Tech companies’ needs are much different than those of other industries such as law or accounting firms, stock or insurance brokerage firms, pension or staffing companies, etc. Tech companies are in competition with each other to attract and retain the best programmers, developers, engineers and managers. One of the key methods to attract and retain these millennials is by their office building and space. These must be more than just a place to work as in most industries; these must provide work/ life balance and the cool factor. The millennials have erased the line between work and life so their place of work must reflect that. They should love coming to work.
The number one consideration for the building is its location. Since most millennials prefer an urban environment, the building’s location should be near public transportation. If the building is near a major hub – even better. The building should also accommodate the millennial’s preferred mode of transportation – the bicycle. “Studies show Millennials, in particular, are driving the trend toward alternative transportation issues like Uber and Divvy bikes because they don’t want to own a car.” Older buildings catering to other industries prohibited bicycles from their properties but no more. The tech buildings must not only allow bikes but should provide safe places for them to be stored. Some buildings even provide bicycle repair shops, contributing to the work life balance equation. If the location is in the suburbs, the building should be near major highways and public transportation. It goes without saying that the parking must be plentiful and should even offer charging stations for electric cars.
The second most important consideration is for the building to project the company’s brand and culture. This includes first class “A” buildings, loft buildings, warehouse buildings and everything in-between. This choice is determined by the culture and the brand the company is trying to project. The goal is for the building to be inviting to clients they are trying to attract and the employees they are trying to hire. It is all about the work/life balance equation. “The recent Trip Advisor and New Balance office unveilings in the greater Boston area have included variations on the same theme: these buildings are necessary to attract young talent. With their spiffy, amenity-filled new digs, these companies are competing with the likes of Google, Apple, and Amazon to get the top talent in the country and the world.”
Building amenities to create the work/life balance sought after by employees could include
- Nearby walking or bike trails for lunch time fitness
- Healthy food choices or restaurants should be available.
- An on-site fitness facility or a local health club.
- Pet friendly building rules that allows for dogs to come to the office with their owners.
- Local and easily accessible night life
A great example is the new Apple office space in Sunnyvale, California: “90,000 square feet of rooftop garden space and roughly 2 miles of ground-level walking and bike paths, as well as enough room for a sports court, a bike repair shop and coffee bar”. The world of office space is changing and tech companies are leading the charge. Why not, they are the innovative ones. The tech company’s location is no longer just a place to go to work; it has become an instrument for the tech companies to successfully achieve their objectives.