Millennials are Changing the Face of Commercial Real Estate

As of 2015, millennials have officially taken over – the workforce, that is – and just as their generation has changed the way we think about how we work, it’s had a substantial influence on where we work as well.

Driven primarily by millennial working habits as well as their recreational and travel activities, we’ve seen many changes to commercial real estate that will without a doubt shape how we look at physical office space over the long term.

Flexible office space is no longer just a buzz word – it’s a millennial must-have

Bottom line? Millennials want to work from home. Or from wherever they happen to be, whether that’s halfway around the world, or across town.

The results of Deloitte’s Millennial Survey proves this point, and concludes:

  • Around half of all millennials currently have the option of working remotely
  • Most would like to if they don’t already have that option
  • 75% think that telecommuting would be beneficial to their productivity
  • 88% would like to be able to set their own, or have flexible hours
  • Most would prefer not to commute or would like to work at home or closer to home

These results, and this direction shows a growing trend towards the inevitable: there is already far less need for commercial office space than any time in recent history, and in the near future, there will be even less.

With an increased focus on outsourcing to freelancers or hiring outside of geographic boundaries, new companies, or those who are scaling up, won’t necessarily need more real estate. In fact, it’s likely they may choose to downsize.

Ditching the commute

Another factor affecting the change is the modern aversion to long commutes. A much smaller proportion of millennials today holds driver’s licenses than they did in the 1980s, for reasons that range from delayed marriage to more time spent in educational pursuits, or even some still living at home with their parents. There also seems to be a largely negative view of cars in general, in part due to emissions and environmental factors, but also (in urban areas) due to increased traffic, lower efficiency, and less convenience. From this we can conclude that, as it applies to commercial real estate in any case, millennials would prefer to stick closer to home, work remotely, and avoid commuting for work if at all possible.

So, how does this factor into commercial office space needs?

The very nature of millennials and the technology they embrace pre-supposes a few very important points:

  • Telecommuting is the new normal
  • Cloud connectivity and the flexibility it brings is supporting this trend
  • More millennials are choosing to start their own companies, become a freelancer, or work remotely
  • Their social lives are far more important to them than spending time in an office

There’s more, but you get the idea. To that end, it’s no secret: flexible or shared office space is becoming exceedingly popular among the world’s most dynamic companies. Open-concept offices or coworking spaces support this sensibility, providing millennials with ergonomic options that appeal to their need to be a part of something greater than themselves.

How the office sector can meet this need

As this trend continues to grow, we can expect a lessening demand for traditional commercial office space. However, even those millennials who choose to be entrepreneurial find that working in proximity to others who are doing the same is both stimulating and inspiring on a level that they can’t get either at home or in a conventional office setting. If this continues to be the case, and there is little reason why it shouldn’t, owners of commercial office space may want to appeal to this demographic by providing an office venue that hits all the millennial high points:

  • Close to more populated areas and accessible to mass-transit in order to reduce the commute
  • Provide open-concept work areas with flexible accommodations
  • Offer a social atmosphere that fosters interaction
  • Support them with next-generation technology and enhanced capabilities
  • Ad-hoc office space and meeting rooms on demand
  • Focus on millennial priorities, such as environmental awareness, green initiatives, and sustainable energy (think solar-powered buildings with plenty of green space)
  • Making a positive contribution to the community and to society in general

While some of these ideas may seem a bit esoteric in terms of the current state of commercial real estate, they are important points to consider in the pursuit of gaining an audience with the burgeoning millennial workforce. Somewhere in there lies a place of compromise where all these things converge, providing value and a great benefit to everybody involved.

Office Suites Strategies: Helping CRE Owners Offer Solutions for the Millennial Age

If you would like to learn more about Office Suites Strategies or find out how we can help your commercial property, give us a call today.


Revamping Your Business’ Online Presence: a step-by-step guide

In 2017, boosting your online presence is about more than just SEO. Though on-page SEO is still important, organic ranking is the key to attracting the customers you want. With attention to a few key details, you are guaranteed to raise your profile and will be well on your way to better results.

Check your business listings for accuracy

There are numerous business listings which contribute to your online presence, a handful of which are imperatives, such as your Google Business listing. This is the extended content listing that shows up as a sidebar on the right-hand side of your browser, complete with address, map, phone number, reviews and an image. Your business won’t display in this space unless you have a verified Google Business listing.

Depending on what type of business you do, there are likely others as well: Yelp and Trip Advisor are just a couple of examples. Check what comes up when you search your business name online and go through each listing to ensure that all are current and accurate. For small businesses, this is an essential business strategy you won’t want to overlook.

Create fresh, engaging content

Content marketing is a proven way to promote your business. The more fresh, original content you are posting on your site, the higher your organic rank. Create content in the form of blogs, videos, or other sharable media. This will also give you a repository of content to share on your social channels, and ideally, should position you as an expert in your field. The more interesting and informative your content is, the more it will appeal to your existing and potential customers.

Other tips that help you rank higher include:

  • A minimum of 400 words of content per page is a good guideline, but longer always ranks higher
  • Avoid “keyword stuffing”, and focus instead on engagement
  • Post regularly and consistently
  • Outsource your blogs to freelancers if you can’t keep up

Try to keep it topical and don’t focus on sales. Establish trust and authority first – once you accomplish that, the sales will come.

Social proof

Social proof is one of the most important gauges of customer engagement that there is. It’s not always about how many followers you have, it’s more about how responsive you are, and how tuned in you are to what your followers are interested in. It’s about how you interact with your customers, your followers, and your peers, and it’s a gauge of how you stack up to your closest competition.

Social proof is also about activity. For instance, if a potential customer finds you on Facebook, but your last post was made months before, that really sends a message. You don’t have to post incessantly, but being consistent counts for a lot. Share your blog posts across all your channels to drive traffic back to your site, and re-post or curate informative articles that you think your followers would appreciate or enjoy.

Lastly, post irreverent/funny stuff every now and then. People enjoy a good laugh, and you’ll win over new people by showing a sense of humor.

Reviews and ratings

There are myriad ways you can collect reviews and ratings: through Facebook, on your website, Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List – there are niche ratings sites for just about every industry. Find out which ones are most relevant to you and encourage your customers to rate your products or services. Use the best ones as testimonials on your website.

Remember to be responsive to the ratings you receive as well. Respond to good ratings with a “thank you”, and respond to negative ones with a thoughtful response aimed at solving the problem. While you can’t often have negative comments removed, you can demonstrate that you take their comments to heart, and are working hard to solve the issue.

Update your page meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short blurbs that you see just beneath search engine results. Usually about 160 characters or less, it should adequately describe what people will see on the page and can contain keywords, as long as they flow naturally.

Your meta description encourages people to click on your result, so the better it reads, the more effective it will be. Each and every page on your site has space for a meta description. Take some time and create a unique one for each page.

Office Suites Strategies: America’s small business strategists

Office Suites Strategies is a trusted source of information on business strategy and success, and with over 20 years of combined experience in Coworking and shared space and property management, we know what it takes to rise to the top – from site selection to staffing and everything in between. Drop us a line today to find out more.