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The Connected Tenant: How Millennials are Reshaping Commercial Real Estate

Posted By Katie Sullivan | Feb 28, 2018 5:38 PM

Commercial real estate office owners face an unprecedented challenge in today’s world; the way people work is changing rapidly. The internet is transforming every major industry, and connectivity has drastically changed the way people expect to work and where they expect to work. 

If this “challenge” ahead of the CRE space had a mascot, it would be the millennial. The most tech-savvy and highly educated workforce ever, millennials will represent 50% of the global workforce in 2020 and 75% by 2025. 

The emergence of this workforce demographic has been integral to the rise of co-working companies like WeWork, who’s Space-as-a-Service model shows that tenants of all sizes expect more from their landlords in terms of services, experiences, and amenities. These “connected tenants” expect a tech-enabled experience in the workplace. 

Bryan Koop, EVP at Boston Properties, believes the next era in CRE will usher in the “age of the operator” – meaning the most successful firms will shift their emphasis from capital and physical property owners (the deal makers) to focus on how well a property runs and operates for tenants. 

If you agree that we’re entering the age of the operator, then you must realize that in the battle to win it, tenant experience is the front line. It will be the companies that develop and foster the best tenant experience that will get ahead.


This whitepaper covers a few major topics:

  • User Experiences > Physical Assets: To ensure the growth of their business, CRE landlords must embrace the idea of the connected tenant, a tech-savvy employee who values experiences over material things. Landlords must be ready to adapt to the needs of their tenants, foster community, and embrace technology.
  • Who is the Connected Tenant?: CBRE’s “Millennials: Myths And Realities” study leveraged over 13,000 responses from millennials between the ages of 22 and 29 from 12 different countries – what they discovered about they way millennials work, live, and play helps paint a picture of the emerging “connected tenant.”
  • The User Experiences the Connected Tenant Wants: 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things and personalization is driving the experience economy. CRE professionals that procure, offer, and monitor in-person events that drive tenant engagement will experience tenant satisfaction. 
  • The WeWork Effect and What Co-working Means to the Connected Tenant: Co-working is not just a shared desk and free beer on tap, it’s a work/life concept driving premium workplace expectations of traditional commercial real estate. 
  • The Connected Tenant is Tech-Enabled: Millennials check their phones more than 157 times per day and commercial real estate owners and operators need to follow the tenants lead. Long gone are the days of quarterly newsletters, flyers on the wall, and screens in the elevator – to truly communicate with millennial tenants you have to be where they are.