Competition is healthy in business; it fires up the spirit of invention. Though the scarcity of commercial property can of course be uncomfortable – particularly for prospective buyers who have to pay more or cannot find properties that they are interested in, resulting in their capital being invested elsewhere – it are only circumstances such as these which possess the potential to rouse the industry from its beauty sleep and bring about a new era.
Refurbishment, repositioning, reinventing
Short supply in the market engenders new ideas, new investment opportunities, and new property concepts. Refurbishment, repositioning, reinventing – though they may sound like trite marketing buzzwords, in truth there is more to them than that: They signify that project developers, asset managers, and investors are considering the future of properties and offices, and the world of work itself. There are a wealth of commercial properties which, in their current state, are not fit for the market. But they could be! All some properties need is intelligent refurbishment in order to make them marketable once more. Others require reinvention, which could mean transforming old industrial halls into modern office spaces, or turning an office building into a place that people will come to live in. Either way, innovation and creativity are required.
Work is becoming ever more mobile
As well as contending with the challenges of the present, it is crucial that investors also consider the future of the world of work. The way we work is undergoing an upheaval, becoming more flexible, more digital, and more mobile. And this has left its mark on office properties. Previously – and as is still the case in some areas – the function of every single workspace and conference room was planned out. As a result, much of the floor space goes unused, leaving up to 40 percent of all offices vacant. This will not continue. Today, many companies are already sharing buildings with conference rooms and meeting spaces that can be flexibly booked. No longer are employees consigned to individual offices: They now inhabit large working areas without a fixed workspace, or they spend their working day in a home office, or even somewhere else entirely. Work will continue to become more and more mobile, and this will affect the demands placed on properties. Where before the most important factor was a good technical infrastructure, in future it will be the event-supported, targeted promotion of communication and knowledge transfer, which can only lead to increased demand for innovative operator concepts.