2017 Trend Watch: The “Destination” Office
With the surge of young talent entering the workforce comes the need for companies to reevaluate the location, function, and appearance of their corporate headquarters. Gone are the days where having top floor real estate is indicative of the success of an organization. More and more businesses are opting for lower-level or even suburban office spaces to accommodate the social, agile lifestyles of up-and-coming Millennials, who will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025.
The demand for flexibility introduced by the burgeoning mobile workforce has many wondering what exactly the office of the future will look like. One of the latest trends in corporate real estate is the notion of a “destination office,” a space that emphasizes public amenities and the wellbeing of its workers in order to attract and maintain top talent.
Developing Corporate Facilities that Appeal to the Millennial Lifestyle
Growing up with the internet and smartphones has shaped the lives of the younger generation of workers. The ability to work remotely has upped the need for a more flexible work-life balance, and so companies looking to attract workers to their offices face a new challenge.
In order to make the idea of an office appealing to Millennials, who have notably shirked the idea of being tied to a desk, companies must take into account their lifestyle and aesthetic preferences, including:
- Short commute times (30 minutes or less)
- Flexible scheduling
- “Vibrant” location
Anthony Markese, principal with Pickard Chilton, master plan and design architects for the new headquarters of ExxonMobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy, has said that “the underlying motivation” for the creation of these facilities, “is really about the people. The goal is not necessarily to create a monument to the corporation, but to create a better place for the employees.”
Destination Offices: A Home Away from Home
Corporations are seeking to build or redevelop existing office spaces to capture the interest of the much sought-after younger generations of workers. What was once considered a “vibrant” location was typically urban, but that definition has expanded to include suburban or even more isolated facilities that provide all the amenities you need to feel at home.
Corporate campuses are one type of destination office created to ease the transition from the college campus into the workforce. These locales focus on natural light and open spaces, and frequently include outdoor quads to emphasize a connection with nature—something that is so often missing from the office environment. Onsite workout facilities, cafes, and even laundry rooms assure that employees enjoy coming to work and feel less need to work remotely in order to fulfill their lifestyle needs.
Mixed-use developments are also on the rise. Real estate companies are catching onto the trend of high-end luxury offices that support an active, social, and healthy life by combining corporate office space with such amenities as restaurants, housing, retail, and other entertainment. This draws creative, forward-thinking companies to areas outside the city center, while still providing workers with the urban experience.
Some companies are even going so far as to secure property at boutique hotels in exotic locations around the globe to give their employees a satisfying work experience. This extreme demonstrates just how important flexibility and workplace environment has become for staying relevant in the competitive job market.
Corporations Take the Definition of “Office” to New Levels
So what do these destination offices look like in the real world? Google has plans for a sprawling 595,000 square foot two-story office building on 18.6 acres of property in California that incorporates large outdoor areas and space for retail stores, bike paths, and a public plaza for food trucks and events.
Paul Paradis of Hines is attempting to redefine the high-rise tower as a “vertical campus.” At the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco—which will be the tallest building in the western United States upon its completion in July—lofty ceilings and an open-concept, flexible workspace counteract the negative connotations traditionally associated with skyscrapers.
ExxonMobile is reimagining the idea of the urban setting with its vision to consolidate up to 10,000 employees into a single suburban campus in Houston. The campus will resemble a mixed-use development rather than a stand-alone campus, and include everything from medical facilities to fitness centers for attracting an active, health-conscious workforce.
A clear commonality among all of these different types of destination offices is their focus on the individual, and the need to accommodate diverse personalities with flexible and welcoming work environments.
Maintain Workplace Flexibility with Scheduling Software
Whether your office is a homey campus, a bustling urban community, or a hotel in Bali, meeting the needs of a modern, flexible workforce is key. It’s important to make your corporate headquarters an inviting space for employees who may be traveling or working remotely so that they always have a place to come back to for heads-down focus or collaborative projects.
Room scheduling software is ideal for on-the-go workers who don’t have a desk of their own but still value face-to-face collaboration. Workers can reserve rooms for conferences or one-on-one meetings on an as-needed basis, cutting down on the amount of permanent office space required by a company.
Resource scheduling software guarantees employees will always have the tools they require when they’re in town. This makes it easy for organizations to accommodate the needs of an agile workforce to make sure that the workplace is as flexible as their lifestyle.