Lately, companies from just about every industry are starting to recognize the incredible competitive advantage that is dynamic office space.
When you think about a modern office space packed with amenities and services, the companies that most likely come to mind include Google, Apple, and Facebook. There is good reason for this: for years, technology companies have led the movement. They were the first to see the built-in advantages of dynamic office space. In a hypercompetitive industry where top-end talent can make all the difference, having a space that makes recruits say “wow” certainly has its benefits. Then there is the matter of productivity. In an industry like technology, where change often has to occur at incredible speeds, it is important to put your hardworking employees in a space where they are comfortable and feel like their needs outside of work have been met. The happier and healthier they are, the more focused they become on work. These big tech companies have made considerable investments in promoting the health and wellness of their employees simply because doing so leads to improved productivity and performance.
Further, by locating their companies in city centers or near major universities, technology companies enjoy greater access to a large pool of exactly the kind of talent they need to thrive. Allowing these talented people to live and work in walkable neighborhoods full of people of similar careers and interests helps engender greater loyalty to their employers, as well.
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ALL
Just because Big Tech started this movement, that doesn’t mean they are the only ones who can benefit from it. Lately, companies from just about every industry are starting to recognize the incredible competitive advantage that is dynamic office space. Reebok recently moved to Boston, where they renovated a beautiful building into a state-of-the-art space to serve as its headquarters. The new location features all the fitness-related bells and whistles you might expect from a sports apparel company — a massive fitness center that offers spin classes, dance classes, and even boxing lessons. But it also boasts unassigned workspaces, collaborative areas, and plenty of opportunities for employees to share insight between teams that wouldn’t otherwise be directly connected in the production process.
Meanwhile, McDonalds’ new headquarters in Chicago aligns its employees into “work neighborhoods,” with open floor plans and flexible spaces that allow their staff to choose an environment where they can be most productive at any given time of day. Their employee cafe offers barista-style coffee, free pastries, a technology bar, and stadium seating. Its hundreds of conference rooms and cafe-style workspaces feature state-of-the-art technology that helps spur collaboration and innovation. Its fitness center and outdoor terraces with views of the city are world class. Hilton, recently named as Fortune’s best company to work for, dedicated a full year and plenty of budget to convert the first floor of its headquarters into a 10,000-square-foot coworking space that includes a cafeteria, a full-service concierge desk, an outdoor terrace, and a Starbucks. The result for all three of these companies is that face-to-face interaction among employees has improved, innovation happens more frequently, and productivity is soaring. All of these facts they owe to an effort to improve their employees’ sense of work-life blend. By helping them meet more of their needs at work, they ensure a greater sense of wellbeing, which only enhances focus and dedication. Further, the top minds at each of these companies have everything they need to remain stimulated, creative, inspired, invested, and working hard.
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A TECH COMPANY TO ENJOY THE SAME BENEFITS
Why on Earth would you need to be a technology company to enjoy these benefits? No matter what your company does or who leads you, works for you, or will one day work for you, it will benefit from putting its people into an environment that makes them happier, more stimulated, and more focused on collaborative, innovative work. With rents in a high-end space only nominally higher than in an average space — and with rent being such a small drop in the bucket that is a company’s operating budget — the cost for these advantages is essentially a nonfactor, as well. In your own market, if one of your competitors isn’t already occupying a dynamic office or following the nearly half of corporations who are experimenting with some form of coworking space, then they will be soon. The world’s most successful technology companies — and lately, the world’s most successful companies, period — have shined the light on this remarkable competitive advantage. Being the first to take this same leap in your own market could lead to similar growth for your company.