As businesses are returning to the office post-pandemic, office real estate owners are using creative methods to welcome tenants and employees back to the workplace. The implementation of water features at these locations is enabling stakeholders to realize the unique ways these amenities are enhancing their properties. Outside the Lines (OTL), a design-build construction company that specializes in creating water features, has spearheaded the design and construction of fountains that distinguish office properties. We spoke with Sarah Shores, office manager of OTL, about how water features add value to office assets and can help office owners and tenants repopulate the workplace in the post-pandemic era.

1. What challenges do office owners and tenants face in bringing people back to the office?

After two-and-a-half years of some degree of remote work, companies and their teams have become rather adept at operating away from a centralized office. Employees have also grown accustomed to performing their job functions in this way, and for many of them, working from home is all they have experienced in their current positions. In fact, Pew Research shows that 61% of people who work from home say they are choosing to do so even though their office is open and available to them.

That said, we know that certain needs in the working world are not being fulfilled adequately in fully remote office situations. For example, workers long for the creative collaboration and camaraderie that only an in-person office can provide—and business owners know that these elements also make employees more productive and companies more cohesive and successful in the long run.

The challenge for owners is providing the incentives companies need to achieve buy-in from their teams on returning to the office. Employees need motivation to wake earlier, dress in business attire, and make the commute to work, and tenants are looking to office landlords to help provide that motivation.

2. How do water features help these stakeholders overcome these challenges?

Companies are finding that office properties that are both aesthetically appealing and provide the amenities that employees want and need in the post-pandemic era are encouraging their teams to return to the workplace. Water features meet both requirements.

Fountains are beautiful to behold and create a warm and welcoming environment for workers coming back to the office post-COVID. The sight of these structures with their arching water jets, the sounds of water cascading or dappling, and the refreshing feeling of walking or sitting by a water feature are experiences that people are drawn to—especially when juxtaposed against their busy lives and often stressful jobs.

Water features at office properties also provide tenants with a backdrop for individual work, phone calls, casual meetings, socializing, or merely taking a break and enjoying a change of scenery during the day. And they offer a safe place for firms and their teams to gather outside with diminished risk of transmitting viruses.

These are all experiences workers most likely can’t have while working from home, and they are facilitating the transition back to the workplace for many companies.

3. What other benefits do water features offer to office owners?

We have observed that these amenities lend an air of elegance and luxury to office properties that appeals to investors, tenants, and the local community and may even assist in boosting rental income and valuation.

In addition, water features can be a sustainable solution for stakeholders interested in lowering operating costs and meeting requirements for green buildings. Fountains can be incorporated into building systems to reduce strain on HVAC systems, which decreases utility bills significantly—especially during the summer and in hot climates. They can also help owners conserve water by utilizing alternative water sources such as recycled water, HVAC condensate, and captured stormwater.

Further, by partnering with a water feature expert like OTL, office owners can take advantage of maintenance and training programs that keep their fountains attractive, clean, and operating optimally all year long.

4. What else should office stakeholders know about water features?

Water features at office properties are an investment that continues to pay for itself over the years. In addition to aiding in tenants’ transition back to the workplace after so many months away, they help distinguish office assets from their competitors and add real, lasting value that can appreciably impact owners’ bottom lines now and well into the future.

The post Welcome Back: How Water Features are Helping Office Stakeholders Repopulate the Workplace appeared first on Connect CRE.

Gillian Executive Search is a leader in Commerical Office Development, Financing, Design and Construction recruiting.