Occupiers Value UX Over Price in Recent Global Study

The war for talent is driving the emergence of a new paradigm in commercial real estate; the Space User Experience.

by Dave McKenna, Editor – December 23, 2019

The global competition for top talent is profoundly influencing commercial real estate and the priority of major corporate occupiers. According to recent CBRE Research, talent preference has eclipsed cost reduction as a key driver of workspace investments.

“Employee engagement and talent attraction & development are two of the three most important drivers of corporate occupier real estate strategy, even ahead of cost reduction”, according to the 2019 EMEA Occupier Survey conducted by CBRE.

The study surveyed 180 companies from a variety of industries, including banking & finance, tech, professional services, biosciences, and manufacturing. The samples were evenly taken from the UK, the United States, and continental Europe.

The strategic response to this rising priority is evolving rapidly and somewhat unevenly across various industry occupier types. The design of space based on UX (User Experience) strategy remains a minority pursuit. Less than a quarter of the occupiers have a formal UX strategy.

But the trend is growing. A third of the occupiers plan to hire a dedicated UX lead, suggesting that the form UX will grow as a selection and space design factor for major corporate occupiers.

Employee engagement and talent attraction & development are two of the three most important drivers of corporate occupier real estate strategy

CBRE Occupier Survey 2019

It is also clear that the trend is uneven. Various industries view the power of space differently. The most aggressive adopters of the space UX concept are in tech. This may be related to the unprecedented demand for tech talent and the fantastic valuation for tech driven firms. But according to the survey, those who do recognize space as a competitive advantage give it a very high priority. It is yet to be seen how broadly the competitive nature of space will be adopted, however it is already broad enough to raise all boats in the aggregate in terms of occupier focus.

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Even for those who acknowledge space as a weapon in for talent, occupiers are still focused on the bottom line. Where formal UX programs exits, the goals are very down to earth. Improved collaboration and productivity are the leading reasons companies adopt UX strategies. The “soft goals” of wellness and community are still important but are lower in priority.

The most recent data suggests that occupier’s demands are evolving and that the real estate strategies of large corporate occupiers have a greater impact than ever.

Talent acquisition and productivity priorities are driving an emerging concept of UX in space. The trend has become mainstream in the tech sector and is influencing the entire industry.

Dave McKenna is the founder and editor of CREB, principal at Turtle Bay Ventures, and a twenty-year veteran in PropTech. He lives in Dallas, TX. Contact Dave here.