Putting butts in seats – part 1

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From Matt Giffune
Associate
Jones Lang LaSalle

The most fascinating part of a commercial lease deal is that there is rarely a situation when the tenant and the landlord’s interests are fully aligned.

The tenant’s main goals are to minimize rent and cash concessions from the landlord, and create flexibility through renewal, expansion and termination options. Conversely, landlords want to maximize rent, limit transactions costs, and maintain control over their space so they can adapt to hopefully improving market conditions. This is an obvious misalignment of interests in one of the most fundamental business relationships in our economy. I fear that the current shifts in the economy, and society in general, are only going to widen the gap between landlord and tenant interests.

As one senior leader in my company told me recently, we need “butts in seats” in order for the brokerage industry to survive as a thriving service. That means job growth. Where will it come from?  Who knows? Here are a few reasons why I think it is going to be increasingly difficult to get butts in seats going forward.

The Internet – If it weren’t for the occasional instances when you actually need to talk to a human to do your job, how often would you go to the office? While it is difficult to imagine a business without face-to face-interaction, tools like interactive CRM, cloud enabled project management, document sharing tools, and live video chat are diminishing the need for conference rooms, data centers and even offices.

How many sales people actually sit in an office all day? How many clients have the time to hold conference calls and in person meetings in order to take action on a project? I am at my peak productivity when I am mobile, and utilizing software tools that minimize my in-person interactions.

As the baby boomers move from the corner office to the retirement community, more people like me (Gen Y) will be making key business decisions and we will no longer need to meet in white shirts and ties to get business done. Translation: offices will shrink, and the butts will be in seats at home, in a coffee shop with wifi, or on a plane.

-Matt

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