Traditionally, building amenities have been a way for commercial real estate (CRE) companies to enhance their properties, retain and attract office tenants, and even charge higher rent. The difference between an ‘okay’ and an ‘amazing’ office amenity often meant that landlords and property managers could differentiate their property and lease spaces more readily.
Today, building owners operate in an entirely new playing field. Commercial buildings now exist in an experience economy, as best-selling author Joe Pine put it in a recent podcast episode with HqO CEO Chase Garbarino, as well as at our recent EXPERIENCE event in New York City. This means that we live in an economy that is fueled by engaging and memorable customer experiences, turning experiences into a distinct economic offering.
“Experiences are about engaging people and creating that memory inside of them, as well as time well spent,” Joe noted at EXPERIENCE. Thus, businesses have discovered that creating true value for their brand revolves around catering directly to consumer wants and needs.
The experience of working at an office building is no exception. Today, employees feel that offices need to be worthwhile to return to, as indicated by findings from Convene’s latest workplace study. This doesn’t just mean access to fitness centers, outdoor spaces, or free snacks: workplaces need to go beyond their regular services to create distinct and differentiated end-to-end conveniences and experiences for all members of a building community.
Out With The Old Building Amenities, in With The New
Workplace priorities have shifted dramatically since the pandemic. Convene compared findings from their workplace study in 2019 and 2020, and the differences are striking: where employees ranked high speed wi-fi as their top office space priority back then, high-tech workstations top the list today.
Additionally, where natural light and architecture was ranked highly on the list of workplace amenities in 2019, today’s priorities lie with designated relaxation areas, brainstorming spaces, and flexible conference rooms. While all of these elements may seem important, they point to a widespread reorganization in priorities in the workplace.
In short, amenity trends have moved from optimizing the efficiency of workers and dazzling them with state-of-the-art amenity spaces to creating a heightened sense of community. Flexible, collaborative spaces are top of mind for most office employees, revealing that the workplace serves a much different purpose than it did years ago.
Tenant experience strategies still need to focus on keeping tenants and their employees happy, but the criteria have changed. In a time when tenants are looking to balance their physical office space with hybrid work models, flexible spaces have become critical to establishing the community amenities that employees need and want. When connecting with coworkers is difficult from home, the office should present a collaborative space where employees can seek out welcoming experiences that fuel the connections we’ve all missed out on since the onset of the pandemic.
Authentic Experiences Matter
Just as businesses like Amazon emphasize a convenient shopping experience that keeps their consumers coming back for more, office owners need to create a unique workplace experience that trumps working from home.
Intentional experiences that cater directly to tenant’s wants and needs will be the key to leaving a lasting impression. This is why at EXPERIENCE, we knew that we would have to put on an amazing experience that would motivate CRE professionals to join us in New York City.
So, that’s what we did: starting from outside the venue, personal greeters welcomed guests and directed them to the right place. When registrants entered the venue, they were greeted by designated registration staff to ensure they understood the event guidelines, expectations, and timing.
As an additional touch, event staff helped guide guests through the event space, and made sure they knew where each panel was located. The entire day, the HqO booth was retrofitted with custom free swag, from HqO t-shirts and water bottles to chocolates and cappuccinos. Our efforts paid off: from our guest speakers to attendees, we received positive feedback on both our booth and the overall event.
At HqO, we like to drink our own champagne. That’s why we knew that our guests’ experience at our event had to feel authentic, a sentiment that rings true for the modern workplace experience. Experiences are a key retention and attraction tool when it comes to developing a direct and meaningful relationship with each and every one of your customers.
To learn how HqO can help improve your workplace experiences, schedule a free consultation today.