The Return to the Office App Takes on New Purpose | HqO

The Return to the Office App Takes on New Purpose for the Hybrid Workforce

To support the new hybrid work model, commercial real estate (CRE) firms and business leaders have aligned on a shared goal to improve employee experiences in and out of the office. To do so, they are adopting return to office apps (like the HqO Workplace Experience Platform) to improve experiences for everyone who spends time in an office building. 

The reason? Companies are competing to attract and retain tenants, and employers are competing for talent in a tight labor market. Data shows that landlords are seeking to increase tenant engagement (via technology investments and dedicated staff) in order to boost long-term retention. For employers, maintaining high levels of employee engagement is critical in preventing workforce turnover. 

While office apps were previously used for a limited scope of services such as capacity management or health and safety checks, today, they provide powerful communication and engagement capabilities for an otherwise dispersed workforce. Here’s how office apps have taken on renewed purpose for the hybrid workforce while helping landlords meet modern tenant needs.

Create a Sense of Community

“As we look to the future, the office will have a new purpose: to provide inspiring destinations that strengthen cultural connection, enhance learning, encourage bonding among colleagues and customers, and foster creativity and innovation,” said Despina Katsikakis of Cushman & Wakefield in a research report that shed light on commercial property trends as employees return to the office.

This view is in line with a wider industry consensus.  Research from the HqO 2022 Tenant Engagement Report, found that property managers understand that the success of physical workplace environments depends on the ability to provide valuable experiences that foster a strong sense of culture and community.  To achieve this, property teams are being more deliberate in strategies to connect with tenants.

  • 45% of property teams partner closely with tenants on their long-term workplace strategies
  • 29% partner with them very closely

The report also revealed that 54% of properties have dedicated staff, such as community engagement managers, to focus on tenant needs. This is reflective of a broader evolution in property management where hospitality-focused roles are becoming a key differentiator in their ability to turn an office into a close-knit community. 

One of the biggest advances since the beginning of the COVID pandemic is that community engagement managers are combining the power of technology and workplace apps with the need for face-to-face interactions. They are also using the tools to collect real-time feedback and analytics to measure how tenants interact with programs and services.

Add Value with Convenient Flex Spaces

While community is critical, it must be a community that is accessible to a workforce that values flexibility.  Leading property firms understand this need and are becoming more agile in order to drive value for the modern tenant. 

As employers pivot to meet employee demands for more flexibility in work schedule and location, property managers are supporting tenants with increased options for flex space. Flexible real estate is becoming an increasingly important way for organizations to provide exactly what their hybrid workforce needs when they need it. 

The key to driving value is ensuring that flex spaces are convenient for everyone.  This includes employees who routinely come into the physical office as well as those who only attend occasional in-person events such as team collaboration or company culture events.  

Office apps support convenience for all by streamlining flex space management and making it easier for employees to book hot desks, meeting rooms, or manage other workplace tasks. 

Attract High-Value Tenants with Modern Workplace Amenities

The role of the office space has changed. It’s no longer about rows of cubicles or desks where employees sit for 8 – 10 hours a day completing tasks. Neither is it simply about flexibility.  Today, leading organizations are using the physical office as a culture and collaboration hub — and that requires modern amenities. 

Respondents in a recent Cisco survey echoed what the industry knows — that employees want the flexibility to work at a place of their own choice. They also want interaction with co-workers. The report found that the hybrid workforce wants in-office benefits like face-to-face creativity, collaboration, and learning. But the authors note, “The  office experience needs to be great to get people to go there.”

To enhance the workplace experience, property teams are using workplace apps that connect employees to their physical office while also providing access to amenities that improve work-life balance. Seamless apps like the HqO Workplace Experience Platform are user-friendly like the consumer apps they use every day, and let employees book a conference room, order lunch, take care of dry cleaning, or book a spa appointment. 

What’s next? Learn how HqO can help transition your employees back to the office.