LOS ANGELES–The first two Papers in CBRE’s new Workplace Thought Series, Better Business Performance Through Better Workplace Performance, took in-depth looks at targeting talent through location and labor analytics and optimizing workplace design.

In this last installment, “Building Competitive Advantage,” the firm focuses squarely on how corporate occupiers can manage their portfolios to achieve a true competitive advantage.

“Managing assets and services holistically at a portfolio level is a necessary approach to both maintaining cost discipline and achieving the highest levels of performance,” the Paper explains. “The advice to occupiers is to translate business strategy into a proactive, as opposed to reactive, real estate strategy.”

Karen Ellzey, executive managing director in CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions business, observes, “Leading corporate real estate executives are very deliberate about starting with strategic business goals and aligning their corporate real estate management priorities to support those outcomes.”

The trend toward centralized corporate real estate management is clear. In fact, “Seventy-two percent of respondents to CBRE’s Global Occupier Survey 2015/16 reported centralized management structures,” the  Paper reveals. “A similar survey of only Fortune 500 corporate real estate executives found that 85% of those real estate organizations were either primarily or completely centralized, and two-fifths reported a trend towards increased centralization over the last five years.”

The success of a holistic portfolio strategy depends in large part on the visibility of the corporate real estate department in the C-suite. Happily, the Paper indicates, the alignment of real estate and C-suite is on the rise. This is a good thing for the following reason. The corporate real estate leader, given her or his understanding of the business strategy, the people being served and the systems in place to support their work, is best positioned to maintain anticipated performance levels for the long haul.

“Real estate is poised to take a natural leadership role because the physical real estate is so often the catalyst for change,” observes Julie Whelan, CBRE’s head of occupier research in the Americas. Bill Concannon, CEO of Global Workplace Solutions at CBRE, agrees: “The C-suite will use the physical real estate to help drive cultural transformation. So this issue has impact beyond the individual property and portfolio and includes the individual employees that occupy the space.”

Critical issues treated in the White Paper include:

  • Optimizing the real estate portfolio;
  • Using the supply chain to your advantage;
  • The evolving role of technology; and
  • Delivering results to the C-suite.

To realize the full potential of your workplace, download Part Three of CBRE’s Better Workplace Performance Thought Series now: Building Competitive Advantage