By Richard Golding, Head of Global Occupier Services, UK & Ireland
The pace of change in the TMT sector will only increase in the next few years, underscoring the urgency for companies to transform their workplaces and realign real estate strategies. Everyone involved in the development of workplace strategies, from facilities managers to CEOs, needs to understand the forces shaping the TMT workplace of the future and how these will impact their organisation. Heads of property at TMT companies can set in motion a number of processes to begin to future-proof their workplaces and their companies.
1.) Scenario Plan
Scenario planning is increasingly important in a more volatile competitive environment. The sources of disruption are increasing and M&A activity is at a record high. Property teams should spend more time planning for ‘what if’ scenarios – ‘what if we acquire a business of 2,000 people?’, ‘what if our new business unit exceeds growth expectations?’, ‘what if we need to streamline our portfolio?’ The implications of a major acquisition, exponential growth of a new business unit or a decision to invest heavily in a new market for corporate real estate are complex. Scenario planning will significantly speed up decision making when it’s needed most. This planning should take place in cooperation with different levels of the organisation and across different geographies to ensure strong alignment throughout the company.
2.) Build Flexibility
The economic, demographic and technological drivers of change identified in this report are not passing trends – they have profound implications for workplaces and real estate. The only constant in the TMT sector is change. To survive in this turbulent environment, directors of property need to focus on making their real estate portfolios as flexible as possible. Modular workplaces that can be easily refitted to new roles and workstyles are essential, as the products, services and composition of employees at TMT firms is set to change significantly over the course of the next few years.
3. Align Workplace Strategy with Corporate Strategy
Workplace and real estate strategy must be totally aligned with business strategy. Too often property is siloed from the rest of the business and directors of property are not aware of strategic decisions the business makes until after they have been made. The workplace is the operational level in which strategy is brought to life and should be part of any strategic decision from the beginning. Without frequent discussions between the property team and the business leadership, companies can’t create work environments to support the aims of the business, and strategy consequently fails. Heads of property must take a more active role in the leadership of the company, and the c-suite must take a more active interest in workplace and real estate.
Being a successful company in the technology, media and telecoms sector in the future will be far more challenging than it was in the past. The world is becoming a more complicated and perilous place for big corporates, and while huge opportunities for TMT players are rapidly emerging, new sources of competition are arising thick and fast from unfamiliar locations. The successful TMT companies of tomorrow are those with a clear understanding of the forces driving the change, with the vision and resolve to take bold steps to future-proof their workplaces, and who are able to begin taking these steps today.
The above is an excerpt from our newest GOS report, The Future of the TMT Workplace, which can be downloaded here.
Richard has over 20 years of Corporate Real Estate, Strategic Portfolio Management & Agency experience, supporting clients to develop portfolio strategy & deliver major projects. Richard is Head of Global Occupier Services UK & I for Cushman & Wakefield, taking responsibility for all occupier activity managed within the UK and is part of Cushman and Wakefield’s Global TMT group, coordinating Cushman’s capabilities, expertise and delivering research and sector trends.