Commercial real estate is more important than ever in the war for top talent. With unemployment at historic lows, businesses are finding it harder and harder to find (and maintain) qualified employees.
How do you solve this problem and become a more competitive force in the war for talent? Take a good, hard look at your commercial real estate.
A big part of the recruiting process is creating an environment in which potential employees want to work. As Tenant Reps, we have seen how circumstances have changed what employees seek in their workspaces.
Employers that have been able to adapt to evolving work models have become successful at acquiring top talent.
What does this mean for you and your company? It's time to consider how your real estate affects your recruitment ability in today's talent wars. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, be strategic about where you locate your offices and what type of space you provide for employees.
Renovate Your Offices Now
Your most important asset is your people. You need to ensure that the environment your people work in does them justice. So, if your business is stuck in an older space, it may be time for a renovation. Adding modern amenities and updating your office to a more open concept can significantly affect your space's attractiveness to existing and potential employees.
Not only this, but consider the very way you work. Many people no longer wish to return to in-person schedules. If they do, a hybrid flexible option appears to be the preferred working option.
Image Source: Gensler
As Tenant Reps in the real estate world every day, we recommend that you embrace the shift to workplace flexibility. If not, you risk getting left behind for organizations with more contemporary mindsets. If you have a modern view, your CRE should reflect that culture. However, you have to get familiar with what your desired talent base is thinking...
People Crave Socialization
Many employees that wish to return to the office (on at last a hybrid basis) report missing the socialization aspect a physical workplace provides. In fact, in a recent poll conducted by LinkedIn, the number one motivation for returning to the office was socializing with colleagues.
Why do you think we see so many remote workers frequenting coffee shops, coworking spaces, etc.? People are social creatures. Most will seek to be surrounded by others (at least in part) throughout their day. So consider how this psychology affects your commercial real estate.
If you provide them with a space where they feel comfortable - they won't go elsewhere to seek it out.
Your Employess' Comfort Should Be Your Top Priority
So, it may be time to think outside the traditional office if you are looking to attract top talent. Many creative solutions can provide an enticing work environment for your employees. For example, consider building out or creating a cafe or cafeteria area. Or, you can add elements like lounges or meeting areas.
On the other hand, appeal to their need for a quiet or a quick rest to avoid burnout. Many cutting-edge companies like Google provide quiet rooms where employees can destress before returning to work. This has been a huge selling point for recruiting employees to return to offices because, in the past, the only place where people could seek respite in the middle of their day was their home.
Think about how you can best honor your people. Consider what features in a space would make your own life easier. For some, it may be on-site daycare centers. For others, a gym facility would be a huge perk. No matter what, both the on and off-site amenities should contribute to a higher quality of life for your employees. Easy access to restaurants, shops, etc. is a must-have when creating environments people want to show up to.
Above all, the well being and safety of your employees should be at the root of any property adjustment. Your people should feel safe and comfortable in their place of work.
The bottom line is that doing a deep dive into how you utilize space (and what could improve it) will not only make your current employees happy (and loyal), but it will entice new talent to join your team as well.
You May Need Less Space Than You Think
If you renovate to accommodate hybrid schedules, you may find that overall, you'll have fewer employees in the office simultaneously. But, then, there is no use keeping around this space that used to have a purpose but is now useless! You can save a lot of money by cutting your space.
This is often a welcomed side effect of renovating your space or even taking a closer look at how you use it. You may find that your needs have changed, and the square footage you needed 5/ 7 years ago is underutilized and actively draining your budget.
Starting from right-sizing your portfolio can save you millions. This is especially true for companies with numerous locations. Improving space utilization on each property snowballs into incredible savings. When CRE is typically an organization's second most expensive cost, savings here go a long way to slashing your overhead.
Relocate to Popular Areas for Talent
If you're not happy with your current location (or pulling qualified candidates in your area lately), it may be time to consider relocating. With the rise of remote work, businesses have more freedom than ever when it comes to choosing a location.
Look for areas that are popular with young professionals or recent graduates. Consider relocating to an up-and-coming neighborhood or an area with a lot of new growth.
You can also look for areas with a high concentration of talent in your industry. Take for example, the tech industry, which has a large focus in located in San Francisco. Companies flocked to the Bay Area - straight to the lion's den to seek out top talent. However, in recent years skyrocketing cost of living and crime are driving away tech workers. It is neither safe nor affordable. As discussed by the financial times,
"Both organized and opportunistic crime is rampant, particularly property and auto theft."
Times have changed and the city is losing its "mecca" status for sourcing the best tech professionals in the country. Companies have since been forced to reassess how their San Francisco real estate leaves them more vulnerable to crime and price gauges with a fleeing talent base.
Image Source:© Jeff Chiu/AP
Consider where your talent bases are going. Now take this thinking, but apply it to where you can not only recruit skilled great talent... but where this talent base is affordable. Business-friendly states (and cities in particular) are becoming hubs for young professionals. Why? Their cost of living remains reasonable. The affordable lifestyles of cities like Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida have made the cities epicenters of up-and-coming talent bases. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Low/no taxes
- Cheaper cost of living
- More affordable real estate
- Great weather year-round
For businesses, capitalizing on this migration to business-friendly cities is the wisest thing you can do.
Not only will being located in these areas allow you to tap into new recruitment opportunities, but it will save you millions in your real estate.
Businesses benefit from the same low overhead as individuals, except with a greater margin of savings. No/low corporate income tax, affordable goods and services, and non-expensive Class A office space are the perfect storm for corporate success.
So not only will you become more competitive in the war for talent, but you will improve your bottom line in the process.
Improve Your CRE With a Tenant Rep
Your commercial real estate is a big part of the recruiting process. Making smart decisions about your space can make your business more attractive to potential employees and win the war for top talent.
The bottom line is that creating environments people want to be in will strengthen your acquisition abilities. But luckily, the responsibility to create these environments is not something you have to take on alone. As Tenant Reps, we have three decades of experience finding CRE solutions for our clients. Whether this means looking at their portfolios to optimize space utilization, renegotiating the terms of an existing lease, or finding the best geography for their needs- we are ready to apply this market knowledge to you.
There has never been a better time to look at your CRE. But, since our country’s finances are on steady grounds, the old best spots for business have changed. Learn why you should relocate for the recession.
Ready to hear how our Tenant Rep experts would improve your corporate portfolio now? Talk to a Tenant Rep today!