By Matt Waggoner, Senior Vice President, Tenant Representation
The workplace is changing…radically. For the first time in history, companies have three generations working together with another generation knocking at the door. Gone are the days when one size fits all. While companies are pondering how they can compete for talent, let alone thrive, standing still is not an option. There are several factors that are important when planning your office space, but that’s only half of the story. The environment outside of the office space plays a major role in the decision and can lead to more productivity, employee interaction & engagement, and workplace satisfaction. This post addresses the impact of both the inside and outside of the office space on your bottom line.
Inside your office space
Whatever your industry, staying competitive hinges on having a well-designed, people-friendly workplace that encourages real productivity and collaboration, promotes health and happiness, and helps you attract and retain top talent. There are two primary components with the internal space layout:
- Operational – having the right types of space for various tasks and job functions
- Cultural – office layouts that promote chance encounters and interactions between employees and features that create a better work environment
It’s a generalization, but millennials are known to gravitate toward open office workspaces while Baby Boomers tend to prefer private offices. Finding common ground for two different work styles can be a challenge for a company trying to meet the needs of all employees. The point isn’t to choose between the two styles, but rather to research how your company works. Learn some workplace strategies and concepts inspired by other forward thinking companies. Then develop a plan that fits your team’s unique needs.
Equally as important as your employees’ perception of the space is the message you are sending your clients and prospective clients. Your space should be a direct reflection of the company’s culture. Conflicting messages that do not align with your company’s brand can be confusing to clients and potential employees. This can impact your recruitment efforts and the ability to attract new business. If your employees don’t feel a strong brand presence in your space, neither will your clients. Your space must be an extension of the brand messaging that defines your company.
Outside your office space
Offices are more than an 8-to-5 destination, therefore decisions on where to locate have surpassed the old adage of “we just need seats for butts”. Choosing an area to locate your office is a critical decision for the future of your business. Cities and developers understand the need for more restaurants, opportunities for active lifestyle (bike trails, walking paths, etc.), attractive living options within walking distance, and more activities to engage people. In Indianapolis, the areas we have seen thrive include Carmel Midtown, downtown Fishers, Broad Ripple and the Indianapolis CBD.
These “city centers” identified above create a connected community that allow companies to have unique presence (signage), walkable amenities (food, shops, fitness), and an increased amount of housing alternatives within walking distance. All of these items translate to an increased value of the office location for potential employers.
Traditional, non city-center building parks are feeling the pressure to develop a connected environment. This includes walking trails, bike trails, bike share programs, outdoor areas (grilling, games, working), internal entertainment (tenant lounges and golf simulators), common Wi-Fi areas, and social gathering hubs for tenants. Some buildings are even branding their approach to target a specific industry or tenant profile. Building owners are simply realizing that they must provide more for the companies choosing to locate in their buildings.
While location has reigned supreme when deciding on an office space, companies need to evaluate more to increase their productivity, employee engagement, client impressions and brand culture. All of these impact the bottom line. It is critically important to be mindful of different workstyles, various job functions, and your goals. Knowing this before you plan your search will allow you to strive towards creating a workspace that connects everyone around the company mission.