How to cultivate tenant networking in office buildings
Remote work arrangements offer plenty of benefits and grab a lot of the headlines on job sites around the world. However, the office environment offers opportunities to network, collaborate, and spark synergistic relationships that remote arrangements could never hope to compete with. As property owners and managers, it’s in your best interest to build an environment that supports this type of spontaneous connectivity - a type of connectivity that takes a lot more effort and planning than simply building an open-layout office and hoping it’ll do the trick. Read on for four ways to build a vibrant office networking community in your own building.
Leverage common areas into usable space
Don’t let your lobby be dead space. Unique furniture additions - often pulled from the world of co-working spaces - can turn your entrance into a stylish and efficient area perfect for meetings, breakout sessions, or collaborations. Beyond just cubicles and desks, furniture like this includes modern space dividers that turn large open areas into smaller, articulated spaces perfect for multiple simultaneous uses, as well as standing-height work areas and group seating areas.
Beyond the furniture, kick things up a notch with a food or drink vendor in the lobby. Certain high-demand specialty options — particularly health-oriented choices like juice/kombucha bars or “power bowl” makers — don’t require much build-out or space to be able to offer a delicious activity magnet in your lobby. By making your entrance into an attractive shared space where every firm in your building can feel at home, you’ll be adding a terrific value to each of your tenants while also helping plant the seeds of great networking for years to come.
Help your tenant firms with their internal workforce networking efforts.
There are several levels of tenant networking that are important from the landlord’s perspective. First, facilitating networking for coworkers at the same company is an important reminder to your tenants that you’re considerate of their experience. Of course, a lot of that internal networking will happen behind closed doors in spaces you don’t have direct control over, and much of its success will come down to hard-to-impact characteristics like floor plan design, but you still have plenty of room to spur internal networking. Dedicate a portion of your tenant relations budget to firm-specific events held within their office itself, and directly ask firm management how you can help their workers collaborate effectively.
Host cross-tenant events.
While intra-firm events are important, you’ll have an easier time coordinating networking between different companies by taking advantage of the common areas you directly manage. Go beyond the stereotypical office mixer party and take the time to learn who your tenants really are. Depending on the size of your property, you may find industry or skill themes that cross multiple tenants. Schedule rapid-fire focus sessions where workers at different companies in your building can meet over shared interest areas, like finance, consulting, or tech.
Beyond direct event planning, consider taking to social media. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter are very appropriate for organic office-specific networking content. Kickstart the discussion by encouraging conversation related to a specific building hashtag, and watch as tenants from other firms join in. Take it a step farther by launching a social media page for your building itself - a tactic numerous large office buildings are taking advantage of.
Use a tenant experience management platform.
Spontaneous networking can be great, but help make things more directed with a dedicated tenant experience platform shared between every tenant in your building. A platform like Spaceflow allows for easier, more direct communication between your tenants and management staff. It also allows for easier event planning, as well as organic event creation from your tenants themselves. Those industry-specific mixers mentioned above? A tenant experience platform would be the ideal distribution avenue. Spaceflow also helps tenants share services and resources, like car rides. The networking opportunities from a routine carpool are hard to overestimate.
These are just a few of the methods you can use to turn your office building into a networking hotspot, whether for one tenant company or ten. By starting with a foundation of great physical space, adding strong event planning, and integrating a tenant experience platform into your building, you’ll be able to help the professionals in your building develop meaningful work relationships, and give them one more reason to remain in your space for the long haul.