It's All About the Data: How Facts and Analysis are Driving Real Estate
In the past, when meeting with current or prospective clients, we did not often rely on data as a primary talking point. After all, these conversations instead solely revolved around the proposed execution of transactions, the vast reach of the firm, or market-specific strategies. But while those topics are undoubtedly important and will continue to remain key points of emphasis, in recent years we’ve seen the shift of how data tends to peek its nerdy little head into the conversation as well. Real estate portfolios are rich in data, and we are beginning to lean on this information to formulate strategic decisions more than ever.
Data in the Present Day
With a return to the office on the horizon, we need to be smarter about understanding the different types of data we have access to and what it can tell us. Publicly available data sources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau can help us gain a better understanding around labor and population trends. We can also tap into internal resources like integrated workplace management systems, HR software, badge readers and employee surveys, and draw insights into who sits where, for how long and what their expectation is for returning to the office. Is your space big enough? Is it too big? Is the layout working for your employees? Are your employees traveling too far to the office? What does the headcount growth forecast look like and how will it affect my office requirements? What would a hybrid work model look like? These are questions we can answer using quality resources that produce reliable data.
Lease-related data like critical dates and upcoming lease expirations can help us have proactive discussions with our clients about their future and how using occupancy and HR data can help fortify those decisions. Occupancy data driven through workplace software and badge readers can tell the story of attendance trends and popular seating or collaboration areas. From an employee growth standpoint, HR data can assist our planning needs and equip us with data points regarding where our employees are commuting from and if the location is working for the team and key stakeholders. As we plan to transition back into the office post-COVID, extracting and analyzing the right data from internal and external resources will be extremely important in building the right strategies to retain current employees and attract new talent.
We Have the Data, Now What?
Collecting data is crucial, but continuing to track, interpret and analyze that data is just as significant. By collecting data frequently, findings become more compelling, and help to determine trends that will indicate what the future holds. It is a practice in being more proactive and educated. Some companies rely on complex modeling and trend analysis to get a better understanding of “What’s happening today?” and “What does the future hold?”. Others go a little further and leverage business intelligence technologies and geospatial platforms to comprehend their real estate landscape at both macro and micro levels. These models and types of software enable the data to tell the story of where we are and how we can be successful going forward, particularly regarding the return to office.
Cresa’s qualified team of data professionals are here to analyze information and help clients find meaningful insights and solutions for their return to office and developing custom hybrid work models, as well as broader real estate strategies. Reach out to Cresa to see how they can offer their expertise to uncover impactful insights for your organization.