Page 24 — Property Management Quarterly — April 2021 Management L et’s agree that this is the time to draw a line in the sand between what was and what is now. Prepandemic, many com- mercial real estate owners and operators realized they were not just in the business of owning and managing buildings. They were in the people business: creating places for people to live, work or visit. If that is true, then people are really what matter most. Among other things, COVID-19 has accelerated the need to put people at the center of everything. This will not change going forward. So what does that really mean for commercial real estate? It means that commercial real estate owners and operators need to fully embrace this reality and look at what they offer through the lens of understanding what their customers really want and need. Historically, their customer was essentially the key decision-maker for the individual company choos- ing to occupy space in their build- ing. That view is now too narrow. As companies continue to respond and change according to the needs of their employees, so too must build- ing operators dedicate themselves to better understanding the needs of every single person who enters their building. Office space is simply a commod- ity. Experience continues to be the real differentiator in commercial real estate and creates the oppor- tunity to develop a unique sales proposition for your building, port- folio or company, in order to attract and retain the best tenants. Consider the fol- lowing five themes as must-haves for creating the best possible tenant experience in your buildings: n Manage. Mak- ing people’s lives easier and bet- ter where they live, work or visit requires paying attention to the operations of your building. How buildings are man- aged and, in turn, how people can manage themselves provide many touch points for delivering the best tenant experience. Technology-enabled buildings facilitate operational efficiency for the property management team while automating many everyday tasks that tenants may encounter. Creating a frictionless experience by integrating all of your customer- facing technology solutions into a single platform will seamlessly connect users to everything that a building and its neighborhood have to offer. Now is the time to operate with complete transparency, giving your tenants access to the information, systems and procedures they will value most as companies in your building develop their strategies to engage their workforce in 2021. From occupancy information to elevator access, building security to visitor management, and cleaning protocols to delivery tracking, put your tenants at the center of your planning and keep them engaged every step of the way. n Educate. People want to know more about their building and neighborhood and be kept abreast of how things work, what’s new and what’s going on. The reality is that people come and go from building to build- ing, and you cannot assume that everyone is familiar with all that is available in your building and community. Sharing tips, FAQs and did-you-know facts is a great way to keep your tenants informed and engaged. Examples might include emergency guidelines, fire preven- tion suggestions, recycling proce- dures, important phone contact info, amenity reservations, links to local community organizations and more. Learning goes both ways. Feed- back from your tenants is essential to demonstrate you are creating a caring environment and to gain insights that can impact the opera- tion of your building. Engage with your tenants to better understand their needs and wants. People like to know their feedback is heard and is impacting changes for the better, so be sure to share the learning and how it has informed new thinking or initiatives. n Program. A building is not just a place where you work or live. Since we spend the majority of our time in buildings, they represent an integral part of our lives. More and more, people are making choices of where to work or live based on factors that go well beyond just What business is commercial real estate really in? David Abrams Co-founder and CEO, Hilo Creating the best tenant experience should be a top priority as offices fill back up. Please see Abrams, Page 28