Top 5 Trends to Get Employees Back in the Office

Top 5 Trends to Get Employees Back in the Office

10 Grand Central Lounge

Top 5 Trends to Get Employees Back in the Office

As you are looking for office space a major consideration will be what you will need to look for when renting your next office in NYC. A lot of beautiful leased and perfectly furnished and designed office space is Manhattan is remaining sparse and underutilized and jut down right vacant. What’s going to get people to come back to the office? Let’s face it NYC is loud and congested place. Getting to work on a commuter train is time consuming. Getting to work in a subway feels choked and crowded. Here are the top 5 ways to get NYC employees back into the office.

1. Be in 24/7 vibrant neighborhoods – Office space in an active, vibrant exciting neighborhood is the greatest amenity. Tenants are hesitant to lease office space in areas like Grand Central because these areas are stale and lack, new and exciting restaurants, bars and cafes. They have come around somewhat over the past few years and are drawing more of Gen Z crowd, but an endless supply of bank branches and clothing shops such as Gap, don’t make a neighborhood exciting. Soho, which has had cache around it as one of the coolest in Manhattan for the past 40 years, has been a real destination post covid, Soho has a vacancy rate of 7%, whereas the rest of Manhattan has an office space vacancy rate of 20%.

2. Be as close to outdoor space as possible – Renting outdoor space in Manhattan is hard to do. That’s why when searching for your next office space, leasing your next office with a private terrace may be the next best move to make the office spacefeel special. However, if you are not so lucky and your office space does not have a private terrace, then a building wide terrace is the next best thing. Some buildings in New York City are now offering outdoor space to all their tenants. If that is not available in your building either, then a park such as Bryant Park, Central Park, or Madison Square Park are the next best thing. Even a building that has convenient outdoor seating or is close to an area where the street has been converted to outdoor seating can also be excellent.

Rooftop Island

3. The office space has an inviting, inspiring, exciting, and invigorating design. Let’s face it, NYC can be loud dirty and noisy.  If employees can work someplace to avoid the hustle and bustle of New York City, they will show up there. The concept of a “Work Resort” has never been more important. The next office space you rent should be a comfortable and wonderful place to work. It should be inviting to visitors and prospective employees, inspiring to employees that will collaborate and come up with the next big idea and invigorating to keep people in the office work longer. No other company understood and marketed this trend greater than WeWork. So much so, that companies were willing to pay 2 times more to lease office space that was being offered by WeWork.

4. Give people more room – Since 2000, there has been a serious push by CEOs, CFO’s and COOs to increase densification. Densification means putting more and more people into a smaller and smaller space. Office space expense has on average been 5% of a service firm’s gross revenue. So executives have been looking for ways to reduce office space leasing expense for quite awhile. Especially given the cost of office space averaging around $65 a square foot over the past 5 years, the push to reduce office space expense has been substantial.

The typical employee at the turn of the century would have 300 sf per person. Up until the dawn of covid, that measurement has been pushed down to 125. WeWork figured out by giving people fully glass offices, that people would experience the natural light beaming through the entire office space and could fit more private offices into a smaller space. Employers had been giving multiple reasons to reduce the number of private offices and place people back into the bullpen. Post covid, people want to be able to come into the office and be comfortable and not have people on top of them. They want to be able to talk on the phone without being disturbed by their neighborhoods. They want to be able to hop into a telephone booth or meeting room and have a quiet Zoom or Teams call. The office should be a comfortable and wonderful place to work.

5. Building Amenity Center – A building amenity center is a great way to dramatically enhance your office space without really paying for it. Although your office space rent might be a couple dollars per square foot higher, you will have access to so much more space but only when you need it. The cost will be nothing compared to leasing a space that has these amenities within it. Imagine you are a 2,000 square foot tenant that needs access to a board room once a month. If you were to have a board room in your own space that would easily equate to an additional $75,000 per year in annual expense. However, the rent for a building with an amenity center, should only be $5-10 more per square foot and for a 2,000 square foot space that expense would on be an additional $10,000 to $20,000 per years.

An amenity center should feel like a great clubhouse but without that old world stodgy feel. What can amenity center provide?

  • Huge boardroom to accommodate 20-30 executives
  • A large terrace to host a company social with cocktails and beer
  • All hands meetings where all employees gather with leadership to discuss company matters
  • Lounge areas that feel like a living room and will provide a change of scenery and that are conducive to working on your laptop.

NYC office building landlords are focused on creating tenant amenity centers as a perk for companies returning to the office. Buildings that include amenity centers include:

  1. 575 Fifth Avenue
  2. 767 Third Avenue (on the way)
  3. 780 Third Avenue
  4. 375 Park Avenue
  5. 390 Park Avenue
  6. 767 Fifth Avenue
  7. 10 Grand Central
  8. 730 Third Avenue
  9. 1 vanderbilt
  10. 550 Madison Avenue
  11. 340 Madison Avenue
  12. 100 Park Avenue
  13. 510 Madison

Incorporating elements from the hospitality and food and beverage industries, these amenity centers are thoughtfully designed by some of the most renowned NYC architects and designers.  Their appeal will be:

The Gardens
  • Ultra high-end design and material – Exotic stones and ceramic
  • Ideal lighting –  Bright white or blue light is best to stimulate activity and alertness, while dim warm and yellow light is best for creativity. These lounges will often have a combination of both to appeal to the complexity of different moods.
  • Furniture that is aesthetically appealing, updated and comfortable
  • Gym and shower for tenants that will want to decompress in the middle of the day
  • High quality coffee makers that will make lattes and cappuccinos for the discerning coffee lover

So to recap, the top 5 things to look out for when searching for you new office to entice people back in the office are: Be in a 24/7 vibrant neighborhood

  • Be in a 24/7 vibrant neighborhoods
  • Be as close to outdoor space as possible
  • Be an office space has an inviting, inspiring, exciting, and invigorating design. 
  • Give people more room
  • Building Amenity Center


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