Creating an Active Movement Office Environment Attracts Key Players
Keeping employees happy and engaged is more important now than ever. After all, it is far more challenging and expensive to replace workers than it is to develop existing ones. Happier employees are more productive, which helps businesses stay profitable. If you’re in charge of leasing office space, take note. Employees are happier and more productive when they can inject a little movement into their work day, and their employers keep renewing their leases in buildings that offer those options. In general, commercial office tenants look for three things: accessibility to a variety of dining options, conference rooms, and fitness amenities. Corporate wellness spaces, in particular, rank among the top amenities desired in multi-tenant office buildings. It’s fast becoming the standard for competitive office space to come equipped with fitness options, and desired tenants are looking and asking for fitness options before they sign on the dotted line. Fitness amenities are not limited to spaces filled with exercise equipment. In fact, many offices are changing the flow of their general work spaces and common areas to promote more movement throughout the day. Whether employees are using sit-to-stand desks, holding walking meetings, or traveling a greater distance to speak with their colleagues in other departments, short bursts of activity still provide many of the benefits found in a 30-minute intensive cardio session without the need to shower at work. That isn’t to say exercise equipment doesn’t have its place in the office. In fact, it’s just the opposite. “We see folks in suits and ties on recumbent bikes on the phone,” said Laura Emrich, an Advanced Exercise Fitness Design Consultant based in Colorado. Whether you’re just adding fitness-friendly furniture to your offices or building out a fitness center for the office complex, your tenants (and your retention rate) will benefit.
How can active work environments be easily implemented in multi-tenant office buildings?With innovative designs and creative ideas abounding, office buildings are finding that a fitness space does NOT have to be both large and expensive. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be either! The value of working with an industry leading fitness design team such as Advanced Exercise is in exploring different perspectives on how best to configure underutilized spaces to maximize their utility. When asked about how clients work with fitness experts to design and integrate spaces for movement, Emrich added, “When we’re working with existing spaces, we can build upon input and feedback from existing tenants. Several of the most successful projects we’ve worked on combine the needs and wants of existing tenants alongside the owners’ desires for the space, helping retain current leaseholders while attracting new ones.”
“We can put virtual group fitness spaces where an unused conference room once was. People can find spaces to move and that movement, and its many benefits, can be created with less investment than might think,” said Vaughn Marxhausen, Advanced Exercise Fitness Design Consultant serving multi-tenant office building clients in Texas. “We have the ability to understand that true fitness integration in workplaces goes beyond the four walls of that space. It’s about the integrated movement options to combine with workspaces, and we translate that to our customers to create the results together.” Installing a fitness center doesn’t have to cost a lot or take up 20,000 square feet of space. “Buildings can now think that 1,000 square feet can provide a big return on investment for tenants who want to rent with them,” Marxhausen said. “These facilities attract and retain tenants. It’s a great attraction point, even if it’s small.” Wellness and fitness options are becoming standard amenities, alongside lease-holder expectations around sustainability practices and other updates. If you are a Class A building, LEED certification is almost a requirement, and WellBuild standards are following closely behind. Not only are these standards becoming the norm, but they contribute to your overall return on investment. Save energy and build a smart space to get the most use out of it for many years to come. Client tenants are looking for these things, and they are committed to working with those who provide them. There are two different types of fitness accommodations at multi-tenant office buildings: traditional fitness centers that are independent from the tenant office spaces, and more integrated, relaxed come-and-go spaces where employees can enjoy a few quick stretches as they walk through the atrium or during a break walking down the hall. Overall, you want to plan for a percentage of your space to be used for fitness and casual movement opportunities, to make sure that your tenants are consistently encouraged to use the space. After all, an amenity is only attractive to tenants so long as they continue to make use of it. Real Estate Investor and Colliers International group encourage all new office complex builds to dedicate anywhere between 10 to 12 percent towards amenity spaces as a whole, compared to the old norm of around three percent. Most office complexes house a variety of tenants with different needs, so many office experts employ fitness design experts like Advanced Exercise to build fitness spaces that look good, feel good, and provide the most function possible for the widest range of people possible. “There is a uniqueness and customization that comes into play when you have existing tenants that you’re trying to appease, as there are multi-dimensional personalities involved and right in front of you,” continued Emrich. “We once had an investment company that did a great deal of work by listening in to conference calls, and they wanted three different conference rooms equipped with fitness equipment and functionality, so they could listen in on calls and get a workout at the same time. At the end, we had treadmills and an elliptical or two in one room, we had a bike room, and we had a strength room where you could do personal training too. We did not implement anything too hardcore – just staple pieces to promote moving around a little bit to get the blood and ideas flowing.” This is not to say that there aren’t challenges in getting to the final result. It is a given that needs and desires will change, budgets will fluctuate, and there will be dynamic changes throughout the project’s lifecycle. However, having someone with the experience and knowledge to overcome these obstacles and help you meet your business goals takes a lot of the burden of upgrading your facilities off your shoulders. Wellness is going to be the norm, especially when attracting millennials. Commercial property owners around the world are taking a broader look at common spaces to integrate fitness, and many are joining forces with fitness equipment and design resources to future-proof their spaces and secure long-term leases from happy clients.