Josh Berger | VP | Norman Bobrow & Co | Ping pong or conference rooms? What do tenants really want?


DA: Welcome to TEN, the Tenant Experience Network. I’m your host David Abrams. In this episode, we are connecting with Josh Berger, vice president at Norman Bobrow & Co. In this episode, we learn about Josh’s career journey, from marketing to commercial real estate. Where in the beginning, he moved back home to do the daily grind with zero income. Josh shares his views on the return to the physical workplace and on the Manhattan real estate market. I love how Josh expressed his learned belief that there is no one size fits all and that every situation is unique. Savvy landlords see that helping their customers to attract and retain tenants is now a priority. While this phenomenon began pre-pandemic, it is certainly a bigger part of the conversation today. The question is, what is really most important to tenants? Ping-Pong tables or conference centers? We both agree that COVID has awakened the real estate industry and that we can’t do business the way we always had. Josh really impressed me with his commitment to helping people, particularly during the pandemic, with his position, that it is never about the commission. We’re excited to share this podcast with you. So be sure to subscribe to TEN so you never miss an episode of the Tenant Experience Network. And now I’d like to welcome Josh to the show. I’m really glad you could be with us today. How are you?

JB: I’m good, David. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate you reaching out and looking forward to the chat.

DA: Absolutely. So I’m really curious, tell us about your journey to your current position role. How did you get started in this business?

JB: Sure. So I actually had no background in real estate whatsoever. My parents are both immigrants and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I studied marketing in college and you know, essentially marketing and real estate, real estate sales at least, are very, very similar. So I was interviewing at a number of different marketing places in my junior year of college. And a buddy of mine said, “Hey, my brother’s doing really well for this guy, Norman. Why don’t you go have a chat with him?” I said, “I have no network, I have no family money. I’m starting this for myself.” And I said, “I’m going to embarrass you.” He said, “don’t worry about it. Just go have a conversation.” So I went to sit with Norman. Prior to that, I had met with various different marketing companies who had told me, you could make a hundred thousand dollars a year, which obviously, it’s not an insignificant amount of money, but for the life that I wanted to live and for my goals, it just wasn’t sufficient. So when I sat down with Norman, he said to me, “the sky is the limit.” And I remember thinking to myself, wow, that’s great. The second part of his sentence was, “but you’re not going to make money for a year. Can you afford that?” I said, “no, I can’t.” I’ve been grateful to have been raised by parents who put a roof over my head, put food on the table, paid for my way through college but I don’t really have many laurels to rest on. So I called my parents and I said, “Hey, I know you just put me through college, but I’m looking at this a hundred percent commission job. What do you think?” And they were wonderful. They said, “if that’s what you want to do, we’ll support you.” And so it wasn’t “support you” like you can go to Miami for spring break. It was, “Hey, come live in our guest room. We’ll pay for your New Jersey transit bus ticket. We’ll pay for your PB and J for lunch and that’s it.”

DA: Right.

JB: And it was wonderful. I was grinding every day, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. So that’s kind of how I got into the business. “Totally by accident,” quote unquote. And then it just kind of evolved from there.

DA: Well, first of all, three things; one, I also have a marketing background, so we have that in common. Two, I think your story about not planning on getting into real estate is absolutely the most common theme we’ve heard from almost every single guest, no matter how experienced, how senior, how… I mean, it just seems to be that story of real estate. And three, I just love the fact that your parents embraced and supported you, but again, didn’t write you a blank check, made you work but gave you the support that you needed. So a really wonderful story. Thank you for sharing that with us.

JB: Yeah, sure.

DA: So why do you think, although real estate perhaps wasn’t your destiny, particularly, initial thoughts out of college, why do you think you were so uniquely suited for this opportunity? What has helped you to become successful?

JB: Sure, great question. I think there’s two elements to that. The first element is like drive and hustle. That’s something that is just so important in real estate and brokerage. And if you’re not driven and you don’t have hustle, there’s not much behind it. I mean, I didn’t know this until… I didn’t accept this about myself until reflecting much later, but my parents told me stories about when I was a kid and I would be shoveling driveways for money because I wanted to buy a hockey stick that my parents couldn’t afford. They could pay 50, I wanted a hundred, I had to work for it. Or they sent me to the summer camp one year because they saved up money and they came to bring a picnic and they had a watermelon for dessert. They said, “we ate half of the watermelon. Do you remember what happened to the other half?” I said, “no.” They said, “well, you sold it.” Now, to me, I didn’t have money for canteen. It wasn’t really a choice. This is the only option. So that’s the first part, which is, I think I have this innate hustle within me. The second thing is that… Let’s call it three parts. The second thing is that I really love people and I really love understanding people and how they think. Again, with the marketing background, marketing is really just understanding how people think, it’s psychology, right?

DA: Right.

JB: Most sales are like that. And so I have an understanding of people. I enjoy getting to know people and that’s a whole nother element. And then the third thing is really that I enjoy guiding a process. I enjoy quarterbacking the show because it involves each of the first two things as well, but it enables me to kind of say, Hey, what’s our target? What’s our goal? How do we get there? Who needs to do what in order for us to get there? And how do we communicate effectively through that process?

DA: Right. Very good. You know, there’s a lot of commentary around the return to workplace and there are some extreme opinions being expressed. Often confrontational, sometimes polarizing. The team and I at HILO, believe that everyone needs to live and work in the world as it is right now. And I think that CRE industry and employers, we can’t continue projecting into the future as to when the world will return to that old normal.

JB: Yeah.

DA: Perhaps living in a world with COVID not post, with, is the new normal.

JB: Correct.

DA: I’m just curious, what do you think that means for the commercial real estate industry? How can buildings continue to be an important part of a workplace ecosystem?

JB: Sure. Listen, I think it’s a great question. And it’s obviously something that’s in the forefront of everyone’s minds these days. What you see the most, as in a lot of news or opinions, you see the two extremes. And it’s funny because I posted something on LinkedIn the other day just to kind of test the waters to see what people are feeling about this, because TikTok just mentioned that they’re going to have people coming back to the office two days a week and they’re requiring it. So man, the vitriol on LinkedIn. And that’s what I wanted. I wanted to see other people’s opinions. I fall smack in the middle. I don’t believe that either extreme is correct, that’s my perspective in life in general.

DA: Yeah.

JB: There is nothing that is black and white. And obviously in saying “nothing,” I’m obviously, you know, either way.

DA: Yeah.

JB: And it’s about a balance. And the comments that came back to me on the LinkedIn post were fascinating. Somebody literally just wrote back, “you wish.” And I’m thinking to myself, you don’t know who I am, you don’t know what’s going on. And then I looked at what their job is, their job position, and they’re a coder for a tech company, okay? So my response was I think that there are certain positions that will be sufficiently capable of doing their job very well remotely.

DA: Right.

JB: But I think that that’s only going to be about a 15% shift. Which again, in a market like Manhattan, a 15% shift is drastic. The market is over 550 million square feet. But I think the most important thing is to understand that companies need to look internally, to say, who needs to be in the office, who doesn’t? For me, I’ve had a unique experience in that 90% of my clients have actually increased their office space footprint since COVID.

DA: Wow.

JB: And I’m aware, I really try not to generalize my experience to the world. All I know is Manhattan where I can tell you office space in Manhattan, that’s all that I know. And even all that I know is I’m only doing this 15 years, right? Norman, my mentor, is doing this 45 years. What do I really know, right?

DA: Right.

JB: But what I have found is that there are certain groups of jobs within an organization that do much better when you’re in person. Sales people enjoy the back and forth, bouncing ideas off of one another. If there’s a mentorship program, regardless of what it is, when you’re sitting next to someone, it’s going to be easier to have a conversation or a discussion. All of that being said, I have two or three clients who have completely given up their office. I have two or three clients who are really set up from a technology and from a workflow standpoint to function well remotely and they said, “Hey, we don’t need an office anymore.” Totally fine. And so I’m not going to be here saying office space will be office space, and it always was and it always will be. What I will say though, is that people are people and we are tribal. And when you have positions like coding or certain things like that, where you have your headphones on, the lights off, and you’re sitting in front of a computer typing away, you might not need to be in the office every day or even at all. But when it comes to mentorship, sales, even strategic planning, I can tell you that as much as I love this Zoom, if you and I were sitting one on one together, it would feel very different, right? So I think we’re seeing a significant shift. I think the bottom line that I’m seeing though, is that there is no one-size-fits-all. I’ve seen myriad situations and the thing that I’ve learned is that every situation is different and people in the news and people with their opinions want to speak about generalizing their experience to the world and that’s just not the case. Again, like I said, I did an expansion for a client of mine who was at 8,000 feet, I put them in 45,000 square feet. That’s a significant expansion.

DA: Right.

JB: And their comment to me was… And this happened again yesterday on a space tour with a financial services client. They said to me, “we are now competing with the Goldman Sachs of the world for employees. If we don’t have an office where they feel special and they feel good, which means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, they’re not going to come in or they’re not even going to consider our proposal.” Not to mention the fact, I know I’m going off on this, but this is the thing these days.

DA: No, great. It’s really great stuff. It’s great perspective. I’m totally with you about not taking.

JB: Yeah.

DA: Being in the middle and seeing the best of both worlds, the best of both sides-

JB: Right. So you even look at the commute, right? That’s one of the classic things that everyone talks about. I’m wasting two hours. I’m not getting paid for my commute, blah, blah, blah. That’s the one side. The other side are my friends that are like, I have three kids at home. God, that hour on the train is so peaceful.

DA: Yeah.

JB: Or I have friends who aren’t married, who don’t have kids. You know, I just like sitting and watching an episode of something on the train when I’m going home, yada, yada, yada.

DA: Listen to a podcast.

JB: That’s cool. Listening to a fantastic podcast maybe by David Abrams, we don’t know. So I think so much of it comes down to a personality type. Are you the type of person who’s going to complain about everything or are you the type of person that’s going to say, Hey, we got to adjust and I’m going to make the most of what there is?

DA: Right. Okay, a lot of great insights there. I’m going to have to catalog them all, but you touched on one point about attracting and retaining talent. And so part of my question is, yes, I think employers are going to have to compete obviously, that much harder, but do you think buildings, the building, the building owner, the building developer, the building property manager, do you think they have any responsibility to help employers attract and retain the best talent? Is there anything that buildings can do to support the employers within their buildings?

JB: I love that question. I think, I wouldn’t say it’s the building’s responsibility, but what I’ll say is that if you’re a savvy landlord, you take it on as your responsibility.

DA: Right.

JB: I think that you’ve seen a shift, a tremendous shift, even pre-COVID. And this is what people don’t understand, even pre-COVID, there was a massive shift of landlords reinvesting in their buildings to create more tenant amenities. This happened pre-COVID.

DA: Absolutely.

JB: A lot of things that happened pre-COVID, and it’s like, oh, it’s because of COVID. No, let’s take context. People love the boogeyman, they love blaming everything on COVID. No, things were happening beforehand. When you’re looking at older office park in Manhattan, again, that’s all I know. When you’re looking at older office park in Manhattan, they were redoing their buildings to create amenity centers, right? Buildings, like for example, 590 Madison that would always just attract tenants because they were a great building, they took an entire floor, created a tenant gym, created parking spaces downstairs. And again, it’s all going to depend on the type of business that you’re in and the type of employees that you have. Meaning an amenity center on Park and 51st is going to be very different than an amenity center at let’s call it, Park Avenue South and 25th Street.


JB: You’re pulling from different types of people. And so buildings can do many things, but what I will say, and this is an interesting thing, on the one hand, you want to be in a good space to attract employees, but on my tour yesterday with my clients, they said to me, “yeah, amenities are great, but we’re not having people come in to hang out and play.” If there’s something, I’ll give you… I’m not going to tell you which buildings they were, but there were two different buildings with different amenities centers. One amenities center had like a PlayStation and a pool table and a Ping-Pong table, all these different things, right?

DA: Yes.

JB: The second building had a place where you could rent out conference rooms and had a rooftop terrace that had catering for the building.

DA: Right.

JB:  I think you can imagine which one appealed more to my client.

DA: I get it. For sure. Yeah.

JB:  And so it’s a question of how landlords are amenitizing their buildings. The ones that are smart are doing things and talking to their tenants.

DA: It’s not tricks or bells and whistles, it’s to your point I think you were trying to illustrate, it’s amenities that actually enrich the experience and actually help make people more productive, make people happy, or make people better able to do their work that they’re doing. So I think that’s a great insight.

JB:  Yeah.

DA: You know, we’re not all going to come back for food or a Ping-Pong table. That might be some short term strategy or tactics but that’s not really sustainable. You touched on a number of points and you spoke about people and our belief is that the pandemic really helped recalibrate the market and accelerated that recalibration so that the industry, commercial real estate owners and operators understood that really, buildings are just places for people. The real asset are the people, not the building.

JB:  Correct.

DA: We’ve lived through a period of time where buildings were relatively empty, not much of an asset. So as a result, we believe, and obviously, given the space that we are in, all around tenant experience, workplace engagement, we believe that that is becoming the new differentiator and is now helping to drive real estate decisions in some cases, more so than the historical determinants such as location and class. The people are looking for that conference center or that rooftop patio or the fitness center, or maybe a quiet room, whatever. I’m just curious how you think we will go about creating, defining the best customer experience for tenants now and in the future.

JB: Sure, it’s a great question. And I think it’ll vary by industry, right? Because there are certain industries that have different workflows. There are certain industries that attract different types of people who think in certain ways, right? And so in a certain sense, and again, this is nothing new. I’m not saying anything new. In the past you’ve had Empire State Building do that $400 million investment to create a tech campus within their building. This is not new. So I personally believe that COVID might have accelerated it, but it actually didn’t have anything to do with the mentality. I think landlords were aware of this pre-COVID and like you said, it did accelerate it, but I think that things will continue to shift. And the other thing that people are kind of touching on is the economy. Right now, the joblessness is very low, right? The employment is very high, but the reality is that we are facing economic headwinds. That’s the truth. And right now the employee is the one who, “oh, I’m the man.” At the end of the day, your paycheck is cut by a company or a CEO.

DA: Right.

JB: I don’t believe that many people will have the backbone to say, “if you make me come into the office, I’m quitting.” I think that’s hyperbole. I think that’s something that has been discussed, mentioned before when the economy was great. I think it’s la-la land. And here’s the other thing, if a CEO only wants his or her employees in the office two days a week, she or he still has to sign a lease for the entire space all the time. So at a certain point, there’s going to be a calculation made of, are you delivering? Are you not? Are our numbers down? Not that there’s necessarily a correlation, but you’re going to make that… There’s a correlation but it’s not necessarily causation. But a CEO might say, we need to shift this in order to bring our numbers up. And so the answer is, I don’t know. The answer is, it will shift. And to go back to what you mentioned earlier about a new normal, right?

DA: Yes.

JB: Every day is a new normal. And I think to your point, it did kind of wake the real estate industry up, COVID did, into saying, Hey, we can’t do business as we always have. And again, real estate is a really tough industry to disrupt because it’s based on such serious things. And that’s why, in my opinion, a lot of the CRE tech that’s coming up, you’re not doing much, you’re taking something and packaging it differently but it’s the same thing. Why? Because the essence of real estate business is still solid. To your point though, the buildings are filled with people, so if you can’t attract the people in, you’re not going to have a full building, which means then you can’t refinance your building, which means you can’t buy more buildings. So it’s kind of a cause and effect type thing.

DA: Yeah. I mean, my personal feeling is that we shouldn’t… I don’t think we should be mandating people to come back. I don’t think we should be prescribing when they come back. I think what we want to do is create a culture and an experience that actually invites people, that is actually a place that people want to be and gives them purpose and perhaps differentiated purpose from working at home one day or working from their summer home another day. And I think then buildings will win the day again, I think there is enough value and benefit, but I think it can’t be forced.

JB: I agree with you. In an ideal world, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But what I’ve learned through my experience is that very few businesses are run properly. Very few businesses are mission driven, very few businesses look at how their employees are feeling, in reality I mean. I don’t mean how they look, how they feel, I mean, really building a business around employees, right? That’s part A. Part B is I think a lot of people lack self-awareness and lack the ability to decide what’s right for them. Meaning if I’m working from home and I’m comfortable because I like sitting in my pajamas on my couch, I might say, I’m doing just as good of a work. You might not be doing just as good of work, period. And so you might need your employer to say, Hey, get your ass to the office, right? You might need that. I can tell you, personally, I can’t stand working fully remotely. I’m a people person, I love talking.

DA: I’m with you. I’m totally with you.

JB:  And I also run the broker development program and the internship programs, I can’t give those lessons over Zoom. I can’t do it. I had a chat with somebody recently who said to me, something like 60% of what you say is given across by your body language.

DA: Right.

JB: You can’t even see my legs, right?

DA: Yeah.

JB:  You can’t even see anything below here. So how do we create a shift? It’s going to be challenging. And I think a lot of these articles and a lot of people are talking about idealism. The world doesn’t work that way, right? The reality is that most small to medium sized businesses are focused on one thing, making a profit, that’s it. And I agree with you, if they want to make the most profit, you build an organization that supports your employees, invites them back, where they feel valued and they feel collaborated and they feel the value of collaboration. Absolutely. But that’s a very challenging thing to do, especially when you have the inertia of the company and the momentum that’s been going for so many years the same way.

DA: Right. Well, I think time will tell. I think we’re fundamentally on the same page, for sure. I think you have also an insight, given your relationships into the industry, that obviously gives you a unique vantage point. Let’s take a short break and we’ll be right back.

JB: Sounds good.

Commercial Break

DA: We’re back with Josh Berger, vice president at Norman Bobrow.

JB: Thanks again for having me.

DA: My pleasure. Living through a pandemic is very challenging, let’s at least agree on that.

JB:  Absolutely.

DA: But it’s also, I believe now, it’s provided us an opportunity to be better, do better and build something better. We can no longer use COVID as an excuse and believe me, it happens and I see it every day. It drives me crazy. Can you share any details about your business or some part of your business that you’re re-imagining or rethinking to reflect the reality of where we are today?

JB: Yeah. I think my business is very similar as to how it was pre-COVID, but what I will say is the perspective that it reinforced in me is the concept of giving and helping. For a year, 90% of my deals fell off a cliff. No one had any idea what was happening, yet I was busy every day, all day, speaking to clients, updating them, here’s what my experience is with this tenant. Here’s my experience with that landlord. And it drove home the point even more about how valuable relationships are and how valuable it is to be a resource. And I remember, I’m now married a year, I was dating my wife at the time. And she said to me, she goes, “you know, it’s so fascinating. You’re busy all day but there’s no deals happening.” And she wasn’t saying it in a negative way, she was saying how it’s fascinating how I’m having so many productive conversations, helpful conversations. And she said, “you’re not getting paid on any of this, are you?” I said, “no, I work on commission.” She said, “so why are you doing it?” I said, “because I want to be a resource to people.” And so fast forward two years, I cannot tell you, I can’t even count how many referrals I’ve gotten or deals that I’ve done from people that I’ve helped through the pandemic. And so it reinforced this concept of relationships, be a resource. And this is something that Norman told me when I first started in brokerage and it made zero sense to me. He said, “it’s never about the commission.”

DA: Yeah.

JB: Now, how baffling is that when you’re a kid without a pot to piss in, coming out of college, right? And now I get it. If you don’t make it about the commission… So all I’ll say is it reinforced the concept of making sure to be in touch with your people, be a resource to them. And it also, for me, reinforced my love of being in the office, personally. Personally, I mean, I love coming in. We have meetings where we’ll just discuss ideas and it’s just different.

DA: We just released another episode with Steven Rotter, vice chair at JLL.

JB: Sure.

DA: Be sure to check it out because he spoke a lot about relationships.

JB: Yeah.

DA: And so there’s definitely a symmetry, a synergy in your thinking. So definitely check that out, I think you’d enjoy it.

JB: I certainly will.

DA: Yeah, for sure. Our closing speed round, an opportunity to get to know you, the you, a little bit more. And I actually have a question, an unscripted question, maybe I’ll start with it. I did note that there’s a creative side to you and a lot of different creative ways in which you express that. I’m just curious if you can share a little bit about maybe one or two of your favorites. I think photography, but yeah, give us a little insight there.

JB: Yeah. So my favorite creative thing to do is brokerage. People don’t understand it but brokerage is an art, right? Sales is an art, marketing is an art. I’m just kidding with that. No, so my favorite thing to do, so I started initially doing street art and graffiti when I was younger. By the way, this is all in the last five years. I was married when I was younger. I got divorced. When I got divorced, I kind of went through a self-exploration. I knew that I could throw myself into real estate, make a lot of money, but I wanted to figure out who I was before kind of doing that. And so I started with graffiti and street art, and I met a whole world of underground artists, speaking of relationships, who supported me. And then I made a transition from that to more fine art with acrylics on canvas. I also created a whole series where I would do photography. I would take pictures of parts of the city and then I would print them on canvas and I would mask off the buildings and then spray paint to highlight the negative space, the different shapes that pop out. And then about two years ago, I decided to get into music.

DA: Oh, wow.

JB: I just bought like a mini keyboard, I plugged it into my Mac as I started messing around. And again, I met a lot of people who were just great people, wonderful, talented musicians who kind of took me into their wing and we’ve created a whole bunch of different things. Which is a good segue, actually, I’m about to launch my new website. I’ve been working on it for like six months.

DA: Give it a plug.

JB: Give it a plug. The URL is very surreptitious, it’s

DA: Okay.

JB:  And it kind of goes through a holistic perspective of showing who I am and how everything kind of relates together. But the creative part is very important to me, forget about what I’m creating, but it’s a huge outlet. It’s a place for me to turn my brain off. So that was a long answer to your question.

DA: Yeah. No, but I’m glad I asked and thanks for sharing. Okay, back to the script. Can you share one way in which the pandemic has changed your outlook on life?

JB: Absolutely. I mean, again, I wouldn’t say changed, I would say reinforced. And I had this conversation with my therapist during COVID. I said to her, “everyone’s freaking out about stuff. Why am I not freaking out so much? What’s wrong with me?” And she said, “Josh, you understand that in your business, you’re constantly planning two to three years out, right? So this is really no different.” And I was like, huh, that’s fascinating. But what it did is it reinforced two things. Number one, the value of relationships and helping people and doing things just because it’s the right thing and with no expectation. And the second thing is family. It made me really… And I mean, since the pandemic started, I make a concerted effort to see my family at least every other week. I’m lucky enough to have grandparents who are alive. See my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews, because I could die tomorrow. It could be over tomorrow and I want to make sure that I did everything that I could to be the best family member, be the best broker, be the best friend, be the best husband, and so-

DA: Well rounded, well rounded. Good for you.

JB: Exactly.

DA: Good for you. Good for you. Is there a travel destination that you miss most?

JB: That one’s hard. This is not really fair because I was just in Mexico at a resort, relaxing, but I miss it already.

DA: Yeah. Sun and sand.

JB: Exactly. We’ve been very lucky. The last couple years we’ve traveled a lot. And so we’ve been kind of getting our kicks out because we know we didn’t do it during 2020 and 2021 and so we’ve been all over the place. We were in LA, we were in Mexico, we were in Saratoga Springs, we’re doing Italy at the end of the summer. So I can’t complain. I can’t complain. I’m very excited, yeah.

DA: Good for you. We’ll talk Italy offline.

JB: Perfect.

DA: Anything new on your bucket list that you’d like to experience?

JB: Hmm, that’s a good one. I had a couple of answers in my mind, but I would say a safari in Africa.

DA: Okay.

JB: My family’s from Cape Town and my parents always talk to me about their experience there and it’s definitely a bucket list item. I don’t know when we’ll get there because you need a good couple of weeks, but that’s definitely a bucket list item. Yeah.

DA: Right. That’s a big one. What’s your favorite technology that is new to your life?

JB: This little thing called TikTok. So as part of this whole like branding experience that I’m doing, with the website building and the LinkedIn presence and everything like that, I’ve decided to make an Instagram account for my work and then also a TikTok. It’s a foreign world to me. I’m grateful to have clients who are very active in the space, so they’re kind of showing me the ropes, but it’s scary and you’re doing it wrong, but I think it’s a great lesson of, even if you don’t know how to do something, just keep trying. Surround yourself with mentors and people who can teach you and who knows what can happen.

DA:  Amen, that goes back to when I started this podcast. You think I knew what to do or how to do it? So you just jump right in.

JB: Right.

DA: What is Josh’s personal choice for days spent in person with your colleagues versus working from anywhere?

JB: Great question. I think I’m probably amongst the majority of saying three days a week in the office, two days a week at home. I think that I say that, but I’m in the office five days a week, you know? But the reality is that, for the summer, because the summer in my industry tends to be slower. So Mondays and Fridays, I’m happy to work remotely and do my thing or take an extra day on a trip that we’re taking. During the year, I mean, I’ll just be totally frank, I mean, I’m very, very busy all the time. I schedule my days very, very tight and so I would prefer to be in an office, in my space. And also the other thing is I’m in a comfortable office. I have my own office, so that plays a role, but I will say that I do enjoy spending some time with flexible time, but I thoroughly enjoy being in the office, bantering with people. And again, I’m an extrovert. I mean, if you couldn’t tell.

DA: Really? Shocking.

JB:  Yes. Shocking surprise. So I get a lot of fulfillment from that. So from that standpoint, it’s almost selfish for me being in the office. It almost has nothing to do with business. I love people. And the thing is also like I’m not sitting in my office all day. Like yesterday, I was out on a space tour and then I got a client for lunch and then I want to show somebody else space. So for me, being in the office is vastly different than most people.

DA: A hundred percent. And that’s the way it should be, regardless of what we’re doing, it should offer that kind of variety in terms of our activity. It shouldn’t just be sitting at a desk because guess what, you can do that at home.

JB: Right. Correct.

DA: So there you go. Listen, Josh, I am so glad we connected. First of all, that we met, we’ve connected.

JB: Yeah.

DA: We’ve been able to enjoy this conversation today, I look forward to many more with you. I wish you continued success. On my next trip to New York, I guarantee you and I will be meeting up and I look forward to that. I look forward to connecting in person.

JB: Wonderful. Thanks so much again for having me. When you’re in New York, definitely hit me up. I’ll show you some good spots for some good restaurants. We’ll have a good time together for sure.

DA: I love it. Thanks so much. All the best. Take care.

JB: All right. Thanks so much, David.

DA: Bye now.

JB: Bye-bye.

DA: I want to thank Josh Berger for joining me on this episode of TEN and for contributing to the global conversation around buildings being part of a robust ecosystem that could help to build great companies. That they’re vital in the effort to cultivate and support great people and teams. The future of the workplace will likely take many forms and we will continue to explore what that looks like together.

Subscribe to TEN for more conversations with leading CRE industry professionals and experts who all have something to say about tenant experience and the future of the workplace. We love hearing from you, so if you enjoyed this episode of TEN, please share, add your rating and review us through your preferred podcast provider.

If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on a future episode, please reach out to me directly at And until our next episode, I wish you all continued success in building community where you work and live, thank you.

Ryan Speers | Partner & COO | Workhaus | The future of work is flexible

Season 5 / Episode 7 / 41:20
In this episode, we learn that Ryan’s business is at the forefront of the hospitality and customer experience conversations that are happening as CRE continues to up its game on this front by offering essential amenities to help drive user engagement and enjoyment. Tune in to learn more about Ryan’s perspective on Workhaus being a tech-enabled business versus a technology business.

Lisa Davidson | Vice Chairman | Savills North America | An inspiring journey from Tenant Rep to Proptech investor

Season 5 / Episode 5 / 46:17
In this episode, Lisa sheds light on key market drivers influencing real estate decisions, such as the rise of amenities and spec suites. She describes the future of work as “accommodating employees with great space.” The impact that unique community spaces have on potential tenants as they are touring prospective spaces is something else she sees in the market.

Ryan Speers | Partner & COO | Workhaus | The future of work is flexible

Season 5 / Episode 7 / 41:20
In this episode, we learn that Ryan’s business is at the forefront of the hospitality and customer experience conversations that are happening as CRE continues to up its game on this front by offering essential amenities to help drive user engagement and enjoyment. Tune in to learn more about Ryan’s perspective on Workhaus being a tech-enabled business versus a technology business.

Lisa Davidson | Vice Chairman | Savills North America | An inspiring journey from Tenant Rep to Proptech investor

Season 5 / Episode 5 / 46:17
In this episode, Lisa sheds light on key market drivers influencing real estate decisions, such as the rise of amenities and spec suites. She describes the future of work as “accommodating employees with great space.” The impact that unique community spaces have on potential tenants as they are touring prospective spaces is something else she sees in the market.