PwC: The future of work equals the future of commercial real estate
How today's trends are driving tomorrow's mainstream
Chris Richmond, Senior Head of Real Estate for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) joins Bold Founder, Caleb Parker, and dives deep into what drives his real estate decisions. He's responsible for for ensuring 24,500 team members have a happy and productive office environment across the portfolio and shares how flexible working and the war for talent require buildings to level up their service game.
Questions answered in this episode
- How big is your UK portfolio
- How many people do you support?
- Are your assets on long-term conventional leases?
- Do you see a correlation between your office environment and talent acquisition?
- What does talent want? What does talent expect?
- Do you agree that companies don't want an office, but rather a productive workforce?
- How does PwC ensure people have what they need from the office to be productive?
- How do you use data to optimise your offices?
- How is flexible working part of your strategy?
- How often are you actually in the office?
- How do you balance flexible working and office working occupancy to determine the ROI of a space.
- What is your decision making process when acquiring new space or renewing leases?
- Why do you think CRE is slow to move from product to service?
- What's the incentive for a landlord to provide an extra level of service if a customer is stuck in a 10-15 year lease?
- Would you take space in a building that is managed by a Space-as-a-Service operator?
Value Bombs and tweetables
- PwC UK recruits 1,500 graduates each year
- The office stands for place where people come together to collaborate and share ideas
- We want to create an atmosphere where people are happy and want to come
- A happy workforce feeds into productivity
- 17,000 sensors help measure data to determine what's working in the office.
- Data is a symptom of what's not working, and enables further feedback checks.
- Our team are instructed to only come into the office when they need to.
- People are epowered to make this decision themselves.
- Location is still important to attracting talent, but service is just as important.
- Buildings are not currently offering the level of service needed.
- The human experience is lacking.
- Asset managers are not taking a proper interest in customer service, and that's a missed opportunity.
- Customers are more interested in quality versus price of services. A better balance is needed.
- Customer service creates value. Happy customers will stay longer and generate increased returns.
- PwC would look at taking self-contained space in buildings that are fully managed by a Space-as-a-Service operator.
Excerpt from the BCO report referenced in this episode:
"The demand for excellent customer experience in the workplace is here to stay. Efficiency, flexibility, adaptability, sustainability and wellbeing continue to be of top concern to occupiers. Office building owners and managers are increasingly being asked, and now expected, to offer a service that supports these business objectives. If the office industry cannot deliver the service customers want, they will either self-deliver or take their business elsewhere. The increase in the percentage of space being taken by corporates from companies like WeWork, IWG and The Office Group, rather than traditional landlords, is testimony to this."
About Chris Richmond
A Chartered Surveyor since 1991 with an MBA from Kingston University (1999) and over 30 years commercial real estate experience primarily working client side within large corporations such as Royal Mail, Orange/EE and PwC.
Achievements include the renewal of the office portfolio to right-size workplaces into modern, flexible, sustainable and vibrate spaces in line with evolving business needs.
Chris is on the management board for the British Council for Offices (BCO).