Commercial real estate (CRE) teams are working harder than ever. With a focus on tenant amenities, improved sustainability efforts, open communication between tenants and property teams, and even intelligent building maintenance, smart CRE leaders are working to make their properties destinations that attract both tenants and locals.
Here are three things CRE landlords can focus on to improve tenant experience and make their buildings a destination for tenants, according to experts speaking during a recent webinar, “The Future of Work: 3 Must-See Takeaways for CRE Landlords.”
1. Invest in Unique Amenities
In a recent study, JLL found that come 2025 there will be 12% higher demand for buildings with tenant amenities. By incorporating amenities, CRE landlords won’t have to encourage tenants to return to their buildings. The buildings will speak for themselves.
“The landlord’s role is to turn the office, the workplace, into a destination that people want to come to,” Steve Robins, Director of Product Marketing at HqO, said during the webinar. That means CRE landlords need to really consider what types of amenities they’ll offer at their buildings.
- An easy way to manage work orders
- A seamless way to order nearby food
- Touchless access control to the building
- A modern fitness center
- Collaboration spaces such as common spaces near windows and quiet breakout areas
However, when it comes to amenities, one size doesn’t fit all. Each property is unique, as are their amenity needs. Tenant data can help determine which amenities are worth the investment.
When CRE landlords have a full-picture understanding of what’s happening in their buildings, they can:
- make smarter business decisions that lead to an increase in tenant satisfaction;
- optimize the use of their available capital by investing in the things that drive tenant satisfaction and retention; and thereby
- boost NOI.
2. Work With Tenants to Redesign Spaces
Tenant data is key for success, according to Scott Sidman, EVP Business & Corporate Development at Building Engines. “With insight and data, people can begin to make better decisions on how to reconfigure the spaces they are in,” Sidman said during the webinar.
According to HqO, 68% of employers have redesigned spaces to support new employees’ needs. And 28% plan to implement redesigned spaces in the next two years. It’s clear that CRE landlords need to work with their tenants to provide spaces that fit their specific needs and wants.
For example, depending on the region, some buildings are still left unoccupied since the pandemic. And for those tenants who are returning, CRE landlords are finding they want smaller spaces that will go above and beyond.
“More and more tenants, in light of hybrid, are looking at shrinking the amount of space they have. For landlords this is a mixed bag. The downside is that tenants are looking to shrink the amount of space they have. The upside is that those same tenants that need to shrink their space are becoming more demanding and they want their space to work hard for them. And guess what? Harder working space is going to command a premium,” Robins said.
3. Align Sustainability Efforts
Today’s tenants (and the world, really) are demanding sustainability efforts from companies. In fact, sustainability for CRE buildings has become such a focus that governments have centered regulations around it.
What exactly are tenants looking for when they ask for “sustainable buildings”? Well, a sustainable building can mean a few things, such as:
- Energy and water efficiency
- Storm water management
- Green roofs
- Living walls
- LED lighting
- Low-flow plumbing
- Passive solar
According to HqO’s research, 44% of millennials and 49% of Gen Z are deciding where they want to work based off characteristics of a company. For example, when a company aligns their sustainable business goals with a building that offers sustainable solutions, it’s seen as a positive for many employees. That means many companies are going to be looking to CRE landlords as partners to meeting these goals.
But having a sustainability strategy in place is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s important to remain transparent in your communication with tenants and potential tenants about what you’re doing. “The good news is that if you do the right thing and you’re improving sustainability, that helps the environment. But you’re going to get even more of a benefit from it if you can communicate that with your tenants,” Robins said.
Since your property is where tenants are spending a significant amount of their time day in and day out, they want to know what’s going on in their buildings. Communicating to everyone in your building – for instance via bulletins, newsletters, emails, etc. – that you are making constructive changes to align with their values will turn your building into a destination for tenants.
Improve Tenant Experience by Staying Connected
It’s time for CRE landlords to look at their buildings as destinations. And improving tenant experience starts with evaluating your property’s current efforts. Tenant data is a resource that provides real-time information for CRE landlords to choose specific solutions that will fit their unique property.
For instance, if you want to know what amenities tenants are most likely to engage with, you can send out a survey via a mobile app. That same technology can be used to communicate to tenants about sustainability efforts or updated space configurations in your buildings. Instead of using outdated practices such as posting notices on elevators or a bulletin board, you can continuously communicate through a tenant experience app.