In Central London, where many of the world’s most powerful companies have office space, having the right amenities and services can be a necessary luxury to occupiers whose employees spend all day working inside.
Companies, especially tech firms, are beginning to hire individuals with hospitality and client services backgrounds.
Imagine having your dry cleaning dropped off, your next flight booked, and even your child care lined up, without leaving your desk. Enter the workplace concierge, which takes office perks to the next level.
In an emerging workplace trend, landlords and companies are offering hotel-like concierge services to help employees balance their work and personal lives.
For instance, per a 2013 Financial Times article, a senior executive working at an energy trading company in a London office building was able to book tickets for the Belgian Grand Prix by way of the building’s concierge. With workers in the office at all hours of the day (and sometimes at night), a concierge can be a game-changer, often arranging help for important life tasks such as car repairs and errands.
Indeed, companies, especially tech firms, are beginning to hire individuals with hospitality and client services backgrounds who can ultimately provide a high-level experience inside the workplace.
“Technology companies are looking for people who have a focus on hospitality,” says Erica Stricker, a managing director within CBRE. “They are now bringing in teams with experience in five-star hotels or boutique resorts because they offer a level of service that will differentiate them from other technology providers.”
Hang Your Hat and Get Your Car Repaired (at the Office)
Typical concierge services can vary from dry cleaning, travel booking and child care to planning dinner parties and taking a car in for an oil change. While some of these offerings can seem luxurious on the surface, the goal of these services is to help landlords and companies make the workday lives of their employees, tenants and visitors easier and more efficient.
“Landlords, especially, are going above and beyond what we have seen in the past. In order to attract tenants, their service offerings are becoming more robust. If you have a birthday party you need a gift for, they have individuals who can purchase that for you,” says Stricker. “It’s full service.”
Providing concierge services can have a marked improvement on overall employee satisfaction. According to the 2014 Society for Human Resource Management Benefits Survey, 3 percent of employers offered concierge services, which can typically range in cost from $3 to $8 per employee per month. In addition to improving the work-life balance of employees, these services can reduce employee turnover. Bronson Healthcare Group, a health care services company based in Michigan, reported a 54 percent drop in overall employee turnover three years after making concierge services available to its staff.
To Concierge or Not to Concierge
When it comes to concierge services, there are two different approaches. Some companies focus on cost management, while others focus on making sure employees and clients receive the best possible experience.
As is the case with tech companies, the reception area is a prime opportunity to showcase their technology, products, and the innovative ways the company and its people operate.
“We found that some companies were focused on cost management, and because of that they are utilizing technology advancements to make the experience less dependent on an individual,” says Stricker. “Their focus on the experience is more [centered] on ease and speed.”
On the other end of the spectrum are companies focused more on making sure that employees and clients alike are receiving the best possible experience. In the tech world, where there is a high demand for skilled employees, delivering this kind of experience can help companies retain and attract this talent.
“Tech companies often have fairly affluent companies visiting them to potentially invest in their products and services. These companies need to stand out amongst their peers and they’re trying to find every way to do that. This is one option in a suite of options to build an experience in order to attract and retain prospective clients and employees,” says Stricker.
“It impacts everyone, from external individuals that are coming in for sales meetings or interviews to internal employees. Companies want them to have an elevated, high-tech experience and the reception area is the first opportunity to deliver that experience,” says Stricker. “We are seeing a lot of clients starting to invest in these reception areas.”
As is the case with tech companies, the reception area is a prime opportunity to showcase their technology, products, and the innovative ways the company and its people operate. Both cost-conscious companies and other firms that emphasize the employee experience are heavily focused on technology solutions to further their respective goals.
Ultimately, says Stricker, the combination of a company’s technology and concierge services helps make the best first impression the moment people set foot inside.