Consumerism & The Modern Office

By Marc Gittleman & Kayce Hawk

At Rising, we are always monitoring market trends and cultural shifts in the workplace. By having our finger on the pulse, we’re able to understand, predict, and ultimately exceed the needs of our tenants. That said, we know that millennials are the largest workforce this country has ever seen, and they are continuously redefining modern work culture as we know it. While it may sound trite, the modern workforce has different priorities than previous generations. Although the title of this is Consumerism & The Modern Office, it really should be “Consumerism vs The Modern Office.” Past generations were “consumers” of office space. Millennials find the office a “necessary evil”, and in many cases, an impediment to productivity and work-life balance.

To make sense of the world outside of the office, most working people previously shared similar goals that fall into  the following hierarchy:

  • Stable employment that allows you to provide for yourself and loved ones.
  • Home and/or vehicle ownership.
  • Furnish and equip your home.
  • Save money to educate and retire.
  • Upgrade your home or vehicle.

You can Google any number of articles showing how this list does not apply to millennials. This begs the question of what priorities should developers and tenants focus on to attract the best and brightest talent if the wants and needs of the best and brightest millenials are incongruent with our historical values?

In a productive millennial work environment, an office is no longer just an office. In the past, companies were able to provide basic amenities to all of their employees, as well as coveted upgrades like corner offices for more mid or senior level staff. But today’s workforce wants it all: Offices on high floors with lots of natural light, a variety of healthy food options in and close to the office, concierge services, outdoor space, easy access to a gym and more.

The growing list of priorities can be largely attributed to the fact that millennials value work-life balance more than their parents did. The result is increased demand and stiff competition for commercial real estate that can offer most or all of these things at a competitive rate.

The downside is that historically only large companies like Google can afford to meet the needs of the modern workforce, making talent acquisition asymmetry a larger, and in many cases, an insurmountable issue.

At Rising, we asked ourselves what we could do to create positive experiences for our tenants who are small and mid-sized companies. We call this “Google-ificaiton” and sometimes “Apple-ification”. Here’s what we have implemented:

  • Offer exclusive tenant concierge services. At The CalEdison and 1 Cal Plaza, we provide on-site concierge through Luxury Attache. This full-service concierge service can handle a range of tasks like booking travel, securing those hard-to-get event tickets, booking dinner reservations, making itineraries, planning company events, and more. The concierge is available for work and personal requests, lowering the bar to reach the accoutrements of a healthy work-life  balance.
  • Offer tenants the ability to work anywhere on the property through Connectible Square Footage™. With a service like 5x5 Telecom’s Connectible Square Footage™, tenants can work in the lobby, or any common area on the property at the fastest free public wi-fi in the world or they can stay on their private, secure office WiFi network, but with the option to move around and not feel confined to their office space. This has been especially great for smaller companies with smaller offices. This Connectible Square Footage™ effectively expands tenants functional workspace by tens of thousands of square feet. At our Catalina Landing property, tenants can have access to their own private secure WiFi throughout all the new outdoor seaside common areas that we installed.
  • Offer a variety of food options. Rather than being limited to the restaurants in the surrounding blocks, services like Fooda bring a rotation of restaurant options to your work site, and at an affordable price point. We do this at The Park DTLA and Catalina Landing and our tenants love it.
  • Host monthly tenant events to encourage networking. We host a number of catered events at every one of our properties. Some of them are for occasions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or Halloween, while others are “just because.” Regardless of the reason, we find that tenants appreciate the break from routine and enjoy the opportunity to meet new people.