What’s a landlord to do when the office is a destination, not a routine?

Office for Estee LauderEvery week a new survey is published or a statement from a CEO hits the press related to corporate occupier’s desire to adopt a form of hybrid working for the long-term post Covid 19. And as a result, the desire to occupy less space in their central office hub. Landlords are asking- What do we do now to attract and keep great occupiers, and fill our buildings? I have an idea that is of its time. A time when the world has started to cooperate, collaborate, and work towards a common purpose. When work, life, values, and priorities are shifting. Employers are seeking to look after their people in a holistic way in and out of the office.

What if landlords came together with their occupier clients to support lifestyles not just workstyles?

The starting point of this idea is for landlords to ask yourself, who is your customer?  No, it’s not the CEO or the CRE Director, but the entire workforce that occupy each and every building in your portfolio. Yes, all the portfolio not just those within a single building.

My suggestion is treating your occupiers as Members not Tenants.  Members of your exclusive club. Provide those members with perks and benefits.

For example, access to all the shared landlord provided facilities and events in all the portfolio…the co working spaces, the reception breakout spaces, gym, cycle parking, showers, TED talks and events, the concierge services, etc.  Across the whole portfolio not just within their own building. Landlords can provide a variety of benefits and facilities, but not have to do it in every building.

On top of that landlords support your club members lifestyle not just workstyle. Tap into the buying power of that community of members by negotiating discounts or benefits with lifestyle products such as Netflix, Just Eat, Spotify, Uber, cinemas, theatre, health clubs, etc. all accessed via a free app for the members.

Look at the numbers: in the extreme case British Land and LandSec each have about 6-7 million sq. ft. of office space in London alone.   That equates to a population of occupiers (members) of around 60,000 members each.  That is the population of a small city such as Winchester or Salisbury! One hell of a buying power community.  And this idea will work for smaller landlords as well. The basic membership is free but special services or products are commercialised via service charge. Say a Gold, Silver and Bronze type of membership.

Imagine the win-win; occupiers win as the CEO that does agree which building to lease can see this as a benefit to all their staff. Landlords build brand loyalty and differentiate themselves. And keep their customers within their portfolio for the long term.  Dare to imagine, is this the time for that illusive concept of partnering?

MCM’s white paper looking at the role of cities in a post-COVID world is available here

Image: MCM