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Corporate Real Estate teams under increasing scrutiny from CEOs, says new JLL global survey

Report reveals a “pressure cooker” of expectations from corporates to maximise value from their real estate

EMEA, July 21, 2015 – Skyrocketing C-suite demands for productivity are creating a “pressure cooker” of expectations for corporate real estate (CRE) teams, reveals a new JLL global report.
Tracking insights from 544 CRE executives worldwide, 32% of whom are in Europe, the survey details the C-suite’s growing recognition of CRE and the corresponding pressure on CRE teams. 

“Today across Europe, Middle East and Africa, CEO’s have an unrelenting focus on wringing the maximum productivity out of their office space. In response, CRE executives must use increasingly sophisticated data and analytics to make their real estate portfolios more efficient,” says Vincent Lottefier, Global Director and CEO of Corporate Solutions, EMEA for JLL.
“Speaking to CRE professionals in the region, we’ve found that the most pressing challenge they are facing is the need to balance cost reduction with value creation. But while we are seeing that the CRE function is rapidly maturing, its transformation from tactical manager to trusted advisor is far from complete,” he adds.

JLL’s third biennial Global Corporate Real Estate Trends report shows that CRE teams are even more challenged to transform their role from order takers to order makers today than in the firm’s last survey in 2013. More than half of respondents report even greater C-suite expectations in nearly every category.
A concerning 15%  say that they are poorly equipped to meet the increased demands - a proportion that has doubled since 2013. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who say they are “well-equipped” has fallen from 28%  to 17%. Lack of access to data and analytics was the top-rated constraint limiting further development of the CRE function.  

According to Lottefier, the most effective means to transform the CRE function in a business is to prioritise people and people skills. This combined with a strong data and analytics platform will facilitate smarter corporate real estate decisions.
“The key to achieving the right CRE balance across the world is a business-aligned approach that prioritises data science, proactive leadership and predictive analytics,” said Lottefier. “Without this shift, CRE teams will continue with ‘business as usual’ instead of breaking through to the next level.”

Top C-suite demands to CRE teams include:

1) Stronger engagement with the business. Sixty-two percent of CRE executives report increasing C-suite demand to present real estate scenarios and solutions to the business, and nearly 70% report increasing demand to challenge the business about its presumed space needs. 

2) Improve workplace and workforce productivity. CRE teams are at the forefront of creating a more positive experience and increased effectiveness in the workplace. Sixty-two percent of CRE teams see increasing demand from leadership to enable more flexible working, and 59% see increasing demand to support cultural change. 

3) Improve asset and business productivity. The C-suite also expect improved productivity across the corporate real estate and facilities portfolio, a complex goal with many moving parts. In 2015, 60% of CRE teams report pressure to improve the productivity of the physical real estate assets, a significant increase over the 47% reporting this pressure in 2013.