Why I care more about the inside than the outside

The biggest piece of feedback that we are getting from clients is the importance of recruiting and retention. As the knowledge economy continues to grow, companies are trying all kinds of strategies to ensure that they have the best people on the payroll. Everything from compensation packages to work environment is being considered and experiments abound. I have a friend that just rolled out unlimited vacation as a recruiting tool at his company and a client that eliminated perimeter offices to create a more egalitarian environment.

It’s critical to consider the intersection between the physical environment and culture whether you are in an trophy property or class C building. The inside of the space has infinitely more impact on the employee’s work experience than whether the building has a cutting edge design or is a converted warehouse. Employees see the building as they enter in the morning and then don’t give it another thought. But their work environment impacts every moment of their day.

Some questions to consider:

* How does your space enhance the company culture?
* Who are employees you trying to attract?
* What tone does senior management want to set?
* What features allow the employees to create their own work experience?
* Where do they work and live now?
* Where will they live in the future?
* When do they want to work? Traditional 9-5 or non-traditional hours?
* Why do they all need to be in the office?

It’s easy to start with the product (office buildings) and then shoe-horn in a strategy to fit the final property. Yes, this is all “soft stuff” and difficult to quantify. But starting with the tough questions will keep the process on task and minimize regrets that can’t be fixed until the lease expires.

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