How Building Amenities Can Help The Back-To-Office Trend
Nearly three years since the start of the pandemic, more companies are starting to return to the office in either a hybrid or full-time capacity, and it has become evident that many workers have been longing for in-person interaction with their colleagues.
According to a survey by Zippia, an online recruitment service, while many employees see the benefits of working from home, 87% reported that offices are important for building workplace camaraderie and furthering collaboration. In fact, more than half of survey respondents said they prefer to go to the office at least three days a week.
In preparation for more workers returning to the office, CRE owners and developers have been hard at work implementing amenity programs that will make employees truly excited about coming back each day. Those investments are paying off. In fact, by 2025, properties with an abundance of amenities are expected to see a 12% higher demand than properties that have failed to adjust to workers’ needs, according to JLL.
Building owners clearly understand the importance of a strong amenity program, but designing and implementing them can be complex. That’s where Arch Amenities Group, an amenity management and consulting company, can step in and implement modern, customer-driven amenity solutions that further workplace collaboration and, more importantly, entice workers to return to the office.
“Human capital has become a focus in the industry right now,” said Mike Flanagan, chief growth officer at Arch Amenities Group. “We’re looking at tenants as customers, and if you’re trying to get these customers back to the workplace, it’s essential to have desirable amenities that bring elements of what customers aren’t able to get by working from home.”
Arch Amenities Group provides hospitality-centered services, including amenity center management, food and beverage solutions, and hosted conferences and events.
When developers design a building, it is common for them to not know exactly what kind of office tenant will occupy it since the market can vary. However, the key to a successful amenity program is to research a particular area to gain a stronger understanding of what potential tenants might be seeking, according to Flanagan.
“Understanding the needs and desires of prospective customers — including knowing who they are, what psychographic and demographic profiles they sit in, and what types of services they prefer — is the first step,” Flanagan said. “Designing the space with these factors in mind should come second.”
To forge connections with a tenant’s employees, CRE owners and developers are switching from a traditional office model to a more hospitality-based approach, highlighting amenities as the main driver to get people back to the office.
“Long gone are the days of cubicles,” Flanagan said. “Workers prefer activity-based workspaces with modern amenities that activate the space, such as food and beverages, community lounges where staff can socialize, rooftop terraces, fitness centers and high-tech conference rooms.”
Flanagan said Arch Amenities Group keeps certain core elements in mind when designing an amenity space: flexibility and mental and physical wellness, as well as community and engagement.
Workers want variety in their day, moving from space to space with the ability to relax or socialize and engage with co-workers, he said. By having an activated space that is thoughtfully built with these core elements in mind, professional relationships will flourish and workers will feel a greater sense of community.
Without an activated space, motivating workers to return to the office may prove difficult, and the office energy level may feel lackluster or impersonal.
“CRE developers are great at building the space itself and are trying to create activity-based spaces to better cater to their tenants,” he said. “Though the focus in the past has not been as focused around creating these elements of flexibility, socialization and holistic wellness, they are taking action to try and activate the space. That’s where Arch Amenities can come in and make sure the space is enticing for customers.”
In Los Angeles, the firm is concluding a project in one of the city’s largest skyscrapers. It is equipping the building with a three-floor amenity space, including social lounges and food and beverage solutions. Flanagan said the space creates an “elevated private club” ambiance for the tenants of the building.
In New York City, Arch Amenities Group is also working to debut The Playground, a 25K SF amenity space with high-end conference rooms and a vast array of fitness facilities, including basketball courts, pickleball courts and rock climbing walls.
“With our new amenity spaces we’re building and managing throughout the country, the key is to provide a lot of different options to the space to encourage the flexibility that today’s workers yearn for,” Flanagan said.
Looking forward, the CRE industry is recognizing that there is a need to accommodate the shifts in workers’ preferences, but it is essential to get the word out about their willingness to adapt to modern workplace must-haves, Flanagan said.
“Remote workers have a lot of resources they can access at home,” he said. “CRE is changing to accommodate more modern workplace desires, but some workers don’t know that. Letting customers know that the industry is focusing on them will be critical going forward.”
This article was produced in collaboration between Arch Amenities Group and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content. Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to [email protected]. Contact Emily Lynch at [email protected]