ROI in buildings with amenities

Have you heard the term “trophy office space”? It refers to “residences, architecturally or historically preserved properties, properties with spectacular views, or other extraordinary amenities.” (Wikipedia) It turns out these office spaces aren’t just for the Google’s, Facebook’s, and giant conglomerates of the world. They are becoming more and more accessible to small and medium sized businesses as property owners look to keep pace with the changing face of the American workforce.

Speaking at a breakfast in Sydney, Australia in late 2017, Architect Ken Shuttleworth, from the international firm Make Architects, said ““It’s all about looking at making office buildings much more attractive to millennials because companies are competing for workers.” He continued ““You’ve got to have agile spaces, different fun settings and cool offices to attract the right people.” While millennials are certainly driving changes in the workplace environment and work experience, there is also a huge upside beyond the Millennial workforce, to taking this approach.

A February 2016 study by one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms found that “In eight out of ten major metropolitan areas, a 3% productivity gain achieved by occupying efficient trophy office space would recoup the added cost of upgrading to such space.” (Newmark Grubb Knight Frank) The study focused on whether these “trophy offices” while exciting to the workforce, was really helping with productivity, and the answer is a resounding yes!

Trophy properties can offer a host of amenities that are a part of the building rather than having to be incorporated into the actual office. They can range from gyms and fitness centers, additional conference space, indoor and outdoor communal spaces, dining options, dry cleaning, salons, and more. Often the whole building is outfitted for WIFI as well, so employees have the flexibility to work outside the office unit.

This is a huge benefit when it comes to employee retention. A 2016 Workforce Study found that employees who are the most innovative “spend less time at their desks, instead collaborating and socializing from conference rooms, open meeting areas, and café spaces.” (Gensler) Retaining top talent is increasingly important, not to mention the enormous costs both financially and within the office environment of replacing employees. A study by the Center for American Progress concluded that the cost of turnover could be up to 120% of a high-level employee salary. There are soft costs too. Things like training and others picking up the slack can be a huge drain on productivity.

As the commercial landscape continues to grow and change, help your clients understand their needs. Office space is a game changer for many employees and the cost benefit analysis of a “trophy office” might be more feasible than you think.

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