Your Tenant Expectations in 2021

5 ways you can support the workplace experience your tenants need this year

Everything about the office experience has changed due to COVID-19. Your tenant expectations in 2021 have changed and with that so must your buildings. Finding ways to keep tenants connected, engaged, and feeling valued will be the driver in bringing these workplaces back to life in 2021.
Employees have now experienced being successful from home and have seen the benefits that come with working in their own space. However, we know they’ve also seen the downsides. Working from home often means working longer hours, spending extended periods of time sitting in non-traditional office chairs, higher levels of stress, and feelings of social isolation. Not only that but getting projects done can also be more difficult. Studies show that more than half of employees say it’s harder to collaborate with coworkers when they aren’t able to work face-to-face in the office.

The good news is employees want to come back to the building. We just don’t know exactly when that will happen. But regardless of how many of your tenant’s employees are on-site, it’s vital to continue to create a connected workplace. Your tenants are still paying rent. When it comes time to resign that lease or look for a new space, they’ll remember the added benefit of being associated with your building during this time. Or they’ll remember the alternative…
Portrait of a smiling young man working
So what are your tenants expecting from you in this year of uncertainty?  As they work on navigating their own employee expectations, it’s time for property managers to make your building the ultimate place for connection, community, and convenience.

Here are five ways you can support the workplace experience your tenants need in 2021.

1. Hybrid Experiences

Elevated experiences and events will help combat the struggle of social isolation that so many people have dealt with over the past year. This is the time to actively help employers stay engaged and better manage their workforce.

Differentiating yourself from the competition is key. With many physical spaces being eliminated at the moment, virtual engagement and programs are the best way for properties to demonstrate that they are partners with their customers and are invested in their success.

Companies will be focusing on flexibility this year. They may be moving to hybrid work environments with employees only coming into the office two or three days a week. It’s important your offerings reflect and support the same sense of choice. Providing wellness, social, and educational experiences both virtually and in-person will allow tenants to decide where they’ll participate from. Plus, offering both options will increase the number of people who can take part.  
As workplace Experience Managers, we’ve had to get creative and help our clients continue to engage with their employees.

Here are some experiences and events we’ve hosted this year that have been successful: 
Wellness Offerings: Virtual meditation series, Goal Setting workshops, Nutritionist Consultations, ClassPass On-Demand, Stretch breaks, and at-home Ergonomic Sessions
Experiences: Food & Wine Tastings, Celebrity Chef Cooking classes, Paint & Sip, Puppy Training, Virtual Concerts, E-sport and Gaming Workshops, Stand-up Comedy, and Virtual Vacations
Professional Development Sessions: Diversity and Inclusion Speakers, Habit Building sessions, Speed Networking, Leadership Training, and Live Podcasts
Family-friendly Activities: Themed trivia, DIY home projects, Ice Cream Making, Virtual Museum Tours, Educational Demonstrations, Craft Nights, and Home Gardening

2. Conveniences

Creating convenience for your tenants has to be top of mind. You want to make working at your building and with your team easy! Whether employees are coming back to the office or remain at home for now, how is their workday easier by being a part of your community? 

This means providing services for your tenants that they need and that add value to their day. Saving time, energy, and stress with virtual concierge services can start happening right now. Think about providing resources for working parents like activities for their kids, stress management initiatives for employees working from home, and executing personal errands that may be challenging for a company to do off-site.  

Property managers can support tenant companies as they try to increase engagement and retain top employees through these virtual services. Think of the value-add programming like team-building initiatives, health, and wellness series, and employee recognition would bring to companies who have employees working remotely far and wide.  
When we do have tenants coming back to the building, consider implementing contactless food delivery and work with on-site retailers to provide perks for ordering direct to offices. This way not only are you supporting your tenant companies, but also the retailers in the building as well. Always look at what you’re providing through a lens of convenience tailoring it to both on-site and virtual employees.  

3. Enhanced Amenities

In spaces that are typically used to bring people together, you’ll have to get creative and reconfigure ways to minimize crowds yet still inspire connection. Tenants and employees want to feel safe and in control, instituting rigorous cleaning regimens and adding social guidelines will help them feel more comfortable.

Building owners must reimagine the spaces they’re working with to comply with heightened safety, security, and cleanliness concerns. The amenities you’re offering are still expected to be fresh and fun, but now there’s an added element of caution that needs to be addressed. Amenity spaces will need to be flexible and adaptable.  
Conference rooms and meeting spaces: Technology and AV will be more important than ever with people being there in person but also joining virtually. 
Fitness Centers: These spaces will have to go beyond just getting a workout in. Now, employees are looking for overall wellness incorporating mind, body, and soul. Reimagine your fitness center to be a place where people can regain momentum, reenergize the mind and reclaim productivity. Shift your fitness focus and add in holistic wellness activities and spaces like mindfulness meditation, self-care series, and nutrition workshops.  
Outdoor spaces: Cool rooftops, patios, and internal courtyards are at the top of tenant's building list. These outdoor areas feel safer to meet in during the pandemic allowing for greater social distancing and fewer shared surfaces. They also bring added health benefits by giving employees access to fresh air and sunlight which can improve respiratory function and general immunity. Adding firepits, a community garden or elevated outdoor furniture will be huge as the weather gets nicer. 

4. Focus on Wellbeing

Now more than ever, tenants are focused on the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of their employees as they work remotely and begin thinking about returning to work. Buildings must be proactive in supporting wellbeing initiatives and providing spaces that encourage mindfulness, movement, and motivation.  

Extended periods of time sitting, sharing space with partners trying to work, children being homeschooled and social seclusion have taken their toll on overall health. It’s now imperative that both tenants, and in turn property managers, make a mental shift and really focus on well-being. 

This goes far beyond the fitness center. This is offering opportunities to rest and reset. It’s creating not only physical spaces that promote movement, imagination, and relaxation. 70% of employees say that having the right support available for their mental health is important to their working life after the pandemic. Providing online counseling services, life coaches, meditation, and stress management series should be integrated into wellness planning for tenants and employees.  
Furthermore, organizations will be looking for buildings with wellness certifications like WELL and Fitwell. These will be used to attract and retain employees, in turn attracting and retaining tenants in the future.

5. Communication & Technology

Response time and bandwidth in buildings will be paramount with the continued use of virtual platforms and video conferencing. High-functioning technology will play a vital role in a building’s success. Just as important will be seamless communication. Organizations are relying on technology to continue to collaborate, communicate and operate as usual.

Building owners and managers will need to continue to deliver a connected community and regular engagement with tenants whether they’re on-site or remote. The most effective way to communicate with tenants and employees is through workplace experience apps. Workplace Experience Apps like Simpli provide a direct and immediate line to your tenant audience.

You’re able to share important operational information, invite employees to exclusive events and experiences, manage amenity reservations, provide location-specific perks, and more. They can house re-entry guidelines, provide real-time communication and connect remote employees to the buildings they work in.

Furthermore, organizations will be looking for buildings with wellness certifications like WELL and Fitwell. These will be used to attract and retain employees, in turn attracting and retaining tenants in the future.
These workplace experience app platforms foster a greater sense of connection and ensure tenants feel safe, excited, and knowledgeable when returning to the physical workplace. They also provide analytics to better understand and learn your tenant behaviors. This technology gathers data that shows how people are using the spaces and amenities in your building and what programs and services are most popular allowing you to tailor the experience around what’s actually working.  

Shift Your Focus

Now is the time to identify your tenant expectations for 2021. This year, focus on bringing connection and variation through hybrid experiences and events. Make lives easier by providing convenience for employees no matter where they’re working from. Enhance and reimagine your amenity spaces so they’re ready for employees when they do come back to the office. Understand your tenants need to prioritize employee wellness and support them however you can. Reevaluate your technology and make sure it’s high-functioning and able to back your communication and engagement needs.  

Supporting your tenants now will pay dividends later. Showing up, giving back, and caring about tenant needs will be appreciated and create stronger loyalty in the long term.  

If you’re looking to enhance your building and bring real support to your tenants this year  – let's talk! Connect with our team to customize your tenant workplace experience program.