A Guide to Modern Office Building Amenities
The recent influx of digital technologies for the commercial real estate (CRE) 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 modern office building amenities — thus bringing office culture directly to tenants wherever they are, and aligning your building strategy with today’s workforce.
With proptech companies taking over 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 your workplace amenities goes beyond proving the value of the physical office — it helps resolve the major business issues of attraction, fragmentation, and differentiation for CRE leaders. The best office facilities use these tech-enabled features to access important insights and 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 your workplace amenities and work environment can be leveraged to your competitive advantage.
What Are Office Amenities?
Before we dive into how to activate modern workplace amenities, we first need to dive into the question: What are office amenities? 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, office amenity trends 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 workplace amenities meaning 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, office building amenity trends 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.”
What CRE can Learn from Retail Building Amenities
The most creative office amenities will prove to be the ones that cater most to tenants. We know this to be true because adopting a consumer-first model has been proven time and time again through retail building amenities, and other industries that are already ahead of the technology curve. Thus, when strategizing your office amenities list, taking note from the successes and failures of retail might be a good place to start.
A successful example of using technology to create digital and physical consumer-first experiences is Amazon Go, a relatively young chain of convenience stores in the United States that have been open to the public since early 2018. Operated by e-commerce giant Amazon, the stores are disguised as typical brick-and-mortar locations, yet are actually partially automated; customers can walk through the aisles and purchase products without ever requiring — or seeing — a cashier or self-checkout station.
In order to make the employee-less mirage work, Amazon Go relies on multiple technologies for its automations, including deep learning algorithms, advanced computer vision, and sensor fusion to accommodate the purchasing and checkout processes associated with any retail transaction. On the consumer side, everything is managed by the Amazon Go app, which is required to enter store locations through an in-app generated QR code and is linked directly to the individual shopper’s Amazon account.
“Amazon Go stores could be a game-changer for physical retail experience,” said RBC analyst Mark Mahaney after the first public launch. “Its in-store technology enables shoppers to have a very efficient and pleasant shopping experience. The overall opportunity is huge.”
Amazon Go, which is still in its early stages, is successful despite competing ways to shop — such as the offerings that Amazon already provides, like drone delivery services for groceries and other online purchasing options. Busy shopper traffic and high sales numbers indicate that there is still a market for in-person shopping without the lines, checkouts, or registers. Instead, positive experiences can be seamlessly facilitated by technology that we use every single day: our smartphones.
Another example CRE can take from retail is Best Buy. In November of 2012, the consumer technology company revamped their customer strategy to enhance their online presence and improve their store locations. Primarily known for physical retail, their business had previously relied on people coming in for in-person shopping.
During the e-commerce boom, they seized the opportunity to meet consumers on their terms and offer more diversified shopper experiences. First, they decided to match the prices of one of their biggest competitors: Amazon. After throwing in free delivery services to level the playing field, they also made sure to revamp their entire website, allow for easy and direct store communications, and more.
However, their updates didn’t end there, as it was the physical store locations that gave Best Buy a more competitive advantage once they implemented flexible in-store strategies. They began to integrate technologies such as virtual reality to help users visualize their products in their own homes, and even began a successful in-home adviser program where a Best Buy employee would meet customers at their residence to provide a more personalized experience.
This meant that not only could customers choose between an online or physical shopping experience to fit their lifestyles, but they also benefited from the company’s overall heightened focus on the consumer. The company’s journey of customer enrichment made sure that they addressed key human needs instead of merely selling a product. Each year, Best Buy continues to improve upon and vary their offerings to solve unique customer problems — leading to steady and sustainable sales through the present day.
Examples of the Best Workplace Amenities
In order to bring your office amenities ideas to life — and to drive value for your portfolio — you will need to establish which unique office amenities 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. A few functional and impactful office amenities examples fall 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.
Your Key to Success: the Office Amenities Survey
The more you sift through lists of cool office amenities, the more you’ll realize that the most useful resource for determining which amenities belong in your portfolio is your tenant population. Thus, routinely sending out an office amenities survey — or any survey that can garner real-time feedback from your tenants — will help you stay on top of tenant needs and provide building occupants with what they really want in an office building. At the end of the day, office facilities for employees who work in the building should be the main focus of any tenant experience strategy — and what better way to achieve this than learning more about your end-users, just as the retail industry has already successfully done?
Many HqO customers have already leveraged our end-to-end operating system and a tenant app to send out feedback surveys, as well as to learn about which amenities their tenants engage with most. Make sure you’re keeping pace with modern property teams, and learn how we can help you transform your corporate amenities into a retention tool. For more information, schedule a free demo today.
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