Creating Resilience

Managing Corporate Real Estate: Leading and Emerging Practices

A global annual study by CBRE & CoreNet Global, presented by the CBRE Institute

December 16, 2021 6 Minute Read


CBRE, in partnership with CoreNet Global, recently completed our annual study of corporate real estate (CRE) management practices. The study revealed many evolving trends—most notably a shift in CRE’s purpose and priorities.

Ensuring the health and safety of employees and providing a compelling workplace experience to attract and retain talent have become the primary focus for most CRE departments.

This transformational shift in purpose has also precipitated an array of needed adjustments within CRE departments—from organizational design and portfolio strategy to leveraging data and analytics and outsourcing service providers.

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Study participation

  • 89 CRE leaders from around the world
  • Nearly 700 million sq. ft. combined portfolios
  • 14.6 million sq. ft. average portfolio size
  • Geographic area ranging from regional (e.g., Americas, EMEA, Asia Pacific) to global

CRE’s mission

While CRE’s top initiatives have historically been focused on financial value and cost savings, we are seeing a notable evolution in CRE’s mission and purpose. This year health and safety in the workplace, coupled with creating a compelling workplace experience to attract and retain talent, are the top two CRE priorities.

Since real estate is generally the second- or third-largest expense for corporations, we do not see CRE’s focus on financial stewardship diminishing—but rather sharing equal billing with talent.

SURVEY QUESTION: How would you describe the primary mission and priorities of your CRE organization? Please select your top 5.

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Key initiatives

The top initiatives CRE leaders are pursuing over the next 12 months include workplace transformation, technology automation, greater alignment to the business (i.e., CRM), and purpose-driven ESG goals. CRE leaders plan to achieve these transformational initiatives through integrating end-to-end service delivery.

SURVEY QUESTION: What innovative/transformational initiatives are CRE pursuing or planning to pursue in the next 12 months? Please select all that apply.

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CRE organizational structure

More than one-third of CRE leaders are planning to restructure and/or upskill their internal organizations.

SURVEY QUESTION: Is the CRE organization anticipating any organizational changes during the next 12 months? Please select all that apply.

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Portfolio strategy

Common portfolio strategies CRE leaders are undertaking during the next 12 months include consolidation, analysis of remote work's impact and increased use of flex space.

It is also interesting to note that a minimal number of CRE leaders (2%) are considering dispersion from high-density urban cores.

SURVEY QUESTION: What portfolio strategies are CRE considering over the next 12 months? Please select all that apply.

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Technology and analytics

CRE most commonly leverages data for portfolio analysis, operational reporting and business-unit engagement.

SURVEY QUESTION: Which statements best describe how your CRE uses data? Please select all that apply.

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Leveraging partners

More than half of CRE leaders in this research study note they are either migrating to fewer suppliers (25%) or a single CRE outsourcing provider (33%) for all functions and geographies.

SURVEY QUESTION: How do you expect your CRE outsourcing strategy to evolve over the next 1-3 years? Please select all that apply.

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