This century is shaping up to give us another ‘roaring twenties’. The second decade kicked off with a pandemic, swiftly followed by war in Ukraine, soaring inflation, massive labour shortages and an energy crisis. How will all this affect businesses and their real estate? This is a question Denise Hoogendoorn, head of Facility Management Consultancy at real estate services and investment management company Colliers, discusses with organizations on a daily basis. How can these issues be tackled by looking at them in an innovative way?
WHAT ISSUES ARE BOARDROOMS GRAPPLING WITH RIGHT NOW?
“So many. All organizations are facing big uncertainties. The energy crisis is taking on dire proportions. Prices are rising to such an extreme that utility costs are even starting to exceed rents in some places. Right now, everyone is looking for innovative ways to economize on things like office space and how it’s used.”
A NEW SPIN ON VINTAGE
The Square Eight team takes special care when assembling their collection, says Roël. “We try to put a personal spin on modern vintage, guided by an artistic eye and focusing on streetwear and designers.” The brothers want to base their collections on what’s happening on the catwalk, on the street and in other shops, with the aim of “offering an eco-friendly alternative and creating a new kind of vintage.” Clothing comes in by the ton, they say. As in: entire truckloads full. “We get stuff from all over the world”, Daud continues. “we’ve been doing this professionally for five years, after all, so in that time we’ve built up a sizeable network.”
HOW CAN COMPANIES SAVE ON OFFICE COSTS?
“We’re seeing that actual office attendance rates are still quite low. ‘Hidden vacancies’, we call that. And this unused space is what you need to tackle. Space you don’t have or use is space you don’t have to heat, light or clean. Data plays a crucial role here. There are all kinds of ways to make buildings ‘smart’ nowadays. That means building technologies are attuned to employees or visitors and the activities taking place there. The building collects data which are then used to optimize processes and enhance the user experience. You can also go for more flexibility by offering self-service facilities. So, you might close parts of the office on days they are not being used, or not staff your reception desk all the time.”
WHAT’S THE BEST PLACE TO START?
“Understanding your employees’ behaviour. What are busy and quiet times at the office? How often are people using restaurant and reception services? What’s your energy consumption? My team benchmarks the costs of all facility services delivered in clients’ organizations. Thanks to our database, we’re the market leader in this. What you want to know is: how much are you consuming, how much are you paying, and how does that stack up against the Dutch market? Only then can you start taking steps to economize long-term.”
WON’T CUTTING COSTS ON THINGS LIKE LUNCH AND OFFICE DRINKS DISCOURAGE WORKERS FROM COMING TO THE OFFICE AT ALL?
“Not necessarily, no. You could have lunch service on busy days, and office drinks once a month instead of every Friday. Staff will value that more and it can even add value to your organization’s hybrid working model. Plus, you can scale down in quantity while boosting quality. You could offer fancier lunches or drinks. And if you match your purchasing to actual attendance, you’ll also wind up wasting less. It’s all about flexibility.”
BUT CAN FACILITY SERVICE PROVIDERS DELIVER THAT FLEXIBILITY?
“Well, not at the drop of a hat. You’ve got to make agreements in advance and amend your contracts. You may not be able to do that overnight. But once you understand your consumption, you can use it to negotiate. Facility service providers are facing staff sh
WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE FOR COMPANIES?
“Due to people working from home more, office space is far from being fully utilized. That represents a tremendous potential savings. Start out by determining how your space is being used, then decide what you really need. Eliminating unused office space will be your biggest win.”