Office Tenant Survey Reveals Trends in Current, Future Space Needs
Much has changed since 1999, the last time the Building Owners and Managers Association International conducted an office tenant survey, but the results are sowing optimism in the industry—even in the age of telework.
Customer service is critical to tenant satisfaction, according to the recently released global office tenant survey by the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA). Last produced in 1999, the latest iteration—conducted by Kingsley Associates—is the first to look at trends and developments in office tenant needs on an international scale.
“In a challenging economy where tenant attraction and retention is especially crucial, anticipating tenant needs is more important than ever,” Joe Markling, BOMA International chair, said in a statement. “The comprehensive information found in ‘What Office Tenants Want’ will offer property professionals valuable insight into the latest workplace trends, allowing them to provide tenants the best possible property experience.”
Despite the recent recession and the telecommuting trend, industry experts are optimistic about the future of the office space market. Of the 1,300 tenants surveyed in March and April, 68 percent said they would increase or have no change in their office space requirements, and 76 percent said they expected an increase or no change in employment.
“These are signs that bode well for the market in general,” said Phil Mobley, vice president at Kingsley Associates. “There seems to be wider adoption with more tenants saying that at least a quarter of their employees are sharing workspace as opposed to working from home. It’s not that telecommuting isn’t happening, but people are talking more about creating places that people want to come and work and stay as opposed to teleworking.”
Quality of service from building managers and owners is also important to tenants, Mobley said.
“It’s fine to have a building that has all the latest bells and whistles and all the best finishings, but if you don’t also have a customer service platform and attitude that matches that, then the tenants are going to see,” he said. “At the end of the day, a building is fundamentally a service—it’s a space that tenants are using so they can drive the global economy and so they can do their jobs.”
One surprise from the survey, Mobley said, is how highly tenants rated the importance of health and hygiene features of a building, including things like touchless restrooms, availability of hand sanitizer, and access to flu shots.
“Tenants really seem to intuitively grasp that that’s a big deal,” he said. “Correspondingly, it’s an opportunity area, because the ownership and management community is probably only just getting started focusing on that.”
What factors were important to your association when selecting your current office space? Share your story in the comments.