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Strategic Corporate Real Estate Planning Decision Time: Proactive or Reactive?

A quote often attributed to Sun Tzu, 4th Century BC Chinese general, military strategist, writer, philosopher, and author of the Chinese classic Ping-fa (The Art of War) helps to elucidate today’s strategic business planning challenge, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Current Challenges

Business leaders today know all-too-well the importance of effective strategic business planning and know that planning that incorporates uncertainty is complex and challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the strategic planning process more difficult and the risks more consequential.

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are at a fraction of their worst levels, vaccination drives continue, COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed or removed throughout the country, and many school districts across the country are planning for students to return to campus in the fall, expert opinions still vary widely on when and how a full-scale return to the office will occur.

Additionally, evolved workplaces and hybrid work experiences are top-of-mind for many companies as they strive to balance productivity with employee and corporate partner welfare. A critical consideration in corporate real estate planning is this return timeline, which is accelerating nationally, however big differences exist between industry groups, regions of the country, and companies of different sizes.

The Case for Proactive Strategic Corporate Real Estate Planning

The importance of effective strategic corporate real estate planning as an integral part of the overall business planning process, which contributes to a company’s ability to maximize profitability and minimize risk, is sometimes underestimated or overlooked by business leaders; often until it is too late.

Real estate assets and liabilities, and the decision making around them, enhance or compromise the overall success of the business. If planned for and managed effectively, those factors can add tangible value at all levels of the business. It is therefore paramount that those responsible for corporate real estate strategy and operations be experienced in doing so and take full advantage of the benefits of professional advice from a qualified corporate real estate advisor.

When doing strategic commercial real estate planning, business leaders must examine the business issues affecting the company’s real estate requirements and performance. Now, more than ever before, employee and corporate partner productivity, morale, and welfare are considerations that cannot be discounted. These planning efforts and considerations help determine how real estate assets or liabilities can be best positioned to support financial, operational, and productivity objectives, and contribute to the resulting performance of the workforce and its corporate partners.

The Path Forward

The right strategies, actions, and expected outcomes must be incorporated in the plan so the organization can respond quickly and effectively to changes in operations, organizational structure, markets, and other business realities. Given the unknowns associated with the economy and business in general, proactive corporate real estate planning and management has become more important than ever in today’s competitive and disruptive business environment.

The quality of decision making around strategic corporate real estate planning directly impacts the organization’s ability to maximize profitability, productivity, and morale, and maintain the delicate balance of the risk equation. Each aspect of corporate real estate must be identified, qualified, prioritized, and translated into business risks so that the leadership of the organization can weigh the pros and cons of decisions made and to be made.

A fundamental foundation of strategic corporate real estate strategy is research. Business leaders can’t form strategy and tactics without being informed and without evaluating the pros and cons. They cannot be expected to do the required due diligence for strategic corporate real estate planning when that is not a core competency or if the data and analysis is not readily available.

Through aligning corporate real estate strategy with financial, operational and productivity goals, companies can derive greater value from their real estate assets and obligations. The right balance of a comprehensive, broad reaching, and intelligent approach to corporate real estate planning and execution can be a real differentiator for businesses today.

A Process, Not A Destination

Corporate real estate planning is not a destination, it is an integral part of the overall strategic business planning process and the real estate advisors at Sidecar Commercial Real Estate understand the challenge and can help business leaders strategize and plan for the journey ahead. Sidecar’s corporate real estate advisors anticipate business trends, monitor, and measure their impact, and help companies align their corporate real estate footprint with their operational, financial, and productivity goals.

Sidecar represents users/occupiers of corporate office and industrial space, provides local, face-to-face representation supported by a global team of experts and has the best technology, tools, strategies, and connections to take clients from first contact through lifecycle management of their real estate portfolio.

Sidecar lifecycle management services include, Strategic Planning, Market Research & Analysis, Financial Analysis, Space needs Analysis and Facilities Planning, Portfolio Management, Tenant/Buyer Representation, Location Analysis, Economic and Tax Incentives, Site Selection, and Brokerage and Transaction Management (Acquisitions, Dispositions, Sale-Leasebacks).

To explore The Sidecar Difference, visit www.sidecarcre.com/the-difference/ or contact Ray Martin, Vice President, Corporate Real Estate Advisor via telephone at 469-387-7528 or via email at rmartin@sidecarcre.com.

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