Companies everywhere have had to move quickly to adapt to the logistical, operational, and health and safety challenges presented by the ongoing global pandemic. One of the trickiest aspects of adapting to a post-COVID world will come once things start to get back to normal. Because, in many respects, what normal looks like will have changed dramatically.
Office spaces will need to change. The way tenants use those spaces will change. Office tenants are struggling to come to grips with what that new normal looks like—and how to prepare for it—given the high degree of uncertainty about what lies ahead.
That is precisely why Farbman has introduced its groundbreaking new Real Estate Services Program, a suite of specialized services specifically designed to address those uncertainties, and provide clients and partners with critical insights to get back into the office in a way that is smart and sustainable. The program not only helps companies understand their post-COVID office space needs, but also helps them make the changes they need to get back into the office.
Questions and answers
For many businesses, the pandemic created mandatory new work-from-home protocols. As employers begin to wrap their arms around re-introducing employees to the workplace, they are having difficult internal discussions about what that process looks like. Every business will need to make changes. Every company will need to ask (and answer) questions about what those changes look like. That could include how many employees will be returning—and on what timeline, and how their space and operation will need to change to accommodate those returnees in a changed public health landscape.
The Real Estate Services Program is essentially a support service for that thought process. As the Midwest’s premier full-service commercial real estate expert, Farbman has an intimate understanding of the day-to-day needs of employees and employers alike. Farbman’s team of experts can help decision-makers understand what it means if 20-25% of their team continues to work from home—either on a full-time or part-time basis. They can help businesses understand how that evolving workforce profile will impact their current space arrangements and layouts. Farbman can help tenants appreciate the health and safety measures they will need to take, how those new necessities will be reflected in any redesign or reconfiguration requirements, and what they need to do to make those changes in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Space: the new frontier
Farbman’s new program begins with a complimentary analysis: an overview of how much space will be needed, and whether or not a tenant’s current office layout will meet their needs. The Real Estate Services Program also features elements like an outside space planning provider, and a tool to help decision-makers estimate how much square footage they need for each employee. That calculation depends on a range of company-specific factors, including cubicle and office design specifics, internal layouts, employee schedules, and more.
Navigate legal complexities
One of the most challenging aspects of adapting and optimizing post-COVID commercial spaces is that almost all tenants have legal and contractual limitations stipulating what they are and are not allowed to change. Part of Farbman’s value-add through the new Real Estate Services Program is helping companies understand what rights they have to adjust their square footage, make significant internal/structural changes, or negotiate new lease provisions.
In a post-COVID landscape, creativity is critical, and flexibility is essential. One of the most keys to the new Real Estate Services Program’ success is Farbman’s commitment to creativity and flexibility when it comes to making the best possible use of space—even (especially) when that space is nontraditional in nature. Under the program, Farbman works with clients who lease large flex office buildings with shared outdoor spaces to negotiate areas that will be reserved for their exclusive use. The Farbman team is capable of assisting with landlord negotiations to save or reserve other shared common or outdoor spaces for a specific tenant.
At a time when so many real estate firms are still struggling to adapt to post-COVID realities, Farbman’s new program is well ahead of the industry curve. Part of the appeal of the program is that it is fully customizable and client-specific. Farbman has put together a re-entry manual to help guide companies through the process, but that is only the first step in a longer collaborative planning process. Farbman understands that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, and that every tenant has its own set of needs and priorities. To design those solutions, Farbman has formally partnered with a space planning firm, Metro Cad, with proven expertise in devising and designing creative spaces. This team engages in detailed discussions, walkthroughs of existing spaces, and extensive tenant consultations before beginning the planning and design process.
The bottom line
While the most successful companies have been admirably flexible in adapting to a work-at-home model, there is no replacing the collaborative energy and engagement of a group office environment. Companies want to get back to business—they just don’t always know the right steps to take to make that happen in a smart, safe and strategic manner. There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace right now. Farbman’s new Real Estate Services Program cuts through that uncertainty and provides much-needed clarity and welcome specifics. With real answers in hand, CFOs can make real projections and create realistic models that provide critical insights into how a new format might impact their bottom line. Regardless of what the weeks and months ahead might look like from a public health standpoint, replacing guesswork with a concrete plan will not only help companies save money and get a head start on the competition, but will result in a safer, healthier and more productive working environment.
If you’re interested in receiving a complimentary, no-obligation commercial real estate consultation, contact Farbman Group and get in touch with an expert today.