How to Activate Your Office Building Amenities
The recent influx of digital technologies and building amenities for the commercial real estate industry has left the modern workplace experience looking drastically different. Current-day health and safety concerns are accelerating what was once a trend, and have solidified technology as a legitimate building standard.
With the adoption of technology, the value equation for properties everywhere has also shifted from buildings and location to people. In order to triumph among growing hybrid work models and re-establish value for the physical office, property teams now need to create smart and engaging spaces where people actually want to work.
All this, and much more, can be achieved through digital tenant engagement strategies that activate your building’s amenities — thus bringing office culture directly to tenants wherever they are, and aligning your office strategy with a more modern workforce.
With over 8,000 proptech companies in the market, it’s no surprise that this can be a pretty daunting task for property owners. Enter technology partners such as HqO, who can help landlords create end-to-end tenant experience solutions without the added technical complexity. Activating building amenities can go beyond proving the value of the physical office — it can also help solve the major business issues of attraction, fragmentation, and differentiation for CRE leaders.
Such tech-enabled features during a time of significant digital growth will also give landlords insight into important data — both in their buildings and at scale — to help them learn more about their building occupants, experience the new value drivers of CRE, and become more responsive to tenant needs by offering the best aspects of both a physical and digital workplace.
Read on to learn how you can leverage your building amenities to your competitive advantage.
What Are Workplace Amenities?
Before we dive into how to activate your workplace amenities, we first need to dive into the common amenities meaning and define building amenities for tenants. According to Investopedia.com, the term “amenity” refers to a feature of a property that makes it more valuable to potential buyers or tenants.
For the office sector specifically, amenities are used to differentiate buildings and typically fall into one of five categories:
- Fitness and health-related options such as gyms or on-site training facilities
- On-site food and retail facilities
- Amenities that serve as distractions from everyday routines such as game rooms, rooftop lounges, or socializing space
- Flexible, comfortable workspaces such as open floor plans, noise control, or other technological infrastructure
- Natural environments like green terraces outside or walking paths
In our modern landscape, the amenities definition is evolving. Now, it also includes any number of digital and mobile experiences such as integrated smart building technologies throughout an office space, community forums through a tenant app, digital courses and classes, and much, much more.
No matter the form they take, they are invaluable to the overall tenant experience. As Karen Whitt, President, U.S. Investor Services and Real Estate Management Services for Colliers has stated: “Though a unique set of amenities is just one factor in an extremely complex market, investment in amenities can make the difference between a vibrant, productive property and one facing vacancies.”
Staying Ahead of Office Amenity Trends
Modern workplace amenities now incorporate a blend of physical and digital experiences, with technology being the main driver behind this shift. These help to create omnichannel office experiences — or integrated experiences that provide your building occupants with seamless transitions between the digital and physical workplaces. Signs of a good tenant experience include everything from plugging into your building’s various technology systems to ensure that the building occupant journey is tech-enabled, to increasing your digital programming through virtual amenities that all can partake in, no matter where they are.
Additionally, the concept of flight to quality, or creating a digital tenant experience through activating building amenities, can provide both immediate and long-term value for property teams. A 2019 Cushman & Wakefield study revealed that before the COVID-19 pandemic, highly amenitized buildings had an 18.3% rent premium compared to the surrounding submarket. This premium proved even more substantial at 21.6% in the central business districts (CBDs) of gateway markets. Amenities still play a role in overall office culture, and the concept of flight to quality — or digitally enhancing your building’s offerings — can prove to be a major differentiator for your portfolio. This also lends credence to the positive impact that technology can have on cap rates when focused on engaging people and strengthening connections.
For many HqO clients, “going digital” has already led to unique and desirable workplace experiences for both current and prospective tenants. Each client has the power to customize in-app features to fit their specific needs, creating solutions that highlight their building’s individual communities and personalities. The best workplace amenities examples have spanned from offering virtual fitness classes and hosting building-wide events, to gift raffles that show tenant appreciation, to mobile ordering services that cut down on traffic and congestion in public common areas associated with popular on-site food and retail vendors.
Not only can these new-age office amenities examples provide ways to show tenant appreciation, but they can also establish a sense of workplace normalcy during the rise of hybrid work models. Remember: what you do with your tenants now will create memorable, lasting impressions moving forward.
Building Your Tech-Enabled Office Amenities List
In order to activate your building amenities and drive value for your portfolio, you will need to establish a successful commercial building amenities list that can enhance the tenant experience and help provide meaningful data about your end-users and your building.
As part of our HqOS™ operating system, our growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners can help aggregate numerous commercial amenities for any building. Landlords and property teams can then choose to activate pre-vetted partners and features that meet any building’s specific needs. The list of amenities provided by builders in the HqO platform can offer solutions under the following categories:
- Access Control: Security is among the most notable modern office solutions. Through access control capabilities, owners can enable tenants to gain access to their office buildings with just the tap of a phone.
- Emergency Communications: Another critical office solution is the ability to communicate critical safety information to building occupants in a quick and efficient manner, through a tenant communication app and beyond.
- Order Ahead: A tenant experience platform can increase safety and convenience for your tenants, such as integrating with local retailers to allow them to place orders ahead and reduce friction.
- Resource Booking: Building technologies have also made resource booking even more seamless. Smart building sensors coordinate with your existing software to assist in more efficient room booking management, from conference rooms to event spaces and everything in between, making organizing your day a seamless process.
- Service Booking: Technologies used in office buildings can also be utilized to activate your building amenities. Tenants can take advantage of easy-to-book services, fitness classes, and more.
- Service Requests: The building and maintenance staff still play an essential role in the overall building experience. Enter service request solutions, where tenants can communicate with building managers for work orders, cleaning services, and more.
- Shuttle Tracking: Shuttle tracking technologies can help you understand your tenants’ commuting behaviors and determine the best-fit transit solutions for any property.
- Ticketing: Smart ticketing can help grant tenants access to key property experiences and partner services with scannable visuals. The process is quick, convenient, and contactless.
- Visitor Registration: Contactless visitor registration can also be easily integrated into a building through an integrated platform. Speed up the visitor registration process while also ensuring modern safety and security protocols are met.
Creative Office Amenities: A Look at HqO Customers and the Tenant Experience
At HqO, our clients have already begun to implement creative office amenities through our end-to-end tenant experience operating system. Some of these office amenities ideas include:
- In early 2018, Bulfinch launched HqO across three of their suburban assets in Needham, MA — 75 Second Avenue, 117 Kendrick Street, and 250 First Avenue — totaling nearly 400,000 sq ft. As a forward-thinking company that seeks to utilize technology for the next wave of great tenant experience, Bulfinch sought to attract and retain its tenants by providing the best workspace possible and ensuring an amenity-rich work environment. Through the HqO app, they connected tenants with retail building amenities like food vendors, fitness and recreational classes, and more. They also took advantage of its data collection capabilities, helping them curate what works and what doesn’t work for their tenant base and eliminating much of the guesswork normally associated with property management tasks.
- In February of 2018, National Development launched HqO at their 1.3 million sq ft business environment complete with office, retail, and restaurant space, nestled outside of the city in Burlington, MA. At the time, The District had already boasted a lively environment and several tenant-focused events, but the large nature of its campus meant that they needed a more streamlined way to reach and connect every tenant and employee. Through the HqO app, they were successfully able to disseminate information to everyone, spreading their workplace culture to people they were previously unable to reach.
- In July of 2020, JP Morgan launched HqO at Foundation Park, a 260,000 sq ft business park, just to the west of London, UK. Foundation Park’s management team needed to communicate important return-to-workplace information — such as updated health and safety protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic — in a quick and effective manner. They also sought to digitally translate the connected nature of the park through a mobile platform. To achieve this, HqO delivered notable custom solutions around transportation, including a real-time tracker of the shuttle bus that supports commuting to and from the property. Foundation Park also provides service and resource booking for on-site amenities, a neighborhood guide that aggregates key facilities and services available in the local towns, their own bike share scheme, and virtual workplace events for its active users.
These are just a few examples of modern commercial building amenities. To learn more about how you can transform your office portfolio, schedule a free demo today.
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