Open Offices, Mixed Greens Highlighted in CoreNet Surveys

A pair of new surveys, released by CoreNet Global at its summit in Orlando, Fla., focus on two key areas in corporate real estate: alternative workplace strategies (AWS), which are very much on the rise, and green buildings, where attitudes are, at least this year, decidedly mixed. In the AWS survey, undertaken in collaboration with Microsoft, 77 percent of respondents indicated that they see AWS programs expanding over the next three years. Of those surveyed, all attendees at the CoreNet Global Summit, 86 percent report having an AWS initiative in place, with the largest percentage of those having had a program in place for at least five years. In one of five of the companies surveyed, more than 30 percent of total worldwide employees are included, though in more than half of the companies surveyed, fewer than 10 percent of employees are. Overall, almost half of the employees participating in AWS have given up an assigned office and gone completely mobile. About half of the companies in the survey said they’re implementing AWS on a regional basis, with individual regions choosing to adopt or not adopt it. Unsurprisingly perhaps, AWS is most prevalent in North America and in Europe, and less so in India and the Pacific Rim. One of the main reasons corporations are implementing AWS is that it enhances their ability to attract and retain talent and “provide a better work-life balance by enabling employees the flexibility to work remotely,” Katherine Randolph, Microsoft’s director of unified communications, explained in a prepared statement. She added that although CRE executives are commonly at the forefront of their companies’ AWS initiatives, they’re also partneriing with IT “to ensure that the physical and the virtual environments work together.” Respondents to the AWS survey cited a lack of support from top and/or middle management as the biggest challenge to wider use of AWS. Mixed messages about going greener:The CoreNet survey on energy and sustainability, done in partnership with Jones Lang LaSalle, revealed some tension, or perhaps evolution, in current attitudes about green workplaces. Specifically, though more CRE execs than ever see being green as a business priority, they’re less likely than they were last year to be willing to pay more for green office space. Of the more than 400 CRE executives who responded, 69 percent said that sustainability is a critical business issue, versus 47 percent in 2007. Yet despite this growing level of emphasis, just 42 percent of CRE executives said they would pay a premium (typically 1 to 5 percent) to lease green space, versus 77 percent in the 2007 CoreNet-JLL survey. The survey results, CoreNet Global CEO Dr. Prentice Knight said in a prepared statement, indicated that CRE directors “have climbed a steep learning curve on sustainability in the past two years, and have learned how to achieve the benefits of sustainability without overspending to get there.” CoreNet Global is a leading professional association for corporate real estate executives worldwide. Its 7,000 members manage about $1.2 trillion in global corporate assets consisting of owned and leased office, industrial and other space.