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Operating within greater economic uncertainty and technology disruption are the fastest growing challenges for occupiers globally, according to the CBRE Occupier Survey Report 2017.
Other concerns for corporate real estate professionals include cost escalation, changing workforce preferences and regulation/legislation in some markets resulting in many organisations taking a more active approach to their corporate real estate strategies.
"The CBRE research shows that at least 64% of occupiers globally are concerned about economic uncertainty and the impact on their business operations, with 90% of occupiers saying their future focus area will be on cost reduction and business alignment as well as talent attraction and development," says Jess Cleland, Broll Property Group Divisional Director: Strategy & Consulting for Occupier Services.
Cleland says Broll is working with many major corporates on finding solutions to optimise space efficiencies, dispose of surplus space and leverage lease renegotiations to achieve cost savings, business flexibility and to ultimately deliver quality, collaborative and cost-effective workspaces.
Speaking at the Africa Property Investment Summit which took place on 24 -25 August in Johannesburg South Africa, she says occupiers should be thinking about turning their portfolios and workforce insight into advantage through intelligent application of building and workplace technologies which can drive efficiencies, optimise utilisation and reduce energy costs.
However, cost saving initiatives need to be introduced without detriment to strategic business objectives, she points out.
"Enabled by technology and driven by workforce preference, flexible working strategies are becoming increasingly integral to corporate real estate strategy in many organisations. "No longer merely a short-term mechanism for market entry, flexible and shared workspaces can provide a viable long-term solution in many markets."
Nnenna Alintah, Head of Occupier Services for Broll Nigeria says corporates in the FMCG and financial services sector are increasingly assessing portfolio optimisation strategies in order to reduce their operating costs and run rates.
"In the current economic downturn, financial performance is key and corporate real estate teams are exploring ways to increase efficiencies by getting rid of excess space and also evaluating locational strategy against business objectives," she says.
In East Africa a number of corporates are looking to occupy smaller quality office spaces while ensuring there is greater operational flexibility for future strategies and agility which has become a priority for corporates, explains Sheila Muasya, Occupier Services Manager: Broll Kenya.
According to the CBRE survey, investors will do well to future proof assets by reflecting on the changing needs of tenants, whether by ensuring adaptability to building usage patterns due to the rise of flexible working or through monitoring and responding to trends in local labour markets
"Globally, 70% of occupiers say they will be more demand for shared space in the next three years driven by short-tern needs and lease flexibility," adds Cleland.