Did you sign a lease for a beautiful new building only to watch employee morale disintegrate after you moved?
Your corporate image and culture is projected in many ways, including your branding and marketing materials, but perhaps in no way more dramatically than in your place of business. Tenants, be they retail, office, or industrial in nature, choose buildings based on their outside appearance or “curb appeal”. While there is no discounting the way a building looks from the street, experienced and knowledgeable real estate brokers know that what you see isn’t always what you get. Poor brokers and naïve tenants overlook the fact that there are two distinct audiences for corporate culture: the outside world (their clients and the public at large) and, no less important, their employees.
On the outside is the architecture, the building skin of granite or glass, the expansive lobby and the corporate identity (not necessarily theirs) on the top of the building. But what is important to your valuable employees? Think ease of parking, the speed of the elevators, the smell of the bathrooms, the design of the suite, and the amenities in the neighborhood. What do you think it does to productivity to have your employees chronically complaining that they are too hot or too cold in their work area, or worse, going home feeling sick because they are hypersensitive to these temperature extremes? Or when they take longer lunch breaks because the food amenities located in or nearby the building are lousy? Or when there are no places nearby to network and socialize after work?
How else does a building impact your business operations? Is that impressive grand lobby in your three story suburban building inflating your rentable square footage and costing you more relative to other alternative buildings? Are you setting yourself up for surprise billings from the landlord because they are doing a poor job managing building operating expenses? It might surprise you to learn that these are all things a good real estate broker can identify before you sign your lease.
Think about it: those companies rated as “the best places to work” in your local business journal never cite the exterior appearance of the building. It’s all about happy employees. And happy employees make for happy clients.