I have had the unique opportunity to fall into an industry that I initially did not know a whole lot about. When I was starting, I was lucky enough to have colleagues, mentors, and our BenchCore members answer questions and provide guidance as I learned the ins and outs. Each person is so full of wisdom and incredible stories of triumphs and failures. All of these conversations and learning moments have given me the chance to feel humbled by the community that supports me.
Making a career change is difficult during normal times, and making a career change during a global pandemic has proven to be as difficult as it sounds. One piece of advice I’ve received consistently in this industry has been network, network, network. I have made this a personal priority: network as often and meaningfully as possible, virtually.
I was recently on a call with a VP at a tech company, and I asked her if she’d ever felt unqualified for the role she was in and how she handled it. She laughed and said, “Lauren, it’s all about being confident and faking it until you make it. I’m still doing that.” Wow. Someone with her level of experience admittedly saying she doesn’t have all of the answers. Her statement gave me a sense of peace. Even leaders in the industry feel unsure of themselves at times. She continued to build off of that: “Especially during such unprecedented times, I find myself asking more questions than ever and reaching out to find answers within my network.”
After this call, I felt empowered by one of our recent projects built to better support our members. A platform called Community, where they could exchange ideas and share best practices, network with fellow industry professionals, and learn from others. With the uncertainty of what the workplace will look like in the next few months and possibly years, we felt it was important to provide a space where our members could feel supported not only by our team but also by the network of leaders and innovators that use our platforms.
It’s the perfect time to come together as an industry to help answer the questions on everyone’s mind. Corporate real estate is a fascinating industry, because most occupiers don’t consider themselves to be in the real estate business. This paradox makes it particularly difficult for individuals in CRE positions to make enormous financial decisions without having a complete understanding of the market, comps, and facilities.
As with any industry, the changes and shifting trends of corporate real estate are imminent. When leaders come together to solve the challenges they are facing, the entire industry will benefit. BenchCore’s Community promotes the exchange of ideas between those making the difficult and expensive decisions in the best interest of their respective organizations.
With networking as we know it being a thing of the past, it is now more crucial than ever to network, network, network. One of the recent changes brought on by COVID-19 is manifested in the way we foster professional relationships. With the inability to attend big events and meet people in person, now is the time to take advantage of online communities as we navigate our new normal.
Developing and maintaining relationships can be a job in itself, but with tools like online communities, your network is now vast. This reach allows you to yield advice you may not have gotten from your direct network.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has put a wrench in the plans of corporate real estate professionals around the world. Leases have been canceled, office perks and amenities must be reconsidered, and some employees may never step foot in a traditional office again. The one silver lining is that although even the most tenured professionals don’t have all of the answers for how to proceed, this shift has led to conversation and collaboration on a global scale.
Online communities will be pivotal in helping foster ideas and innovation and guiding us to our Next Normal.