Live from IFMA 2019: Study Reveals What Tenant Amenities You Should Invest In

10/18/2019 | By Sarah Kloepple

Tenants expect a lot from the amenities their workplace offers, beyond such essential accommodations as a breakroom or cleaning services.

Sodexo, a company that integrates facilities management with employee benefits and “quality of life services,” explores what amenities are possible in its new study, “Reimagining the Employee Experience.”

The study was presented at the 2019 IFMA World Workplace conference and expo in Phoenix, and found that the lines between employee and consumer continue to blur. Employees highly value non-essential amenities like a café or restaurant, vending services, medical services/clinic and transportation services.

“At the end of the day, facilities managers and building owners need to satisfy the consumers of their space – the employees,” says Colleen Conklin, research director of global corporate services for Sodexo. “Many things have changed in the workplace in recent years, including the expectations employees have of their employer.”

Key Takeaways For New Amenities

The goal of the study, Conklin says, was to provide insight to decision-makers for their planning of what amenities to invest in for their facility or company’s future.  

To do that, Sodexo surveyed 3,593 employees around the world from the business and industry community to gauge their expectations on 22 different services (cleaning, audiovisual (AV) equipment, security, childcare, etc.).

The services were separated into two categories:

1. Experience Enhancers:

Services that go above and beyond to create exceptional experiences for employees. These are some of the services the study suggests that decision makers consider when investing in new amenities.

They’re deemed the “high-value items” in today’s workplace. Of those surveyed, the amount of employees who answered that the service is “essential” or “important":

  • Café or restaurant – 71%
    • If full service isn’t in the cards, the report says to consider smart vending machines or grab-and-go stations to save employees time
  • Medical services/clinic – 66%
    • An onsite clinic can demonstrate your company or building’s investment in tenants’ wellbeing, both mentally and physically – not to mention the convenience it would provide tenants.
  • Transportation services (shuttles, car sharing) – 62%
  • Vending services – 61%
  • Health and fitness center – 59%
  • Personal travel services – 58%
  • Onsite or offsite childcare – 58%
  • Convenience store/food shop – 52%
  • Car maintenance/services – 48%
  • Workplace concierge/personal assistant – 46%
  • Beauty salon/barber – 37%

2. Experience Essentials:

Services that employees expect at the bare minimum. These services were offered in a majority of the workplaces surveyed. Of those surveyed, the amount of employees who answered that the service is “essential” or “important”:

  • Cleaning of the workplace – 81%
    • This was considered the “most essential” service in the study
  • Training courses – 81%
  • The vast majority of employees see the value in skill-building. In this digital age, consider some type of e-learning program for accessible, inexpensive training.
  • Site security and access – 79%
  • Computer services/IT support – 79%
  • Communication/AV equipment – 74%
  • Breakroom/coffee services – 74%
  • Repair services/work orders – 74%
  • Reception/information/visitor management – 72%
  • Mail and package service – 69%
  • Meeting room management (booking, catering) – 67%
  • Reprographics hub – 63%

Generational Differences

Conklin was surprised to learn about the the consistency of generational differences. Baby boomers (defined by the study as age 55 and above) continued to rate experience enhancers as less valuable than younger generations.

Conklin says the study wasn’t designed to be an assessment of generational expectations for the workplace. Participant age was just one of the demographic factors included in the survey.

“It is not a surprise that younger workers have different expectations of their workplace – data beats opinion,” Conklin says, adding: “This consistent message makes a difference for future planning of what amenities should be offered in the workplace.”

As workplace expectations evolve, it’s important for facility managers and building owners to accommodate the younger generations entering the workforce, the study says. But it should be done in a way that doesn’t alienate existing employees. The solution will depend on the company or building.

“Where a game room might make sense in a technology start-up, workers at a manufacturing site may prefer a comfortable communal food space or breakroom with healthy food and vending options,” the study notes.

Understanding what motivates tenants, and staying away from stereotypes to find the right amenities for your facility, is key. An all-inclusive, engaging environment can lead to better employee performance, increased retention and growth in your business.

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