‘Head of remote work’ is an emerging role among companies that will only make the real estate equation a little more complex for those who specialize in office-space.
“It’s both a job title and a sign of the times. Over the last few months, numerous stories looking at the growth of remote work have cited the growth in heads of remote work, a new corporate role that fuses technology, human resources and real estate at a time when dispersed teams are becoming increasingly prevalent.”Bisnow.com
In other words, large corporations that have 700 employees, for example, will be looking to disperse their offices in a way that will facilitate working from home, but also offer group-work spaces where they can collaborate if necessary, but not be exposed to the burden of hundreds of employees in one facility. And this will be the goal for heads of remote work.
But what does that mean for real estate exactly?
Workplace Consultant, Liz Burrow, alludes to Upton Sinclair’s quote, “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”
Because this is such an unprecedented position, real estate agents need to observe and monitor the evolvement of this role.
“Because the position is about people management, the real estate team needs to be there to wait and learn what happens,” she said. That means commercial real estate companies need to pay attention to how this nascent position evolves, and how much power it has on choosing office space for remote staff.”
First and foremost, remote work is here to stay, and the real estate industry has been one of the top sectors since the start of the pandemic to refuse this fact. Secondly, corporations are looking to veer away from operating as silos, to having various office spaces or group-work spaces, in order to accommodate a large staff. And this means heads of remote work will be actively looking to acquire more property.
Burrow is inclined to suggest that real estate agents who specialize in office-spaces should make it imperative to build rapport with heads of remote work due to its lucrativeness.
“Whether or not the title takes root in the long term, there’s evidence more and more companies are looking to formalize and adopt more strategic policies around remote work. That means new positions and decision-makers tasked, in part, with making real estate decisions for an increasing percentage of a company’s workforce.”
Ultimately, commercial real estate teams want to be in the position where they can cater to companies who are looking to make a permanent shift. Furthermore, increased collaboration with heads of remote work will be even more effective in smaller-markets to generate leads.
“The role will look at real estate decisions via a slightly different lens. The existence of the position is a “wake-up call for organizations” that they can’t work in silos; real estate, tech and HR need to work together. It’s a complex combination of needs, and anybody looking to provide real estate for remote teams needs to be fluent in the cultural needs and complexity of new norms around remote work.”