Your Joint Agenda, Efforts, & Results

Recommendations: Demonstrate collaborative practices you want to see inside your Facilities and HR teams and then elevate the practice by talking about this approach across your organization. Get the message out to other leaders that you are leading and executing in this new unified way. Whether you present a joint agenda at Monday leadership meetings or update staff quarterly via town hall meetings, deconstruct the parts and pieces of your integrated Facilities and HR agenda. Not only will this create a cadence of new practices, it also has the potential to inspire other operational leaders in accounting, IT, marketing, etc. to adopt this kind of approach.

This soft internal PR has the potential to change the perception of Facilities (ticket takers) and HR (rules and tools) to organizational resources that create distinct business advantages. This won’t happen though unless you get the word out! Find your partner in FM/HR and do it together! And, if you need help with the marketing messages and vehicles, here is another great opportunity to partner with another department.

Idea 4: Initiate a Deeper, More Meaningful Conversation with Industry + Organizational Peers

Recommendations: To achieve more long-term impact and results, this dialogue must be sustained; this isn’t a one and done effort. To advance this agenda and offset teleworking, we must change the caliber and quality of the conversations we are having with each other and with our colleagues who lead other departments.

Consider asking these types of questions to other Facilities leaders to learn from each other:

  • How do you currently collaborate with HR inside of your organization?
  • In what efforts would you like to start partnering with HR?
  • What are the biggest benefits you could bring to your organization if your Facilities and HR teams joined forces?
  • How could Facilities leaders potentially impact practices, policies, procedures inside of HR?
  • Consider asking these types of questions to your internal HR leaders to strengthen outcomes:
  • Do you understand the benefits for the workforce if HR and Facilities teamed up?
  • What currently prevents our agendas from aligning?
  • What benefits will our workforce experience from a joint Facilities and HR agenda?
  • How could our aligned agenda strengthen attraction, retention, brand and culture as well as the overall impact of Facilities/CRE on the organization’s goals & objectives?
  • How could we begin to build a stronger working relationship?
  • How could our integrated approach become an inclusive practice across our organization?

Collectively, these practices are intended to yield benefits that elevate your workforce, strengthen the impact of your workplace and build a more integrated approach to your employee experience. Prospective outcomes of this Facilities and HR collaboration have the potential to result in:

  • Stronger brand and culture demonstrated in the physical space
  • Consistent and clear employee experiences
  • Employee referrals for new hires
  • PR from clients and prospective clients after tours
  • Enhanced employee morale and pride in the physical office
  • Reduction of interest in teleworking
  • Space perceived as an employee benefit

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.