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Office Amenities: The Importance of Tech


Fundamental shifts in commercial tenant expectations along with advances in prop-tech have been driving large scale change in the office market. With millennials currently, the largest group in the workforce and expected to be 75% of all workers by 2030 the idea of the office as an extension of the home is winning out. Despite a tight market, amenities and technology are must-haves for top commercial tenants.

Along with the increase of millennials in the workforce, the rise of WeWork has been a key factor in the growth of these new office trends. Commercial tenants are now looking for more flexible lease terms, open plan spaces, and of course trendy amenities like fitness centers, coffee bars, and green space. At a recent ULI event, Rapid7’s Global Real Estate Project Manager, Michael Keiming, told the audience their upcoming new headquarters at The Hub on Causeway will even include a speakeasy.

These TAMI (technology, advertising, media, and information companies) tenants are rapidly growing and filling office space faster than any other sector. According to CBRE’s 2018 U.S. Real Estate Market outlook, nearly 20% of major office leases in recent years were from the tech sector. With high profile tech companies providing amazing office spaces along with perks, these amenities like yoga and nap rooms are becoming expected. The coveted group of millennials view their office as not just a place to work but as a community where they can relax and socialize. Here hospitality is also key, as tenants are expecting amazing service and programming. At the upcoming One Congress, HYM partnered with Carr Properties to optimize and program the amenities including a one-acre park.

With the U.S. unemployment rate at just 3.6% and Massachusetts even lower at 3% the job market is tight and attracting and retaining top talent is a huge issue for all companies, large or small.  When companies are in the market for space they have to determine how their real estate will help in hiring and retaining employees.

Along with trendy amenities, the importance of technology and connectivity is also key.  A resilient digital, future proof, infrastructure is a must, especially for those TAMI tenants. With employees moving from a conference room to the cafe, to the roof terrace, they expect seamless service throughout the entire space. New prop-tech apps, that help streamline maintenance requests, or allow residents to control temperatures, lighting in their spaces also require high-quality digital infrastructure. The upcoming Cambridge Crossing will be the first “wired neighborhood”  in the U.S. and will accommodate multiple high-speed fiber optic internet service providers, capacity throughout the underlying infrastructure to adapt to technology changes over time and Wi-Fi in public spaces throughout the neighborhood. This level of commitment to technology was a key factor in attracting anchor tenants Philips North America and Sanofi.

Along with connectivity, smart windows can offer another level of tech to tenants to not only reduce energy costs but make a big impact on employee satisfaction. View’s Dynamic Glass offers true flexibility that developers can pass along to tenants. This smart glass lets in natural light and views while reducing glare and heat. The windows are digital, connected and be controlled from anywhere. With more natural light in the workplace, employees have been found to be healthier (fewer headaches and eye strain), happier and more productive.

As developers pitch their amenities to prospective tenants, having a “digital skin” allows for unique customization not found in a traditional office space with static glass. This feature allows for as much or as little daylight as each specific employee group requires. Have an area planned for coders? The glass can darken here while in another section of the office the glass will work automatically with intelligence, offering as much daylight as possible. There is never an instance where blinds can be left down by forgetful occupants, keeping true 100% connection to the outside.

While today’s office market is extremely competitive with a 14.7% vacancy nationwide and just 5.9% in Boston and 2.7% in Cambridge* there are around 110 million square feet of new office space currently under construction.  Experts expect that rent growth will begin to slow and absorption will not continue to keep up with this new inventory. At this shift occurs, properties will need a competitive edge. Many buildings will then be positioned with similar, fashionable amenities, some of which may be dated in 5 years time. However, technology and the importance of a healthy work environment will never go out of style.

Contributor Bio

View’s vision is built around the belief that natural light is required to live a healthy and productive life, but the ordinary window is far from optimized to provide it. View’s smart glass windows let in natural light and views and enhance mental and physical well-being by significantly reducing headaches, eyestrain, and drowsiness. They also reduce glare and heat, improving the energy efficiency of buildings by up to 20 percent.

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