The Hidden Form Of Data You Didn’t Know You Needed

As companies reimagine their physical footprints, a data-driven strategy can help CEOs figure out which properties and locations make sense for the growth of the company and where dollars will be most wisely invested.

Every day, we hear about data: customer data, marketing data, financial data. We know by now how data can fuel the different departments of our business and make them more efficient. Real estate data is yet another rich source of information that holds significant promise for businesses, but there’s one caveat—much of it is held in silos just out of our reach, making effectively leveraging it difficult (if not nearly impossible). But in an ever-changing world, taking steps to better secure and engage with this data will be imperative to making proper business decisions going forward.

After all, this real estate data can be tapped for valuable insights that could help your business make better decisions. Your physical spaces are at the heart of everything you do; they’re your cultural hubs, where your brand ethos meets your operational standards, and they send a message. These spaces also impact everything from how you source your materials to how customers approach and interact with your business.

That’s why real estate strategy is mission-critical to the success of your business. You can’t consider this alone, though—when it comes to making decisions based on real estate, you’re going to need data analytics.

What Does Real Estate Location Data Have to Do With Your Success?

For the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, retail commercial real estate has begun to grow, with industrial, retail, and office prices showing increases of up to 9.4%. However, the workforce has changed drastically over the last two years. Companies that invested heavily in one kind of workplace are now having to cancel their leases in favor of more flexible or hybrid approaches. Pinterest, for example, paid almost $90 million to terminate a new lease in San Francisco early in the pandemic.

Real estate data analytics is going to be vital for understanding how this shift is impacting your community and your team. With third workspaces and hybrid models gaining traction in the office sector, we’re going to see more and more businesses taking an analytical approach to their real estate strategy. With a data-driven strategy, you can figure out which properties and locations make sense for the growth of your company and where your dollars will be most wisely invested. Embedded in every lease are numerous data points, financial obligations, critical dates, and liabilities. Understanding these data points will enable your team to plan for future business goals.

Three Ways to Leverage Real Estate Data Within Your Business

Once you’ve realized how powerful your real estate data could be, how can you start unlocking the data you have in your company? How can you start tapping real estate data analytics to gain insights that will help you make decisions and claim competitive advantages? Here are three strategies that use real estate data as an asset to help your business grow:

1. Use it to gain insights about your employees.

Employee engagement and happiness are key to the success of your business. You know that. Regardless, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start when trying to boost these abstract KPIs.

Leveraging employee data can give you a more accurate portrait of your employees and what they need. What spaces do they require to do their jobs most effectively? What is their dream workspace? What changes to your headquarters would make them feel more comfortable, safer, or more excited to come into work?

Let this information drive what type of model works for your business, whether that means going 100% remote, creating a hybrid solution, or opening strategically placed satellite offices.

2. Use it to enrich your company culture.

Your company’s physical presence acts as a billboard for your brand and culture. People see your real estate and gather information, however subconsciously, that helps to create their expectations about what you can offer them. Is your company modern, cutting-edge, and contemporary? Is it traditional and sturdy? Is it young, old, risk-taking or sophisticated?

Create a company culture dataset that investigates how your real estate presence impacts how your company is perceived both internally and externally. Keep confirming that your space matches the culture you want to create with your business and the values you’d like it to live by.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, my company has built out a decidedly more flexible work model. Currently, our employees are distributed across the U.S., and we even have some international employees on board. In pockets where we have a larger employee base, however (for us, that’s New York City and Boston), we’ve adopted a “third workspace” concept. Localized teams can meet up together in different places (think coffee shops or co-working spaces) for some socialization and a little change of scenery.

Although a flexible model certainly works for us, we also strive to have the entire company meet in person at certain points throughout the year when it’s safe—we believe in the power of face-to-face interaction and what it can do for our culture. We’ll continue with this pattern as our team grows. After all, we’ve found that being open to both new and old ways of working will enable us to attract and retain a diverse talent pool.

3. Use it to make intelligent site-selection decisions.

Location, location, location. It’s an age-old tenet, but the importance of location in retail and office business still rings true. Where you operate will have a massive impact on how you are perceived in the market and what kind of consumers or potential employees show up at your door.

Commercial real estate data analytics can give you the power to compare locations in terms of cost per square foot, the potential of the surrounding community, and access to your ideal talent pools and customer personas. It works by combining data from a variety of sources and statistically predicts the best locations for your next store or office space.

Prepare your business to grow into the new year and adapt to the shifting trends of employees, customers and communities. Start tapping into your real estate data, and you’ll gain a sixth sense that will give you a competitive advantage when it comes to making smart decisions.

Andrew Flint is a co-founder at Occupier, a transaction and portfolio management software helping commercial tenants and brokers manage their real estate footprint. Occupier’s software helps teams make smarter, more informed lease decisions by centralizing the way they work. In turn, teams ensure alignment between their real estate decisions and business successes.