Comfort matters when it comes to modern office space

rightsize1by Dan Rafter

What amenities are office tenants looking for today? Mason Awtry, president of Chicago’s Rightsize Facility Performance, said that comfort is the key today when it comes to modern office space. Office owners are focusing on making sure that their hard-working employees are comfortable as they log ever-longer hours, Awtry said.

And when it comes to common areas? The ones in new office buildings are beginning to look more like the lobbies, fitness centers and meeting areas of high-end residential buildings.

Awtry said that many office buildings in Chiago are adding amenities such as large bar areas for building-sponsored functions or for tenants to rent out for individual use. Others are focusing on outdoor areas that also include bars, places for employees to gather when they’re not working.

Other owners are investing in on-site fitness centers that resemble high-end gyms, Awtry said. It’s all about helping employees forge a better work-life balance, Awtry said.

Those manufacturing and supplying office furniture are aware of these trends, Awtry said. They are providing furniture that has more of a homey, warm feel.

“Everyone is trying to get employees to work longer and be more productive,” Awtry said. “Ofteh, that production comes from being more comfortable, from how comfortable the environment around you is.”

Awtry points to a recent office building he visited in Detroit. The building featured one of the most advanced meeting spaces Awtry says that he has ever seen in an office building. The space featured 30 70-inch monitors in a single giant wall, he said, along with the latest in high-tech audio-visual equipment.

This meeting room space is comfortable, and it’s highly efficient. It’s also become a prime selling point of the office space, Awtry said.

“It was one heck of an expenditure,” Awtry said. “But as I was visiting, the building owner was in the process of signing a lease for a two-floor deal that would bring the campus to 100-percent occupancy. One of the driving factors that led to the deal were the amenities relating to this high-tech presentation area.”

Not every company, though, is looking for the same kind of high-tech amenities, Awtry said. Every potential office tenant is different, which means that there is no one amenity package that will attract every possible tenant.

“Older, more mature companies might have a business model that doesn’t require the most advanced tech amenities,” Awtry said. “But as their employees get older and health becomes a hot topic, the older, more mature companies with older employees might see improved health amenities, such as nicer fitness centers, as a great value when looking for new office space.”

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