Despite low occupancy and utilization rates, over half (52%) of employers still believe that companies are more likely to succeed when employees spend more time in the office.
This has led to tenant companies trying to balance the best of both worlds: by adopting hybrid work models, they can give employees more flexibility in their daily work schedules and increase satisfaction. They can also still benefit as a business by leveraging the physical workplace for productivity, collaboration, and in-person connection.
And, as tenant companies adapt their workplaces to support their employees in more personalized ways, landlords and property teams need to follow suit. After all, in today’s fluctuating landscape, the only way to truly differentiate workplace properties from competitors, attract and retain tenants, and increase your net operating income (NOI) is to directly tune into tenants and their needs. Simply offering office space — even when complete with traditional amenities and services — is not enough to bring employees back into the office and cultivate successful hybrid workplaces.
Instead, you need to earn their commute.
This means that the success of the workplace now depends on how much value it offers tenants through enhanced workplace experiences. The more value a workplace offers, the more willing tenants and employees will be to return to the office. But how can landlords and property teams achieve this goal? Let’s dive in.
1. Offering Flexibility
According to recent HqO data, 86% of employers (or tenant companies) have already implemented a flexible or hybrid working model since the beginning of the pandemic, and an additional 14% plan to implement these models in the next two years. Similarly, 68% of employers have redesigned their physical workspaces to support modern employee needs, while 28% plan to implement redesigned spaces in the next two years.
This brings about a common question for landlords and property teams: With flexible workplaces in such high demand, what exactly does it mean to redesign office space?
Generally, there are four types of flexible workspace: coworking, shared amenity space, private suites, and enterprise offerings:
- Coworking: Perhaps the most well-known version of flex space, coworking is where companies and individuals can work alongside each other in a neutral space.
- Shared amenity space: Shared amenity spaces merge the traditional workplace with the coworking model, consisting of features like bookable desks, different-sized conference rooms, lounges, and more.
- Private suites: Another popular flex option is private suites. These are dedicated, fully-fitted out and pre-furnished spaces of varying sizes that occupants can lease for short periods of time.
- Enterprise offerings: This kind of flex space is similar to private suites but on a much larger scale. This category is broad, and can include the following: shared rooms or floors within a larger building community, individual satellite offices, and even larger hub-and-spoke models.
Not only will flexible office space support the hybrid workforce, but it will help tenants reduce their office footprints and — in some cases — help tenants explore and enjoy other properties across your portfolio under a shared, enhanced experience.
2. Removing Friction
Besides providing more communal, collaborative spaces that tenants are seeking, owners and operators also need to invest in a technology tool set that brings more functional and versatile capabilities to their properties.
For example, a workplace experience platform can provide the following in a unified mobile app, giving tenants access to all physical and online workplace resources:
- Mobile access: A workplace experience app can let tenants use their smartphones to enter the office and even their suite, which means that companies can quit worrying about cumbersome, easy-to-lose key cards.
- Transit information: Commuting is never easy, and landlords can play a pivotal role in helping tenants and employees commute with ease. A workplace experience app can deliver commuting data to tenants’ smartphones to make their trips to and from the office as seamless (and as painless) as possible.
- Capacity management: Certain tools can help tenants understand how many people are in their office and limit capacity to improve employee safety. This feature is particularly useful for workplaces where COVID-19 is a concern. For example, technologies like Metrikus can enable real-time occupancy and capacity monitoring.
- Work orders and service requests: Property teams can streamline the tenant work order process by enabling it through a building app. This will save tenants and employees time, and simplify the process by offering all necessary workplace tools in a single location.
With these capabilities, the workplace can become a well-oiled, productive hub of activity for tenant companies and their employees — even if they’re hybrid.
3. Increasing Engagement
Landlords and property teams can also improve the quality of their workplace experiences through engaging and memorable strategies that bring “fun” to their properties. This will help tenants feel more strongly connected to their physical office and larger communities, as well as serve as a major draw for hybrid workers who may want to break up their work days to destress or rejuvenate.
A workplace experience platform can help owners and operators achieve this in several ways, such as:
- Continuous programming that draws tenants to on-site fitness, health, and wellness services; activating on-site amenities; and other entertainment-based activities on an ongoing basis.
- A variety of programming that keeps the workplace interesting through classes and events focused on nutrition and cooking; personal and professional development; financial wellness; and other general interests.
- More meaningful experiences that tenants will want to participate in again and again, such as volunteering and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs; events that highlight special interest groups such as new mothers and the LGBTQ+ community; new employee communications; and events that highlight local and community happenings.
- Tenants and employees can come to the office and benefit from exclusive discounts at local retailers, which can be hosted through a workplace experience app. If the technology provider has a dedicated Customer Team, property teams can even secure these benefits for tenants as part of a comprehensive event and programming offerings.
- To help tenants save time and skip the lunch line, or to even improve their quick errands between meetings, property teams can enable food and convenience order ahead from local vendors through their workplace experience app.
By introducing engaging, informed, and non-work related elements to your property, tenants will look forward to returning to the office and connecting with their larger community — and possibly even invite their peers to join in on the fun.Want to learn more? Download our latest guide, Earning Back the Commute.