The Future of Office Site Selection and Risk Mitigation


n order to keep business in motion during the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations have been forced to pivot and adopt new collaborative practices with their workforce. These operational shifts now have many executives wondering about how to stay ahead of the game in the future. Being able to quickly respond to other challenges down the road may require a closer look at their current workplace environment.

The notion of the global supply chain and the goal of positioning corporate office locations primarily in larger cities may now be losing their allure. Preparing for a resilient business model in the years to come will require a closer look at office site selection and location modeling.

Where Will Your Next Office Be Located?

As widespread public health concerns continue, densely-populated cities may be falling out of favor because more and more people want to avoid long commutes and rely on public transportation. In fact, this type of urban exodus and realignment was in motion long before 2020. Smaller metros are attractive options for both developers and job seekers, as millennials have already been migrating away from major cities in search of a less hectic pace and great quality of life, at a more affordable cost of living. Ultimately, this could help companies optimize their real estate portfolios from a cost perspective with similar relocation decisions.

Additionally, organizations may want to weigh the economic development incentive opportunities for hiring remotely, as certain states, regions and communities are interested in adding new jobs to their area. The number of remote workers was already on the rise before the coronavirus outbreak and many companies already operate 100-percent remotely.  This trend is likely to accelerate as time moves forward in a post-pandemic world.  This is why talent must be considered from every angle. Organizations that have a trusted partner for incentive procurement can have a strategic edge for locating the right talent and selecting the right location.

How Developers Can Mitigate Risk

Developers have always known that risk mitigation is a top priority for site selection. From analyzing the economic and workforce development opportunities to reviewing any risks related to the geographical location itself, there are many features that can make one area better for certain projects than another. Mitigating public health risks is simply another item on that list.

Come what may, companies still need to stay competitive in the market and have a reliable way to operate. Location modeling works to help organizations think through all of those different scenarios that could either set them back—or propel them as an industry leader. In terms of public health, organizations will need to pay closer attention to their office space configuration and how to find and attract the right talent.

If companies are exploring options to help with social distancing, there could be ways to stagger work schedules for team members. In turn, this may create an opportunity to save money with a smaller square footage building or one that has better capabilities for video conferencing. Conversely, some organizations may want to analyze the demographics of a particular area for remote worker compatibility. No matter the end goal, working with an experienced site selector can help determine whether a site will be an appropriate long-term fit for your needs, as well as those of the surrounding community and region.

Site Selection and Contingency Planning

Organizations that understand the value of contingency planning and running through these COVID-type scenarios before signing a lease or deciding on a new location can better ensure a bright future for their place in the market. They will need to approach relocation, expansion and development efforts from every strategic angle and think more seriously about how public health will permanently change the office site selection process. The team at Ginovus can help. If you are ready to start planning for your future business environment and team, we are here to help answer all of your questions.

Larry Gigerich serves as executive managing director of Ginovus and a proud member of the Site Selectors Guild.