Revolutions in the workplace heighten the role of the property manager

The disruptive forces reshaping the way we work call for an equally disruptive response in the way we serve customers in the office industry. The management of offices is undergoing a revolution and those that do not adapt will be left behind.

As an ever greater importance is placed on customer service, the way a building is managed is being recognised as increasingly critical and we need to ensure our property managers are equipped with the correct skillset to implement change and ensure the bar for standards continues rising. 

This was a key finding in a recent Savills, Landsec and JLL-sponsored report conducted by the British Council for Offices (BCO) – The Customer Experience Revolution: closing the skills gap. The paper argued the term ‘property management’ is outdated, harking back to an era focused more on bricks and mortar than people. Whatever you choose to call it, the demand for excellent customer experience in the workplace is here to stay, just as a certain level of service has come to be expected in the hospitality sector, and the management of offices can learn from this. 

As efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, sustainability and wellbeing continue to be of top concern to occupiers, there’s a realisation that now, more than ever before, we need strategic direction from property managers in order to deliver on change. 

At Savills we launched the RISE initiative last year, which defines and delivers a customer-centric programme across prime offices and mixed-use assets throughout the UK.

RISE sets out to transform the delivery of services to the office sector, creating an independently audited framework for improvement, to enable benchmarking of portfolios and to measure and understand value to the customer.

The initiative engages, builds community, and ensures the highest level of customer experience through the continuously evolving management of buildings. RISE embraces and encourages innovation, while maintaining the best environmental, health and wellbeing standards.

RISE is supported by Savills recently launched PLACE team, which focuses on identifying and developing the DNA of a place, and understanding how we can shape this by improving the physical and social elements it interacts with.

Projects undertaken range from hyper local to national; working with local artists to enliven reception lobbies, events to engage visitors and workers, such as interactive see-saws and fashion shows held in common areas; and working with our occupiers across the managed portfolio to showcase products. Sustainability and wellness is fundamental to this and initiatives should be measured by the positive benefit on those they interact with.

Until recently, the role of the property manager has been undervalued. By placing a greater value on property management, it’s possible to get more out of a building to the benefit of both landlord and occupier. 

The BCO report highlights the new challenges the industry faces, but more than that, it recognises the increased value of the management role and nods to an opportunity to promote the role of the property manager in a new light that could attract a far more diverse workforce.

Originally posted on 12 April 2019 by John Redfern, Head Office, London Director of Savills‘.

Download The BCO report here. Special thanks to the report sponsors Savills, Landsec and JLL.