Q: What is Colliers’ Tenant Advisory Council?

As part of a new series from Colliers’ Tenant Advisory Council (TAC), leader Sheena Gohil is sitting down with industry experts for their insight into the current real estate landscape and their perspective on navigating change.

This conversation between Sheena and Michael Davidson, Senior Advisor with Colliers Occupier Services, dives deep into the imminent shifts and critical considerations shaping the world of commercial real estate in 2024. From the pivotal role of technology to the intertwining dynamics between HR and real estate, and the pressing need for sustainable practices, this dialogue encapsulates the evolving strategies and trends impacting occupiers in their quest for efficiency, productivity, and environmental responsibility.

What emerging trends do you foresee shaping the landscape for occupiers in 2024?

In 2024, occupiers are going to increasingly need to develop thoughtful strategies for how they occupy office space, and how they attract their people to work from office spaces. In parallel, organizations will need to figure out how much office space they need to operate in any given month. This will be the ongoing trend carried over throughout 2024 – companies will need to be more disciplined in determining how much real estate they need to run efficiently, productively, and without waste. 

How will the intersection of HR and various business units enhance the dynamics of commercial real estate in the foreseeable future?

I think that the collaboration and close partnership between HR, real estate, and technology have become the table stakes for the workplace experience. If these areas are not well engaged or integrated, the workplace experience will not be what employees want. The integration is the absolute baseline that will prove which organizations are better managed and which workplace experiences attract workforces to a location. 

How do advancements in technology, such as the widespread adoption of AI, impact the design and functionality of commercial spaces for occupiers?

AI will provide enormous efficiency to the data, metrics, and measurements and in many ways the design architecture, and furnishing of spaces. It will also increase the efficiency and productivity of that process. Of course, AI has its limitations, and it will not be a surrogate for what people are thinking, feeling, and needing. AI’s success in this conversation will only be realized if it’s accompanied by human leadership in parallel. 

In the context of sustainable practices, how are companies adapting their real estate strategies to align with environmental and social responsibility goals, and what implications does this have for the commercial real estate sector?

From a sustainability perspective, many organizations have set goals to demonstrate their commitment to having a net zero impact on the planet. In order to do that they are incorporating new ways of operating, technologies, recycling, and optimizing the entire resource supply chain that the company needs to operate. In addition, the most compelling, sustainable measure a company can take is simply using less. Less office space (which requires heating, cooling, and furniture) as well as building less. The consumption of a company is as important as the net zero targets that they determine they need to run the company. Once an organization defines what it needs in terms of real estate, next is developing an operating model that utilizes resources to be the most carbon-neutral it can for the planet.