Republished with permission from our good friends at REOptimizer
By Don Catalano
As 2019 draws to an end, your company’s commercial real estate portfolio deserves some extra attention. So put down your pumpkin spice latte or IPA and start executing on these six important to-dos.
1. Get Ready for Auditing Season
Read your lease and see if you have the right to do a CAM audit as the year ends (or begins). If you have any reason to think that your expenses are inflated, an audit can identify the overcharges and help you get some of those funds back. While it’s the landlord’s responsibility to do the audit, you could end up paying for it if a significant discrepancy does not exist. As such, you want to have your proverbial ducks in a row to see which spaces deserve auditing and which do not.
2. Prepare to Grow and Shrink
Now is a good time to check the metrics on your various spaces. Those that have too much unused space might be candidates for changes in 2020 while those that are bursting at the seams might need to be expanded next year.
3. Check Your Team
While utilization metrics are key from a financial perspective, the tendency towards greater density in office space could be having a negative impact on your team’s productivity and job satisfaction. When you identify spaces that are excelling on space efficiency metrics, you might want to spend some time looking into your team’s perceptions of the space to ensure that you haven’t gone too far in that area.
4. Plan Your Splurges
If you haven’t done it recently, your spaces might need a bit of freshening to continuing attracting the best young talent. Whether you’re adding green spaces, yoga studios, enhanced conference rooms, or technology features, planning now to spend in 2020 can keep your office a desirable place to work. If your team is suffering from the lack of privacy that can come from high density, consider budgeting for the addition of some pods in 2020, as well.
5. Centralize Your Data
While the implementation of the new ASC 842 lease accounting standard has put more pressure on companies to create proper systems for tracking their real estate portfolios (along with other leased business assets), many companies still lack a formal management system for their commercial real estate portfolio’s data. Centralizing data on your portfolio in a single tool — whether it be a set of spreadsheets or, preferably, in a specialized application like REoptimizer — helps your company have the information that it needs to both report more accurately and make better business decisions.
6. (Have Your Broker) Talk To Your Landlord
Whether you are looking to make changes or just want to see if your current occupancy structure can be improved, it makes sense to reach out to your building’s ownership before the end of the year. Some might be motivated to make changes before 2020 starts, and for others, you’ll know to reach out to them right in January. Have your tenant rep broker speak to your landlord.