Have You Updated Your Rolling Workplace Use Strategy?

I am sure some are vigorously updating and maintaining their current workplace use strategy plans, and some, unfortunately, are asking, “Do we even have a rolling workplace use strategy?”

For the 12+ months leading into the current COVID-19 time of unknown, our team was heading up discussions regarding the alignment of assets with the actual USE of the real estate within the portfolio (traditional, flex, swing, & remote). The term rolling is different for every client, there is no cookie-cutter approach to this since we all have different needs, and the utilization of space is based on the organization’s workforce goals & objectives.

Frequently our evaluation would result in a strategy utilizing CORT’s Furniture as a Service (FaaS) rental solution. As expected, though, often our recommendation to clients pointed to scenarios where a permanent furniture solution was the best fit, when all factors were considered.

FaaS allows for the maximization of CAPEX, having the ability to maintain cash-flow dollars while still providing and setting up your space needs for tomorrow is a huge value for any organization.

Our unique approach includes employing various tools to drive through a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) review. This entails comparing the actual, and highly assumed costs of furniture assets for various spaces, within a real estate portfolio.

Leveraging this evaluation process, our customers are empowered with the ability to look under the hood and evaluate flexible furniture solutions against permanent assets. And, since the process is data-driven, the decisions reveal the actual best use of space planning around people, priorities, and flexibility. More importantly, understand how the FF&E capital expenditures in that space are specifically tied to their use.

Every dollar spent on FF&E needs to be tied to actual use within the space for it to be considered utilized. This is where Flex space has the advantage, as it provides more usage utilization metrics over traditional space.

In my opinion, the reason workplace utilization rates historically are lower in a traditional office setting than initially intended (even greater when you associate the COST of the setup/installation) is due to the approach taken during the initial space planning discussion.

The intended goal (usually) is designed with an eye on how the entire space is going to look completely built out and furnished (even if the entire space will not be occupied by a full workforce). Maybe the goals should have a higher focus on:

  • What is the lease timeline of the space being used? {anything under 5 years, a flex discussion needs to happen}
  • How exactly is space going to be utilized in the next 3, 6, 12+ months?
  • What is the headcount of the space (now, short-term, and long-term)?
  • What do we do when we reach maximum capacity?
  • How do we handle the unexpected?

If you had a rolling workplace use plan in place, what I am telling you may seem redundant – however, given the current environment, it might be time to re-align that plan too. Looking at the next 3, 6, & 12+ months is going to be more important than ever as we continue to re-open the workplace.

In most cases, and this is going to become more prevalent.  We will not see the entire workforce population move into a new space together. Some may come in shifts, or it will be staggered, and some will remain remote.

The Workplace Team at CORT has shifted our conversations as well. We are supporting strategies around proper alignment with the phasing back into the workplace.  Again, this timeline will be different for all businesses (as we have seen in recent updates from Apple, Tesla, Facebook, & Twitter).

Rebalancing the buildout and alignment of your future workplace is not a capital-intensive mindset. It is the maximization of capital mindset. The shift of real estate will continue to move towards more flexible solutions – from the lease structure to the furniture.

[Biased plug coming up]

CORT’s Furniture as a Service (FaaS) rental solution is not a secondary option. We support workplace change (short-term & long term) on-the-front-end for our customers as their businesses evolve, grow, contract, and especially now during these times of massive flex.

The flexible shift is happening, and CORT has been providing workplace flexible solutions for decades.

Before, during, and after a time of uncertainty, the conversation on how flexible & agile our workplace and workforce is to change shouldn’t be uncomfortable. The discussion should be on “what do we do next?” not, “what are we going to do now?” 

Today more than ever, the question we all should be all asking is, “Are the assets within our real estate portfolio (That we are, or have PAID for) properly aligned with the needs of our workplace today, 6-months from now, and beyond 12-months?”

The question we are asking all of you, “How can we help?”

This article was originally written by Greg Copeland, CORT’s Director of Strategic Business Development, on June 9, 2020. To learn more about Greg and how he can help your Rolling Workplace Strategy, please follow him on LinkedIn.