How hospitality helps you attract tenants to your buildings

The latest CBRE data shows us that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of office vacancy rates and rent pressures. However, amid these challenges, we’re seeing a shift in how commercial developers consider their properties and how they can attract tenants.

Single-use spaces are going extinct

We work with organizations across the US—and in every region, we’re seeing the workplace take on a different role than it did pre-pandemic.

The office is no longer a single-use space. Some would argue that the office has always been designed to accommodate people and address their needs. However, in reality, traditional corporate spaces were designed to meet traditional modalities of work–which are no longer relevant on their own. Instead of focusing on how a person works, we must shift to solving for what a person needs.

By shifting your view of your commercial property this way, you will meet your prospective tenants where they are

Companies want people back in the office

Companies worry about productivity if they can’t see their employees, but workers have always craved flexibility and autonomy. The cost of the commute and childcare, the emotional labor it takes to show up in the office, and productivity rates are all factors to consider.

But even with this newfound flexibility, studies tell us that hybrid workers are working harder and longer than before. They are more stressed, less professionally fulfilled, and less connected to their organization.

However, if given a choice to go back to the way they used to work, they would say NO WAY.

How can you help to change their minds? You need to make sure the office matters as a destination. The most important consideration is not how much time they spend there. Rather it’s predictability and coordination of time spent at the office—and this is where hospitality comes in.

“We’ve had technology-led offices, we’ve had real estate-led offices… We’ve even had design-led offices. What we really haven’t had is people-led offices. And that is what this new era is about.”

A formula for hospitality design

When we talk about hospitality, we don’t mean free coffee and donuts. Our formula for hospitality design is a powerful framework that guides us in every project to give people something they don’t get at home. But consider the following list as table stakes—there is more to consider.

Spaces must serve many functions. The way we proportionally allocate space for these different uses may need to change. We think about focus time, collaboration time, creative thinking time, socializing, and relaxing.

Inclusive design. We must meet visitors where they are and create an experience that can accommodate everybody. We believe accessible, universal design is just good design–and that designing for the few will absolutely benefit us all.

Comfort matters. Both the physical and psychological matter in the spaces we design. You need to ensure that decor choices and aesthetics are not just functional and attractive but also align with the culture and needs of your visitors.

Technology. A physical office is only part of a digital ecosystem, a physical anchor in a digital network. Technology has to work better than it does at home and enrich the experience.1

The icing on the cake

We begin to think outside the box when we consider what amenities and conveniences we can provide—and how they impact the employee experience in the spaces we design.

We often talk about amenities—an amenity is everything from dry cleaning services to happy hours. But beyond that, how do you create a magnet and social hub through these amenities?

The answer is strong hospitality programming.

  • Most buildings have well-equipped gyms, but Porter knows how to activate the gym with creative programs and attractions, making it a must-go destination that delivers more incentive than just staying fit. 
  • Many organizations offer food and beverages, but no one goes wild over chafing dishes or boxed lunches. Porter elevates food and beverage programs with a focus on locally sourced menus that are designed to feel like a family meal.
  • Several organizations offer skills development courses, but how many people attend these sessions? Porter curates learning programs that offer personal value, whether that’s advice on how to buy your first home or how to plan for your retirement.

How to level up

Now imagine you bring in an experience manager to help employees find and use these amenities. This person is a facilitator who understands the needs of employees and can proactively suggest services that might support them.

At Porter, we specialize in staffing roles such as these, working with our clients to understand their specific needs and the organization’s culture to provide the best individual for the role. The experience manager is the connective tissue of the employee experience. They embody the true spirit of hospitality and make sure that the amenities you provide meet the needs of employees.

The goal is to create awe for visitors and to deliver an experience they would pay for—but lucky for them, it’s now in the office.

When they leave, they should feel happy, satisfied, and enriched by the experience—like they have taken something away from it that builds them up and feeds their soul.

What’s in it for your commercial tenants?

Hospitality in the workplace creates a welcoming, immersive environment where people want to visit and stay. We can support employee engagement and retention at work by offering thoughtful consideration to the workspace design, programming, and amenities.

That means better employee morale, stronger engagement in person, and higher demand for office amenities. We’re bringing people back together for social and emotional well-being just as much as career progression and professional development.

Thriving workplaces are a beacon for future employees and are a symbol of strong corporate culture. These are not workplaces where workers have no choice in how and when they visit.

They are workplaces designed specifically to deliver the best outcomes when teams come together, knowing that they won’t automatically be in the same place 100% of the time anymore. They truly are people-led offices.

Meet people where they are

Developers, occupiers, and building managers must shift in response to the societal leap we’ve seen since the pandemic. Workers’ needs are evolving, and the demand for flexibility is greater than ever. We need to meet workers where they are and give them a better reason to come back to the office if we want to see those commercial leases renewed.