Claudia Hamm Bastow
Head of EMEA Workplace Solutions
Expo Real brings together a large group of the European and global real estate community. It’s a great opportunity to network, do deals and explore the delights of Munich after Oktoberfest. But the one thing I would encourage everyone attending the conference to do, is whether you’re in a cramped meeting room or a wide open conference centre take a moment to pause and consider that the value of corporate real estate is being measured with a new yard stick.
Since the onset of the financial crisis, cost reduction, efficiency of use and flexibility have become ‘business as usual’. The long-term value is therefore no longer defined by ‘space multiplied by currency’ but what corporate and other occupiers are increasingly looking for is how “future ready” the buildings are for their purpose, a more complex set of evaluation criteria that closely link the portfolio performance directly to the triple bottom line.
The days when office buildings were merely an iconic status symbol or a way of putting a roof over the heads of employees have long gone. We have seen a journey of transformation that took us from cellular to open plan to home office in three decades. The overriding question is: what’s next? In times of total virtual connectivity, digitalization of global knowledge and Cloud induced ubiquitousness, is the office obsolete?
The answer is: no. The office is rapidly becoming one of the most important strategic assets alongside human capital. For any organization looking to compete successfully and sustainably in the future. The nature of demand for the built environment will change fundamentally. It will become a physical expression of values, the epicenter of human contact and collaboration. A lever to facilitate continuous organisational transformation. Vicinity to talent, especially in emerging markets and highly talent depending sectors will influence any decision on location. Offering access to amenities enabling a better worklife balance become a key requirement.
Every squaremeter that will be leased or owned in the future will need to be built around some element of customer experience, employee experience to enhance brand loyalty for both. Therefore the best squaremeter of tomorrow will be the one that engages and empowers people and becomes a conduit for an ever changing workforce of tomorrow.