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Returning to the Office Requires Creative Spaces

Offer employees a fun and collaborative environment with a vibrant location in mind.

Offices and work culture are still evolving as the world continues to grapple with the pandemic. Covid-19 caused a massive shift in how companies do business by forcing most to pivot to a remote work environment. However, now that more people in the U.S. are heading back to the office, companies are modifying policies and allowing more flexibility at work.

It is important, now more than ever, for office spaces to be reimagined and offer more inviting environments to entice employees to return to their pre-Covid days.

Future ready offices are key for employees

While working at home was a novelty for many people when the pandemic first hit, it has now caused many employees to have remote work burnout. In fact, according to a recent survey from global online employment platform Monster, over two-thirds (or 69 percent) of employees reported they experienced burnout symptoms while working from home. To combat burnout and to create better environments for workers, companies must carefully consider which buildings they are leasing offices in. They will want to ensure these spaces give employees flexible, interactive and low stress environments; and provide resources which are easy to access, support employee well-being, and improve the overall experience in coming back into work.

The Interlock, a $450 million mixed-use property offering unprecedented space in the Atlanta market, created by SJC Ventures with office leasing led by Stream Realty, is an example of a way that companies can lean into a future ready work environment.

“The Interlock Atlanta is truly the artery that’s bringing together all of the Georgia Tech talent and all the workers who are crushing it in midtown to west midtown,” said Malik Leaphart, senior associate, Stream Realty. “The vibe at the Atlanta location is unmatched. Between the restaurants, retail, and walkability, The Interlock is living and breathing what employees want from their work spaces, especially since the pandemic began.”

Alongside the vibrance of The Interlock’s location, the amenities offered will include a rooftop pool and beer garden, unparalleled dining and shopping, and several first to market tenants like Puttshack, which is the first in the nation, all in one location with office spaces conveniently intermingled among the mix. These are just a few of the features that will be key to draw people out of their homes and back into the office.

“Our goal with The Interlock is helping people realize that coming into work doesn’t have to be stressful. Having all of these amenities in a mixed-use environment creates an inspiring place for people to collaborate — plus it’s way better than being at home. People will want to come in to go to the office,” said Jeff Garrison, principal, SJC Ventures.

Attract and retain top talent

While Atlanta used to lose talent to larger cities like San Francisco and New York, it is now becoming a major tech hub that is attracting larger corporations, being dubbed the Silicon Valley of the South. According to Choose Atlanta the city has transformed into a top tech market with more than 700 startups, 30 Fortune 1000s, of which 16 are Fortune 500s. The result is that Atlanta is a prime location to recruit and retain top talent. In addition, Atlanta is one of the most affordable major metros in the nation, which is enticing for recent graduates. Choose Atlanta said the cost of living is 140 percent less than New York City and it costs 17 percent less to live in Atlanta than in Chicago.

With this influx of business growth and more interest from employees who desire to live in the city, companies that are basing their hubs in the area are able to snag top talent from the true engines of the city — the universities. To better assist recruiting efforts companies have figured out the key is to place their offices near these engines.

“Tech companies want to be near the universities so that they can make recruiting more seamless,” said Jeff DeHart, principal, SJC Ventures. “The Interlock Atlanta is conveniently located close to top universities which offer diverse and versatile engineers and other talented graduates that so many of these companies are looking to recruit. The building also offers a diverse environment which is attractive to new recruits and helps retain employees long-term.”

In addition, companies that are looking to differentiate their office spaces to become more attractive to new recruits are able to do so with the amenity offerings of The Interlock Atlanta plus its proximity to all that West Midtown has to offer.

The Takeaway: The future of work is based on the experience for people

The typical city and office structure was created for the quintessential always on workforce. However, we are in a new era where even the idea of commuting to the office is being questioned by employees. As companies continue to update their return-to-work policies there will be an influx of workers returning to the office. Alongside this companies must also be more understanding and willing to give employees an inclusive space where they feel safe and happy to return to. Office districts must evolve from a single location with limited offerings to become a business destination tied together with mixed-use environments that offer employees services and technology.

“This center will allow for a large company to come in and plant their flag here for a South Eastern hub while being easily connected to the wonderful city of Atlanta connecting its employees to the diversity and liveliness of the city,” said Fain Hicks, principal, SJC Ventures. “The uniqueness of the offerings The Interlock provides is what sets this building apart in Atlanta from the other major Class A office buildings in the area. If a business owner is looking to differentiate itself in a way that will attract and retain top talent, this is the place to do that.”

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