As the hybrid work model leads the business model transformation, consumers and office employees are driving new experiences that fit their new lifestyle – and reshaping the purpose of Commercial Real Estate (CRE) in the process.
We’re now witnessing that the pandemic’s behavioral changes have outlived the crisis, as forecasted by management consulting firm McKinsey in 2020. People continue to shop and work from home while CRE adapts to the demand for short-term leases.
In an industry that’s waking up to new long-term trends that influence real estate operations, most firms continue to depend on legacy technology systems, which could hamper progress and their ability to innovate.
But CRE companies that embrace game-changing technologies, such as occupancy sensors, will gain visibility into new usage patterns of their amenities to make informed decisions about what to do next.
Instead of making decisions based on assumptions, they’re taking guided action based on data and monetizing it to improve outcomes for their business in the new normal.
If your want to measure foot traffic in your building to learn if its current purpose is still viable, start by getting informed on how different amenities are being disrupted by technology and hybrid work:
Public washrooms are seeing less foot traffic
Public washrooms are often the most frequented facilities of a building, which is why many CRE managers assume that they continue to be used at the rate that they used to.
So even though washrooms are high-traffic, low-capacity spaces that can get overcrowded quickly, their usage may be looking a lot different under today’s order of things.
When CRE managers gain insight into washroom usage, they can cut costs related to maintenance and deploy fewer cleaning staff without damaging their organization’s reputation.
Shared areas are performing below capacity
In the past, tenants would sign a building lease agreement for a decade, knowing that usage patterns would remain more or less constant and in accordance with the building’s capacity.
Today, that’s no longer the case. The hybrid working model is upending not only the way employees use office space – it’s having a spillover effect on the use of communal areas such as hallways, elevators, parking lots and lobbies.
With scores of these spaces performing below capacity, many CRE firms are compelled to retrofit properties and repurpose spaces for alternate uses to maximize value, according to Deloitte.
While it’s unclear how this trend is going to reshape the industry, investment bank J.P. Morgan has identified that the opportunity for CRE lies in providing affordable and workforce housing.
The company said that mixed-income housing developments which combine affordable units in one location are an important part of increasing the affordable housing supply and that public-private partnerships can play a critical role in this process.
The role of physical retail space is transforming
Retail stores, food courts, gyms, supermarkets and movie theatres are facing digital disruption as more and more consumers decide to shop, eat and play from the comfort of their homes.
This is why CRE building managers are increasingly turning to sensors that track foot traffic and extract statistics and actionable insights.
Obtaining valuable data such as the number of store visits, time spent inside the store and weather impact can help determine the market value of different outlets in the building.
By eliminating guesswork and gaining visibility into consumer behavior, they can uncover whether certain stores are busier than others, leading to other growth-driving considerations.
Perhaps a new location is shaking things up by driving new clients, or a previously hot retailer is experiencing a decline in traffic.
As a result, building managers can decide whether to refurbish dead zones, transform them entirely or move to greener pastures.
Conclusion: Building managers should level up with amenity service utilization data
Behavioral changes of employees and consumers have endured the pandemic, necessitating the CRE industry to reevaluate its purpose in the new era of disruption and hybrid work.
CRE companies that want to thrive in the new circumstances shaped by this disruption need sensor data to derive laser-sharp insights into the utilization of their amenities to adapt and better serve their tenants.
So although many zones of CRE space are undergoing tectonic shifts in terms of usage, there’s so much opportunity sitting on the sidelines, just waiting to be leveraged.
Assessing foot traffic of washrooms, shared areas, and retail spaces is a great way to start seeing all the possibilities that are out there.
EAIGLE is helping CRE organizations improve their bottom line by helping them gain visibility into the utilization of their amenities. To find out more about our AI-powered workspace management solutions, go to eaigle.com.