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News release


The new challenge for managing real estate assets – moving  beyond cost savings to creating value via alternative workplace strategies like ABW

Activity Based Working (ABW) is starting to gain traction in Brisbane office accommodation strategies, as mining and engineering groups consider how best to operate in a changed market dynamic with reduced commodity prices

BRISBANE, 5 JUNE 2013 – The drive for efficiency has not left the boardrooms of corporate Australia, but senior leaders are now viewing this as business as usual and are looking for value creation from their company’s real estate assets.

Australian respondents to JLL’s second survey on Global Corporate Real Estate Trends, taken in December 2012, reported their top strategic priority was enhancing the productivity of their real estate portfolio (84%).  Their top tactical priority was to reduce cost (86%).
The Brisbane office market has not seen the same focus on cost savings and alternative workplace strategies as other capital cities, due to the mining sector growth that has been underway.
Jones Lang LaSalle’s Queensland Head of Tenant Representation, Michael Greene said, “In Brisbane, the focus by mining and engineering companies has been more on ‘growth at all costs’ over the past few years as the mining boom went from strength to strength.   There has now been a sea change due to the fall in coal prices and increased costs of projects and production.  The focus is now on cost avoidance and reduction.  This will place more emphasis on achieving productivity in the workplace.
“The focus has moved from hiring more people and gaining more office space to house them in to considering the high cost environment for production and how to become more efficient as the boom slows down its pace.
“What we expect to see as a result of this is more interest in workplace strategies like Activity Based Working (ABW) by mining and engineering companies.  To date, they haven’t been focused on this.
“The pending relocation of BHP Billiton to 480 Queen Street will be a test case as to whether a major miner will run with ABW.  As yet no announcement has been made, but it is believed to be under consideration.
“We also expect to see financial institutions in Brisbane take more interest in alternative workplace strategies going forward.
“The clear leader in ABW in Brisbane has been Suncorp, who are progressing down this path.  Suncorp has run a successful pilot programme in Brisbane for some time now and is moving forward with their own tailored version of ABW.  This will be implemented in their new Melbourne office later this year,” said Mr Greene.
Australian Head of Corporate Solutions Integrated Portfolio Services, Tony Wyllie said putting aside the lower take up of alternative work strategies in the Brisbane office market, the national perspective that came out of the survey was firmly focused on workplace transformation.
“The Global Corporate Real Estate Trends Survey showed that senior corporate leaders in Australia have higher expectations for their real estate portfolio assets than the rest of the world, giving higher ratings to strategies like the move to greater remote and mobile working, enhanced workplace productivity and flexibility and transforming the quality of workspaces.
“More than 630 corporate real estate executives in 39 countries were surveyed, including  52 respondents in Australia.  The Australian respondents reported a high focus (78%) from senior leaders on enabling remote or mobile working for their employees.  This was one of the top demands being placed on Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams and was more than 20% higher than respondents globally (55% global average).
“When asked to what extent their workplace had transformed over the past 3 years, 65% of Australian respondents said they had increased the density of their workplace, while 76% said they expected to increase densities over the following 3 years. In contrast, 50% said they had increased the quantity (size) of their workplace over the past 3 years, while only a low 29% said they expected to increase the workplace size over the following 3 years.
These high scores of 76% expecting to both increase the density and utilisation of their workplace and 78% expecting to increase the quality tells us that alternative workplace strategies like Activity Based Working (ABW) are here to stay and only set to increase over the next 3 years,” said Mr Wyllie.

Source: Jones Lang LaSalle Global Corporate Real Estate Survey 2012.