November 7, 2018

As the lines between work, life and play continue to blur, offices aren’t just where people go to get stuff done. Gone are the days when the workplace consisted of just a cubicle, computer, telephone and a modest coffee machine.


THE POWER OF PLACEMAKING

Today, many workspaces provide employees with the comforts of home, creating an inviting atmosphere that fosters collaboration, creativity and productivity. This growing trend is often referred to as “placemaking.” Defined by CBRE as “integrating design, amenity and community to create a unique space where people want to be,” placemaking is on the rise and is a top priority for corporate real estate leaders.

Experts like John Lee and Roy Cheng, analysts for Asia Pacific Research at CBRE, believe the same effort and principles aimed at building bustling, global destinations should also be applied when creating office buildings. Essentially, the places where we work should be just as important as the places we live.

With more and more office tenants demanding these types of spaces, developers and commercial property owners must accommodate their growing needs.

CBRE research shows this will create a new dynamic between landlords and tenants that will involve a shift from a contract-based relationship driven by lease terms to a partnership with the common goal of creating a rewarding workplace experience for employees.

In today’s landscape, producing an office environment that embodies the principles of placemaking is crucial to retaining happy, productive workers, which can improve a business’s bottom line and ultimately the landlord-tenant relationship.


DRIVEN BY TALENT

Major shifts in demographics and thinking around the workplace have pushed the placemaking agenda to the forefront. Plus, with the growing number of millennials entering the workforce, their preference for these types of environments must be addressed.

For example, CBRE’s 2016 Asia Pacific Millennials: Shaping the Future of Real Estate survey found that millennials view their office and its immediate surroundings as not just a place of work, but also as a community where they can relax, socialize and engage in other activities —all of which can improve their productivity and job satisfaction. The survey also indicated that millennials consider the overall workplace experience as a determining factor in accepting a place of employment.

If businesses want to attract and retain top talent, they must satisfy millennials’ expectations. For occupiers and landlords, that means a focus on creating environments that enhance the workday experience. From coffee bars to cool features like green spaces, providing employees with a great workspace is paramount.

In addition to the impact millennials have on this trend, startups and small tech enterprises are also driving the placemaking movement. Many of their ideals and principles set the groundwork for blending the lines between work, life and play.

With the popularity of ping-pong tables, nap pods and other workplace conveniences, larger corporations are taking notice and incorporating those same employee perks into their models — simultaneously bolstering the performance of both the property and the people within.


FUELED BY AMENITIES, SERVICES AND PROGRAMING

CBRE’s 2017 Asia Pacific Occupier survey found that there is already a growing trend among multinationals to provide a greater variety of amenities, services and programing to their staff, the most common being coffee bars and cafeterias. Wellness concepts like fitness centers are cropping up too. Around 30 percent of occupiers surveyed currently run wellness programs, while a further 30 percent indicated a strong desire to introduce one soon.

Keeping employees healthy is invaluable because it keeps them engaged, enthusiastic and motivated. Whether it’s free food, fitness programs or onsite childcare, amenities, services and programing is a must when it comes to today’s employee. However, companies should monitor what’s being used and tweak accordingly.


THE FUTURE OF PLACEMAKING

Amid the ever-increasing demand for special in-office amenities and workplace agility, landlords are becoming increasingly creative. Designing offices to express a distinct identity and destination — and to reflect the creature comforts of home — not only deepens the connection between building occupiers and the employees who work within these spaces, but also helps to attract and retain tenants and talent.


The places where we work should be just as important as the places where we live


The next step in placemaking is to embrace innovative technologies that further strengthen the connection and communication between office occupiers and employees. Some of the many new tools for landlords to consider adopting in the emerging real estate technology arena include smart building apps and online systems that facilitate the use of shared facilities and advanced data collection and analysis systems to track building usage and leasing challenges.

Placemaking is a trend that’s taking hold, and landlords and occupiers should use it to their advantage by creating spaces that attract the most talented people and valuable tenants, but make them want to stay.

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