Once solely a workspace, the office has become a new type of catalyst for productivity, blending business with lifestyle activities until buildings look more like a YMCA than places of commerce. Tenants want properties and amenities that engage and connect them to the world outside. Often for CRE owners, this doesn’t just mean increasing monetary investment into tenant features, but sacrificing rentable square footage for them as well. In fact, owners who are trying to attract highly sought-after tenants may need to reserve 12% of their portfolio space – or more – for amenities, when at one point that number was just 3%[1]. Luckily, there are several feature options that don’t require any leasable space, that provide cost savings, while also wowing tenants.

  1. Corporate Concierge

Possibly the most underutilized amenity on this list, the corporate concierge is both cost-effective and well-received among tenants – but not widely understood. For tenants, the corporate concierge is like a personal building representative, able to field a myriad of requests, from organizing in-suite catering, to securing exclusive dinner reservations. Services like Equiem[2] make finding a concierge easy, with their expansive professional networks, and – at least in Equiem’s case – a wide variety of specialization.

For property management, the corporate concierge takes over designated responsibilities, freeing up time for more urgent issues such as building maintenance and security. The concierge can also help coordinate community events such as speakers, social functions, and charitable drives.

  1. Digital Signage

In many ways, digital signage is the most versatile and effective amenity you can integrate. On one hand, you are enhancing the tenant experience with content, and on the other, digital signage can fill the role of multiple management tools. Plus – unlike fitness centers, dining areas, lounges, etc. – it doesn’t steal from valuable portfolio space.

Captivate is the perfect example of a digital signage multi-tool. Captivate content is hand-curated from 150+ content partners and connects with over 10.5 million viewers each month. Captivate screens can also serve as a Tenant Communication Platform, and a Directory, while tools for Alert Messaging and Custom Branding are also available to clients.

  1. Apps

At some point in your career, you’ve probably been told that Commercial Real Estate is slow to adopt technology. While at one point that may have been true, it becomes less and less so by the day. In fact, global venture capitalist investment in Real Estate tech reached 12.6 billion in 2017[3]. In 2016, that number was over 300% less[4]. A big chunk of that came from a rise in tenant engagement applications.

Three burgeoning applications in this category are Zo[5], Skyrise[6], and Bixby[7]. Bixby and Skyrise both feature tenant messaging platforms, but while Skyrise is specific to commercial office buildings, Bixby has features for both residential and office tenants. With Skyrise, tenants can book amenities and chat amongst each other, and with Bixby, tenants can pay rent, get package notifications, and submit maintenance requests. Zo, a Tishman built App, is different in that it is only available to Tishman tenants. Zo connects its users to a bevy of nearby services, from massages and shoe shines, to yoga and dry cleaning.

  1. Dog-Friendly Space

Do people love anything more than their dogs? The answer is no. Though it may sound like a risky proposition, there can be numerous benefits associated with pet friendly offices. The most obvious may be that those who bring their dogs to work show lower stress levels – as confirmed by a 2012 Virginia Commonwealth study[8]. What most don’t consider is that your employees will be more active and healthy with their pets by their side, as dogs need walks, and fresh air. Tenants may also see an increase in employee productivity, as dog owners won’t have to leave work early to walk their furry friends.

Only 17% of employees have pet-friendly spaces[9], so the #1 benefit you’re gaining here is the competitive edge. And at the end of the day, it is still up to the tenant to make the final decision, but allowing them that option will put a smile on the face of all dog lovers.

  1. Charging Stations

Airports have them, arenas have them, not to mention train stations, and even retail shops[10] – so why are office buildings still behind? 77% of Americans now own smartphones, which is up from just 35% in 2011[11]. Charging stations have mass appeal, and can be retrofitted into existing common areas, lounges, or conference spaces.

If you want to take your building aesthetic even further into the future, consider wireless charging stations. The company Chargespot[12], for example, can install wireless charging stations under practically any existing surface. Do you already have counters in your café? Add wireless charging. Does your tenant lounge have shareable tables? Add wireless charging. Modern companies want technology, and you don’t need to use leasable space to take advantage of that.

  1. Safety Features

Safety and security are hot-button topics nowadays, and if you want to know why, all you have to do is turn on the news. Elevated concerns will need to be addressed by the CRE industry, and those who respond with innovative solutions, will see results.

For improved elevator safety, set up two-way video with your elevator screens, so stuck or in-danger passengers can communicate with security in real time. For improved responsiveness, integrate Captivate’s Override Alert System, which allows for screen takeover during urgent building predicaments. Where weather is a concern, installing in a backup generator is not only a smart investment, but is also a great selling point for your leasing team. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

  1. Rooftop Tenant Lounge

If your property is like most, your rooftop is a bleak place that hasn’t experienced any human contact apart from maintenance in years. It also isn’t earning you any cash – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of investment, your musty rooftop can become a tenant lounge, complete with greenery, furniture, and unobstructed views.

In cities where open, green space is sparing, rooftop access is extremely attractive to tenants. Look at Two Trees’ Dumbo developments for a good example[13], where nature and networking are comingling for a better building experience. Feel like taking it up a notch? Put a vineyard on your roof. No, really – it already exists in Brooklyn with Rooftop Reds[14].

  1. Flexible Office Hours

In 2018, the average employee operates beyond the once standard 9am-5pm schedule. This is especially true in businesses that have partners or clients outside of the United States. Although closing your property at 6pm may reduce the cost of utilities and staffing, it may be alienating prospective tenants –costing you more in the long-run.

Building management that is able to work with tenants to tailor access, security, and utility schedules don’t only show loyalty to their clients, but also demonstrate that they are willing to adapt to changing workplace climates. This is a great way to open doors to clients who previously wouldn’t have considered your property, and it doesn’t cost you any square footage.

  1. Artwork

The importance of art in the workplace is truly undervalued. Maybe this is because art is peripheral, inanimate, and doesn’t come in App form, but the benefits of bringing artwork to the office have been well documented. An Exeter University study found that “enriched spaces” (those with art or plants) were 17% more productive than bare spaces[15], while another found that 78% of businesses believe artwork reduces their employees’ stress[16].

If you’re dubious of your own curation abilities, fret not. There are a few companies who provide full-service art selection and installation, the best of which may be TurningArt[17]. TurningArt allows employees to collaborate internally on the choice of artwork through polling, and they will also rotate art pieces as frequently or infrequently as you desire.

 

[1] http://www.colliers.com/-/media/files/united%20states/white-papers/office-amenities-2015.pdf

[2] https://www.equiem.com.au/onsite

[3] https://commercialobserver.com/2018/01/vc-funding-in-real-estate-tech-leaped-to-12-6b-in-2017-report/

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://findyourzo.com/

[6] http://skyriseapp.com/

[7] https://www.livebixby.co/

[8] https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/17538351211215366

[9] https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/6-business-reasons-why-pets-should-be-allowed-at-work.html

[10] https://chargeitspot.com/nordstrom-vancouver-to-feature-free-charging-stations-for-customers/

[11] http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/

[12] https://www.chargespot.com/

[13] https://commercialobserver.com/2017/07/the-plan-two-trees-opens-rooftop-lounges-at-three-dumbo-office-buildings/

[14] http://www.rooftopreds.com/

[15] https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2016/05/01/the-impact-of-art-in-the-workplace/#6efa1965a319

[16] Ibid.

[17] https://www.turningart.com/