Our working world has changed. While many organizations are heading back into the office, many won't be requiring their employees to be on-site every day. Work-from-home has become work-from-anywhere, physical offices have become collaboration zones, and the open floor plan has been replaced with partitioned workspaces.
As workplaces evolve, commercial developers, owners, and managers must take notice. Now is the time to shift the way commercial buildings operate and the way tenants interact with them to account for the future of work. The stakes for remaining stagnant are too high as corporate real estate faces lower price-per-square-foot, higher vacancy rates and new competition. Price and location are no longer enough — it is now imperative that you provide an experience that your tenants will stay — and pay — for.
What is tenant experience?
'Tenant experiences' are essentially the ways tenants or employees working in a commercial building interact and engage with their workplace. It encompasses everything from building amenities to connectivity and community. The expectations that employees have for their employers are now being passed along to the building owners and operators, and the duty falls to them to provide a connected workplace that supports greater flexibility, enables third-party services and integrations, and includes top notch amenities.
Providing exceptional tenant experiences can lead to increased tenant retention, longer-term leases, and higher occupancy rates at better per-square-foot pricing.
Commercial real estate professionals must ask themselves what kind of experiences they are building for their tenants, and how they are differentiating. With teams becoming more dispersed, downtown locations are not enough to sustain higher rates, and many are now competing with smaller office spaces in a greater geographic area, as well as the rise of varied flexible co-working locations. Considering what kind of experience you are creating is key to ensuring that you won't lose tenants by not satisfying their evolving needs.
Offer the amenities your tenants want
The easiest way to find out what your tenants want is to survey them, but some of the most desired amenities might not be what you expect. Instead of fancy cafeterias or ping pong tables, many employees rank productivity tools at the top of their smart office wish list. Some of the most common amenity requests include:
- Touchless building entry
- Visitor management
- Conference room bookings
- Desk reservation systems
- Package and food delivery
- Consistent, high quality internet access
- Fitness centers
Mobile matters for tenant experience apps
Tenants and their employees live on their phones, so that is where you must meet them. Providing mobile applications that make it easy for tenants to manage and interact with their space is a fantastic way to boost tenant loyalty. An employee experience platform makes it easy for their organizations to be productive and communicate within the space. Through a tenant app, employees can do everything from reserve their workspaces to manage office climate controls.
It is not enough to provide a cookie-cutter app that is limited to sending out building alerts. The most important element of any real estate strategy (location, location, location!) is just as true for real estate apps. Users must have access to maps of their office within the app and it must offer wayfinding, especially for those employees who are not on-site full time.
Critical features to include in a mobile app include:
- Desk booking
- Office wayfinding
- Work order management/service requests
- News and information bulletins
Location-awareness supports use cases that help to make your commercial properties smarter, including permission-based map views for different user types to support facilities management and security as well as the experiential component. Layer-based indoor maps are integral to the success of an office app. Whether you're building a solution in-house to offer to clients or looking for an employee app provider to partner with, it's important to find out about their interoperability with dynamic maps.
Create excellent tenant experiences today
As we transition into the new world of work, real estate companies would be wise to start implementing these technologies to improve their tenant experiences. By supporting the evolving needs of employees and tenants and providing access to community-building tools and amenities, real estate organizations can come out ahead over the course of this year and not get stuck in a price war.
Now is the time to partner with the organizations who can help you build and execute a tech-enabled tenant strategy. Schedule a workshop with our team of digital workplace experts to find out how you can give your tenants and employees everything they need to be successful in your corporate spaces.