Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

Real Estate Leaders Examine Work Space and Workforce Dynamics in 2025

November 21, 2011


(WASHINGTON – November 21, 2011) The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Foundation and the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies and its Masters of Professional Studies in Real Estate Program brought together the best and brightest minds in real estate on November 10 for their second annual Thought Leader Symposium, 2025: A Vision for Commercial Real Estate. The program featured experts from academia and industry to debate key factors-- technology, globalization, sustainability and demographic shifts—and how they will affect the workplace and the workforce over the next 15 years.

“If the last 15 years are any indication of the pace of change in our industry, the next 15 will be phenomenal,” said BOMA Foundation Chair Marilyn Wilbarger, director of property management, City of Key West, Fla., in her opening remarks. “Our thought leaders are going to give us a lot to think about in terms of how we should strategize to ensure that our future buildings are places where people want to work.”

Industry Overview
Katya Naman, CCIM, senior vice president, Lowe Enterprises, Inc., and BOMA International Chair Boyd Zoccola, executive vice president, Hokanson Companies Inc., presented an outlook on what the next five years hold for commercial real estate. They identified several trends, including an increase in density in office buildings, the rise of transit–oriented development and the need for green incentives.

The Workspace
Naman moderated a diverse panel featuring speakers from government, architecture and corporate real estate advisory firms, who discussed workspace trends and the potential demand for office space in 2025. Mobility was at the heart of the discussion, with all panelists agreeing that teleworking will continue to gain momentum.

As teleworking becomes more prevalent, many companies will need less space per worker. GSA’s Chief Asset Officer Gavin Bloch spoke about the agency’s mandate to increase teleworking among employees and dramatically increase density in their buildings. James B. King, AIA, LEED, AP, principal, AREA Advisor LLC, discussed a recent thesis project on the impact of teleworking on demand for office space written by a student in Georgetown’s real estate program. “The thesis concludes that there will be no need to develop new buildings to accommodate workers in the future—the space already in existence will need to be reconfigured to fit future needs,” he explained.

The key to future success in commercial real estate, the panelists agreed, is innovation. Property management firms will also have to think carefully about how they can provide the spaces and services that future tenants will need. Commented Martha A. O’Mara, PhD, CRE, managing director, Corporate Portfolio Analytics, “To compete, landlords are going to have to think about what they do besides offer plain vanilla office space.”

The Workforce
BOMA President Henry Chamberlain, APR, FASAE, CAE, moderated a panel that looked at the Workforce in 2025. Chamberlain kicked off the discussion by noting that as productivity within companies continues to increase, developing and retaining a talented workforce is a core priority and challenge for commercial real estate firms. Panelists discussed how the goals and priorities of an emerging workforce are helping firms evolve to meet new expectations.

 “Technology is critical and archaic systems will be a deterrent to candidates,” said Matthew A. Metro, principal, The Maison Group Inc., who also noted that companies should  empower employees to use new technologies and media to market their companies and attract the best talent.

Panelists also discussed how the concept of career development is changing with the incoming workforce. “The corporate ladder concept is starting to go away,” suggested Kristen Reese, director of talent acquisition, Bozzuto Group. “Satisfying careers don’t necessarily have to go up, but tend to go more in waves of different experiences.” Reese also explained that the hierarchy trickle down of information is being replaced by more collaborative experiences.

But what is ultimately going to attract and retain the best talent? Reese noted that it may come down to something very basic, “If someone is looking for a job, they are going to want to know if people are happy working there.”

In his closing remarks, Chuck Schilke, associate dean of Georgetown University’s Master’s Program in Real Estate, touched on the ways in which the workforce of 2025 will affect commercial real estate: “A five-generation real estate workforce will collaborate in the workspace of the future.  This promises to give the future real estate workforce a long-term perspective that will foster more sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.”

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About the BOMA International Foundation
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Foundation is an independent, tax-exempt organization (501(c) 3) whose mission is to serve the commercial real estate industry by fostering a future vision, forward thinking research, innovative thought and global best practices.  The Foundation is dedicated to sponsoring and encouraging innovative research and educational activities that advance the commercial real estate industry and profession.  In addition, the Foundation initiates programs that seek to enhance the public appreciation of real estate and its significance in society.  The Foundation is affiliated with the Building Owners and Managers Association International, the nation's oldest and largest commercial real estate organization.


About the Georgetown University Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
The Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate degree program at Georgetown is a fully-accredited comprehensive graduate real estate program in Washington, D.C., which teaches practical real estate skills at the highest academic level in a supportive social environment. All courses are taught by top real estate professionals from major real estate organizations who know their fields in depth, are strong communicators, and genuinely care about students. In classes averaging 20 students, students take five foundational real estate courses in ethics, law, finance, markets, and accounting, four upper level track courses in a choice of tracks in Real Estate Development, Real Estate Finance, Construction Management, and International Real Estate, followed by one capstone senior thesis course. The program emphasizes private sector real estate while also taking full advantage of the Washington location to emphasize public sector real estate, environmental and energy aspects, and corporate real estate.

Lindsay Tiffany
Manager of Media Relations
BOMA International or (202) 326-6365