Prior to the pandemic, 60% of people worked fully on-site. Fast-forward two-plus years and only 19% exclusively commute to a physical location, according to a 2022 Gallup survey. The 9-to-5 workdays in an office or other facility are likely over as more than half of employees now want hybrid work structures while only 9% prefer fully on-site options. But what does this mean for how companies manage their physical locations while supporting hybrid and remote workers?
Commercial real estate (CRE) pros need greater flexibility in responding to future shifts and focusing on workplace purpose vs. seeing offices as locations where efficiencies are measured by the number of bodies present on any given day. Traditionally, CRE strategies are based on forecasted growth, lease terms, and headcount based on a department’s performance or lack thereof.
These plans – or intentions – assume how employees engage with their workspaces. Reactive, historic data doesn’t reflect reality and demand. Real-time behavioral data reveals what employees actually do in their workplace. This information allows CRE pros and facility managers (FMs) to realign occupancy and space as use shifts based on employee need and behavior in the now, not the future.
Businesses must create flexible workplaces that support the needs of employees who work exclusively on site and accommodate hybrid workers who may sporadically visit the physical office. That’s where property technology (proptech) companies can best support macro- and micro-level decision-making to find and maintain this delicate balance.
As hybrid work becomes the norm, proptech platforms must qualitatively prove how their technologies rises above the noise of a highly competitive and crowded global proptech management industry that’s projected to grow to $86.5B by 2032. by 2026. Here are four communication strategies proptech CMOs and other marketing leaders can use to position their businesses for success:
There’s no lack of debate on the pros and cons of remote vs. hybrid vs. on-site work. With leaders at big names like Netflix requiring varying levels of in-office attendance, the schisms between employers and employees over work styles are likely to grow.
Proptech analytics platforms are invaluable data sources that can shed light on the true impacts on business revenue, productivity, and employee morale. Information about the true impacts of work structures on business revenue, productivity, and employee morale can set one tech platform above others for journalists looking for data to enhance stories on emerging trends and issues.
Mark Twain said “Data is like garbage. You’d better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it.” Cynicism aside, Twain is right that data is only a collection of numbers, percentages, and words. That’s why it’s imperative to carefully define the trend or issue being addressed before running any queries.
But remember there’s no context behind data without qualitative and quantitative analysis. This is where internal subject matter experts (SMEs) become a marketer’s best friend. SMEs provide intellect to data and can leverage their unique expertise to solidify the foundations of marketing messages.
In 2019, Gartner reported that companies spent on average $2,420 per person on efforts to enhance the employee experience. It didn’t work – only 13% of employees surveyed felt satisfied with their experience. Boosting morale requires understanding employee behaviors as they relate to the workplace.
Utilization and occupancy data can differentiate what employees plan to do with their workspaces and what they actually do. Real-time data collection on behaviors provides a granular look at actual employee space needs down to the type of furniture they prefer and what workstations collect dust because of unappealing location.
Focusing on employees first shows you’re attuned to the human element of the workplace. A personal approach can create exclusive opportunities with journalists looking for real-world, personal examples of how and why we work.
“There is nothing permanent except change.” Greek philosopher Heraclitus opined that around 500 B.C. and it holds true today, especially in property management. COVID showed CREs and FMs that most businesses were wholly unprepared for change in where, when, and how employees work.
The best proptech analytic platforms provide immediate snapshots of how people work and the impacts on product and service delivery to consumers and businesses. This here-and-now information – coupled with expert analysis – is perfect for helping journalists put meaning behind current work trends. SMEs can then extrapolate current data trends into future projections of what businesses may face.
COVID-19 pushed CREs and FMs into uncharted territory and forced change in how properties are designed and modified to accommodate hybrid and remote employees. We can help proptech management companies by encouraging the cultivation of proprietary data and leveraging SMEs to position them as knowledge sources for media of all types.
This article was written by Dave Clifton, Brands2Life US.