On Feb. 17, our virtual networking session will cover new employee onboarding and retention best practices
Staffing, supply chain issues and workplace changes are the challenges facing FMs
Commercial building owners and operators have been struggling to maintain or add value to their properties since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With many companies adopting work-from-home and eventually hybrid office scenarios — some indefinitely — the role of commercial office space has shifted, leaving the sector challenged to redefine itself in the new normal. Consequently, office stakeholders have been striving to provide what companies and their teams can’t get from remote work. In the process, they are seeking amenities that draw people back to the workplace and help reestablish office properties as essential to business life.
As a design-build construction company specializing in creating one-of-a-kind water features for nearly two decades, our firm has delivered exceptional fountains that distinguish office properties from their competitors. Following are some of the ways we have observed water features adding significant value to these assets while helping firms incentivize their employees to return to the office in the post-COVID era.
Operating office buildings as efficiently and sustainably as possible is a high priority for owners, investors, facilities managers, and tenants.
As environmental, science and governance (ESG) initiatives become necessary and prevalent, implementing systems and amenities that are ecologically sound has grown increasingly important. Equally, as the pandemic and subsequent inflation have exacerbated financial concerns for many office stakeholders, finding cost-effective operations practices is more critical than ever.
Water features are a solution that is both sustainable and cost-efficient. Fountains can be incorporated into a building’s HVAC system to reduce the load on that system, saving both time and money. Moreover, these amenities can utilize recycled water, HVAC condensate, and captured stormwater, which are more environmentally friendly and less costly than potable water.
In addition, today’s water features can be run by technology that detects leaks and/or wasteful conditions and either shuts off the fountain or alerts stakeholders to the situation. Fountains can also be programmed to turn off automatically at night or at other times when people aren’t present, further reducing energy and resource use and lowering operating costs.
Office owners want amenities that are both attractive and easy to operate by on-site staff. Water features are an easy-to-run amenity and operations can be supported by industry professionals.
In fact, many water features can be preserved through maintenance programs that help keep these water features running optimally throughout the year. Regular, thorough water feature maintenance enables potential problems to be caught early, preventing damage to the structure and surrounding property.
Also helpful for office stakeholders are training programs that teach property and facilities managers how to operate their water features properly. Clients with the staff and budget are able to accommodate training on how to program these water features to create amazing fountain shows with lighting, music, and other special effects that dazzle tenants and their employees. This presents another experience that employees won’t have when working from home.
During the pandemic, we learned that outdoor activities were less likely to spread viruses than indoor activities. Water features help building owners create a place where tenants and their team members can gather, relax, and socialize without fear of viral transmission.
Outdoor fountains also provide a safe environment for employees to work, make phone calls, take a break, or enjoy a quick lunch, coffee or a snack before resuming their workday. They offer a change of scenery from indoor workspaces that refreshes, renews, and supports health and wellness while increasing productivity.
These amenities are one of the perks that help make coming into work enjoyable and worthwhile for everyone in an office building.
The ability to increase rental rates is a major goal of commercial building owners and operators, particularly in the present economic climate. Water features can assist stakeholders in achieving this goal.
By both beautifying the surrounding environment and providing an amenity that draws in individuals, fountains increase office properties’ appeal to tenants, enabling owners to command higher rents.
As companies look to motivate current team members and attract top talent, they are increasingly seeking office space with amenities like water features and are more willing to pay a bit extra to secure it.
The pandemic changed the game for building owners and operators, who are now looking for ways to add value to their properties. By increasing efficient and sustainable operations, providing an easily operable amenity, creating a safe environment, and enabling stakeholders to maximize rental income, water features are an ideal office amenity for bringing employees back to the workplace and boosting value in the post-COVID world.
John Cunningham is vice president of operations at OTL, a design-build themed construction company that specializes in rockwork, water features and themed environments for retail entertainment, hospitality, gaming, and golf properties around the globe. Visit www.otl-inc.com for more information.