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Commercial Real Estate

Rethinking Amenities in the Age of the Human Experience

Trends brands and companies should consider when implementing new amenities or enhancing their current offerings.

“On-Demand” is not merely a convenience; it’s now our way of life.

When we summon rideshare, have groceries delivered to our doorstep, or watch whatever we want with a tap on an app or voice command, we bring that expectation of immediacy to all the places we inhabit. In sum, the bar is set high for designers and our clients. How people move through and interact with space must evolve from good to great.

Cindy Simpson is the Regional Managing Principal of the South Central Region and Managing Director of Gensler Dallas

At Gensler, our design is founded upon the human experience. It’s not enough to create beautiful places; they must meet the needs of those who are using that space–be it employees, customers, fans, or travelers.

When it comes to amenities, companies must go beyond quality and convenience to attract the best and brightest or increase the number of repeat customers.

For brands and companies looking to implement new amenities or enhance their current offerings, the following are some of the latest trends worth considering.

Coworking Evolved. Any space today can be a coworking space, which includes cafes, hotels, retailers, and even gyms. The key to a great coworking space is designing it and running it like a restaurant–offering ambiance and good food. Many coworking companies are partnering with restaurants to provide higher-end dining options and comfortable seating, converting underutilized day space into a hub of activity. While the market is saturated, it’s not slowing down any time soon. More than 60 percent of companies plan to add coworking spaces to their portfolios in 2020.

The Hotel Guest Next Door. Hotels are quickly transforming from traveler-only sites to everyday spaces, like work cafés or buzzing happy hour spots–taking their cues from coworking trends. Doing so breathes new life into hotels, providing opportunities to engage with locals and identify new revenue streams. As hotels attract more of the local crowd to their lobbies and restaurants, the more they become destinations for travelers seeking an authentic experience.

Multi-Faceted Offices. Workplaces have come a long way from bare-bones breakrooms and water coolers. Today’s offices feature everything from cafes with fresh food, conference rooms, innovation, and maker spaces, to gyms, focus rooms, and rooftop decks. In doing so, companies are creating collaborative, flexible, and inspiring spaces that employees can customize depending on their needs of the day, whether it’s a team huddle, client meeting, or a moment to relax and recharge.

Silicon Valley Standard. Silicon Valley has become synonymous with the bold thinking and disruption that forever changes industries and how we engage with each other. These companies have also elevated the workplace experience with free premium amenities, like onsite workout rooms, chef-prepared meals, and laundry services. Moving forward, the Googles of the world will not only be expected to provide these topline amenities for employees but also get involved with their surrounding communities to help positively impact mixed-use developments, transportation hubs, and other public spaces.

Keep in mind that not every amenity is necessary for every space. Focus on the kind of experience you want people to have and go from there.

Do you want to foster community-building and engagement or leave people feeling creative and inspired? Other options include finding new purposes for underutilized real estate, leveraging the social and multipurpose movement as a business driver, and investing in wellness.

Ultimately, it’s about curating the right mix of amenities that best align with your company culture to deliver a truly engaging and memorable experience.

Cindy Simpson is the Regional Managing Principal of the South Central Region and Managing Director of Gensler Dallas.