Ask any commercial real estate broker and they’ll tell you they’re seeing more and more connective spaces integrated into office buildings, residential properties, and retail businesses alike. Despite our collective insistence on living 80% of our lives with our heads bent over our iPhones, this surprisingly human trend is gaining real steam in commercial design.
Connective spaces are meant to encourage collaboration and community and they’re particularly valuable to millennials and generation Xers. Designed specifically to induce creativity and association, the best connective spaces are far from empty, purposeless rooms.
So, what are “connective spaces,” and why should commercial real estate brokers care?
Connective Spaces in the Office Environment
Connective spaces in the modern workplace take on many forms. In an advertising agency, a connective area might contain a handful of overstuffed bean bag chairs and two-person tables for sharing a coffee and a chat. In a law firm, a connective space might look more professional – a collection of large tables to accommodate spontaneous meetings or a long working lunch – but the goal is the same: to bring coworkers together in an unstructured, meaningful way.
More and more, commercial designers are fielding requests for office spaces designed specifically to appeal to entrepreneurs, startups, and tech-forward businesses. These kinds of companies (and their employees) skew younger than ever. Perhaps the most distinctive request from this demographic is for “open plan” layouts. When that’s not possible, community spaces can help bridge the gap between what’s seen as a traditional office and what youthful lessees interpret as a modern workspace.
Betting Big on Connective Businesses
Smart businesses are taking the trend of communality to heart. Restaurants and breweries, in particular, are leading the charge. It makes sense: Over 55% of millennials say they prefer communal tables at restaurants, and over 82% say they’ve participated in a live “experience” in the past year alone. Businesses that can create these experiences for their customers are bound to stand out.
Coffee shops have always been excellent at creating communal atmospheres, but they’re not alone. Consider breweries, for example, that integrate conference rooms and event spaces into their floor plans in order to appeal to corporate clients looking for an experience, not a meeting. A donut shop where you can nibble treats and watch bakers work through strategically-placed glass panels. A hair salon designed in such a way that the stylists and the clients are encouraged to chat during service. Connective spaces aren’t just smart design, they’re good business.
Connectivity as a Selling Point
The commercial real estate market is becoming more competitive by the day. Attracting younger tenants and/or tenants who serve a younger demographic requires more than a few Edison bulbs and phone charging stations. High-end tenants are looking for spaces that resonate with their brand, their work, and their team. They understand that space can both hinder and help them achieve their goals.
Creating compelling spaces within a commercial rental requires a special understanding of the way lessees evaluate and ultimately utilize space. Design Your Monday works closely with commercial brokers all over the greater Hartford area to keep tabs on what today’s renters are looking for. Functional communal spaces almost always top the list.
Would you like to learn more about how strategic design can make your property more appealing to younger lessees?
What’s out there,
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Design Your Monday is Hartford’s premier commercial design company.