Three critical themes emerged from our recent Lambent webinar “Flexibility for the Future: Strategic Campus Planning” featuring Marc Fournier, Georgetown University VP of Real Estate and Auxiliary Services and Edward Wagoner, Real Estate Leader and CIO, JLL.
- Higher Education Hybrid: Colleges and universities have to plan for hybrid work.
- Sustainability: Real data is needed to track against ESG goals.
- New Focus: Create spaces that foster employee inclusion, dedication.
HIGHER ED RE-EXAMINES SMART SPACE PLANNING
“We’ve resumed some sense of normalcy as it relates to the core academic component,” Fournier said. “But we’re still learning to adapt to this sort of hybrid – back at the office, a new normal – related to administrative functions.”
In several ways, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are like Corporate Real Estate (CRE) spaces, Fournier and Wagoner agreed.
“We’re trying to assess and reassess the allocation of space – how it’s used.”
“We’re challenging ourselves with how to allocate that space in a flexible manner, and really focus on areas of need.“MARC FOURNIER, VP REAL ESTATE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
What many people don’t realize, he said, is that many college campuses are comprised of more than 40% administrative or office spaces – and those spaces are impacted by the same trends that impact the working world outside the campus – flex and hybrid schedules, for example.
JLL, the global real estate services company, works with HEIs as well as corporate office leaseholders, and Wagoner said stakeholders across every vertical are demanding that their workspaces work for them – in ways “they might not have vocalized prior to the pandemic.”
SUSTAINABILITY DATA IS ESSENTIAL
“We know that buildings have an outsized impact on the environment,” Wagoner said, quoting one statistic which states “44% of the negative impact on our climate is produced by the built environment.”
“So at JLL, we recognize we have an ethical responsibility to play our part in that,” Wagoner said. “And I know a lot of our educational institutions are doing a lot of work in that area.”
In the area of sustainability – from energy usage to new building proposals – data must be clearly tied to institutional goals, Wagoner said.
Still, the problem of comprehensive, easy-to-understand reports is a challenge for many organizations, Fournier said.
“Data is a challenge holistically, not just related to space, but to many functions within the institution,” Fournier said. Many legacy systems are valid, Fournier said. But sometimes, “there’s layers upon layers of databases and systems themselves, and those systems and processes don’t always talk to each other.”
There really is no way to capture the data related to the movement, [for hybrid work],“ Fournier said. “Holistic data that you can really rely on – to make decisions about the future – is really a challenge.
2023 AND “BELONGING” TO A SPACE
More and more, JLL executives hear office occupiers – employees of all types – want to feel they “belong to a space,” Wagoner said. “And If I have a space that’s my own – then, I, by default belong.” In the corporate workplace, CRE professionals are focused on “activity-based” space, Wagoner said.
“When I come in to do something – depending on what I need to do – I need [a specific] type of space. Wagoner said two bright spots stand out for him now: Innovation and motivation.
“The space planning and space utilization challenges across all industries are not new, but 2020 and unprecedented change forced us to confront them.”JLL CIO, DIGITAL, EDWARD WAGONER
To hear the entire conversation, head to the “Flexibility for the Future: Strategic Campus Planning” webinar.
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