Five global amenities that can make your workplace a magnet for talent
Auckland Office Workplace – February 2020
Employers need to engage and stimulate a workforce that’s more diverse than ever in age, ethnicity and culture. Millennials, in particular, are acutely aware of their work environment and expect it to reflect their needs and values.
With millennials making up an ever-growing proportion of the workforce, this has driven tenants and owners of commercial property to provide offices which are better, smarter, greener and healthier.
According to research from Bayleys’ global partner, Knight Frank, a competitive global talent market is now focussing on additional amenities to lure employees to ‘best-in-class’ workplaces.
Knight Frank’s global head of occupier research, Dr Lee Elliott, says amenities have improved markedly over the past five years. “Office occupiers now actively seek buildings with ground-floor retail and vibrancy.”
Up-market cafes and exciting food and beverage offerings often double as informal workspaces, he says.
“The rise of wellness as an employee concern has seen access to gyms, cycle storage and well-serviced ‘end-of-trip’ facilities become de rigueur.
“Yet the appetite and speed of adoption of such amenities has been so widespread that they no longer represent a point of difference,” says Elliott.
Here are five amenities that will help define a best-in-class workplace:
In a labour market punctuated by skill shortages and the need to retrain and reskill as technology takes over certain roles, education and training demand new attention. More employers are leaning towards a “grow-your-own” approach to talent, as workers demand on-the-job development opportunities.
This will give rise to physical amenities such as:
• Town-hall spaces to support company-wide learning initiatives
• Branded building spaces or schemes aligned to educational institutions
• Increased CBD presence for education providers
• Tech spaces dedicated to online learning
• Lunchtime seminars and events to build skills and corporate awareness
Local examples include The Cube at ASB’s Jellicoe Street headquarters, which hosts educational and networking opportunities for staff and industry, as well as cultural events.
Healthcare and lifestyle support
With an ageing population working for longer, adding to pressures on public health services, healthcare offerings are a sought-after benefit within corporate talent strategies. This is increasingly so amid a growing wellbeing agenda, a blurring of professional and personal boundaries and expectations for accessible on-demand services.
• Walk-in or next-hour surgeries
• Preventative health facilities
• Dental surgeries
• Creche or nursery facilities
• Spaces for consultations in stress-management, massage or chiropractic care
Auckland CBD examples include a medical centre and pharmacy in the Datacom Building on Gaunt Street and a dental surgery in the AMP Centre on Customs Street West. Childcare centres are located in the AMP Centre, the QBE Centre at 125 Queen Street and in the office tower at 92 Albert Street.
Mental wellbeing is in focus with growing awareness of work-related stress. With technology pushing human work up the value chain, many workers face more complexity and information overload. This heightens the need for clear thinking. Research suggests quiet spaces can help optimise productivity.
• Quiet rooms or zones
• Connectivity-free areas for uninterrupted thinking and creativity
• Relaxation pods or nap spaces
• “Zen rooms” enabling de-stressing and mindfulness
Local workplaces provide a diversity of breakout areas, quiet zones or miniaturised meeting rooms offering separation from traditional work areas.
Pop-up spaces and “meanwhile” uses
Companies are recognising the power to build community within their building, using space to generate a vibrancy about the property or location. Many support CSR initiatives and wider community connections through building uses and curate spaces that appeal to the “community” in all senses.
• Surplus or un-let ground floor space
• Atrium areas used to promote building-wide buzz
• Sponsorship of events, exhibitions or installations in public areas
• Spaces supporting launches of products or services
In the “VXV” precinct of buildings in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, public spaces host cultural celebrations such as Chinese New Year and Diwali. The foyer of the ANZ Centre on Albert Street displays large artworks. A ground-floor pavilion holds corporate, third-party or sponsored events often involving industry or community groups.
Public touch-down space
Business culture is increasingly open and collaborative. Supply chains are broadening and employers are more dependent on external suppliers. Having visitors to public areas allows non-staff to experience the brand and demand is growing for informal meeting space without the need for security clearance. A buzz in these areas can impress the market and potential recruits.
• Larger, quality atriums with informal workspaces
• Concierge management of space without a large, formal reception desk
• Enlarged space before security access
• Greater integration with external amenities
The Vero Centre on Shortland Street has one of Auckland’s most innovative lobbies. A number of “precincts” support different meeting styles. Meeting pods outside facilitate fresh-air meetings.
The new PwC Tower at Commercial Bay promises to “extend the working space beyond the floor plate”. Owner Precinct Properties says its Sky Lobby will be a “hotel-style environment creating an extension of occupiers’ working space. Offering a seamlessly digital experience, it is the ideal place to meet clients or colleagues”.
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