People & Places

Modern office development increasingly involves providing more than ‘somewhere to work’. Changes in society, where rising generations have different requirements and expectations of the workplace, are combining with technological advances to bring about a revolution in the way office space is used. The rise of operators like the Office Group and WeWork underlines the strength of demand for new ways to occupy office space and this in turn is being fuelled by employers’ desire for flexibility and the need to attract and retain the best talent.

It’s just 2 years since BCO published its ground-breaking report Building Performance – Rethinking the Relationship between Owners, Managers and Occupiers. The report set out a ten-point action plan to improve stakeholder relations and remove much of the friction that frustrates corporate occupiers.

While more and more forward-thinking landlords within the office industry are taking steps to implement the recommendations and therefore progress is being made, the reality, however, is that the notion that the ‘customer is king’ is still far from the experience of many occupiers.

In its latest report Office Service Standards and Customer Experience published in October 2017, the BCO has set out to provide those forward-thinking property owners and managers who want to change their approach with practical guidance in the form of checklists, scorecards and case studies. It challenges traditional landlords and managers not just to raise their game but to fundamentally rethink their approach to delivering service. By doing so, property owners and managers will develop a much wider set of skills, as well as providing a greater emphasis on delivering enhanced customer experience, all leading to an increased profile of the property management profession.

There has never been a more apt time for our industry to get close to our customers – the price to pay for missing this opportunity is potentially great. Who could have predicted the seismic shifts in the political, economic, social and technical worlds that we have seen over the past 18 months? If ever there was a time to stick close to your customers it’s now!

Other industries have learned the hard way that failure to innovate and to follow the customer is a sure-fire way to attract the attention of the business disruptors – like Uber, eBay, Amazon, Airbnb, etc. The office industry is seeing new entrant disruptors like WeWork transform the experience of the office worker. Others will follow.

It is not too late for the office industry to respond. However, it is going to take a Herculean effort to bring about the change in culture required and for occupiers to truly feel like customers.

Access the BCO research page and download reports to read more on the future of workplace. Become a member, join the debate and help to shape the future of the industry