We recently attended Realcomm 2022 in Orlando, Florida. Realcomm is a premier industry event focused on automated business solutions and state-of-the-art enterprise technologies for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. 

As our team navigated through the two-day event, insights emerged throughout the conference halls. We’ve got the roundup of three key takeaways from Realcomm 2022 Conference and what they mean for you. 

Takeaway #1: It’s Time to Focus on the Tenant Experience 

The workplace is transforming. Speakers during the opening session of Realcomm 2022 put the data behind it. For instance, 20 years ago 40 million people commuted to work in office buildings. Today, about 60% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home are working from home all or most of the time, according to Pew Research.  

And it’s not because of COVID anymore. For those employees who do have access to their workplaces but are opting to work mainly from home, fewer express concerns regarding COVID exposure. In fact,  research shows just 42% of people now versus 57% in 2020 say being exposed to COVID is a major reason they are currently working from home all or most of the time. And more say a preference for working from home is a major reason they’re doing so (76% now vs. 60% in 2020). 

Simply put, people prefer working from home either some or all of the time. It’s clear hybrid work is here to stay. That means CRE owners and operators must adapt to shifting preferences. And the best way to compete and drive occupancy is by focusing on the tenant experience. Owners and operators will need to focus on the things that will get tenants back to buildings (and keep them there), including: 

  • Providing amenities that employees want 
  • Fostering relationships to bolster tenant satisfaction 
  • Implementing tenant engagement tools that offer a seamless experience 
  • Building tenant loyalty by investing in workplace experience 

Our Pro Tip on the Tenant Experience 

You need to make your buildings places people want to return to. And you’ll need to support tenants as they navigate through a whole new workplace. As more and more companies turn to hybrid work as a solution for changing employee expectations, your property teams will need technology that bridges the gap between the physical office and the digital workplace. But you also need to support your tenants as they work through the major challenge of connecting employees. Tenants are looking to you as a partner to provide that in an engaging and thoughtful way. Bridging that gap for your tenants will help you to stand out from the competition and drive occupancy 

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Takeaway #2: Creating Healthy Spaces is a Top Priority 

The pandemic put the biggest spotlight on why healthy buildings are essential. A lot of attention has shifted to focusing on indoor air quality in buildings. 

Edward Wagoner, CIO of JLL, put it best: “Would you just lean over and lay an open mouth kiss on the person sitting beside you in the office? I’m not suggesting that you physically do that or allow it to be done to you, but that’s the equivalent of what’s happening if you are sitting in a building that hasn’t taken measures to ensure healthy indoor air quality.” 

Indoor air quality in buildings has become such a focus that the Biden-Harris Administration recently launched its National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. It’s a roadmap to move the country forward safely and continue to fight COVID-19 as Americans get back to their more normal routines. As part of that plan, the administration has launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge as a call to action for leaders, building owners, and operators of all types to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. 

Our Pro Tip on Creating Healthy Spaces 

There’s no way around it. You need to focus on indoor air quality to make sure your building occupants are safe. It also boosts the tenant and workplace experience. Your buildings become more desirable to occupy when your tenants feel safe. But improving indoor air quality doesn’t mean you need to invest massive amounts of money. Certain HVAC tech solutions can help not only extend the life of your HVAC units, but they can also plug into your existing building management system (BMS) with no new equipment needed. This sort of implementation offers an efficient way to optimize HVAC usage, energy, and indoor air quality without paying for new systems or expensive hardware. 

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Takeaway #3: Tech Investment is Essential for Success 

Day 2 of Realcomm 2022 brought us insight from James Whalen, Senior Vice President, Chief Information and Technology Officer of Boston Properties. He shared how CRE leaders need to have a disciplined lens when investing in technology. In short, CRE technology should cover three key areas: 

  1. Running the enterprise by building and developing property teams 
  2. Engaging with space services by being responsive to tenants 
  3. Operating the facility and creating healthy spaces with the goal of decarbonizing 

Simply put, it’s impossible to meet goals, automate processes, and streamline operations without help from the right technology. 

Our Pro Tip on Investing in Tech 

Today, you cannot win occupancy and increase NOI without automating time-consuming processes. CRE technology, such as a building operations platform, can help you boost tenant satisfaction and increase net operating income. A robust building operations platform can help you with all the daily tasks, from service request management and preventative maintenance, to operational risk items like certificate of insurance tracking and incident reporting, and more. Historically, these things were done with paper and pencil, telephone calls, and faxes. You need a platform that combines all of those things into functional areas, modules, and capabilities. You’ll need a tool that captures the data and manages the workflows, communications, notifications, and billing elements.  

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Putting the Insights into Action 

Experts at Realcomm 2022 shared some great insight on where the CRE industry is today and where it’s headed. We invite you to connect with one of our experts if you’re interested in learning more about how Building Engines is putting those insights into action! We’d love to show you how we can help you: 

  • Build a tenant experience strategy that drives occupancy 
  • Empower you to create healthy buildings at low costs with high ROI 
  • Automate processes that lead to a boost in your NOI