June 22, 2015 11:00 ET

C-suite Demands More Productivity: How Will Corporate Real Estate Deliver

JLL Global Survey Reveals "Pressure Cooker" of Expectations for Corporate Real Estate Teams

SINGAPORE and LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM and CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 22, 2015) - Skyrocketing C-suite demands for productivity are creating a "pressure cooker" of expectations for corporate real estate (CRE) teams worldwide, reveals a new JLL global survey. Although the CRE function is rapidly maturing, its transformation from tactical manager to trusted advisor is far from complete.

JLL's third biennial Global Corporate Real Estate Trends survey shows that CRE teams are now even more challenged to transform their roles from order takers to order makers. More than half of respondents to the survey report even greater C-suite expectations in nearly every category. A concerning 15 percent say that they are poorly equipped to meet the increased demands -- a proportion that has doubled since 2013.

Tracking insights from 544 CRE executives in 36 countries, the 2015 survey details the C-suite's growing recognition of CRE and the corresponding pressure on CRE teams.

"Demands on CRE teams are unrelenting. The C-suite simply will not accept 'we've always done it this way' for an answer any more and they shouldn't," said John Forrest, JLL CEO of Corporate Solutions, Americas. "C-suite executives are demanding office space that make employees more productive, and expect CRE executives to use sophisticated data and analytics to make their global facilities portfolios highly efficient. Many of these demands require CRE executives to speed up their pace of change, and get out of their comfort zones."

Great expectations

A central theme in JLL's last Global Corporate Real Estate Trends survey in 2013 was the intense pressure on CRE teams to deliver against a broad range of tactical and strategic tasks. The percentage of those who say they are "well-equipped" has fallen from 28 percent to 17 percent. Lack of access to data and analytics was the top-rated constraint limiting further development of the CRE function. 

Reducing costs is an underlying concern for CRE executives but the overarching demand of senior leadership concerns strategic engagement. Top C-suite demands include:

1) Share CRE decision-making with the business. C-suite leaders expect their CRE executives to enlist business leaders in making facilities decisions. Sixty-two percent of CRE executives report increasing C-suite demand to present scenarios and solutions to the business, and nearly 70 percent report increasing demand to challenge the business about its presumed space needs. Encouragingly, 43 percent of CRE teams have a formal business relationship management program in place for interacting with internal business leaders, while 29 percent engage with business stakeholders on a formal, but ad-hoc, basis.
2) Improve workplace and workforce productivity. CRE teams are at the forefront of creating a more positive experience and increased effectiveness in the workplace, and improving workplace productivity is the top productivity outcome expected from the CRE team. Sixty-two percent of CRE teams see increasing demand from leadership to enable more flexible working, and 59 percent see increasing demand to support cultural change.
3) Improve asset and business productivity. The C-suite expects improved productivity across the corporate real estate and facilities portfolio, a complex goal with many moving parts. Notably, 61 percent of CRE teams in 2015 report pressure to improve the productivity of the physical real estate assets, a significant increase over the 47 percent reporting this pressure in 2013. More than three in every five respondents report a growing appetite to drive greater flexibility through the real estate portfolio and provide larger volumes of on-demand space. 

Forrest suggests five ways CRE teams can expedite transformation of the CRE function:

  • Prioritize people and people skills within the CRE department;
  • Create a strong data and analytics platform to bring data science to corporate real estate decisions;
  • Define success and benchmark progress against peers;
  • Address the broad sweep of activities that constitute 'business as usual' without undermining the evolution of the CRE to trusted advisers; and
  • Leverage vendors and vested outsourcing for both tactical execution and strategic counsel.

"Corporate real estate teams must deliver with a more efficient and business-aligned approach that prioritizes data science, proactive leadership and predictive analytics," said Forrest. "Without this shift, CRE teams will remain trapped in the past."

To request a full copy of the survey report, visit Social media users can also engage in the conversation about the future of corporate real estate on Twitter using #CRETrends

A leader in real estate outsourcing, JLL's Corporate Solutions business helps corporations improve productivity in the cost, efficiency and performance of their national, regional or global real estate portfolios by creating outsourcing partnerships to manage and execute a range of corporate real estate services. This service delivery capability helps corporations improve business performance, particularly as companies turn to the outsourcing of their real estate activity as a way to manage expenses and enhance profitability.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $4.7 billion and gross revenue of $5.4 billion, JLL has more than 230 corporate offices, operates in 80 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 58,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.4 billion square feet, or 316 million square meters, and completed $118 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2014. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $55.3 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

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