Should you stalk your employees?  Provocative question, right?  On today’s podcast, Bob & Jan discuss why this is actually very needed for your business.

Stalking your employees sounds bad, doesn’t it?  I’m just talking about where they live.  Does that sound crazy?  Well, yes, but let’s use the term keeping track of employees.  What we recommend is that clients plot the home addresses of every employee on a map when considering where to put their office.  And just to be clear, I’m not suggesting we invade anyone’s privacy.  We always ask the employers to just forward addresses – no names.  We’re concerned with location – not surveilling anyone!

While this is smart, don’t most business owners just care about where they live and their commute?  While that’s old school thinking, it was remarkably accurate for a long time and still is in many cases.  However, more than ever, employers are:

  1. Paying attention to the needs of employees.
  2. Wooing them back to the office.
  3. Minimize employee commutes – make it more bearable, especially after WFH.
  4. Sometimes, the results are surprising.  REATA had a client several years ago who desperately wanted to move his office closer to his home because his commute had doubled even though neither his house or office had moved.  But he felt guilty because he thought that was selfish and that it would make his employees’ commutes longer.  I finally convinced him to give me employee addresses so I could create a scatter map.  Low and behold, his house was smack dab in the geographic center of where all his employees lived.  His employees would be better off if he moved the office next to his house!  Some people just can’t see it plainly till it’s on a map in front of them.

We’re all guilty of that.  It was so eye opening for him and really, for just about everyone we’ve done it for.  It can open up possibilities for new locations that employers would never have considered previously.  It can show employers if they should open a second office or provide coworking memberships if a lot of employees are clustered together.

Alternate question is:  how does the location of the clients’ customers factor into this?  That’s where things get complicated.  We can do a scatter map of customer locations as well, but then which one wins – the employees or the customers?  That may not be such an easy answer.  We’re working with a client right now where they want to be in a location that will be great for customers and upgrading their image, but it will result in a 35 and 50-mile commutes for a couple of key employees.  I had a 60-mile one-way commute for a while and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.  Maybe there is a compromise location that splits the baby.  Or maybe they can help employees relocate.  All companies moving from California to Texas are dealing with this same question.  Or….maybe just get new employees!  Like I said, it will be interesting.

Bob Gibbons is a Real Estate Advisor & Tenant Advocate (also known as a tenant rep) with REATA Commercial Realty, Inc. which is a tenant advisory firm based in Plano, Texas. Bob serves companies in Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Richardson, Addison, Dallas and the surrounding areas and specializes in companies which lease or buy office and warehouse properties.