It’s hard to plan for the future when your portfolio is in survival mode. CRE property managers spent 2021 trying to recover from the upheaval caused by COVID-19. Thanks to continuing uncertainty caused by the rise of variants such as Delta and Omicron, property manager goals for the year had to continuously be adjusted.
But increasing vaccine coverage is slowly making a return to normal life seem more possible. So it’s time to define and commit to your property manager goals for 2022. The following initiatives are what top property managers are prioritizing for 2022.
1. Reopen and Re-occupy
Let’s start with the obvious. Your office buildings have not been at full occupancy during the COVID pandemic. So, a major marker of success in 2022 will be how effectively you can reopen your portfolio and drive lease renewals.
You can’t wave a magic wand to end the pandemic. So reopening your portfolio will largely depend on how well you respond to tenant health and safety concerns.
Luckily, there are solutions that can help. Since air quality is now a tenant priority, HVAC management software can give you clear, transparent data to show tenants your system is working properly.
Visitor access solutions can eliminate crowds in your lobbies and give you full visibility into who’s coming and going at all times.
But taking steps like this won’t help entice tenants back if you don’t communicate them. Clear and consistent communication is much easier if you use building communications software.
Taking such steps is vital to reassure tenants you’re going the extra mile to keep them safe.
2. Maximize Your Net Operating Income
Maximizing NOI is always a top property manager goal. But given another difficult year for the CRE industry, chances are you’re under even more pressure to increase revenue and keep operating expenses lean.
The usual tactics for increasing revenue such as raising rents and boosting occupancy rates aren’t possible in this climate. So you need to explore other options.
Instead, try software solutions that help you automate slow workflows, preserve your most expensive assets, maximize your RSF, and capture all available revenue from tenant service requests. (For example, Building Engines’ Prism platform offers modules that address maintenance, space management, work orders, and more.)
These tactics boost NOI in any CRE climate, and show your higher-ups you’re thinking on your feet.
3. Master Flex Space
The pandemic has dramatically accelerated flexible space trends. To retain and attract tenants in 2022, property managers need the right mix of flex and traditional space.
With a space management software solution you can effortlessly reconfigure units for more or less space. This makes it easy to accommodate social distancing and reduced head-counts, and to visualize the possibilities of a space for tenants and prospects.
Consider partnering with a company like FastOffice to incorporate changes to your existing space, and be more flexible with furniture.
Make sure you have reservable spaces in your building(s) for tenants to collaborate in as needed. (And use software to ensure you don’t miss out on the associated revenue.)
Flex space is a hot commodity. Adapting to this trend should be one of your top goals for this year.
4. Remove Common Leasing Roadblocks
In 2022, even the best properties and property managers are dealing with high vacancy rates. To help address this, your leasing process should be as quick and smooth as possible.
For example, waiting on architects to modify floor-plans can take weeks. (They tend to prioritize new construction projects.) Don’t give your prospects so much time to potentially choose another property.
Leasing teams need to modify floor-plans to accommodate tenant requests. So remove this roadblock with a space management solution. Choose one that lets you gather, access, and edit floor-plans on the fly. This way you can quickly show prospects their options and keeping deals moving.
5. Promote Vendor Diversity
The spotlight on social justice over the past two years has taught us that maintaining a diverse team is important for many reasons. And this diversity should also extend to your service vendors and suppliers.
But it can be difficult to find diverse options if you stick with prior vendors or recommendations from friends in the industry.
Software makes it much easier. Look for a bid management solution that lets you filter vendor searches by criteria such as being women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, etc. Bringing underrepresented groups into the bidding process results in more vendor choices, which means more competition—and better value.
6. Improve Tenant Communication
COVID-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime event. But it has reinforced the importance of having a solid communication plan in place for disruptions such as storms, fires, security breaches, etc.
Building Engines’ re-occupancy survey showed tenants who rated their building communications as “excellent” during COVID-19 were 46 percent more likely to renew their leases. Tenants highly value prompt communications.
Keep your tenants in the loop to help keep them in your buildings. Make having an effective building communications tool—and plan—a top priority for 2022.
Ready to Achieve Your Property Manager Goals?
2021 was a year of ups and downs, to put things mildly. But 2022 is off to a more promising start. Now is the perfect time to recommit to property manager goals like re-occupying your portfolios, maximizing NOI, and creating a better tenant experience.
At a loss for where to start? Building Engines partnered with BOMA to create a report on The State of Commercial Real Estate Building Operations for 2022. If you’re sketching out your plans for 2022, it may help inform them—download the free report now.