BY BRIAN D. CAPPELLI, BOMA FELLOW, RPA
One of my favorite parts of serving as BOMA International chair is the opportunities I get to speak with BOMA members all over the world. In September, I had the chance to travel to Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia to attend the Property Congress, the annual event of BOMA’s Australian affiliate: the Property Council of Australia. It was a remarkable opportunity, not only to see a beautiful part of the world, but to connect with property professionals on the other side of the globe.
Commercial real estate has become an increasingly global industry over the past decade, and BOMA International has played no small part in this shift. From helping shape the International Property Measurement Standards to fostering international networks to sharing best-practice guidance through the BOMA 360 Performance Program (read more about how China’s Shanghai Tower is benefiting from the program), BOMA International has been working hard to strengthen global ties within the industry.
Each market is facing its own set of challenges and opportunities, but, when we share our experiences, we often find similarities. At the Property Congress, I served on a panel on workspaces of the future. We focused on three main trends that are transforming how we work: technology, coworking space and occupant wellness. These three elements have the potential to help office workers be happier, healthier and more productive.
Technology is allowing us to consider not only physical, but also virtual, uses for real estate, to be more connected and untethered from the traditional office desk, allowing workers to be incredibly mobile and productive throughout the workday. The broad rollout of the next-generation 5G mobile network will support greater use of augmented reality and more powerful computing in the palms of our hands; it also has the potential to dramatically change the way commercial real estate is used and viewed. The proliferation of coworking space offers flexible options to get work done. Property professionals are finding that renting out coworking space can be surprisingly lucrative, but it does require some changes to how we approach property management. For more traditional office environments, the wellness trend has the potential to be an incredible value-add: When workers feel better at the office, they are more productive and more likely to stay in that job for longer. The office is quickly becoming a place you want to be, not have to be.
All three of these trends are impacting markets all over the world to varying degrees. At the Property Congress, I was particularly struck by a discussion on ethical leadership. As technology evolves, we need to think critically about the impact these changes will have on our workforce and those we support as tenants. Artificial intelligence, in particular, has the potential to transform jobs in many industries, including the role of the property manager. As industry leaders, we need to consider the long-range view, as well as the broad effects of these changes on employment levels and the nature of work. The potential advantages of emerging technology are awe-inspiring, and we can help ensure everyone reaps these benefits.
By networking with peers in our markets around the world, we gain insight into best practices and information about what is working and what we can do better. It’s a way to see into our own future and the trends that may be coming our way. Being international is one of the greatest strengths of BOMA. As these connections and shared lessons continue to grow, they are only going to become more valuable.
Being international is one of the greatest strengths of BOMA.
This article was originally published in the September/October 2018 issue of BOMA Magazine.