10. Fast, reliable elevators
Use destination dispatch, if necessary, or just install reliable high speed systems. Waiting a few minutes for an elevator can make it seem like part of the commute, which is a dull, monotonous experience. If you walk into a building that you know has cell service everywhere and have a quick ride up in an elevator, you can be “on” as soon as you park your car. A fast ride means that what may start as a simple, quick email, text or phone call can turn into an at-the-desk task quickly and easily.
9. Unobtrusive, fast turnstiles
These aren’t everywhere, but where they’re required, they matter. These mandatory touchpoints shape impressions of the building. A frustrating turnstile experience—whether because it’s ugly to look at, cumbersome, slow or unreliable—can prevent tenants from wanting to stay, or even from embracing the space when it comes to bringing in visitors.
8. Accessible food options
Everyone needs to eat, and many people want to do so at the most convenient option. This can take the form of a partnership with a moderately nice food tenant—perhaps Pret A Manger, Brown Bag, Cosi or something like Fridays—or an in-house cafeteria that serves up a variety of options with an open, social dining space. If a plate costs $20, don’t expect a ton of traffic, but a warm meal that isn’t fast food for $10 would often beat traveling a few blocks.
7. Rooftop deck
Whether it's a real built-out lounge, café or other unique-use space, or as simple as a low-cost patio, being imaginative with otherwise unused space is just one more little win, and provides options for places to unplug for a moment. And if those places are outside, so much the better.
6. Alternative commuting options
The 21st century is green. Building ownerships spend good money on developing sustainability programs in part because they make a difference to tenants. Big, gas-guzzling SUVs are being supplanted by hybrid options and fully-electric vehicles. A few spaces with dedicated plug-in cars costs almost nothing—a small fraction of tenants will drive them anyway—but show that you’re on board with modern needs. Adding charge ports creates another small revenue stream and makes embracing the new technology easier on people. It’s also no longer uncool to be the bicycle guy: in some cities, two wheels are a legitimate, practical alternative to cars. Encouraging healthy lifestyles is another “nice-to-have” for fitness buffs and environmentalists. Bonus features include weather-protected, locking bicycle storage, easily accessible locker rooms that don’t require parading through main thoroughfares in exercise apparel and lockers.
5. Modern fitness center
Smoking is out. Exercise is in (Crossfit, anyone?). Health insurance providers are starting to get in on the game, too, by offering incentives for healthy subscribers. Lots of employees hold gym memberships outside of the office, but find it inconvenient to fit another trip into the day. Building a real, serviceable gym gives tenants the opportunity to go there during breaks or before after work. Healthy employees are happy, and fewer claims mean lower health costs for everyone.
4. Shared conferencing space
Businesses want to shrink footprints to save money and may not need a dedicated conference space. Every once in a while, though, there is a genuine business case for a conference room. A shared conference space capitalizes on those occasional needs, making tenants happy and possibly creates a small revenue stream for the building.
3. Tenant lounge
We spend more consecutive waking hours at the office than we do at home, and we call our homes our castles. We have rooms for all sorts of things—eating, sleeping, reading, even yoga—but at work this isn’t always the case. Asking people to stay planted in the same “vanilla” space all day long smothers creativity. Don’t force tenants to leave the building just to take a 15 minute breather. Giving them a space on-site to unplug and relax for even only a minute can rejuvenate and focus personnel. The benefit to employers is that the space is a quick elevator ride away, rather than a 10- or 20-minute walk.
2. Distributed antenna system (DAS)
The landline is dead, and the workforce is mobile. You can do more if you can do things on the move. You can’t always say, “Let me call you right back, I’m going into the parking garage.” You won’t necessarily hear anyone say “Man, I can’t believe this building doesn’t have a DAS,” but it’s a background detail that makes a very big difference.
1. Fast, reliable Wi-Fi
Bandwidth in an office is as vital as electricity. If the lights are on, but you can’t exchange information with anybody outside the office, why even have bother coming in? Employees don’t want to be chained to their desks for nine (or more) hours a day. Help them take advantage of the benefits the building has to offer— even if it’s just a leisurely stroll up to the roof—by not forcing them to disconnect every time they leave their suites.