Re-Evaluating Real Estate's Familiar Mantra
At this year’s conference it seemed the talk of business continuity had made its way into many break-time conversations. Most participants had indeed connected the dots and realized the importance in fusing principles of business continuity into their traditional discipline. Along those lines, there were a couple of presentations really stood out.
First, Tony Paterson and Bert Cowan of Competitive Insights Incorporated deftly tackled the implications of BCP on property managers. An Ottawa-based firm, Competitive Insights seemed to take a very methodical and holistic approach in explaining the interconnectivity of topics to the audience. There was also a session on sustainable real property that was structured as a panel discussion which discussed the direction of the federal government of Canada in sustainable development – a subject of particular interest to me given the discussion I gave on smart building technology as it related to business continuity.
Stan Kaczmarczyk is the Director of the Innovative Workplaces division of the General Service Administration (GSA) in Washington D.C. I found this quote describing the new division on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) website:
This new division of GSA was formed in May 2000 to handle a host of workplace environment issues that can impact productivity, recruitment, and employee retention. Benefits of teleworking programs include environmental benefits; easing traffic congestion; improving work-life balance; increasing recruitment and retention potential; increasing employee performance and productivity; and potential real estate cost savings in the long term.Mr. Kaczmarczyk led two discussions: Managing Telework and Innovative Workplace Strategies. The underlying message of these sessions seemed clear – when technology, risk mitigation of human capital, and the increased demand for worker flexibility meet at a central fusion point, it moves the conceptual notion of a decentralized workplace into the realm of reality. He also made it a point to remind us that a teleworking or innovative workplace strategy is by no means a seamless process that occurs instantaneously, instead, it requires a comprehensive plan requiring some fundamental reengineering of work group designs, processes and management structures.
As a rapidly changing technology landscape now refutes earlier notions that location and proximity were still necessary in a wired world, we wonder if that old real estate mantra "location, location, location" is more effectively applied in other realms.