Real estate know-how is not commonly included in the job description of the average facility manager. However, the FM’s role is expanding to encompass a wide range of additional responsibilities, which means a foundational knowledge of the real estate industry is becoming essential.
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By understanding certain aspects of this industry, FMs will find the task of selecting the right office space for their business’s needs that much easier. With that in mind, we’ve identified various sectors of commercial real estate that all FMs should be familiar with.
Searching for commercial real estate can be a massive headache. Fortunately, there are a number of commercial search engines and agency-specific sites designed to help you simplify the selection process. For example, RE/MAX uses a multiple-listing service to aggregate all commercial listings nationwide, allowing users to compare price points, square footage, neighborhoods, amenities and more. LoopNet is another useful resource, as it features over 25 million property records.
Though the layout of your office is known to have an impact on employee productivity, the actual part of town you’re considering can be just as important for employee retention. Location strategy—or where you decide to set up shop—takes into account a neighborhood’s amenities (like restaurants and shops) as well as the demographic of the area.
If you discover that you’re looking in what’s known as a “dead zone”—an area where the majority of commercial spaces are empty—you may want to consider another location.
Once you’ve confirmed a location, ensure that the exterior of the building is in working order. Start with the property’s curb appeal—if the building is worn down, it could be presenting the wrong image of your business. Ask yourself: does the space reflect your company’s culture and will staff feel inspired coming to work each day?
Next, inspect the foundation, as there is nothing more restrictive to productivity than working in a poorly maintained building. A careful examination may reveal cracking or other structural issues, which could even suggest that there are mechanical concerns elsewhere in the building. And most importantly, always make sure to solicit the help of a structural engineer to perform this review.
So much can be said about the importance of an office’s interior. Not only are the square footage and floor plan important, but you’ll want to look out for the status of common areas, wall coverings, carpets and ceilings before you decide to sign the lease. It may seem self-evident, but the building’s interior quality can influence whether a potential employee will want to work for your company.
Additionally, when surveying a building’s interior, it is important to consider how easily you could incorporate a hot desking strategy. Whether or not you currently operate a hot desking policy, it is still an important factor to consider if flexible work arrangements are on your company’s radar. Try to map out how the interior can lend itself to movement and how you would be able to optimize the environment for better flexibility.
Furthermore, understanding an office’s green initiatives and capabilities is a great way to differentiate between potential office spaces. Not only can quality windows, efficient heating and LED lighting contribute to your company’s environmental impact, but it will also help lower monthly operating costs. If you can’t find this information listed online, speak with the building’s property manager, as these environmentally-friendly features should be a priority if your company values sustainable practices.
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By familiarizing yourself with these factors, you’ll be even more prepared when tasked with finding a new location for your company. Better yet, it’ll improve your overall understanding of the facility, and provide greater insights into how the office should be managed. As such, by broadening your knowledge of commercial real estate, you will be ensuring that when the day comes to move offices, you are as ready and informed as possible.
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Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Zastolskiy Victor, Shutterstock / zhu difeng, Shutterstock / Digital Genetics