Debates about how and where we work are ongoing, but no matter what industry you’re in or your opinion on remote versus hybrid versus on-site, work must happen somewhere. That means offices, shops, factories, warehouses, campuses and sites all have to be managed, maintained and paid for.

For estate, property and facilities managers, debates over the future of work, while important, are just one of several challenges they face. And these are all obstacles that need to be overcome if workforces are to enjoy productive, safe and supportive working environments.



The top challenges facing estate management professionals 

While every estate is unique, there are several common themes that all property managers will face, whether they are responsible for a single office block or multiple sites.

  1. Managing cost: From negotiating leases and volatile utility prices to appointing reliable contractors and dealing with supply chain issues, controlling costs is a major issue. One study of property managers found that 45% said reducing operating costs was significantly challenging.
  2. Maintaining assets: Maintenance might be a fact of property management life, but the last couple of years have seen large-scale disruption to building material supply chains. Finding experienced sub-contractors compounds the squeeze, driving up the price for keeping buildings in an acceptable state of repair.
  3. Sustainability: The built environment accounts for an estimated 40% of global carbon emissions. As populations increase, the world’s building floor area will grow, right at a time when efforts focus on decarbonising the economy. Estate management professionals are under pressure to demonstrate how their assets contribute to sustainability targets. The World Green Building Council notes that “sustainable built environments [are] a critical solution to climate change.”
  4. Keeping compliant: No matter the building’s use or how it’s occupied, there will be a dizzying number of rules and regulations to follow. Whether it’s safety laws, energy efficiency compliance or leasing standards, ensuring that buildings and their services meet the relevant regulations is complex. And it’s a job that’s only made harder when managers have to look after many different sites in a portfolio.
  5. Security: Keeping buildings, occupants and contents safe has always been a priority for estate and facilities managers. What’s making it more challenging is the increased digitalis of physical properties and a shift towards irregular and temporary working patterns. Tenants expect to be able to access places of work quickly. Any security system needs to protect them while not hindering their day-to-day activities, and it should be easy for contractors, freelancers and other non-permanent workers to be equipped with access. The connected nature of many security devices, while potentially accelerating access to information, also increases the risk of cyber-attacks if digital defences are overlooked.
  6. Digitalisation and smart buildings: Integrating digitalisation and the growing demand for smart buildings is not just a security challenge. Occupants increasingly expect Grade A commercial spaces to be fully digital, with everything controllable via apps with the same user experience they receive in other parts of their lives. This means estate managers must be as literate in technology and digital tools as in more analogue areas of their roles.
  7. Enhanced health and safety: The World Health Organization may have declared that the COVID-19 global health emergency is over, but the aftereffects of the pandemic are still very much being felt. More occupiers expect enhanced levels of health and safety to attract more health-conscious staff back into the workplace, and property managers need to facilitate that.
  8. Portfolio complexity: Even if every location within a portfolio fits the same model – such as a retail unit in a shopping centre in a medium-sized city or large town – the number of different landlords, suppliers, utility providers and contractors make managing such an estate challenging. Whether it’s refurbishing, ongoing maintenance, or getting a new location launched, running a portfolio comprising a variety of sites brings complexity to it.
  9. Profitability: We’ve already covered the challenge of managing costs across an estate, but managers that wish to add value know they need to be focused on more than just reducing outgoings, but also looking for ways to increase profitability. Striking a balance between capital expenditure to create properties tenants want to occupy and keeping costs under control is hard enough when focused on one site; when it has to cover a whole portfolio, the obstacles multiply.

How Accruent can help

To tackle these challenges, estate managers first need to ensure that they have complete visibility of their portfolio. Whether it’s to effectively manage leases, ensure compliance across multiple sites, streamline maintenance and upgrade project management or get sites up and running, controlling the full real estate lifecycle is the first step in solving the problems keeping facilities managers up at night.

That’s where Accruent Lucernex comes in. From identifying a site and overseeing construction and improvements to managing complex leases and other transactions, Lucernexwas designed to give estate managers full control over their market planning, site selection, project management, lease accounting and facilities management strategies.

Companies like footwear retail leader Genesco are already benefitting from using Lucernex – in Genesco’s case, the solution’s ability to audit leases has helped the company generate significant rent savings.

Find out more

Get in touch to see how Lucernex and Accruent could help tackle some of your challenges.