It doesn’t matter what you’ve done with the space. Whether your office is walled with reclaimed mahogany and marble from exotic corners of the world or checks the box for every developing trend, by Friday afternoon everyone is looking for a way out. Features and designs that look great in snapshots and capture envious stares from visitors become part of the same drab landscape like everything else to employees who count their days among the thousands.
Trying to reimagine the office every time the shine wears off is expensive and diverts resources from helping your business move forward. Instead, think of office suites as part of an ecosystem of resources and amenities designed to supplement the day-to-day of modern tenants. Step back from conventional nine-to-five paradigms and look at the world as more mobile than it was before you had to answer a landline.
Not how but where
Building owners and tenants are learning that technology isn’t just changing how business is done. It’s changing where business is done. Smartphones and go-anywhere Internet connections are enabling people to work from wherever they need – I’m writing this from the kitchen table – and reducing the amount of space that people need. Office managers don’t need to allocate 250 square feet to every employee. A slightly transient workforce doesn’t need to curate a home away from home — because anywhere can be a place to get things done. The benefits? Lower cost leases (or higher quality space), more flexible working hours and higher productivity.
Not your mother’s office space
Buildings, too, are challenging the status quo. Workplaces don’t look like “Office Space” anymore, and neither do the suites they’re placed in. Tenants aren’t expected to cross grass fields and highways to get a bite to eat. Partnerships with on-site food vendors to run lounge areas and restaurants make snacks and even complete meals a snap. With real gyms, areas that border on being rec rooms and observation decks all becoming the norm, people are learning that it pays to get up and move around. Seeing the same thing all day, every day gets repetitive and dull – all of which isn’t productive and doesn’t foster creativity.
Don’t forget basics
All of this isn’t to say that traditional real estate canon should be ignored. Attractive, open spaces framed by glass that welcomes in visitors are the new standard, and location now matters more than ever. Offices evolve and work styles grow — which means we shouldn’t look at cubicles and off-whites in the same way as people did 30 years ago. There’s more than one right way to approach the issue, but you should consider all options and variables ranging from outright productivity and data sensitivity to Wi-Fi in tenant lounges.
Boring isn’t a four letter word; it’s just a fact of life. Photographers like to say “zoom with your feet” to change your view. Sometimes, commercial real estate professionals and office leaders could use the same advice. We explore these new feature-rich buildings in the Fall 2015 issue of Knowledge Leader and learn how they impact owners and tenants.
A member of the REMS marketing team, Andrew focuses on property management operations and developing trends. He’s fascinated by building construction, cranes, big yellow trucks and other things frequently beloved by twelve year old boys.