Desirable Workspaces Help Companies Attract Employees Back to the Office

02/10/23 | Thought Leadership

By Eric Hage, Executive Vice President of Development for KDC

We all know it but don’t like to say it out loud: Millions of Americans have been leaving their jobs or working from home over the past few years. But what if we told you there are some great ways to entice people back to the office? Stay with me and I’ll fill you in on some strategies that just might help you address attracting – and maybe more importantly – retaining talent.

When you combine the throngs of people who have left the workforce with those demanding to work from home, it can be daunting for the C-suite to know what to do when it comes to their physical office. But, this upheaval can serve as an opportunity to attract talent that was previously unavailable. Anecdotally, we often see that higher pay and enhanced benefits just aren’t enough to entice people back to work and back to the office; however, the most successful employers in this arena also offer incredible workspaces where people want to be.

The workspace as a differentiator

Though surveys prove there’s no single reason people are saying adiós to their employers, The Great Resignation of 2022 made one thing apparent: people are no longer willing to remain at an organization that doesn’t value them. Case in point, Millennials and Gen Z employees which account for more than 35% of the current American workforce - are the most likely to resign today, according to an EY survey. These generations are far more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to consider the design of their workspace as a motivator to be in the office. They also place a higher priority on their ability to stay socially connected while working and to have a change of scenery in the office.

With these insights, it’s worth considering giving your workspace a starring role in your hiring efforts. Well-located, thoughtfully designed buildings that feature invigorating, collaborative spaces and offer luxurious high-end amenities can be just as meaningful to employees as higher salaries and robust benefits packages. It is a way for employers to demonstrate a commitment to their talent; and a new, highly amenitized workspace demonstrates that loud and clear.

While new-generation office space is obviously different from space built in the late 2010s, it’s also more advanced than buildings constructed just two years ago. New buildings boast the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the technology required for more flexible work and the layout required to improve employee collaboration and mental health. Plus, new development allows a company to express its position around sustainability through the building it designs.

Must-have amenities in competitive labor markets

A few years ago, many of these amenities might have been considered over the top. But in today’s ultra-competitive labor markets, these are must-haves. Things like:

  • A range of food options, from chef-driven corporate cafés and restaurants to food halls and cocktail lounges
  • Sporting options such as golf simulators, pickleball and basketball courts, as well as high-end fitness studios with personal trainers and curated group classes
  • Convenience-related retail such as grocery markets and pharmacies
  • Health and wellness services such as primary care clinics

Amenities that take the hassle out of everyday life are growing in popularity too: concierges, childcare centers, doggy daycares, and technology bars to help with IT and mobile phone issues.

Many of the newest amenities also feature advanced building systems that create a safer, healthier environment for employees in a post-COVID world. Consider Parkside Uptown, a Class A building adjacent to Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park. This 500,000-square-foot skyscraper incorporates several features to make wellness a priority for employees. What that means: touchless controls on primary doors, plumbing fixtures, and elevator panels minimizing touchpoints and elevators that optimize the number of passengers per trip all while limiting lobby wait times. Not to mention outdoor terraces for fresh air.

Additionally, an innovative offset core layout provides advanced air circulation and filtration methods to ensure the highest possible air quality. Each floor has its own 100% outside air economizer to provide a constant infusion of fresh air that exceeds industry recommendations.

Designing for the future of work

Buildings designed for the “future of work” incorporate ample space for collaboration and connection – spaces such as employee lounges, breakout rooms, grand staircase(s) that join multiple floors, conference centers, and large-scale auditoriums for full company meetings and events.

They also provide areas where employees can rest and recharge – calming outdoor terraces, rooftop gardens, and relaxation pods. Occupiers that incorporate these spaces are demonstrating concern for their employees’ mental health.

Over the years, we have learned that employees – regardless of age, location, job responsibilities, or industry – prefer to spend their workdays in attractive, inviting spaces. Leasing and occupying space that clearly conveys how valuable their employees are is a win-win for everyone.

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