In competitive office leasing markets, the significance of the building lobby should not be overlooked. It’s a place where functionality and tenant experience converge, and – if you believe in the old idiom “the first impression is your last” – then it means a hell of a lot to your team of brokers as well.
There are a few lobby staples that every building looking to attract premier tenants should be considering, and we’ve put them together for you in our Class-A Lobby Checklist:
The first step toward a tenant-friendly lobby is proper lighting, and, whenever possible, natural light should be taken advantage of. If your space is especially dim, you may consider cutting out additional windows, or installing glass doors to increase the amount of natural light coming in. Sunlight is inherently welcoming and makes for a more open-feeling environment. Just make sure to keep your glass fixtures clean, or the space will quickly begin to look unkempt.
Along with aesthetics, effective security should be a top priority for an office building, and with the lobby typically being your main entrance point, it’s also your foremost security concern. The goal should be to devise reliable security procedures, without creating hindrances for your everyday tenants. Fob activated doors and turnstiles are a great way to accomplish this, but office buildings with multiple tenants should also hold a physical security presence.
Digital screens can serve several purposes in your property’s common areas, and the best vendors will package multiple tools and features within a single solution. The task most frequently assigned to lobby screens is entertaining occupants during down time. Displaying news and business content will keep visitors engaged, and tenants receive value from the screens everyday as they come in and out or wait for elevators. A great example of digital signage serving as a multi-tool is Captivate’s Multipurpose Display. This solution allows you to share messages to tenants with ScreenCenter, improve wayfinding with a directory, and choose content specifically for your tenant mix.
Aside from elevator cabs, the lobby is the only section of a building where you truly own the design, and therefore it needs to work as an in-house brand ambassador. Your company logo should be present and clearly visible to visitors, and the overall look and feel should reflect your brand philosophy. If “classic” and “timeless” are in your mission statement, your common area should look different than a company’s whose approach is modernistic – and vice-versa.
Minimalism and sparseness may be on trend, but no one enjoys an awkwardly empty lobby. Décor should be professional and high-quality, promoting comfort, without being intrusive or breaking clean lines. Plant life can also improve the atmosphere of workability, and past surveys have found that artwork increases creativity and reduces stress among employees. Avoid being overly trendy with your choices, or you may see your property become outdated faster than desired.
More of a nice-to-have than a need, charging stations are nevertheless a quick way to make properties appear more current, which will help attract younger tenants. If you already have common furniture or a dining area in your lobby, charging stations make a great addition on the cheap. And – if you want to leverage technology even further – integrate wireless charging. IKEA, for example, offers furniture with the technology already built in.
When adding furniture to your lobby, only include what you absolutely need. For large skyscrapers, this may mean full-size common rooms, but in smaller office buildings, you may not have any furniture at all. Lobbies are inherently busy places, and you don’t want to overwhelm the space, or add to the clutter that may already exist. Like your décor, furniture should high-quality, and, of course – comfortable.
You might be surprised seeing this on our checklist, but – as the New York Times has written – smell may very well be the “New Building Amenity.” A lot of this comes down to cleanliness, as high traffic areas, such as lobbies, can drag in a multitude of outside substances. Also watch out for your HVAC system. Failing to maintain it may leave smells, or worse: contaminated air, coming through your vents. Take your efforts to the next level by injecting relaxing scents like lavender and lilac into the air flow. If you want to make a good first impression, a rancid lobby isn’t one.