Architecture & Design, Human Resources, and Real Estate

Office space trend: More amenities

May 19, 2015
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The latest trends in office spaces revolve around employee comfort, workplace culture and desirable amenities.

To put it simply, the office is no longer a place defined by cubicle segregation and heads-down focusing through eight hours of earnest work. Employers and employees alike want — and need — more.

Traditionally, the desirability of a space was based solely on economics — how much bang can I get for my buck? Now, tenants are placing more weight on quality of space and the opportunities it holds for company productivity and morale over a price tag. People are spending longer hours at the office than ever before and subsequently want a space in which they’re happy to both work and live each day. To match this, employers are seeking comfortable, collaborative office spaces where company culture can be fostered and a multitude of amenities are available.

Specifically in Grand Rapids, many amenities are provided by downtown establishments surrounding office buildings — a diverse selection of dining options, accessibility to banking, outdoor space and close proximity to major highways, to name a few. With many amenities readily available outside and near office spaces, tenants are shifting their focus to what’s inside. In-house office space amenities that tenants are looking for include large windows, high ceilings, meeting rooms, an inviting lobby, fitness facilities and access to private parking.

Employers desire spaces that encourage collaboration and interaction among coworkers. Having the option to sit down in a meeting room or lounge area and participate in conversation helps foster and maintain an upbeat, positive company culture. Employers are also focusing more on ensuring their workers are happy, which means providing a practical yet comfortable work environment is crucial.

Your office space speaks volumes about your company and how you wish visitors to perceive it. Do not be fooled … people pay attention to this. Young professionals in particular take special interest in the location of a potential employer’s office.

Real estate professionals are finding that people across all industries want to be associated with a certain type of image; the location of an office contributes to that image. Several locations in Grand Rapids are recognizable, and working at or near them can carry a significant impact for companies and organizations.

West Michigan is similar to the national market in that roughly 5 percent of a company’s budget is allocated to real estate, with approximately 80 percent set aside for employees; however, this percentage may be changing in the Grand Rapids area. The city, particularly the Central Business District, is growing increasingly tight on available office space. Because of this, tenants should anticipate an increase in rates in coming years.

Currently it is not uncommon for a tenant to view a space and sign on it right away, thus driving home how in-demand the city’s office real estate is at the moment.

This demand is not likely to go away anytime soon. Each space is the right fit for a particular company; if the lack of available options continues, the only other choice is to start building new.

This will undoubtedly impact the local real estate market. New developments in Grand Rapids real estate will only continue to drive the office market in a positive direction; however, the real winner with new development will be the tenant. Landlords will strive to provide higher and better services as they move forward and future tenants will win with improved amenities and comforts.

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