Modern office benefits such as on-site fitness centers and game rooms have become common representations of today’s workplace, which aim to symbolize a laid-back and collaborative culture.
While these types of workplace comforts may often be considered impractical in an environment built for maximizing productivity, they are anything but frivolous.
“Amenities should not solely be considered as fun perks,” said Josh Wise, Global Director, Workplace Ecology & Design at Etsy at the Convene Summit in New York City. “They actually provide necessary support in the life cycles of employees.”
In the era of work-life integration, personal and professional boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred. Wise seeks to create an office environment at Etsy that “facilitates choice, incentivizes movement and creates independence and mobility for work” by building those elements into the infrastructure of an office building.
Beyond communal ping pong tables, what do practical workplace amenities look like?
Tom Durais, Executive Vice President and Chief of Property Operations and Leasing at Empire State Realty Trust cites food halls, wellness programming, bike storage, outdoor spaces, employee lounges, event spaces and childcare services as some of the best amenities because they provide essential support to the lives of employees.
For Kevin Danehy, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Development at Brookfield Property Group, providing amenities to office buildings isn’t just about creating satisfaction within the confines of an office, it’s about building a broader workplace community.
“We identify central business districts that are highly served by public transportation with collections of office buildings, retail and hotels, and seek to create a 24-hour/7-day-a-week ecosystem,” he said.
Brookfield invests in this holistic approach to amenities by offering robust community arts and events programming to tenants in the office buildings they own and operate. These programs create unique social and educational opportunities for employees at their place of work, offering a significant advantage to companies who are in a war to attract top talent.
Wise agreed. “The workplace is a manifestation of company values. It’s how we connect people to Etsy’s mission,” he said.
Amenities that build community, reflect the values of employers and satisfy the unique needs of employees fully-integrated lives are increasingly becoming must-haves in today’s shifting marketplace.
“Employees are the consumers of the workplace,” said John Arenas, chief executive officer of Serendipity Labs. “They are sophisticated customers and they are choosing where they want to work.”
Convene believes that it is possible to offer world-class, on-demand amenities for every company – regardless of size – that leases space within a single building. We recently teamed up with The Durst Organization to launch a tenant amenity program at One World Trade Center, complete with dedicated tenant-only lounge areas, gourmet cuisine and coffee, game rooms, and highly customized event and wellness programming, planned by a dedicated community manager.
“Convene wants to help landlords spark collaboration, innovation and community within commercial office buildings so that employees are inspired to do their best work, and have fun while doing it,” says Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of Convene.
Take heed: Dismissing the value of office amenities could lead to the alienation of your companies future top talent.