We frequently discuss and debate with our landlord partners the importance of office amenities and the overall value of creating a positive office UX for tenant engagement and retention. So, of course, we have heard and seen it all when it comes to amenities.
We've seen simpler amenity ideas put into place, like bike racks or vending machines that are basically a mini convenience store, or offer only healthy grab-and-go meals. We've also seen some of the more elaborate office amenities – extravagant additions to already premium work environments.
Before we dig into some of the crazy awesome amenities (and you subsequently get immediate office envy) it's really important to keep in mind the goals behind amenity programs. Amenities are useful and desirable features of a building or property that are designed to improve the tenant experience. If there's one thing we've learned about tenant communities it's that each and every single one is vastly different than the next. What is viewed as a marked improvement for one group of tenants, could be completely useless to the next.
It's up to you the landlord to take strides to truly understand the amenities that will improve the tenant experience at your property – whether that's by employing a tenant engagement-focused proptech partner or doing the legwork on your own to poll or survey your tenant base before making amenity improvements.
As with any investment, going into it ahead of time with research, feedback and insight into what tenants actually want – versus what you want, what you think they want, or what other buildings in your neighborhood offer – will pay off in the long run. It's also very important to consider the functionality of your amenity space at all hours of the day – if you want your tenants to enjoy the space you're dedicating to amenities as much as possible, don't choose an amenity offering that they can only use during certain seasons or times of the day. Make your amenity space functional and flexible depending on the tenant.
Without further ado... here are a few of the wildest and most awe-inspiring amenities we've seen so far:
Full Culinary Team and Chefs Onsite
Many coworking providers like Industrious and WeWork have incredible office environments for their members, chock full of amenities like cold brew and beer on tap, beautifully designed spaces, and much more – but no coworking provider does hospitality and event space like Convene. For landlords that want Convene to come in, overhaul entire floors of their building, and own the tenant experience relationship, Convene will also incorporate world class conference/meeting venue space that places a heavy emphasis on hospitality. This of course must include food and bev, and the culinary team at Convene is legit – you can read more about their executive chef here.
Oxford Properties boasts one of the more jaw-dropping amenity floors at their 225 Franklin Street property in downtown Boston. Rather than let unused space go unused in their basement, Oxford partnered with Gensler to design meeting and event space, a bar and catering service area, formal and informal seating, men’s and women’s locker rooms, bike storage and even two professional golf simulators. If you love golf, and you work at 225 Franklin, well it seems like you struck gold. Improving your swing during lunch is a privilege most can't claim.
Now, nap rooms are typically rolled out on a corporate basis vs at the property level (take the above shot of HubSpot's nap room) but this is just a fascinating use of space to get the attention of potential talent. Encouraging rest and wellness, showing flexibility and encouraging work-when-you-want policies, nap rooms are an easy way for companies to show they support recharging in a way that's convenient for their employees... it also gives them less excuses to leave the office.
Similar to the nap room, treadmill desks are another fascinating amenity that goes a step beyond the concept that tenants should be able to choose their preferred workspace environment. Do you want a private office? Do you want to work in a more collaborative, open environment? Do you prefer a standing desk? Well, now throw treadmill desk into the mix of options. I for one feel pretty confident that I would trip and fall over multiple times a day if I worked on a treadmill desk. But, all the power to the people that can do this to stay active – and from an amenity perspective, this is one example of landlords and occupiers giving the power back to the tenant by giving them amenity options like this.
Which brings me to my final point... all of these amenities will make you gasp, swoon, and maybe even chuckle because you can't imagine having amenities like these at your fingertips. But the important takeaway for me is that landlords seem to really understand that the tenant experience needs to improve. We don't need amenities for amenities-sake. Now, it's a matter of perfecting that experience, custom and personalized to the tenants who live it every day.
We believe one way to find that perfect tenant experience is through technology in which the tenant interfaces with the property and the landlord learns by observing and analyzing the (anonymous) data from those interactions.