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Workers Want Offices that Look Like Their Living Rooms

Why go back to an office if your chair is comfy and you’re 10 steps away from coffee? To entice workers, office remodels are adding lounges, green spaces and gyms.

NEW YORK – As COVID-19 numbers fall, more offices are setting timelines to bring employees back to the office – but they’re getting pushback and realizing it might take some convincing to get workers to leave their comfy home offices.

To combat that desire to stay home, offices are trying to compete by taking on remodels that attract employees back – amenities such as outdoor terraces, private gyms, green spaces, lounge areas and flexible conference centers.

“There is no more room for generic work environments,” Laurent Lisimachio, principal and design director at Gensler, told the New York Post. “You’re competing with someone’s living room, so commercial real estate has to be the site of incredible experiences.”

Companies are taking on several renovations, like improving buildings’ air quality to make employees feel safer and offering additional space so workers won’t feel cramped.

They’re also using the retrofits of a building to make their brand stand out. “The physical space serves as a beacon for the brand,” says David Goldstein, vice chairman and director of Savills.

“Companies want places that their employees and staff and partners want to come to, and shows them off as a company, and shows that they are at the forefront of their industry,” says Gregg Cohen, principal of Cresa, a commercial real estate firm.

Triangle Associates earmarked $350 million to remodel a former prewar textile building in New York City into a 700,000-square-foot structure of modern offices and retail spaces. The remodeled building will have a plant-filled lobby and café, two-story arched glass penthouse, and 1,100 new windows to add more light.

Nuveen, an investment arm of TIAA, is revamping its space to devote the entire second floor to a food hall and fitness center. It will also feature a 7,000-square-foot outdoor terrace with pergolas.

Source: “Checking In: Offices Mimic Hotel Amenities to Lure Back Workers,” New York Post (Oct. 25, 2021)

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