Amenities Have Evolved in Office and Industrial Spaces

Originally published on August 18, 2023 by Paul Bubny for ConnectCRE.

The role of amenities has evolved since the pandemic—not only in the office sector, but in the ever-evolving industrial space as well. To provide an up-to-the-minute look at trends in amenitizing commercial spaces, NAIOP will devote an entire panel discussion to the subject at its CRE.Converge conference, scheduled for Oct. 18-20 in Seattle. In advance of that panel, Connect CRE spoke with two of the panelists—moderator Dawn Riegel, Principal with Ware Malcomb, and Jinger Tapia, VP Design at Ware Malcomb—for a preview. Here’s what they told us.

Q: Would you say that workplace amenities are now more important than they were prior to the pandemic?

Dawn Riegel: In the true office environment, the message I share with my clients is: you want to create a magnet versus a mandate. Meaning you want people to come back into the office and what you are offering them needs to be above and beyond what’s in the four walls of their house. It really is the social aspect for employees. The amenity spaces within office environments, and this does translate to industrial, are super important now more than ever. The hybrid work movement dictates that these amenity spaces be integrated into office spaces from day one.

Jinger Tapia: We discovered and determined that you can work from anywhere. I always use the analogy of singing. You can sing anywhere, but the best sound quality happens in an auditorium or a theater that’s geared for that sound attenuation. Like an auditorium, the office post-pandemic is about maximizing and creating the best work possible together, not just having people come to the office for heads-down work. Dawn mentioned this idea of social interaction. It’s not social from a fun standpoint, rather social from a human connection standpoint. That fosters growth and mentorship and a learning experience that’s less about being productive and more about future viability for the employee. So, the amenities are just as important today, if not more than pre-pandemic.

Riegel: I used to say interactive town halls, which is the new terminology for lunchrooms, were nice to have in office spaces and industrial spaces. Now they are a must. These new spaces create a place to gather, reinforce the company’s brand message, and connect employees to that message, whether it’s industrial or office. They’re areas programmed to have all the activities that connect everyone.

Full Interview
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