35 ways to get more from your real estate

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Sometimes a simple list of ideas is enough to get you thinking differently. Thinking differently about how to make decisions, how to improve processes, how to get more value from your real estate portfolio and improve the experience of both your employees and customers.

To gets things started, here’s a helpful list of 35 ideas from strategic to tactical. Just one idea might be all you need to spark a change that will make a big difference.

  1. Review the energy use of your lighting systems and retrofit lighting fixtures to reduce energy costs.
  2. Improve performance by defining and implementing key metrics across your organization and manage them regularly through automated dashboards.
  3. Find trusted partners to handle tactical activities, such as processing work orders or managing janitorial contracts, so you have more time to drive your company’s business strategy.
  4. Put a sustainability program into place. Activities like recycling, waste reduction and employee behaviors to drive energy efficiency also helps your company meet its sustainability goals.
  5. Look for economic incentives from public entities for any major new facility, space renewal or capital expenditure.
  6. Ensure you have a sourcing strategy in place for all vendors to help streamline processes and add value.
  7. Hold a formal review your real estate portfolio ever year to identify and prioritize new ideas that will add more value to the organization.
  8. Segment your facilities into different groups so that you can adjust real estate and financial strategies for different types, such as core or non-core.
  9. Analyze space in your current portfolio to identify space that is under-used, sometimes referred to as ‘dark space’.
  10. Conduct an energy assessment at each individual site to look for areas to improve efficiency.
  11. Ensure you have an efficient process so that your company can make faster decisions on building sales or leases.
  12. Delay or postpone any non-critical space relocations by exercising short-term lease extensions.
  13. Benchmark your operational costs against other companies in your industry to see how you compare.
  14. Launch an incentive program to reward your employees when they spot new way to add value or improve the workplace.
  15. Take advantage of facility technology advancements, such as computer-based maintenance or automated work order management systems.
  16. Use predictive maintenance techniques to maintain equipment and prevent expensive repairs.
  17. Leverage existing staff, such as janitors and porters, to perform office or desk moves.
  18. Outsource specialized services, such as training or technology, to vendors that can bring more value to your team.
  19. Hire specialized teams to provide year-long oversight of your capital plan, including master schedule and budget management.
  20. Create specialized teams for key projects such as a merger or acquisition, changing your company brand or opening multiple retail locations.
  21. Identify specific people on your team to oversee governance when you build your annual capital plan, ensuring cash flow monitoring and prioritization of unplanned projects.
  22. Use cost benchmarking and competitive bidding to reduce costs for renovations or fit-outs.
  23. If you own a building, consider selling and leasing it back from a landlord.
  24. Sell unused property from a recent consolidation or merger.
  25. Look for opportunities to restructure your lease terms to more favorable ones during changes in market conditions.
  26. Implement a system to track and charge your internal business for space use to help reinforce behaviors that reduce costs.
  27. Reduce the variety of different office or workspace configurations.
  28. Create non-traditional workspaces, such as co-working space or hot-desking, to improve your utilization rates.
  29. Reduce or eliminate dedicated workspaces for highly mobile employees.
  30. Ensure all existing vacant space is being used effectively before adding new space.
  31. Implement a policy to keep spaces and desks clear so that all offices, including executive offices, can also function as a team or meeting rooms when not in use.
  32. Repurpose or eliminate duplicate or underutilized executive offices, conference rooms or meeting areas.
  33. Keep a close eye on expenses that are passed-through to you from leases to subleases.
  34. Right-size service levels that won’t impact your employee or customer experience, for example, adjusting detailed office cleaning from five times a week to three times a week.
  35. Build automated dashboards to help you track real estate data, such as cost savings or project timelines, to minimize manual data collection and reporting and free up time to review data for new insights.
Do you have other ideas or implemented successful initiatives? Share them with us.