Silo - the verb
0xB141
May 6th, 2022

Things are heating up in the return to office world this week. Apple employees have expressed their current and future concerns about the tech giant’s approach. Here’s a link to a LI post if you missed it.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, Amazon’s Labor Union president, Chris Smalls, squared off with Senator Lindsay Graham at the opening of a Senate Banking Committee hearing. In stark contrast, Smalls came in fresh, sporting a flat-brim NY cap and an outfit that sent a very special message to the Chamber of Commerce….and the world.

More local to us, another client pushed back their RTO announcement for the third time. Their 2-floor, midtown office in NYC was completed in February. They’ve tried everything ‘soft’ to lure their folks back in. This is a flight-to-quality move that rivals nearly every project we’ve done in terms of finishes, amenities, & location. Their suite is empty, the building is empty, and even the flight up to NYC was empty.

Employees are speaking and the gap is widening…..

Silo: /noun/ a trench, pit, or especially a tall cylinder (as of wood or concrete) usually sealed to exclude air and used for making and storing silage.

Silo: /verb/ an isolated grouping, department, etc., that functions apart from others, especially in a way seen as hindering communication and cooperation.

Sealed, excluding air, functioning apart, seen as hindering…..this sounds like people problems and psychology, not locations problems and workspace. Are the pros trying to solve people problems with place solutions?

From our observation, the real estate industry as a whole is trying to tackle four problems, simultaneously:

  • The future of workspace
  • The future of construction
  • The future of the environment
  • The future of digital work

To complicate matters more, CRE comes at this from three unique perspectives:

  • Landlords/Developers
  • Capital Markets/Investors
  • Property Management / Occupiers

Currently, what’s good for the occupiers isn’t good for the landlords, investors, or capital markets. What’s good for the landlords isn’t good for their tenants. What’s good for capital markets depends upon the relationship between all three. Oh, let’s not forget that current triage tactics aren’t sustainable, nor are they relevant to long-term occupancy goals.

So what does this mean?

What it really means is that the industry needs a BFHAG, a true north…..some purpose.

Purpose means breaking down some silos and understanding perspectives that were traditionally misunderstood. Purpose means admitting there are no experts in the collective, only contributors. Purpose means committing to learning, preparing and asking hard questions. Purpose means self-reflection with the hopes of achieving more meaningful and consultative relationships. Purpose means doing the right thing, and understanding the collective process and your particular impact on the success or failure of that process.

Here are some tough truths that will prove to be thematic:

  • It’s an employee’s market.
  • It’s a tenant’s market.
  • There is a massive bubble.
  • There is concern for capital markets.
  • Occupiers understand their value and they’re starting to understand how their tenancy fits into building performance.
  • Landlords have found themselves removed from understanding their tenants.
  • Brokers are trying to make a living.
  • Leases are shrinking.
  • Consolidation is real.
  • People want flexibility.
  • Vendors are necessary.
  • Consultants without products are partners.
  • Data is not data is not data.
  • Think before you click.
  • Software is eating the world.
  • Remote-first requires digital-first which requires intentionality.
  • Less is more.
  • Build it don’t buy it (in IT).
  • Buy it and fix it (in CRE).
  • Systems over symptoms.
  • Automate the monotonous tasks.
  • Horizontal Organizational Structures.
  • WAGMI

Meanwhile, the people of the world are trying to continue doing their job. For some, that means physically packing and distributing trucks (Chris Smalls @ Amazon) while those at Apple are logging into the tools that allow for their success. Their spaces are different, their tools are different, and they impact the environment differently - yet they’re completely connected. Let’s work hard to find those connections - the common bonds - so we can ask ourselves how our silos are connected.

Photo cred/inspiration: @DavidIreland on Unsplash

#TotalTenancy™ / #OrionGrowth

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