What are the defining amenities of a corporate campus? That depends, in large part, on where the campus is located, says Kay Sargent, senior principal of WorkPlace for HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Is it in the suburbs or the city?
"The Apples and the Facebooks of the world are out in the suburbs, where they can build whole complexes of mini towns with their own ecosystems," she explains. "Companies like Salesforce and Twitter have elected to be in urban settings, where they can focus on where their talent is and they can leverage the amenities that are already there."
Urban settings can more easily do without such amenities as a fitness center, since "there’s one on every block," Sargent says, along with a multitude of in-place dining and retail options. On the other hand, corporations in suburban locations prefer that amenities be part of the campus package rather than forcing staffers to hop in their cars.
Also, as another general rule, she adds, sales-oriented companies might opt for an urban location so they can be close to their customers, while production or ideation-based firms might find suburban settings more to their liking. But, that rule is being disrupted—to use a word that’s all the rage these days—by the need for affordability and the desire of workers (increasingly millennials) to own homes and start families.
Urban and suburban: Both corporate locations need to create better user experiences, especially since technology has freed workers to choose where they want to work.
Whether city or suburban-bound, more corporate campuses are offering occupants and their employees a fully curated experience, which now means going far beyond fitness centers and designer coffee shops. "Companies today are competing to attract and retain the best and the brightest," notes Sargent. "Office design was once all about workspace. That evolved to include the provision of social aspects, and then learning components were introduced. Now, it’s also about weaving in refreshing components to reinvigorate all and create mindfulness." This can include quiet zones, prayer or yoga spaces—any setting to enhance personal well-being.
And, again, while suburban campuses might need to have such designated spots on-site, the key for urban settings is access to local establishments, even those housed in other tenant spaces. "This is the day of the sharing economy," says Sargent; gone are the days when a tenant on floor two never knew who was on floor five.
"Today, you don’t have to own it," she continues. "You have to have access to it. It’s about how we connect people, not only within an organization, but in your neighborhood and building." The rise of such third-party offerings as Convene for conferencing is proof of the shared concept.
Urban or suburban, corporate campuses all have one thing in common: The need to create better user experiences, especially since technology has freed workers to choose where they want to work. "People no longer need to go to the office," says Sargent. "So, we need to create spaces that are so compelling that people choose to be there."
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, a national editorial advisory firm based in East Northport, New York. He is best known as the founding editor of GlobeSt.com. Prior to launching GlobeSt.com, Salustri was editor of Real Estate Forum.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of BOMA Magazine.