What Tenants Want Now: What Changes are Here to Stay and Why Should Team Members Want to Come Back

Getting team members to return to the office is a difficulty employers and landlords are now dealing with. As a result, upgraded amenities are a necessity and how office space is designed to be used has evolved. I spoke at NAIOP CRE Converge 2022 in Chicago to provide insights into what changes we’ve seen have the strongest impact and return on investment for attracting and retaining tenants and enticing teams to return to the office.

Here are some key factors that were addressed:

Upgrades/Changes to Spaces

  • Create a high-quality work environment that conveys the brand’s story.
  • Curate spaces according to the industry. Work with design professionals who can translate trends to fit the industry’s unique objectives and requirements.
  • Satisfy staff needs for social connection by creating hospitality-like spaces.
  • Office size is changing. At the largest, they were measuring 10’x15’ and now we see 8’x12’ or 8’x8’.


  • Huddle rooms are now utilized as compact, enclosed areas that can accommodate one to two workers and enable workers to escape the clamor of the open workspace.
  • Upgrade the technology. Create Zoom Rooms and other platforms to support conversation including open spaces/furniture solutions.
  • Town Halls were once optional and are now a necessary space that provide team members with a place to take a break and gather together.
  • In order to support how team members live, work, and play, buildings and their locations should provide amenities similar to those found in a workers’ home. As buildings are transforming and tenants are looking to move, these conveniences should be considered.

The Data

  • The location and the type of industry affect every aspect of the data. Space needs and utilization vary greatly between industries and locations.
  • Flexible workplace design is essential as space utilization has changed over time. The workstation to private office ratio has evolved from 50/50 then to 80/20. Workplaces today consist of 30% workstations and private offices and 70% communal, collaborative spaces.
  • Seat-sharing arrangements are being used to adapt to change and accommodate a hybrid environment.
  • A change in square footage is not always a reduction. It’s an evolution in the way space is used.
  • We’re seeing an evolution in costs. Exchanging capital expense (CAPEX) dollars for operational funds to support spaces used for hospitality. Overall footprint may decrease with budgets remaining the same, due to increased spending on hospitality and culture while paying less rent. This enables customization of the workplace environment without altering total spending.

At Ware Malcomb, we create design solutions to transform environments into market relevant, contemporary spaces that maximize our clients’ long term real estate value. To learn more about our interior architecture and design projects, visit our portfolio.

Ware Malcomb leaders at 2022 NAIOP CRE Converge