Part of the ‘PM+U way’ is keeping abreast of changes in our specialist sectors (retail, work space and leisure) and having a strong sense of what the future holds for the use of our properties. It is essential in understanding how we need to develop and to continue giving our clients the service they need. In essence to ensure we’re able to live up to our commitment of being a more proactive property management company. But what is the best way to identify how properties need to adapt in future?
Our Director of Innovation, Daryll Bunce, believes the simple formula is to “follow the people.” He explains this as “being really attentive to what people are doing. How are they spending their time? How are they shopping and working? What is growing in popularity?” The property owners that will thrive are those that give people what they actually want.
A major shift is people working from home and shopping locally. This may have been driven by the pandemic as a necessity, but it is clear that people do not want a future that is about routinely commuting long distances for a single reason such as shopping or work. They see what the commuter lifestyle does to their wellbeing - and the planet - and they want change. Of course the pandemic has been a terrible struggle but many have had a taste of a more convenient local lifestyle and don’t want to completely leave that behind.
“Owners who stick with the traditional approach of having a rigid definition of their building, and expecting tenants and customers to come flocking, will get left behind.“
Daryll believes the response will be the integration of different sectors within properties as people demand different uses at different times of the day. An example of how this might look could be a property accommodating a logistics collection point in the basement; a selection of offices and retail across the ground/middle floors; and perhaps residential apartments across the top level. As a result these properties start to become small communities in their own right.
“A small and simple example of ‘follow the people’ is the growing trend for more greenery inside homes” Daryll continues. “People want to bring nature indoors and are enjoying curating plant life around their interior, a trend that has been much communicated by lifestyle influencers across social media. In response, we’ve seen the addition of plant nurseries in almost all of our client retail centres.”
“Property owners who stick with the traditional approach of having a rigid definition of their building, and expecting tenants and customers to come flocking, will get left behind. The starting point should be attentively investigating what people are doing, buying and demanding, and then adapting buildings in response. And then of course, to keep questioning and adapting.”
Carl Foreman, MD concludes “this means as Property Managers we need to become even more flexible and be ready to adapt with the changing nature of properties. We also need to build teams with diverse skills to manage the variety of tenants under one roof.”