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How Workplace Experience Technology Improves NOI for Commercial Real Estate

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If there’s anything the commercial real estate industry can agree on, it’s that workplace experience matters. Happy tenants mean higher retention rates, reducing the most wasteful expense for any building: vacancy. 

But as logical as that connection may be, investing in workplace experience can often be a daunting task. Spending precious resources researching, purchasing, and integrating new workplace experience technologies into your building and workflow can be more than some companies think they can afford. 

But the truth is, office buildings can’t afford not to—especially not these days. In the wake of COVID-19, tenants around the globe are re-evaluating their office portfolios. The spaces they decide to keep will need to be productive, intuitive, efficient, and intelligent. And they will want it for less. 

Fortunately, the case for workplace experience technology is a strong one. In this article, we break down a few of the key ways it can improve the experience for tenants and property managers while driving down costs.

Breaking away from a bad legacy 

Running a successful office building is no easy feat: it requires not just a well-trained management team, but a long list of tools, processes, and technologies with which to manage it. If you add up a building’s website, communication tools, work order management platform, accounting software, and BMS systems, it can be one of the organization’s biggest expenses.

If you add up a building’s website, communication tools, work order management platform, accounting software, and BMS systems, it can be one of the organization’s biggest expenses.

But while the cost of building systems varies drastically based on the building’s size, layout, and usage, there are norms that can be used as a baseline for comparison. A BMS, for example, is estimated to cost $2.50-$7.00 per square foot, leading to an investment of $250,000 or more for a 100,000 square foot building. Work order management platforms have a wide range of functionalities and, based on that, can charge $10-200 a month per user, or have an installation cost of a few thousand dollars supplemented by $7-10,000 in annual subscription fees. And for building systems that utilize a service center, buildings could be charged $5 a call and, at just 200 calls a week, that becomes over $50,000 a year.

In the past, these expenses likely seemed mandatory—merely the business cost of running a building. But nowadays, many of these systems can be retired and replaced by a single workplace experience platform. Cutting ties with familiar legacy solutions can be painful, but the financial rewards of integrating your tech stack make it well worth the transition.

“We are proud to be saving our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” notes Clint Robinson, CEO and Cofounder of the workplace experience platform Lane. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the value we deliver.” 

Fewer systems, more time

Consolidating systems not only saves money by shrinking the building’s tech stack, it also saves every team’s most precious resource: time.

With multiple technologies in place, managers spend a considerable amount of their time switching between systems or manually transferring data from one to another. By integrating technology and bringing all the data into an all-in-one dashboard, workers can save time and lower the risk of costly errors. Plus, a smart workplace experience platform should allow you to automate away the most tedious of tasks, eliminating processes altogether. 

And it’s not just your property team who saves time—it’s your tenants. By digitizing such tenant touchpoints as ordering food, booking rooms, RSVPing to events, and reporting issues, a workplace experience platform can save them countless hours, increasing satisfaction—and with it, retention.

Buildings will always need property managers, but how they spend their time will drastically change in the next few years. And the more time building management can save on mundane tasks like room bookings and guest registration, the more they can focus on hospitality and workplace experience—exactly what modern tenants value the most.

New revenue

As more capabilities are housed under the same platform, property managers have the opportunity to open up new revenue streams. Combining room booking functionality with in-app payments and event management, for instance, easily allows you to monetize your on-site services and amenities—whether it’s a conference room, yoga studio, fitness class, or bicycle storage.

And that’s just the services and amenities you offer, nevermind those offered by your retail tenants. By using a workplace experience platform to facilitate a digital marketplace between your corporate tenants and your retailers (think food and beverage, dry cleaning, etc.), property managers can take a small percentage of every transaction.

Thirdly, workplace experience platforms can also serve as a helpful advertising portal for local and on-site businesses and retailers—translating to another revenue opportunity for you. 

Last but not least, a platform that allows people to easily book and pay for spaces can help monetize potential customers that are not yet tenants in the building. With the growth of the flexible workspace model, a desk or suite located in an attractive location with the right amenities can be quite valuable in the short term. Instead of letting one of your lease units sit empty, workplace experience technology can help you transform it into a quick revenue channel.

Community

Workplace experience isn’t just about how occupants interact with the building, but how they interact with each other. This is why providing an avenue for tenants and professionals to communicate, socialize, and network with one another can go a long way towards creating a sense of community and place—allowing property managers to enjoy the stickiness and brand boost that comes with it. Only with a smart, mobile-first workplace experience platform (and the smart content and events management they offer) can buildings tap into the power of community. Whether it’s a spin class, a carpool forum, a tenant appreciation BBQ, a virtual lecture, or a live social hour, engagement and community are inimitable assets.

Lane is allowing our clients to dramatically improve tenant communications, engagement, and satisfaction,” adds Lane CEO, Clint Robinson. “And it’s not just through content and events, either. By using our platform to promote their physical services and amenities, for example, CRE leaders are getting more ROI out of their investments into these spaces.”

Workplace experience technology is transforming from a “nice to have” into something professionals are beginning to expect. What may seem like a novel feature today will be demanded by the market tomorrow once they get a taste of its benefits. Whether it’s to save time and money, generate revenue, or attract and retain quality tenants, the net benefits of a powerful workplace experience platform are clear. And while the benefits of investment into workplace experience may seem difficult to quantify at first, the short-term savings and long-term benefits quickly become obvious when you consider the cost of doing nothing.

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