We recently shared a few tenant experience program ideas that commercial real estate landlords and property teams could utilize to engage tenants remotely. In a similar vein, we’ve been taking a closer look at suburban commercial office properties, which have the opportunity to capture increased demand due to the current market’s unique set of circumstances. We even shared a few suburban customer success stories, to show how landlords have been able to reimagine their value for tenants by adapting their existing portfolios to offer benefits that support the immediate and future needs of the workforce.
With that in mind, we’re sharing five more experiential programs that property teams can implement in their suburban assets and office parks as tenants trickle back to the workplace in new and flexible ways:
Support Small Businesses
Part of the appeal of park or campus-type offices are the hyperlocal retailers and vendors that are available to tenants. As a property owner, you can invest in the tenant experience while also supporting the very businesses that inspire your town’s homey feel and charm — something that is much more difficult to achieve in large cities. Through our app, you can offer your tenants exclusive discount codes, subsidize a dollar off their coffee orders, and set up order ahead services. It’s a win-win: tenants and their employees get to enjoy offerings from their favorite restaurants and cafes, and you get to support and strengthen relationships with local retailers that are competing with the likes of GrubHub and chain restaurants.
Bring Fitness On-site
We don’t need to tell you the value of health and wellness in the lives of your tenants. However, with gyms and fitness centers still closed in many states, suburban landlords can transform their workplaces to meet those needs in a fun and creative way. Many of our clients already have on-site fitness centers and providers within their buildings, meaning that their tenants have become familiar with taking classes with a specific trainer whom they know and love. This also makes it hard to translate such personalized experiences through a digital platform. Since tenants can re-enter buildings again — even if at limited capacity — why not take advantage of an existing amenity that has been dormant for the last few months? Better yet, why not make use of the suburban landscape and take it outside like so many others have begun to do? That way, your tenants can still go into the office, get a workout in after lunch with their favorite trainer, and head home feeling productive and fulfilled.
Tend to the Garden
Many suburban assets feature outdoor gardening space or an indoor courtyard, both of which can be put to good use depending on the season. In order to engage every tenant within current hybrid work models, we suggest blending the physical with the virtual. Already have a gardener who tends the plants, even while people aren’t in the building? Simply give them a camera and watch them go. One of our clients has successfully established a gardening vlogging series, which is then promoted to the entire workplace community. Those with green thumbs get to keep track of what’s going on, while even occasionally — and safely — tending to the garden and vlog themselves to provide updates, tips, and more for their peers.
Re-envision Your Space
While we’re on the topic of leveraging existing suburban office features, let’s talk about workplace events. Suburban offices benefit from having ample walking paths, roof decks, and plenty of outdoor space that simply can’t be found in the city. Even before the pandemic, suburban landlords were taking advantage of the landscape by holding events and meet-ups outside when possible — meaning that any current-day changes to protocol won’t break the bank or drastically impact your budget. All of those tried-and-true happenings that elevate workplace culture can still be achieved in a safe, socially-distanced manner: from office happy hours, to local catering, to group fitness classes, and beyond. With such amenities at your fingertips, there’s no better time to re-acquaint tenants with the spaces they forgot existed.
Help Tenants Help Others
You want to make sure you’re giving tenants the opportunity to support what they truly care about. Did you know that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP benefits for food assistance have been up over 300% in major cities across the country? This sudden increase in demand coincides with over 100 food pantries in urban areas closing from lack of inventory, due to updated sanitation practices for the pandemic preventing pantries from accepting individual food donations. With many individuals looking for ways to help and unsure where to get started, landlords are in a special position to help cities at the local level – together, we can transform any food drive or philanthropic need into a virtual event for your tenants and their employees, allowing them to participate in a way that is both meaningful and safe. Not only will you be doing some good, but you will be bringing workers together through a shared sense of community and purpose that is often missing in remote work models.
Bonus Tip: Lease Productivity
To truly bring new life into your suburban office portfolio, landlords have an opportunity to convert underutilized work space into the flexible solutions that tenants and employees are currently seeking. Recent Colliers International research reveals that out of 5,000 respondents across 18 global industries, 49% of employees said they would like to limit their remote work experiences to just two days a week after the pandemic subsides, whereas only 12% said they’d like to work from home four or more days a week. Though many individuals have health and safety concerns attending an office in an urban setting, suburban offices already have the room to accommodate updated protocols and flexible work models in a way that is beneficial to everyone: after all, physical office space is proven to provide a distraction-free environment that many can’t find at home.