During her career, Siobhan has primarily focused on helping clients to recognize real estate as an asset to doing business rather than just a cost center. In this arena she has provided clients with execution ready real estate operational and strategic plans. She has served as a strategic advisor to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies assisting them to meet corporate business objects and generate millions of dollars in associated savings.
Her background from the Big-Four consulting firms (Deloitte and Ernst & Young), and as a Corporate (Pfizer and Nielsen) gives her a unique perspective on how the concept of how timing and place impacts business decisions and success.
Siobhan brings an in-depth knowledge base balanced across several core Corporate Real Estate disciplines including: Portfolio Solutions, Workplace Strategies, Organization & Workplace Transformation, and Transaction Management.
Q&A with Siobhan:
Q1: What else do I need to think about other than cost when buying or leasing space?
Big subject, but to be brief, you need to ensure that you are in the right place, that you have enough flexibility to cope with whatever the future is going to throw at you and that the new space makes sense in the context of your current property portfolio.
Q2: OK, taking thing one step at a time, what is the right place?
Firstly there are the practicalities: the space needs to be near your staff, and near people you might need to recruit in the future. It needs to be connected (with good road, public transport and internet links). Secondly, it needs to be where your staff want to be – for example people often run into problems after setting up satellite offices because everyone wants to be in the mother-ship, which is “where its at”. And finally, and increasingly importantly, it needs to be in a location that will aid productivity and encourage innovation.
Q3: How can an office’s location affect innovation or productivity?
The bigger the city you locate in, the more productive your staff will be. This is a well researched network effect. Being in a city helps your people build and maintain large and diverse social networks outside of the firm, this will boost idea generation and productivity. Ideally you should surround your staff with people who can help them.
Q4: So that office in an out of town park may not be the steal it looks like?
It may be a good deal, but you need to be careful. Get it wrong and you might find millennials avoiding you as an employer, that your enterprise CO2 footprint is large, and that you are incurring costs like restaurants that other firms in more built up areas are avoiding. You may also find that off-loading the space is very difficult – not all real estate is an asset, if there is no demand for your space then its a liability.