The commercial office space has been going through a metamorphosis of sorts. The age-old paradigm of long leased, privately rented offices filled with designer suits, executive suites and comfy 3-piece suites have evolved into short term stays, open plan communities and 99.9% more hammocks than will surely ever be needed. But why the big change?
Perhaps it has something to do with the colossal power shift from landlords to tenants. What was once a copy-and-paste-a-building exercise for landlords has been disrupted by postmodern tenants that are increasingly demanding enhanced social experiences, ample networking opportunities and a work-from-anywhere flexibility that only a gymnast could ever relate to.
As a result, flexible workspaces are on a meteoric rise (with 30,000 expected by 2022) and to remain competitive, landlords are having to refocus on tenant satisfaction as a key differentiator in the market.
Scary fact, tenants are breaking leases much faster than ever before, and with research showing us that tenant retention may be the secret sauce to making a profit, it’s in your interest to get it onto the docket.
Day-1 Connectivity is a Win-Win
Let’s get this out of the way. Connectivity can be a quick and effective win for both landlords and tenants. Whilst a tenant would traditionally sort their connectivity out, it’s now a huge benefit for landlords to provide day-1 connectivity with all the trimmings.
Think about it, an office without the internet is like a Christmas dinner without a plate: yes, your food is ready to eat but dang, there’s nothing holding it all together and making it edible.
Research from Cluttons sells it better (just):
OF LANDLORDS ARE IMPROVING THEIR CONNECTIVITY AND 72% SAY IT’S A DIRECT RESULT OF TENANT DEMAND
GOOD CONNECTIVITY IN COMMERCIAL LONDON PROPERTIES IS WORTH UP TO AN ADDITIONAL £4.17 PER SQUARE FOOT
OF C-SUITE LEVEL RESPONDENTS STATED THAT THEY WOULD BE PREPARED TO PAY MORE FOR BETTER CONNECTIVITY
EMPLOYEES AND DECISION-MAKERS RANK CONNECTIVITY AS THE FOURTH MOST ESSENTIAL CONSIDERATION AFTER LOCATION, RENTAL COST AND TRANSPORT LINKS
But I think I prefer the Christmas analogy y’know.
Office Design Not What You Had in Mind
Hey, here’s a conversation I overheard the other day:
Truly Modern Landlord: I’m thinking of making my co-working space completely open plan with lots of fun amenities!
Averagely Modern Landlord: Great idea! That idea is very current, and tenants will love it, factually – because it is a fact.
Truly Modern Landlord: False! Whilst common areas and dogs on skateboards have often been touted as the future of working, prioritising fun over productivity ends up being distracting and counterproductive in the long run.
Averagely Modern Landlord: Thanks! You’re a great friend – but an even better landlord.
Truly Modern Landlord: *nods*
Whilst that conversation was made up, a recent study from Hana seems to validate the point that professionals are starting to value productivity over pleasure. This makes sense to me, if you’ve played 3 hours of ping pong because your workstation is as comfortable as a woolly jumper on a hot beach then somethings gone horribly wrong.
Having a comfortable workstation or being able to book a meeting room with a couple clicks is much more desirable to employees than attending office parties or playing ping pong. This is especially true in long run; employees want achievements to look back on and not hangovers.
Listen, company culture is still a massive draw for recruiting top talent because of course it is (and should be!). But if you want those fickle Generation X, Y & Z’s to stick around then you need a robust plan for productivity boosting amenities before you start plumbing the beer tap lines or laying the Astroturf. It’s like having a Christmas dinner with no vegetables, yes, the meat is the best part (sorry veggies), but come on, where’s the humanity?!
Girls just want to have fun?
Look I get it, good connectivity supporting a productive working environment is not exactly a ground-breaking idea, however, they do seem to be intrinsically linked with tenant satisfaction and retention and how you approach both could be the defining moment of your flexible working business.
It seems to me that the once impenetrable lyric of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” is no longer the status quo in 2019 and that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun but as Long as They Can Still Do Their Job Well” might just be a better fit. Not as catchy though, huh?
So, there you have it, it’s easy, isn’t it? Just get a couple of routers in the building and you’ll never eat Christmas dinner alone again.
I think I’m hungry.
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