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Innovation is driven by the occupier

The saying “the customer is always right” is a motto which exhorts service staff to give high priority to customer satisfaction, driving us to deliver a better, smarter product.

Anyone dealing with customers has likely experienced that ‘pull your hair out’ moment (pointing out that this is not a real problem for me…!!) due to the stress of customers requesting you to go above and beyond your limits. But on reflection, I would bet these are also the interactions that got you thinking about how you currently do business, and whether there are improvements you can make to meet the market, and also to ‘stand out in the crowd’.

Innovation is driven by the customer or in a property sense, the occupier. Those companies we admire for being cutting edge are simply the first to recognise what the people want and to give it to them. 

In the property sector, Commonwealth Government occupiers continue to be smart and strategic tenants who continually drive innovation.

In the past 12 months, the Commonwealth Government has gone to market seeking hundreds of thousands of square metres of office space across all major CBDs and many regional areas. For those close to the action or keeping an eye on the processes, you will notice that Commonwealth tenants expect capabilities that drive innovation, support their staff and operations, and in some instances may not even be on the radar as a ‘norm’ as yet. They are seeking smarter buildings, innovative workspaces and solutions to both every day and long term issues we face in the property sector. For the buyers in the market this is a significant opportunity as it offers the market a genuine A-Grade and highly secure tenant. It is a positive sign – not an unreasonable one - that they are drilling down on every detail in their searches including how their buildings interact with one another, their surrounds, and have some future proofing built in.

Pre COVID, the Commonwealth Government were assessing use of space and starting to revolutionise office layout and size. The last 12 months has simply accelerated this process – for the better.

Traditionally, office design has been based around a principle of 14sqm per employee. The per employee spatial requirements have been based on the assumption that staff would be working at their desk space each and every work day. While the square meterage allocation is still in place, organisations on the cutting edge now have tools to track office use and footprint in order to work out the maximum number of people who come into the office on any given work day. These calculations take into account the fact people work casual and part time; take holiday and personal leave; and now, more than ever, are offered working from offsite or home arrangements.

My advice for any property firm considering bidding for Commonwealth Government opportunities, is to make sure you present a high quality creative submission, listen to the tenant’s requirements – highlighting any special more customised requirements, be agile, flexible and prepared to resolve any outstanding issues with rigour. 

Most importantly – be collaborative and work with your occupiers because at the end of the day they are driving the innovation and improvements through their requirements.

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Nick Evans

Head of Government Property Services & Strategic Accounts | Occupier Services


Nick’s experience extends across a range of policy, corporate and operational roles throughout his 17 year career working for the Australian Government, and has provided him with an excellent understanding of Government activities and directions.

As National Director of Government Property Services, Nick is responsible for the implementation and co-ordination of our Commonwealth Government Business Plan to increase opportunities and revenue across the national business for Colliers International and its clients.

  • Property strategy: developed through management of large Commonwealth property projects; business process improvement;
  • Stakeholder engagement: developed and enhanced through roles managing large Government Programs and Corporate Projects;
  • Strategic planning: developed through major change events and ongoing process innovation and enhancement.
  • Human resources and financial management: developed through corporate services and service delivery network roles;
  • Service delivery, policy and program management: developed through extensive corporate experience; and
  • Internal governance arrangements.
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