06 Feb What commercial tenants really want
Commercial tenants and employees today expect more from their workplace. Corporates are increasingly adopting agile work environments by looking at work as an activity rather than a place. The evolution of what tenants want is putting new expectations on building owners to provide differentiated amenities, experiences, technology and lifestyle services.
An important driver of this demand is the need for businesses of all shapes and sizes to attract and retain top talent. Today’s employee wants more than a good position and pay packet, they carefully look at other key aspects of a company including the corporate culture, environment, benefits, and perks.
Once the domain of the property department, workplace environment is now influenced by HR and people ops teams who are tasked with real estate and office amenity decisions to keep teams happy and engaged.
Rowena Young, Director of Interoffice Property Services which jointly runs Flexispace at No. 1 Martin Place says, “The rise of coworking and changing commercial tenant expectations have both stemmed from the same place. Tech-savvy workers and millennials are rejecting the rigidity of corporate offices and workplace hierarchy and businesses know that the right workplace environment can foster new thinking, creativity and innovation.”
So what are commercial tenants and their employees really looking for?
Let’s take a look at the must-haves
Dynamic common areas are a good place to start. The modern worker loves social, open, collaborative, and flexible workspaces where they can get away from their desk for a change of scenery. Workplace studies have shown that giving employees the freedom to work flexibly and collaborate with people from different teams or departments supports idea generation and innovation. It’s a win win for everyone.
Commuter friendly workplaces are another one. Landlords can provide a range of amenities that help tenants’ employees with their commute, from outdoor bike racks and shower and locker rooms, to shuttles that take people to and from public transportation.
Nearby lifestyle amenities are next on the list including quality food outlets and health and fitness options. Many tenants look for mixed use real estate where employees can have everything at their doorstep such as cafes and lunch eateries in the lobby. On-site gyms are highly valued as employees want to get their exercise fix without travelling and businesses understand the importance of promoting a healthy workforce. The ‘mini college’ campuses made famous by Google and Facebook in the US have brought these options to the fore, with employees having access to restaurants, gyms, medical and dental facilities and even laundry services.
A highly tech-enabled environment has become a must-have in recent years for new generations of employees who are dependent on their wifi, mobile phones, social platforms, and ‘smart’ everything. Tenants expect that UX to carry over into office life to optimise the performance and engagement of their people, as well as enabling a layer of smart technology that ensures the comfort and safety of the office environment.
What about the ‘Wow factor’ amenities?
These are the amenities that really differentiate one workplace from another. They have the potential to transform a company from being merely attractive to prospective employees to being in high demand.
A roof deck or outdoor space where employees can get outside for fresh air and socialise during and after work is a big plus, especially in city centres where outdoor space is highly valued.
Needs-based amenities that enable employees to fit in more of their ‘life’ needs close to the office are another one. Think services like dry cleaning, car detailing, grocery delivery, medical facilities and childcare all of which help people get their chores done in and around the office without taking a lot of time away from their work.
Then there are the ‘surprise and delight’ perks, the things that tenants and employees may not expect but which create ‘wow’ experiences that become highly appreciated and talked about. Mobile food trucks are a good example. Building owners can invite different food trucks to set up near the office on a rotating basis. The food truck vendors love the guaranteed traffic and employees can get excited about the constantly changing options.
Other ideas include providing areas for ‘perks’ like espresso carts, wine tastings, chair massages, beauty services, smoothie bars and so much more.
Rapid changes in workplace design and the rise of flexible coworking spaces offering a wide range of amenities such as these are driving new thinking in what the workplace of the future could be. The possibilities are only limited by our collective imagination.
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