I’m Peter Holland, from BenchCore, a corporate real estate benchmarking company. And I’ve got the real pleasure of from time to time, having the opportunity to talk to thought leaders in the corporate real estate business. And today, we’ve got two people who I’m very impressed with. And I’m delighted that we’ll have the chance to talk to them. Ryan Turner and Shannon McLendon from Motley Fool. So why don’t we just take just a put a little bit of background? Shannon, would you like to go ahead and start in just because give us a short version of context for you who you are, and tell a little bit about the company, and what keeps you awake at night, maybe all the things? Sure.
I’m Shannon McLendon, I’ve been at The Motley Fool, actually eight years today. Thank you, I am the Director of Office Services and Real Estate for the company. I help manage all of our offices worldwide. We’ve got two large offices in the US, we’ve got one in Alexandria, and then another one in Denver, Colorado. We’ve also got two offices in Australia as well, one in Sydney, and one in Gold Coast. And then we’ve got a few coworking spaces and other locations throughout the world, we are a global company so for us, it’s been a big shift to virtual first. We’ve always been in the past a very much in person, you come to the office five days a week kind of company. And with the pandemic hitting, we completely shifted to virtual first, like many companies did, but we went a little bit further and said to our employees, you never have to come back to an office again, if you don’t want to. So currently our offices are still closed, we’re targeting March of next year. But of course, that’s been a very fluid date, that could change. And we’ve completely shifted from having everybody having their own desk and their own setup in the office to hotel desking, which we have some ideas of how all this will work and the purpose of the office, but we’ve yet to test it so that currently what keeping me up at night. Will all our plans work?
Alright, well, that’s terrific. This is precisely why we wanted to talk to you today. And I think that’s what’s going to make this conversation interesting. Ryan, will you tee up what you’ve done and RefineRE and perhaps the integration of BenchCore into RefineRE would be of interest in people.
Sure. Yeah. Ryan Turner, Founder and CEO of RefineRE, I’ve been almost 20 years in the commercial real estate industry — focused first on the brokerage side of the universe with CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle, as a broker and advisor to large corporates, as they made real estate decisions around the globe. I got really interested in the data side of the equation, and really felt like a third-party objective solution for managing data, and information related to corporate real estate decision making needed to exist. And that’s where RefineRE came from. So, we found a really nice niche and need from our customer base, large occupiers of corporate real estate, with global footprints. And we help them make decisions with data and information. I think also important in this conversation is the experience as the CEO, and somebody that’s now responsible for how our real estate decisions affect our people. And our people are obviously our most important asset. And this is getting really real for us as we think about office challenges. Even though we’re not complex compared to a lot of our customers, we have a front row seat with our own team. So that’s sort of who we are. And I would say that if you had to summarize RefineRE & BenchCore, a huge component of that are corporate real estate data nerds that help our customers solve problems with information both about themselves and about the markets that they operate in.
Right, it was interesting, you pointed out that you are a practitioner in the field of real estate, running a business, as well as an entity that provides services to companies in the field of real estate. So that’s a perspective I think that should be useful to this conversation. Let me just kind of tee up where I’d like to go with this today. But it strikes me in talking with people, we work with heads of corporate real estate than a lot of people I think there’s a good bit of uncertainty in the system. People have some anxiety even they’re wrestling with the decision about precisely this issue. work from home, work from third places, return to the office. And this is, if we can explore this, I hope that we cannot just offer some theoretical advice, but perhaps some practical advice to the practitioners or corporate real estate as they deliberate these own issues, you know, within their, their own organization. I think we’ve all heard the expression crisis is too good to waste. We know that crisis demands innovation, it can yield a creative response. And I think that this is an interesting moment in time for corporate real estate clearly been in a crisis have yet to emerge. From that crisis. I sometimes have told the story of Doris Day on this topic, and probably don’t know that. Doris Day started her career as a dancer. And she was having some success at it. Tragically, but not in the sense that it ended her career, but she was in a car accident, shattered her leg ended her career as a dancer, as an alternative. She became an actress, and she became a singer. So, she did not go back and try to become a better dancer, or to revert to being a dancer, or to somehow restore that career she adapted, she moved forward. So, this issue of resilience and adaptation is something we may want to may want to talk about a little bit. So, we’ve, we’ve come through a crisis. Maybe I could just throw this out, what have we learned? And what are we learning? And what are some of the kinds of things that ahead of corporate real estate needs to think about in this moment of crisis that hopefully we’ll be competing.
So, it’s interesting before the pandemic hit, we were already sort of starting to think about like, how do we really embrace we already had a small group of remote workers kind of spread out. But that was kind of the that wasn’t the norm, most employees were coming to an office. And really, we were saying, you know, we were only hiring people and telling them you needed to come to an office before the pandemic, because we thought that was what was supposed to be, but we’d started to look into how do we embrace a remote workers? We’d shifted to zoom in every conference room, but it was zoom with a giant table, all the chairs around it, so that remote person would call into the meeting, and then the pandemic hit. And I think it forced everybody to go home. And I think it really opened our eyes to just what a level playing field means for our company? And how to really be inclusive of people who are working from home and how to kind of embrace that a bit more. Now, of course, you know, I’ve met with a lot of our people who’ve always been remote at the company and talk to them about their experience and what’s been different, and how things changed for them. And they’ve mostly shared things are way better. They feel they’re more included in the meetings, they have more of a say, more of a voice. And that their concern was just, you know, when the office reopens are we going to revert back to how it was? We’ve already kind of made some jumps of, you know, we’re no longer doing the big Zoom room, everybody has to be on their own tile, which I think you can hear that across the board. And we’re just rethinking how much space do we actually need? Because I think what we found in the pandemic is we actually can all work from home and be successful, we can collaborate, I mean, obviously there’s, there’s value in coming together. But I think it’s more about the connection, because over the pandemic, we’ve hired over 100 new employees, and so some of them have never met their teams in person. And so that social connection, I think is something that maybe they’re missing a little bit and struggling with. But outside of that the conversations I’m having with employees is they’re able to connect, they’re able to get their jobs done, we’re you know, selling and moving forward a lot faster than we thought we would ever be able to. And so, yeah, the pandemic, I think it’s just forced us into that zone of like we actually work from home. And we’re actually starting to think about how we use our office space in the future. And like, do we need a huge multi-level co-located space for every employee to come to? Or is it more of maybe we downsize that we think more about, you know, using co working spaces to have these kind of small areas for teams to come together and work and then go back dispersed to their homes? Or is it even less than that and it’s twice or four times a year, the company comes together or certain aspects of the company come together to meet you know, a couple days you do your strategy, your brainstorm, you get that social team building connection time, and then you go back and you do your heads down focused work from your house, you know, using zoom and things like that to connect. And I think that’s kind of the direction we’re starting to lean. But I do think there is a value though in coming together. But we’re definitely not the company that’s saying that you have to come to an office. I don’t think that we will ever go back to that.
Interesting. Well, thank you, Ryan, any observations on the transition and direction that you’re seeing for RefineRE in some of this regard?
I think what I’ve seen is that it is, is very much specific to companies and industries, as to their approach to getting back to this. And I think we all are forced to start from zero, we’ve got to learn, we’ve got to synthesize, we’ve got to iterate in order to get to the right approach for our specific organizations. general trends that I’ve seen, I think, is that the more what we’re calling talent focused organizations, are really trying to listen to their employees, these are tech companies, these are, you know, leading edge companies like Motley Fool, that are really focused on serving and listening and understanding their employees. Some of the more what I’ll call FaceTime focused industries, and I don’t mean like, FaceTime on your phone companies, you know, you get ahead by being in the office, sort of the background, I came from in brokerage. You know, you were there at seven. And otherwise, you were sort of hazed for coming in at 8:30. You know, it’s like, oh, you’re here at the crack of 8:30. Because you don’t really want to succeed this week. So you know, those types of organizations are hurrying to get back in, you know, you see JP Morgan Chase, you see this big consulting firms. I’ll talk about an exception to that, and probably as we go along here, but the talent is, is, is back in the office, and they want to get ahead there. So I think it totally depends, there’s sort of two ends of the spectrum. A lot of this, though, we’re just, you know, I don’t want to say I predicted this. But we’ve been saying all along, that this had to change. And this should accelerate, using technology to understand and do better work from anywhere. Just because we’re hearing about it five times a day on CNBC doesn’t mean it’s new, it just means that it’s now getting a bright light shone on it. So I think that a lot of this was in motion to your point, Shannon, prior to the pandemic, we are just now seeing it through a very focused lens because of what’s going on. I use PwC, as an example, they came out today and said that they’re going to allow 40,000 employees to work from anywhere. 40,000 employees sounds like a lot. But that’s only 14% of their workforce. They’ve got 285,000 employees. If we look at our bench Core Data, Peter, our financial services, and our insurance cohorts, they averaged 16%, virtual before the pandemic ever came about this is going back to 2019. So didn’t really change, or we just packaged it and branded it as work from anywhere. And now we’re giving it more credence in more publicity. So I think that there’s a lot of things in between that, and a lot of nuances depending the organization. But I think that that’s a really important point is that a lot of this existed prior to all of this, we’re just not perfect.
Yeah, I think that’s true. Trends often hide in plain sight, right? So there’s a number of things that we can take a look at, in business and broadly across society, that that are here and have been here, but they only become recognized when the opportunity arises to exploit them. And the opportunity has now arisen to exploit work from anywhere or so called flexible or hybrid offices. But you’re correct. They have been here for a while. I think what has changed and I’d like to get both of your opinion on this is certainly this whole issue of corporate real estate had been involved in helping manage corporations for a very very long time. Corporate real estate is also sometimes lamented, didn’t have a seat at the table didn’t have a lot of visibility. Always query were reported. You can hardly pick up the wall street journal or New York Times or any other business kind of press and CEOs are now pining on the on the subject of work from home people like you mentioned jamie of people like Jamie diamond. So, is this is this something that is Shannon entered your life is he I think I was joking with you before the call about being on the you know Gentlemen, speed dial is on a But does this you have a higher visibility? Is it a topic that’s interesting or interested about the part of, you know, senior management? Is there anything new here? Or is this part of the culture of Motley Fool?
I think it’s part of the culture at Motley Fool, I think we’ve really shifted I mean, culture has always been number one and taking care of our employees has always been number one here at The Motley Fool. And, you know, like, like Ryan had said, we were definitely serving, and we’re big into data and understanding what the trend looks like and what people want to do. We definitely have employees who want to go back to going to an office five days a week, but it’s a very small percentage. And so I think we’re just kind of shifting our entire culture and how we work together. But I think the one thing we’re super focused on right now is, you know, how are we connecting? How are we still having that fun that like in the office, it was easy to just, you know, you make a coffee cart and run around and everyone, you know, gets that buzz going in the office? And how are you recreating that, over zoom and in people’s homes. So, we’re definitely looking closely at our real estate, I don’t think we’ve made any official big decisions. But we have some ideas about testing and being purposeful about why you come to an office. And so we’re just thinking, like, you know, I mentioned before about co working spaces, and, you know, instead of nobody wants to go back to those long commutes, or like you said, Ryan, coming in at 7am, because you want to be seen. And so, we’re thinking more about, you know, can we use co working spaces and having these kind of smaller pop-up areas that are more closely located to people so they can come in, be together, create that connection, and then go back, and then you kind of live off of that connection for the next couple of months until the next time you go in. One thing too, I think is, Ryan, I think you would start to touch on it. But we kind of just see we want to have the best talent, and we want the people who are the best at what they do to come work for us. And so, we’ve seen that you don’t have to, you know, we don’t want the best talent that’s just near our office in Alexandria. We want the best talent. And so, we’ve seen saying you can work from home, we’ll support you in that, you know, we built a work from home store to buy desks and computers and whatever you need to have your setup at home. And we’re seeing that we’re being able to hire I think better quality employees that are just doing amazing work and helping us to excel on the goals and stuff that we have.
Yes, that’s an interesting, you’ve just mentioned a number of interesting things. But let’s maybe take some of them in bars. Do you think the culture I’ve always understood Motley Fool, and even the name of the company, right? The fool is, in literature, typically, the person that speaks the truth, the power and Motley Fool by the nature of your business, intentionally sought to disrupt an industry. Right? So that suggests to me that, that you’re particularly forward-thinking organization that is really willing to wrestle down some hard things that there’s probably an appetite within the company to do this, as you think that Motley Fool is, is uniquely capable of doing some things you’re talking about. Or for example, there are companies that are more traditional, broadly speaking, banking or insurance, do you have any view the ease to do it, or the difficulty for someone else to do it or anything on that regard?
Sure. Um, I do think we’re probably slightly more uniquely positioned at The Motley Fool only because we’ve always had a culture of topics. And just because something’s always been done a certain way, in the past, you know, in our history doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to continue to happen. We’ve always had that kind of mentality. We’re also big on testing learn. And we’re not a company that’s going to say we’re rolling out this huge initiative everybody get on board. It’s, we’ve we’ve worked in, brainstorm and thought out small ideas, and how could this roll out and then we’ve tested it on smaller groups, taking their feedback, and it’s just that continual loop until we start to, you know, roll it out more widely. And so I think that’s always been a part of our culture. So I think that does help us in this shift to virtual first, not to say that it’s been easy by any means. I mean, we definitely have pushback there definitely. We’re definitely hearing from our employees that some people are like this, I don’t think this is the right ideas, you know, and so we’re definitely taking into account those opinions and wanting to give everybody an opportunity to share and learn from each other. But I think some of these more traditional companies You know, I’m seeing a lot of companies right now, I think that are saying, you know, you have to come back, you know, two days a week or three days a week, I think I just think they’re going about it in the wrong direction we spend a lot of time focused on like, we trust our employees. The big thing at The Motley Fool is trust, and we focus a lot of time on on making policies for the company that helped propel us forward, we’re not making a policy because there’s this small, you know, 10% that are doing the wrong thing. We’ll work with those people. But, you know, the bigger policies and things that we’re moving forward with is for the greater good of the company. And so, I think some of these more traditional companies, I think, will struggle because they’re not used to that, you know, kind of test and learn and pop-up mentality. Maybe I could be completely wrong, but it’s not to say we’re not struggling ourselves with trying to figure it out as
Well. Yeah, I think I would describe it as the best practice. And I’ve observed this with some other companies, but prototyping, experiment, testing, learning, unlearning, relearning you, you seem to have a capability of, of doing that, that kind of thinking, which is obviously enormously useful to come to the right kind of conclusion. And even that you branded your program is kind of a neat thing to have done. I was also very taken by your idea of the store. Right? So tell us a little bit more about that. Do employees have an allowance? What’s their catalog?
Yeah. So we think it’s a great idea. Sure. So we knew that you know, when we first went home, we told employees, you know, you could take home what you needed from the office. But some people were hesitant to take things home. And I think, too, they were still hiding in the back of their mind, like over and go back a couple of weeks, you know. And so eventually, we started to really push in, and how can we help really set up our employees for success at home. And so we talked with a number of companies to see how they were kind of managing it and, and so we ended up building out our own store on Shopify’s actual platform. And then we are sourcing it through Amazon. And basically, we went through, we selected the items that we thought our employees needed. So there’s height-adjustable desks, there’s monitors, headsets, keyboards, there’s also a snake plant. There’s some sillier things in there, and some office supplies. But pretty much anything that we thought that we provided in the office, and we felt you could use at home, we put on there. And then we budgeted per employee, knowing that some employees would need everything. And some employees maybe only needed, you know, an extra monitor. And then we opened up into employees and said, We trust you to get what you need, you know, go in there. And basically, you go in there, you act like you’re shopping yourself, you put it all in the cart, and you go to checkout, and then it says, you know, the Motley Fool has provided this for you. And then your order goes through. My team obviously manages on the back end and keeping an eye on the budget and all that, but it seems to work pretty smoothly. I think probably the biggest issue we have now is just what everybody’s having with being able to get things in stock for tech products. Yes, and shipping delays on that. So we’re seeing slightly longer shipping labels in that I think it’s worked pretty smoothly. And at this point, I feel like all of our employees have gone to the store and gotten what they need. And now it’s almost a use for anybody new that we hired, they then go in there and purchase things that they need to work from home. But we’ve seen just the, we should say but I don’t know if it’s happiness, or like the productivity of our employees at home, I think has increased and people just feel like, Okay, I have a great setup. We’ve also done multiple check-ins just to say hey, what else do you need? Is there anything that’s not in the store that you think should be in there? And I think it’s gone?
Well, no, that’s driven. When you read about some of the issues with people working in a home environment, ergonomics, the chair in their comfort, connectivity, even some things that probably should be fairly simple, you know, just scanning documents or copying documents, these kinds of things that are apparently present difficulties, but I’ve been impressed with how quick people have been able to learn. And they have learned like good zoom protocols, you know where to put. I don’t have a window behind me, for example. These kinds of things and anything, Ryan if you do to anything that you’ve you tell people or think about with people, how do you avoid zoom fatigue or anything specific on how do I get to connect with a colleague in Formula Ayman and back to this issue of businesses are in Economic enterprise, but they’re also part of the social ecosystem in which we human beings, thrive. Right? Especially, I think young people, this is important or people you’re training, but talk a little bit about the, you know, some of these aspects of it. specifics as to how to use the systems effectively, and how to how to create bonds, how to create culture, in a virtual environment.
Sure, we so we, we implemented something called the full five. Because a lot of times if you do back-to-back meetings, you’re just like one Zoom Room to the next room, you never get out of your chair. So we implemented the full five, which is meeting start five minutes after the hour or half-hour, that gives you that pocket up, stretch your legs, get a drink, go the bathroom, you know. So we implemented that. And I think we’ve gotten fairly good uptake on that. We also though, my entire team, the people experience team, and these are the things we were doing when we were in the office. But we’ve now since shifted to virtual, but we do monthly events. So we’re doing all sorts of things from wine tasting, and chocolate tastings, too. There’s a chess Basics class and strategy class this Friday, we have coming up zoom trick or treating. And that’s basically you get dressed up and you decorate your room or whatever. And then everybody goes, you know, we put you in breakout rooms, you just go breakout room to breakout room, and then you vote and we award gift cards and stuff. And so we’ve tried to find ways to get people out of their silo of they’re just there to connect with other people across the company. And we also have daily social Lammers that are throughout the day, we have different hosts. We also have a number of clubs that we’ve helped support to kind of do more activities to get people involved. And a lot of, because you mentioned zoom fatigue, we do a lot of challenges on slack. So we actually kicked off this morning, a fall photo contest, you just post a photo of what you did over the weekend that’s fall-themed, and then people can emoji. And then the winner each Monday gets a Starbucks gift card and just little things like that so that people can go in and comment and you can feel a connection. So we’ve done some little things like that. And we’re still though continuing to look for new ways because like you said, zoom fatigue is definitely for real. And you know, we’ve used I think slack as another tool has been helpful. But yeah, I’ve tried to bake in some breaks. And I know different teams have happy hours and different things that they’re doing to try to break up the monotony of being on zoom all day, every day.
Yeah, that’s a very, very comprehensive list and congratulations, and that you’re doing these things that the genesis of those arise from your organization. The real estate operations side of things are those things that come out of a talent management program, or what might be traditionally called the HR department.
Like the different activities and things that we’re doing. Yeah, so so the people experience team that I was telling you about my larger team. And then we roll up into the people team, which is kind of more traditional HR, we kind of go hand in hand on a number of projects. So I mentioned we checked in with every employee across the company. And then everybody kind of took chunks checked in a lot of it was what can we be doing better? Do you have ideas, things like that trying to source from our own employees. And a lot of times we’re hearing from employees who have hobbies and things that they’re very skilled at that have offered up, they’re like, hey, like the chess class I mentioned this week is we have a guy who’s a he’s a chess teacher on the side. And so he said, I’d be happy to share this. And so we’ve kind of utilized our own employee base, knowing that everybody’s just got you know, specialties and hobbies they’re into, but also in those check-ins. We were seeing, you know, we were hearing Oh, you know, I’m concerned about this person, or is there somebody or is there a team you’re worried about, and then those things he would then pass over to the HR team, and then they would kind of step in and try to lift up those employees and see how they can help. So, I think it’s kind of hand in hand we kind of partner but the ideas of figuring out the events into the bed squarely on my team to kind of figure out and then we’ve built like a team-building list that we share to try to nudge team leaders themselves. Because you know, at the company level, we can do a lot of events where you Only you know, lead the horse to water. We can’t force everyone to go there and do it all and some people just aren’t into it. So, trying to nudge team leaders have simple icebreaker things you can do or like a question of the day to just try to feel it. Have your team feel they can connect together without being on zoom.
No, those are marvelous. Ryan, have you seen anything interesting you not even necessarily within RefineRE, but with any companies that you’re working with that might also just be some very practical advice that people might consider and how to overcome some of the challenges have people working in remote situations?
Yeah, I think I’m amazed at how quickly behavior has been able to change. And it’s just human beings’ human nature. And we’ve had several times when we’ll I’ll jump on a meeting in the office. And you know, we’re all in the building. And we’re all on sitting on the zoom. And I’ll say, Wait, are we all here? Can we just have this meeting in person has been so programmed, that it goes in first now. And so that I think that leads to one of the things that we’re seeing across a lot of our customers is brought about? I think now that there’s awareness of it, it’s a good thing. Is that sort of inclusion and equity. Within the Xoom culture? How do we make sure that somebody who’s there front and center every day doesn’t get treated differently than somebody who is zooming in? You know, a couple times a week? And again, I think that goes back to I don’t have the answer. But awareness is the right place to start. We’re aware of it, how do we start to combat that for our organization? And what incentives can we put in place or, you know, those sorts of things? So that’s something I’ve seen it to be somewhat universal. You know, but I think that we were all kind of leaning this way anyway, where three of the four people were in the office, but you had to do a zoom, because that fourth person was somewhere else, or traveling or whatever it might be. So again, I think it’s, it’s all gonna come together, we’re figuring out those best practices. I think what we are starting to see though, maybe it’s just me watching Wall Street in the last few weeks. But this is all getting expensive. Companies are being forced to try and figure out how do we do this? Well, and not in such a very expensive way to you know, because we’re seeing earnings and other things being impacted inflation other factors here that will, I think, changing his behavior to you made me
think Ryan, we actually put together a virtual first handbook that lays out kind of our best practices for how to you know how to be equitable, when you’re planning a meeting and making sure everybody’s included and those sorts of things. So
Yeah, you’ve certainly been thoughtful at your whole project. And it used to be said that, you know, work from home or even or we work or some other alternative strategy was not particularly good for one’s career. You know, I had a lot to overcome. So it seems to me to you, you’ve identified some ways to read data to determine where talent resides, and make sure that that talent is then is that recognized? That No, that’s all perfect. Do any of you do anything? I’ve heard this in several other companies where companies sometimes discuss personas, characteristics of both the person and the position, that there are jobs that have to be in an office or their jobs and never have to be in an office. And then there are different personality types, right? So there are people who like to socially engage, there’s mentors, there’s teachers, there’s innovators, there’s researchers of nothing extreme when you have a laboratory, probably not going to run a laboratory in your basement. And there are people that are doing independent coding, well, then they probably never need to go to the office. So you, is there any kind of structured format that either of you have thought about to look at the position or the person? And then kind of bring those together? Ryan, you want to start with you this time is just there any thoughts that you see with other companies, too? Yeah.
So I think everybody started out trying to get to the gist of what needs to be here versus Who doesn’t? In everybody, we’ve seen it as classified in a lot of different ways. I don’t know the right answer. Again, I think this comes back to iterating. And understanding your organization is the most important piece of being at the center of this, but I’ll give you a couple of examples that I think are really interesting. You know, we’ve got some that that have this sort of remote at hybrid, or at the office, those are sort of key personas, how they get there, you know, varies depending on both the geography and the role of the employee. But one of the things that I thought was really interesting is a large global tech company that we’ve been talking with, has done a self-selection process. And it’s almost like insurance, you’ve got a rolling 12 month period, you’ve got a week to commit to your, what you’re gonna do, and you’re one of those three things, and then they plan according and I think the implications of that are so huge, that it’s, you know, we’re doing that every 12 months, that’s you’re gonna have to re predict demand for space every 12 months, the real estate world used to making 710 15 year decisions in brick and mortar is very expensive to have that sort of flexibility within so I can’t wait to see how all of that changes this but I think That’s a pretty exciting and interesting thing for those employees to be able to pick, not have some, some level of leadership pick it for them. That’s just one of the more interesting tactics we’ve seen. Yeah,
Yeah, we’ve did. So we actually used mirrors a virtual whiteboarding tool, we use that and actually put what we thought were a different kind of persona, if you will, up on there. And then we tried to go as a team and work through what would be the problems or the concerns of each of these people. And then we went back and tried to say, what are the things we can solve for and fix. And so we went at it that way. We’ve also like I mentioned, we survey, probably every quarter every three, four months. Yep. And have been and have been surveying this whole time just to see how people’s opinions have changed about coming to an office and what that means for them. And then we use that data actually, we worked with the Architects, and kind of worked out a workplace strategy of what we thought that meant for our real estate. And how much space Do we need based off of how frequently people were coming in, and kind of mapped out some ideas of if you’re coming in, you know, five days a week, obviously, you need desk every day, you’re coming in less, how many, how many desks per people and try to kind of map out our space requirements. And I think that was really helpful for us to get a grip on what we thought space we’re going to need in the future. But also seeing the trend of you know, early in the pandemic, people are still wanting to come into the office, they haven’t quite adjusted. But I have seen the trend across the Motley Fool that people are really shifting into this virtual first idea and working from home primarily and coming in more purposefully. And so if a trend line continues that direction, I feel like our real estate is shrinking. So yeah, but we’ve been using our data and definitely trying to brainstorm it and think through what are the things we need to be solving for that could be problematic.
Okay, thank you, Shannon. I think it’s getting close to time for us to wrap up. But I’m gonna add just an observation that just occurred to me, it’s kind of what we have not talked about. And when we had similar conversations earlier on in the pandemic, the conversation assumed a reversion to office. So, the conversations were about protocols for housekeeping protocols for elevators. How many people can assemble in the cafeteria at any given time, and people were still using the term alternative office. And nobody has said alternative office here because what was the alternative is now the baseline. So, I think just what we’ve been talking about evidence, that something Something was here. And what we kind of were thinking about is the kind of stuff how do you get people to queue up to get on the elevator and keep socially to me that we haven’t talked about that. And we’re really talking about less of a reversion to the past than, you know, boldly marching forward to the future. And the future is, in fact now. So I could I think I’ll probably just do any kind of final last word from Ryan, Shannon. But I’m so pleased that, you know, we’ve got some very practical and some things to put forward for people who will be listening to this blog. So, thank you. But last comments.
Yeah, I’m the first thing because you might have something to say about it as an expert and practitioner for prostate executive. I think we all had had our roles pretty well defined prior to this. And as corporate real estate leaders, that is changed. I think that we went into those roles with the philosophical question that has already been answered. Do we go to the office? Most of us? Yes. Most of the time, yes. That wasn’t part of our discussion, and what we had to figure out. And now we’re having to be researchers and those that are iterating these ideas and driving this forward, so that we can get to the right questions like what are we fighting for? are we fighting to keep offices open when nobody wants them? And those sorts of things. And that does require a totally different skill set than running real estate transactions, running lease transactions, and things that we were traditionally very good at. So, I think that this is a huge paradigm shift from that perspective that has got far-reaching implications for everyone. But I think it’s a really exciting time to be a corporate real estate practitioner because we are getting visibility. We are getting a seat at the table. And we are directly impacting how our organization performs through our decisions about the corporate real estate function here,
But hey, Ryan, Shannon, you get the last word.
I think so my gut feeling all this is that This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re just like you said this, what we thought was the features is the baseline now, I agree with that, but I think its gonna go deeper I think in, you know, the longer this pandemic stretches on and the longer we’re dealing with COVID. I think more and more companies are going to be rethinking, how are they using their office space? And I think even for me at The Motley Fool, I think what we think right now, I guarantee you, it’s going to change in the next six months. So, I think there’s just more change to come and be ready to embrace it.