Millennials are taking over the workforce and, much like their work habits, their workplace requirements are very different from the generations that came before them. As technology, collaboration and longer office hours have become the benchmarks of today’s workforce, the old standards for office building design are no longer enough to satisfy employee and business needs.
Executives are finding that in order to increase productivity, attract and retain the most sought after employees and keep their business prosperous, they must provide a work environment that not only motivates and inspires, but also provides amenities which help employees complete their daily personal tasks without having to go very far.
Ignoring the trends in office amenities can prove quite costly for building owners and developers as executives opt to occupy the spaces that are in alignment with the needs of the growing millennial workforce.
“Though a unique set of amenities is just one factor in an extremely complex market, investment in amenities can make the difference between a vibrant, productive property and one facing vacancies,”
Karen Whitt, president, U.S. Investor Services and Real Estate Management Services, for Colliers
However, providing the right amenities might be easier than you may think, and might not require a complete building overhaul.
Here is our list of the top 10 office amenities necessary to keep your building desired by top rated companies.
1. Accessible Food Options
Daily collaboration with remote teams has become commonplace for many employees, so taking a lunch break at the same time each day or having a full hour away from your desk is becoming a rarity. Accessibility to a variety of food options within a building is key in keeping employees happy, healthy and productive. Coffee shops, restaurants and convenience stores strategically placed in easily accessible common areas are a great way to insure future occupancy.
2. Bicycle Storage and Repair
Environmental, social, and economic issues have prompted many millenials to adapt alternative methods of transportation, primarily cycling. With more people biking to work it has become increasingly important to provide adequate bike storage. Many bike-to-work millenials won’t even consider a job in a building where they cannot safely and conveniently store their bike. Adding a bike repair station to the storage area will give you extra points.
3. Fitness Center
A great workplace also needs to foster a healthy lifestyle. In our fast paced world, people rarely have enough time to eat, let alone go to the gym. However, exercise is one of the most important aspects of maintaining good health and a high degree of productivity. Adding a fitness center to your office building is a great way to ensure long term occupancy.
4. Lockers and Showers
Whether biking to work, working out on their lunch break or simply needing to change out of their business attire after work, business professionals often opt for office spaces with access to lockers and showers.
5. Shared Conference Area
While many businesses have their own conference rooms within their space, there are times when those spaces simply aren’t enough room. Having shared conference areas with movable furniture to accommodate different size groups is an important amenity for many executives and business professionals.
6.Multi Use Lounge Areas
Multi use lobby type areas are becoming increasingly popular, both due to a greater degree of collaboration between multiple department scattered throughout the building, and the millennial desire to work in lounge settings rather than a traditional work environment. Lounge areas also foster a sense of community, which makes people happier and more productive.
7. Rooftop Garden
Cities are filled with concrete roads and buildings, and very little space is allocated to planting trees and developing community gardens. Yet, plants are necessary for reducing the heat island effect. See our article Green Roofs for Urban Businesses – Building Success and Healthy Cities Across the Globe to learn more about the many benefits of rooftop gardens.
Additionally, humans need interaction with nature in order to thrive – but with the growing urban population we are seeing a larger disconnect from nature than ever before. The disconnect often creates depression, and people may not even know why they feel so down. Studies have shown that being around nature improves short term memory, restores mental energy, relieves stress, improves concentration, boosts creativity, and more! Business Insider has a great article describing some of these studies. Check it out here.
Since people who work in the city spend most of their time around concrete buildings and noisy streets, they tend to have higher levels of stress and anxiety. Giving people an escape from the hustle and bustle of the workday and the dreary city landscape has the power to improve both the productivity and wellbeing of the occupants as well as the overall environment of the workplace.
8. Living Walls
Living walls have the same beneficial qualities as rooftop gardens, but take it one step further by bringing nature inside! Living walls are a great way to divide or decorate a space. They purify the air and add a sense of being in nature.
9. Fire Pits
Many jobs have become very demanding, people are working longer days and are finding themselves at the office late into the evening hours. Having a fire pit for people to relax at on a break or after work adds a nice touch. It can also inspire a sense of community as people huddle around the fire to stay warm, enjoy the view or mingle with fellow occupants. But fire pits aren’t just for outside, they can be a welcoming touch to any interior too!
10. Keeping Things Fresh
Millennials thrive in a changing environment and keeping millennials interested means keeping things fresh through continual change. Building owners need to think of themselves as being in the entertainment industry, keeping things interesting in the building. Spaces that can evolve through imagery, lighting and media lend themselves well to the millennial workforce.
If you are interested in energizing your new or existing building to address today’s changing workforce, contact us and we will help you discover potential!