Have you been anointed as your company’s “move champion”?
As the ‘move champion,’ your biggest challenge will be to establish your projects key performance indicators and then navigate your path through the myriad of agendas and overtures you will encounter from supply side proponents, all of whom have little, if not zero regard for your objectives.
Here are the Top 10 Moving Office Mistakes We’ve Seen
1. Not Starting Early Enough
Tenants and owner occupiers rarely appreciate the critical (and non-critical) activities and their durations involved with a commercial leasing/ purchase transaction, let alone a significant relocation and workplace project process. In the commercial and industrial property market, available time is directly proportionate to available options, so the earlier you start the process in advance of your lease expiry or requirement, the more options you will have which meet your brief inclusive of existing stock and pre-commitment opportunities in the instance of larger requirements over 3,000 m2. Likewise, when it comes to undertaking workplace and or new facility project, there are durations which are governed by such things as maximum expenditure rates, supply lead times and access for men and materials. The following are indicative lead times relating to area of commercial space sought:
2. Entering the Property Market Without a Needs Analysis
This tenant will be right royally ‘glad handed’ by every real estate agent in town and will ultimately waste time and lose all credibility in the market. More often than not, this tenant will fall frustratingly into the arms of their existing lesser with little or no time to execute any other option and transact on very soft terms, having wasted the window of opportunity, which just slammed firmly shut behind them…..for another 5-10 years. To avoid this dynamic, we recommend you conduct a very deep needs analysis and workplace envisioning process involving all key stakeholders from which a clear picture of the future workplace can be established along with the associated metrics of time and cost which can be used to uniform the property transaction.
3. Forgetting Key Success Factors
More often than not, this circumstance arises when you the “move champion” subscribes to the “free” expert advice provided by real estate agents resulting in the critical workplace success factors of ‘people, process and place’ being totally overlooked.
- A lack of time to undertake an optimal workplace project
- Lease terms which have little or no reference to the workplace dynamics or project and its associated metrics
- Insufficient lessor incentive to fund the workplace project
- Too much or too little space being leased
- A lower grade building than could have been secured otherwise
- Poor building performance due to lack of independent pre-lease due diligence
- Internal stakeholder disengagement through lack of consultation in the process
4. Delegate Responsibility to a Direct Report
A corporate real estate and new workplace project is a major undertaking, often involving millions of dollars, many very important stakeholders and very high stakes to pay if the entire project gets off the rails or under delivers. Not to mention that a project of this type provides a window of opportunity to make some pretty big and some very strategic decisions about what the organisation should look, function and what the new physical manifestation of the business should say to visitors and staff. It is important that the ‘move champion’ have a senior profile in the company, be well respected, accessible, and prepared to champion any necessary change strategy. This is a job for a leader who has the capacity and the resources to enlist the hearts and minds of the entire organisation in a journey of change.
5. Advise your Existing Landlord that you Intend to Renew the Lease
Regardless of your ‘stay V go’ strategy, starting early is key, and creating competitive tension between your landlord and the market is fundamental. You must illustrate to the market a demonstrable capacity (time-in- hand and conduct in the market) to walk away from your current property. Over the past couple of decades there have been numerous instances where we have received instructions from clients along the lines of; “We would prefer to stay in our current building and ‘refresh’ the workplace to meet our needs into the future”. At the conclusion of our workplace envisioning sessions and property market testing, these clients have been enlightened on the merits of our process and the potential to improve building grade, workplace environment and financial benefits” and inevitably opt for the relocation option.
6. Outsource the Problem to a Supply Side Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents such as CBRE, JLL and Knight Frank act for building owners and their balance sheets are underpinned by them. Those owners by the way are the very same people to whom you pay rent. Regardless of overtures of Chinese Walls and integrated services, the conflict is palpable. The ‘war stories’ told by tenant representatives who once worked in these organisations are all too well known. Opting to take advice from such parties can be likened to jumping out of the pan into the fire!
7. Implement a Strategy without Stakeholder Engagement
In the majority of cases, our clients’ No. 1 asset and overhead is people. We therefore recommend instituting protocols which enlist the hearts and minds of all stakeholders in the property and workplace process to the point whereby the strategy and solution are effectively co-authored by management and employee. One project we undertook involved approximately 800 employees for which we produced what was referred to as workplace manifesto, which resulted from input from every level of the organisation. This manifesto guided decision making throughout the project.
8. Inadequately Leveraging the Value of Your Company’s Lease Covenant
The value of your lease covenant is manifest in such things as:
- Your propensity to pay rent
- Your brand value
- Your profile
- Your financial stability
We have seen great companies dilute the value of their lease covenant through ill-advised strategy and market behaviour. The very best way to ‘unlock’ the value of your company's lease covenant is to avoid one of these top ten mistakes and obtain truly independent representation in the national property and project market.
9. Not Investigating 'New Ways of Working'
Given commercial property and workplace projects only arise on average every 5-10 years, the likelihood of your current workplace having any relevance to the way the company actually functions or aspires to function, let alone complement your brand, is fairly slim.
Today the go to briefing words are ‘flexibility and agility’, so the property and workplace must work hand in glove to achieve these challenges.
Whilst there has been a lot of buzz about activity based working (ABW) environments, the facts are that despite all the sizzle, very few organisations have actually adopted ABW. The clear majority of these organisations occupy what we call a hybrid solution, which falls between the two extremes of the static workplace (allocated real estate) and the ABW workplace (unallocated real estate).
The opportunity of adopting, to some degree, initiatives which change the ways your people conduct their work can reduce your property footprint up to 30 % and lift productivity and engagement levels, so the topic is worth investigating if only just to facilitate ticking the box.
10. Exclude your Organisation from Available Market Options
Once again this is a very costly mistake and one which is largely a symptom of not being represented by an independent consultant who can assure 100% target market coverage. You can very effectively deny your organisation opportunities through one or more of the following:
- Starting late (see mistake no. 1)
- Being ill prepared (see mistake no. 2)
- Wasting time (see mistake no. 5)
- Being led by a supplied side proponent (see mistake no. 6)