How BOMA Members Can Help Re-Ignite Office Attendance

Finding value in the office through Workplace Strategy

April 9, 2024 • Logan Gradison, Director – Workplace Strategy, Transwestern Real Estate Services

As building owners and managers, you’re well aware that offices have changed dramatically since 2020. What exactly has changed and why is relatively self-evident. Office attendance is low and working from home remains the preference amongst most office workers. How long these changes will last and what will drive meaningful change for the better remains to be seen.

As advisors to office occupiers, we’re at the forefront of this conversation. Since 2021, we have surveyed thousands of end users, interviewed dozens of C-Suite members, and worked with over 50 organizations across the United States, all for a single purpose, to determine the value proposition that will increase office attendance and make going to the office worth the commute.

For one Washington, DC-based trade association, that value proposition was casual interaction. While its staff felt technically productive working from home, many also felt isolated from the organization, its mission, and their colleagues. By fostering casual interactions through hybrid policy, architecture, and design, the association brought back the “fly-by” interactions that once infused their workdays with feelings of camaraderie and shared purpose.

In-person attendance is at the heart of a meaningful in-office experience. In fact, without a critical mass of people, offices are much like concert halls without performers and audiences, merely empty venues. But getting folks into the office is difficult.

So what? What’s the role of building owners and managers in all of this? How can you improve the office experience and increase its value? After all, you’ve already upgraded fitness centers, built state-of-the-art conference centers, constructed rooftop decks, and updated restrooms throughout your properties.

Why it matters:

Your building has direct effect on attendance

At one large international NGO, the in-office internet is so slow and unreliable that team members take important virtual meetings from home, where the quality is much better.

At a large DC-Based association, employees complained that at times it was, “physically too cold to work.”

There are two opportunities for landlords. First, make any remaining improvements needed for a seamless in-office experience (additional details below). Second, offer tenants workplace strategy as a service, so they can maximize the in-office experience for their staff, based on their unique situation and organizational priorities.

We have identified the following areas as those with the greatest concern amongst end users and the greatest ability to improve from the owner / manager side:

       1.       Attendance policies and anchor days are essential for an effective hybrid workplace.

       2.       The in-office experience must be better than working from home.

       3.       In-office Wi-Fi and tech must function reliably and seamlessly.

       4.       Leaders and managers must model ideal behaviors – from casual “water cooler” conversations, to using the latest tech, to following attendance policies. 

Simply put, the in-office experience must be seamless. This manifests itself in countless areas, from the responsiveness of building management to the cleanliness and upkeep of restrooms, to the ease of use of shared amenities.

Another important factor in making the office prove its value is simply including end-users in the job-defining process. Collaboration equals investment, and investment in the office promotes attendance.

The collaborative effort may include Workplace Strategy, formal or informal focus groups, discussions or surveys about organizational priorities and balancing those needs with employee preferences.

Workplace Strategy identifies opportunities to align organizational culture, collaboration, and communication. It results in a range of recommendations to gain efficiencies and build consensus, including process improvement and changes to the physical office environment.

The office has a lot to prove before attendance becomes perfunctory again. And that’s why organizations are asking their offices to step up and be indispensable.

As building owners and managers, you have an opportunity to support this movement. Ask what jobs your tenants have tasked their offices with, and you’ll discover how you can make your building equally as indispensable.

Re-examining the examples above, areas where building owners can add value include:

  •           Better than home,” experience
  •          Ultra-fast and reliable Wi-Fi
  •          High-quality fitness centers
  •          Easy-to-reserve and use amenities
  •          Environmentally responsible practices
  •          Friendly and approachable building staff

By expecting more out of the office, office occupiers are asking their offices, buildings, management, and landlords to step up and prove their value unlike ever before. This is an opportunity for building owners and managers to stand out and actively help to improve office attendance.


Logan Gradison helps organizations define their office space needs. Her areas of interest include, developing workplace strategies for hybrid organizations, NGO’s, and law firms. Logan is the Director of Workplace Strategy at Transwestern.