What are the top goals for property managers this year? It runs the gamut, especially as the commercial real estate (CRE) industry continues to face uncertainty due to several factors, including but not limited to: 

  • unstable inflation and possible recessionary pressures; 
  • a skills and labor shortage; 
  • potentially shrinking occupancy rates; 
  • new tenant demands; 
  • new rules and regulations, especially for sustainability; 
  • strain from supply chain issues; and 
  • rising wages and costs. 

There’s certainly a lot to plan for this year and beyond. Read on for the top goals for property managers in 2023, complete with resources to help as you strategize for the year ahead.

1. Elevate the tenant experience

The smartest property managers know there’s no winning without providing the best tenant experience. It’s the key to attracting and retaining occupants. Goals for property managers who are striving to elevate the tenant experience this year include: 

  • Improve communications with tenants 
  • Gather feedback to understand the tenant experience 
  • Know how tenants are using spaces in your buildings 
  • Ensure tenants are comfortable in the building 
  • Respond to tenant requests quickly and efficiently 

If you’re not sure where to start, look for the low-hanging fruit to quickly bolster the tenant experience. Start with your most common tenant requests and focus on improving in those areas. According to recent research in the “Property management trends & technologies for 2023,” which surveyed over 130 CRE property managers, tenant comfort issues and faster responses to work orders are the top two requests from tenants in commercial buildings. 

If this sounds like what you’re facing, too, there are some options. An intelligent HVAC optimization system can help automate your building’s temperature and air flow to ensure an optimal workplace environment for every tenant. That means fewer HVAC-related complaints and service calls, leading to consistently higher tenant satisfaction. 

For faster responses to work orders, consider using a work order management system that allows property teams to know at-a-glance which items require immediate attention or have been on hold too long. You can also assure tenants you’re on the case with visibility into target completion times and status updates. 

Top resource to help you: 3 Ways to Make Your Office the Place Tenants Want to Be

2. Attract and retain tenants

Of the top goals for property managers this year, attracting and retaining tenants could prove to be one of the most challenging as remote and hybrid work models continue to put building occupancy at risk. Again, the tenant experience will be more crucial than ever in meeting this goal. 

First, property managers can improve the tenant experience by creating a solid tenant engagement strategy. It’s important to communicate with tenants on their terms – meaning the channels they want to engage with you on. Many property managers are searching for communications tools this year that are easy to use for both tenants and property teams. These tools also need to be available across various mediums to encourage interaction and provide real-time updates to resolve issues. 

Gathering feedback from tenants is key. You should look for tools that give you an easy way to gather feedback and understand tenant satisfaction with scoring to identify how engineering teams are supporting occupants.  

Tools that allow property teams to use pulse surveys or polling are perhaps the biggest opportunity this year to capture data that can help to improve tenant satisfaction. According to the “Property management trends & technologies for 2023,” the majority of property managers (65%) don’t use or aren’t sure if they use this type of data to guide business decisions. 

The bottom line is you won’t know how to make your buildings commute-worthy without first knowing exactly what tenants want (or don’t want). To do that, you’ll need tenant data to give insight into where you should be investing to increase tenant satisfaction and retention.   

Top resource to help you: How to Create Commercial Buildings that Attract and Retain Occupancy

3. Streamline building operations

There’s so much to running a building, from work order management to equipment inspections and maintenance, compliance, visitor access – this list goes on. 

The biggest bottleneck to streamlining building operations for property managers is that you are tasked with doing more with fewer resources than ever before. That makes streamlining building operations one of the loftiest goals for property managers. 

Fortunately, there are some simple tips to help property managers meet this goal. One way is to equip your property teams with tools they can use to prioritize and expedite service requests to keep tenants happy and buildings occupied. 

Commercial property managers surveyed in the “Property management trends & technologies for 2023,” said that their top two priorities for equipping engineers this year are: prioritizing and managing work and mobile/app technology so engineers can work on the go. 

Top 5 priorities for equipping engineers YOY 

Equipping Engineers
Click chart to enlarge.

For property managers working with smaller teams, technology that can help streamline and automate processes as well as enable engineers to work on the go (and offline) will be an important contributor to success. That’s especially crucial for tenant satisfaction. 

Top resource to help you: 5 Ways to Mobilize Your CRE Property Teams to Save Time and Money

4. Make the best business decisions

Property managers today need a digital, real-time, holistic view of building performance to inform decisions that will enhance property value. As discussed above, tenant data is key to making better business decisions that can drive return on investment. However, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. 

If you’re unable to view and analyze the good – and the bad – happening throughout your portfolio, you’re at risk of missing critical problems. You should be able to understand at a glance: 

  • How satisfied tenants are on a daily basis, in any region, in any building  
  • Service performance metrics, such as response and work order completion time  
  • Which buildings are performing better than others – and why 

It’s all about managing operational risk in the moment. To do that, you also need your systems to work together seamlessly to improve data collection and reduce time-consuming manual processes. 

Top resource to help you: 10 Must-Have Capabilities for Your Next Building Operations Platform

5. Ensure compliance and minimize risk

Making sure tenants and buildings are in compliance and minimizing risk are always top goals for property managers. However, research shows property managers could need a little bit more help here. As discussed in the above goals for property managers, giving your teams the tools they need to complete work faster will be the winning factor in the equation this year.  

If you’re unsure where to start, look at the list below. These are the top five areas of building operations property managers surveyed in the “Property management trends & technologies for 2023,” said are the most time-consuming and/or ripe for automation. 

  1. Certificate of insurance (COI) management 
  2. Tenant issue management (i.e., work orders, incidents) 
  3. Tenant compliance (i.e., triple-net lease, HVAC maintenance) 
  4. Inspections/preventive maintenance tasks 
  5. Energy management/carbon reduction 

Do you have the right tools in place to cut manual processes and streamline operations in these areas? If not, it could be that you’re missing out on insights that could cost you more in the long run. 

Top resource to help you: Easy Ways to Simplify Certificate of Insurance Tracking

6. Optimize and enhance space utilization

Because tenants’ space needs are changing quicker than they ever have before, it’s paramount that property managers have access to dynamic space planning and design tools. Additionally, property managers need to be confident that they have accurate space measurements. It’s essential to align square footage metrics with current BOMA and REBNY standards. 

The bottom line? Property managers need to create spaces that best serve tenant needs and maximize utilization. 

The COVID-19 pandemic undeniably changed the way business is facilitated. It’s not only affecting how people work, but where they work. People want to work in healthy environments. That includes everything from healthy indoor air quality, comfortable temperature levels, and safe workspaces.  

With tenants returning to shared workspaces, employee safety and changed spatial regulations are top priorities. Tenants are looking to commercial property teams as partners to help reconfigure their spaces to maximize productivity and new work models – such as hybrid work, desk hoteling, and more. 

Top resource to help you: 3 Reasons Accurate Measurements Matter in a Post-COVID Environment 

7. Manage costs

Of course, property managers need to do all the above while reducing operating and capital expenses to maximize profit during a time when costs keep rising.  

A good place to start is by extending the life of your equipment and making sure the equipment you have remains healthy. A few questions to answer: 

  • Do you have a consistent maintenance schedule across all your buildings? 
  • Do you have an easy and consistent way to track maintenance so that there are no questions about your equipment? 
  • Do your engineers have a way to manage and update tasks – even when they’re on the go? 
  • Is it easy for your teams to create work orders in the field as soon as issues are found? 
  • Do you have a central repository for equipment guides and other important equipment information? 
  • If you do have a central repository for important information, is it easy for your teams to access? And can they access it from anywhere? 
  • Do you know when equipment is reaching the end of its life so you can plan? 

Capturing all billable services and materials associated to tenant work orders is another simple place to start. Are you correctly billing tenants for the expenses they are responsible for? You need to present options and set costs associated with services to ensure you’re not leaving any money on the table. 

Top resource to help you: CRE Guide: 5 Ways to Maximize Revenue and Reduce Costs 

More goals for property managers 

While the above list outlines many goals for property managers, it’s by no means a comprehensive list. To shine light on what CRE property managers are focusing on as they face a rapidly changing industry, read the free report “Property management trends & technologies for 2023,” for several key insights backed by data. You’ll discover more goals for property managers in 2023 – and more importantly, how to tackle them.