A new CBRE study reveals that corporate real estate executives are bolstering portfolio agility and enhancing user experiences to “future proof” their real estate against changes in the economy, technology and labor markets.

The report draws upon a survey conducted in partnership with CoreNet Global of more than 350 corporate real estate executives who manage commercial real estate assets and operations around the world.

More than half of respondents cited economic uncertainty among their top three concerns, including 52% of respondents from the Americas; 64% in EMEA; and 68% in APAC. For the Americas and EMEA regions, these concerns were up 16 percentage points and 6 percentage points respectively over last year, while in APAC they remained consistent.

Enterprise businesses continue to adapt to rising technological capabilities, shifting talent demands, and increasingly complex global supply chains. “Sophisticated occupiers seek ways to create flexibility with the goal of ‘de-risking’ their portfolios,” says Brandon Forde, Executive Managing Director of Advisory & Transaction Services.

Future-proofing strategies include the adoption of a shared-workplace model—the top reasons for which include: reducing costs (45%), reduced term needs (42%), and increased flexibility (41%).  As they seek greater agility with lower risk, occupiers are simultaneously implementing strategies to increase the occupants’ overall experience within the core workspace.  This includes reinventing or adapting workplace standards (86% in Americas), pursuing WELL-certified buildings (72% in EMEA) and implementing activity-based working (53% in APAC).

Where portfolio shifts were cited, respondents anticipate slightly more expansion over contraction in 11 of 13 global markets. They were most bullish on India and China, with more than 30% and 20% respectively predicting net expansion in those countries.  Meanwhile, anticipation of net space contractions was strongest, although muted, in the established markets of Western Europe and North America.

“We are advising our clients to be cycle-aware,” says Julie Whelan, Head of Occupier Research in the Americas for CBRE. “Smart real estate decisions can be made by any industry, in any property market, and any economic environment with strategies and solutions ranging from opportunistic to reactive and from agile to committed.”

Stay informed and stay ahead of the curve.  For a copy of the full report, please visit www.cbre.com/gos.

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