Your Office is Your Outfit, Dress for Success

The old saying goes that clothes make the man (or woman). While this is not completely true, it’s not completely false either. The same notion could easily apply to real estate. If an office is the clothes a company wears, well, it’s best to dress the part. Much like clothing, office real estate is one part fashion and one part function. The right company digs not only send an important message to the world, they also create an environment conducive to a successful workflow. Let’s take a look at a few ways that office design can prove vital to company success, as well as some examples of actual real estate companies who utilize their offices to practice what they preach. 

The Office as a Recruitment Tool

When vying for top talent, any recruiting edge is valuable. An office space that offers a more inviting and exciting atmosphere can signal prestige and innovation to a potential employee. 

Marie Puybaraud of WorkDesign Magazine advocates a collaborative approach between corporate real estate and the HR department. 

“Today’s job-seekers demand more from their workplace than in previous generations,” explains Puybaraud. “Millennials in particular are infusing new life into the corporate world, with their high expectations for modern amenities and unique experiences. More than ever, the right workplace environment really can make or break an offer.” [1]

In the race for the coolest work environment it’s often large and high profile tech companies that lead the way. Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus has been compared to a village, while Google is similarly keen on aligning their headquarters with their corporate image. Even more modest companies, and landlords, are competing based on everything from fitness centres and golf simulators to beer taps and dog runs. 

“Ten years ago, it was enough to have something, anything, a check-the-box amenity like a fitness center,” says architect Roger Heerema, principal at Wright Heerema Architects.“Today, landlords [are] looking at amenities with much more interest than they did before.” [2]

The Office Can Create an Advantageous Working Environment

The right office can do more than attract employees, it can actually prove vital to innovation, collaboration and workflow. Much has been written about the pros and cons of the open floor concept, but the big takeaway is that office design will affect how employees go about their business. 

Open spaces encourage chance discussions and easy conversation. Meeting rooms of various sizes encourage and facilitate just that: meetings of various sizes. With more and more people working remotely at least some of the time, open and inviting work spaces make it easier for them to hold meetings at the office, with co-workers or with clients. 

Since no two companies are exactly the same, it’s best to carefully consider company objectives and convey them to a comprehensive real estate agent. 

The Office as a PR Tool

“Forward-thinking organizations are leveraging real estate and HR strategies to market the value of their business through both the physical space and the people who inhabit it,” says Puybaraud. [1]

It’s obvious that everything about your company contributes to your overall branding; your physical space should also be representative. Your real estate can portray opulence, trendiness, stability or frugality, so it’s important that your physical space aligns with your desired brand image. 

Real Estate Offices

Offices are of particular importance for real estate companies. Like other industries, they are trying to attract and retain top notch individuals and give them a functional place to work, but, since the product is literally real estate, it becomes even more crucial to practice what you preach. 

Real estate investor Than Merrill argues that everything from the colours on the wall to the books on the shelf should contribute to your brand. We all know that the three biggest factors in real estate are location, location and location, so it’s important to consider what your address says about you. 

“Your address says a ton about your real estate business,” says Merrill. “If you look up a business with a Beverly Hills or Rodeo Dr. address, the company is likely to deal in luxury homes.” [3]

CBRE has made significant renovations to many of its offices as part of its Workplace 360 program. Their investments in technology and collaborative working space have yielded positive results. They have also taken care to brand their offices accordingly. 

As Forbes magazine reports “The design of the Oakland office reflects the industrial market nearby. It has gray tones to embody the steel of the nearby industrial marketplace. Comparatively, the 28,768 sf San Jose office incorporates images of circuit boards throughout to capture the essence of the tech community.” [4]

Since real estate agents spend a lot of time working from home or their vehicle, it’s important to have a space that they can stop by to work privately or hold meetings with clients. RE/MAX House of Real Estate owner and broker Michael Cain explained to Avenue Magazine how their new office has instilled pride in the staff. 

“People like to come in and show their space off. Their clients and the confidence that they have with RE/MAX already, this just instills it even more. They come in and say, ‘Wow. This is great.’ Our business is about impression. When they come in here, they look and they feel that they’re part of a real solid group,” Cain says.[5]

Of course, different companies have different magnitudes and budgets. Even for those who lack the scope or finances to invest in glitzy offices, it’s important to consider company objectives and image, then respond accordingly, doing whatever is in their power to ensure their office reflects their goals. 

[1] Puybaraud, Marie. “Why Real Estate and HR Are Better Together.” Work Design Magazine, July 26, 2018.
[2] Sisson, Patrick. “Be Our Guest: Today’s Offices Are Taking Design Cues from Hotels and Homes.” Curbed. Curbed, April 30, 2019.
[3] Merrill. “Real Estate Office Design: What Does Yours Say About You?” Than Merrill. Than Merrill, September 23, 2015.
[4] Bisnow. “CBRE’s New Office Design Is A Game-Changer.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, May 3, 2017.
[5]“Inside RE/MAX House of Real Estate’s Plant-Filled Office in Altadore.” Avenue Calgary, February 5, 2019.


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Goldbeck Recruiting

Goldbeck Recruiting is a contingency recruitment and executive search firm located in Vancouver, BC. Since 1997, we have been helping companies fill challenging positions that require a unique combination of skills, professionalism, and industry background.

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