The Ever-Evolving Modern Day Office
Trends in the office market are constantly evolving, having gone from smaller footprints to co-working spaces, then back to traditional offices exploding with services and amenities. In order to attract younger employees and create an environment for collaboration, employers are loading offices with all of the amenities one could want to function in a relaxed, creative environment with dining rooms, lounge space, gaming rooms, outdoor space and fitness centers.
Lobbies that used to be walls of marble are now meant to feel like your living room, with coffee stations and food ordering stations. Roofs that used to contain only mechanical equipment have been fit out with decks, pergolas, even Astroturf to brighten the space and create an urban oasis amongst the neighboring rooftops.
Building owners and investors are looking for buildings that allow the floor plates to be more interchangeable and to serve more than a single use. They seek flexibility to ebb and flow with the market, looking for floor plates that could be easily converted from office to residential and vice versa.
Technology is a big upgrade you’re seeing across the board. WiFi, Bluetooth televisions, phone charging stations and white noise filters are becoming standard items on the must-have lists to accommodate new tech savvy employees.
With the large number of coworking spaces now saturating the market and the increased demand by tenants for vast building amenities, the market is still trying to find a balance to fulfill the needs of clients. The Philadelphia market in particular will have a clear picture as to what the needs of office tenants are come 2021 with over three million square feet of office leases up for renewal. The building owners that jump on the opportunity to improve upon their building offerings will be in the position to capture those that may swayed to make a move for more glitz. By this time as well, we will have a better understanding of the “WeWork” effect on the office market.
The challenge of course to all these necessary amenities is the added cost of construction and maintenance requirements. While providing a nice hang out space is attractive to tenants and their employees, does it result in a higher productivity to the tenant and does it bring a higher rental rate to the owner? Amenities and results could be misaligned.