Guest post by Tina Urquhart, Founder & CEO of Charm City Concierge

Imagine a complete evolution of the workplace as we know it – even so much as replacing the term “work” with “productivity center.” Believe it or not, the workplace is already heading in that direction.

Having spent the last 25 years in commercial real estate, I’ve watched the workplace environment drastically change its definition of work-life balance. It started with 9 to 5 corporate culture: large corner offices, assistants who sat outside those offices and a concierge desk in the lobby. As time went on and business began to evolve with the entry of technology, that model began to shift; walls were brought down and offices opened up to open floor plan concepts. During this time, millennials entered the workforce and companies and landlords began to realize that to differentiate themselves, they had to reimagine the workplace experience.

Fast forward to today. The labor market is strong, with the national unemployment rate continuing to fall (at 3.7% as of June 2019). CEOs and landlords alike are asking themselves: “What can we do differently to attract and retain top talent?”

The answer: elevate our work environment. Meet the growing need for socially-activated buildings—bringing balance and productivity to tenants and employees through customized enhancements and experiences. In many cases, this means eliminating the entire office building design as we know it, and embrace the appeals of comfort, variety, and luxury throughout key areas of the workplace environment.

The environment itself

The office concept is evolving to mimic a coworking environment, with all different companies working in one space. However, go beyond this and consider office buildings turning into a community center experience with employees from various companies having the opportunity to choose where and how they work and thrive within the building. The result—the workplace remains relevant because these community centers will be where people come to collaborate, connect and interact.

Why is this important? According to Gallup, employees are most engaged when given choice and control over where and how they work. Why not give them the option of working wherever they feel they will be most productive within the entire building?

Also, according to Gensler, for high performers, everywhere can be a work setting—both in and out of the office. Having access to a variety of spaces in many sizes and locations are more likely to result in having a great experience.

The takeaway here is to leverage amenities that create more choice and facilitate the work we need to get done. For example, pay attention to the meeting space needs throughout the building. Are workers having meetings with smaller groups in less formal settings? Create these workspaces but understand that they still expect a high-performance space with furnishings, technology, ambiance and amenities that all play an important role in creating an attractive group space.

 Productivity and Collaboration

Open-concept buildings will allow for people to accomplish not only their professional to-do lists, but also achieve their personal goals as well. Why should property owners care about the ability to complete professional and personal tasks? Workers who are not balanced in both the home and workplace experience negative short and long-term consequences.

For example, in a recent study, 50 percent of people said there was less time for family and friends. In the workplace, 60 percent experienced poor morale, 36 percent reported poor productivity and there was an equal share of 41 percent who said there was high turnover and burnout/fatigue. If we can provide a place for people to perform well and complete their work, while simultaneously enabling them to achieve fitness goals, learn new skills, connect with coworkers, and complete personal chores and tasks, they will have more time for family and friends. This results in higher morale and improved productivity overall. It’s not even too far off to say bringing pets into work will be more routine as well.

Activation

Beyond providing a high-performance environment and an ideal productivity setting, it’s important to activate the new workplace and community year-round. Employees expect to celebrate, socialize, collaborate and connect. Create a strong sense of place and belonging by properly programming the space—giving tenants a way to easily access wellness programs, concierge services, amenities, and events. Establishing curated workplace experience programs, engaging events, and inspired programming improves well-being and ensures work-life balance–from gaming tournaments to movie screenings, food trucks, pop-up shops, sunset yoga sessions and mobile blow dry bars.

Take activation a step further by leveraging technology that allows building owners to take a “new data” approach to manage spaces. Through tenant experience software, such as the Simpli app, a social engagement platform is created for the building, streamlining communication with employees and tenants.

The technology allows access to everything from wellness programs, concierge services, building amenities, PERKS programs, and event calendars, further improving engagement with the company and building.

As building owners and property managers get on board with socially activating the “productivity centers” of the future, companies must keep in mind that the ultimate workplace experience goes beyond the design and amenities. The culture created throughout the building is what will drive people to do their best work and achieve their goals—both professionally and personally.

Tina Urquhart

About Charm City Concierge

Charm City Concierge (CCC) is in the business of creating workplace experiences that build community, balance lives and act as the centerpiece of the building. We serve more than 45 million square feet of space that ranges from commercial office buildings to mixed-use properties, private corporations and corporate campuses. Our onsite and virtual platforms blend concierge services, experience management and technology (Simpli) to create a differentiated workplace experience. We amplify building amenities, create memorable experiences, increase tenant well-being, and build lasting relationships for our partners. For more information, visit www.charmcityconcierge.com.