When Amenities Become the Deciding Factor

By definition, an amenity is a desirable or useful feature of a building. They are often listed well below what used to be considered the “essential” facts (price per sq/ft, building size, availability). As Millennials take over as the largest demographic in the work force, tenants and landlords are starting to pay greater attention to the details buried within the listing.

Office Space Bonuses

Amenity space traditionally only accounts for 3% of a landlord’s portfolio, however a recent industry study shows that percentage has grown to 10% to 12%. That increase accounts for the growing features Millennials are expecting in their work space. Fitness centers, bike sharing programs, accessible food options, high tech common space are just a few of the so-called amenities landlords are having to offer. As we all know nothing is offered for free, buildings that fit the “millennial criteria” (especially in the suburban market) have low vacancy rates and higher rent. We’re seeing it here in the Philadelphia market; construction of new developments has been slow moving, so tenants choosing to stay put are having to weigh whether to put in the amenities themselves or hold out for the right space, at a higher costs.

Filling the Space with Modern Amenities

Despite all its misgivings, the open office concept isn’t going away. In order to truly accommodate the push for collaboration while still keeping those who seek silence happy, today’s office space is looking a lot like an Ikea showroom. Spaces filled with modular furnishings along with open staircases, no more interior doors, and plenty of natural light are just a few of the most “in-demand” amenities. Along with structural demands, there’s also the move away from traditional office furnishings. Standing desks are popular in our office, however we’ve seen chairs swapped for yoga balls and collapsible partitions.  However, we can’t forget the need for privacy, not everyone can or wants consistent noise.

Office Noise

Those of us old enough will remember when clacking typewriters, telephones and dial up internet drowned out co-workers conversations. Now, you can practically hear a pin-drop.  Studies have shown that workers lose 86 minutes a day because of noise distractions. As a result, noise is the biggest office grievance.


Taking this into consideration when looking at spaces, two options are most often considered: a designated room or white noise software. The first can range from a small room padded for noise protection to a closed door conference room. However, that still doesn’t account for the overall office noise. We actually looked into white noise software for a client. The choices are advanced and can carry a hefty price tag.  When considering both options, you need be ready to negotiate with the landlord on who will pay for any modifications.

Future or Futurist

If there’s one thing that’s evident from the years Jackson Cross Partners has been brokering offices for tenants-now more than ever, the office has to fit the employees and not the other way around.  Configuring a workplace to meet the demands of the lastest generation is essential, but remember it’s crucial to have flexiblity because technology is always changing and so are Millennials tastes.