The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide asset managers, property managers and facilities managers with guidance in engaging occupiers in relation to sustainability.
Asset, property and facilities managers, and occupiers, are increasingly seeking a more active and collaborative partnership relationship that delivers a high level of customer experience and which responds to the growing focus on sustainability and wellbeing.
Two-way property manager-occupier engagement and communication covers all elements of sustainability, including sustainability strategy updates, performance against building energy, water and waste targets, joint initiatives to balance consumption against needs, sustainable and low carbon transport, wellbeing activities and community or charitable activities.
There are a wide range of reasons why occupier engagement comprises an important element of occupier engagement. For example:
Recently, COVID-19 has also accelerated the need for more proactive, regular communications through digital channels to demonstrate the actions taken to ensure places are safe and secure as occupiers look to reoccupy their offices.
The table below summarises the key activities associated with occupier engagement, and highlights where asset managers, property managers and facilities managers are likely to have a responsibility or specific interest.
Step 1: Assess occupiers’ requirements
Step 2: Plan the approach to ongoing occupier engagement
Step 3: Make preparations for ongoing occupier engagement
Step 4: Implement, review and improve occupier engagement
Usually, occupier engagement is coordinated by the property manager with input from the asset manager and facilities manager when required.
As the level of engagement in a large multi-tenanted building will be different to that of a single let building, it is important that the approach is tailored to this. In the case of multi-let properties, it is important to consider the collective view of all occupiers and that a fair and balanced approach is taken to decisions.
Engagement can be broken down into the following steps, which will generally be coordinated by a property manager with input from an asset manager and facilities manager, as required.
Some of the key elements involved in assessing occupiers’ requirements are listed below:
It is important to understand an occupier’s lease terms relating to sustainability. This can help to ensure that occupier’s sustainability expectations and plans are in line with the terms of their lease, and to facilitate occupiers’ ongoing adherence to the lease and in line with service charges
This can be either done by reviewing a lease when an occupier first joins a property, and engaging occupiers at any stage when plans for alterations are developed. It is important that occupier requirements continue to be reviewed and understood, and that services and charges are adapted accordingly.
Sustainability service requirements
It is important to understand the extent to which sustainability facilities and services provided onsite are aligned to the occupier’s requirements, and to work with the occupier and the asset manager to renew or update these, if necessary.
Gaining an understanding of an occupier’s main business and operational activities is a useful way to gain an insight into their sustainability service and facility requirements. For example:
In multi let properties, a property manager will be able to pool the views of all occupiers to make appropriate decisions based on collective requirements.
Sustainability reporting requirements
The sustainability reporting requirements of an occupier may include, for example, waste generation, recycling and energy consumption.
It is important to understand an occupier’s on-going or future sustainably reporting needs, so that data collation arrangements can be established to provide information in a timely manner.
Depending on an occupier’s needs, this may involve the provision of an annual statement for annual sustainability reporting, or a more detailed and frequent scorecard of key performance indicators to facilitate regular performance management.
Sustainability information and training requirements
It is important to assess whether education or awareness support could be provided to help occupiers to make use of the sustainability services onsite and to understand the important role an occupier can provide in enabling the sustainability performance of a property.
Information or training may include, for example:
Bespoke engagement may also be beneficial. For example, an asset or property manager to provide occupiers with a workshop where information regarding a new sustainability strategy or the intention to pursue a sustainability rating scheme could be communicated.
It is important to be clear about the intended outcome from occupier engagement and have the communication methods and audience in mind. For example, when planning the approach to ongoing occupier engagement, it is important to understand:
It may be helpful to consider the following questions when planning the approach to occupier engagement:
When selecting the communication method, it is important to consider the time and resource required to deliver it so that it aligns with resources available. Example methods of engagement include:
It is important to prepare for occupier engagement by putting in place arrangements that will contribute towards a successful outcome. It may be helpful to consider the following aspects when preparing for to occupier engagement:
It is important to implement any planned occupier engagement and communication activities within an agreed timetable. Similarly, resisting the temptation to extend the scope of engagement and communication activities can help to prevent ‘scope creep’ with associated budget increase and potential impact dilution.
Following implementation, it is important that the output and impact of engagement is reviewed. This will help to ascertain whether the results were as expected, for example, or whether the required response rate was achieved.
Ongoing feedback from occupiers on the effectiveness of communication can contribute towards and inform the development of, a two-way sustainability communication plan.
The following Guidance Notes contain related information: