Do You Really Need a Jetsons-Style Business Center?

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What distinguishes today’s modern office? Michael Black, an agent at Century 21, cites three factors: location, design and technology. How does your business center stack up?

When Century 21 Sweyer & Associates made the decision to update its Wilmington office, they spent the time researching top companies outside of the area. They wanted to see what contributed most to a cohesive, successful environment. Next, they surveyed agents to find out what type of office environment these real estate professionals felt they could thrive in. After their research, they settled on location, design, and technology.

Location is a given in real estate. You chose your business center location, presumably, after doing plenty of market research. You are where you are because the location is strategic to your business goals—and your tenant’s business goals. So let’s move on to design and technology. What lessons can you learn from Century 21’s experience?

“The simplicity of cubicles and bull pens were forgotten when constructing this sprawling sales office. This is immediately apparent when stepping out of the elevator onto the second floor,” says Black. “A glass wall conference room greets guests with its streamlined lights, white seats, and video wall.”

Stop right there. How does your business center’s conference room present? Do you still have outdated furniture and technology? Or are you on the bleeding edge? At least strive for somewhere in between. You don’t necessarily need a video wall, but you do need modern large screen monitors.

Creating an Activity Hub
Other modern upgrades at Century 21 include a new open environment based common area dubbed the Activity Hub. With an emphasis on communication over cubicle, Black explains, the Activity Hub is the highlight of the sales office. Lined with couches, a high granite top seating area, and a video wall communication board, the Activity Hub exudes production with its industrial architecture and lighting. The room makes the most of its space without being overwhelming. An inviting atmosphere persists through the modernity.

“The thing I like about our new space is the ability to connect and collaborate easily with the other Century 21 Sweyer salespeople in our sales HUB area, which is a big open space set up kind of like a coffee house,” Black says. “It is a great meeting place where we can discuss the houses we have for sale, the buyers we are working with, and to strategize together in helping these clients find the home or buyer they are looking for.”

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The new building sports many other conference rooms, agent offices, and work spaces, but the agent’s downtime was considered as well. The second floor includes a fitness room encouraging all company employees to prepare for the annual “Dump your Plump” contest, a company-wide weight loss venture.

Technology. Technology. Technology.
Beyond location, location, location is technology, technology, technology. Indeed, technology is part and parcel to the modern office concept.

“With too little technology, the office comes across as dated. With too much, the customer can be overwhelmed, feeling as if they just entered an episode of The Jetsons,” Black says. “Century 21 Sweyer has found a comfortable balance between the two extremes.”

For example, the common area possesses the most eye-catching piece of technology with its four-screen video communication board, bringing agents updated information on new listings, top agents, weather, and even a live feed of Wrightsville Beach. The Jacksonville, FL office also has a set of video boards to continue the flow of information. With this information furnished in real time at both locations the company is more united and stronger than ever.

“No longer just a place to congregate employees, modern conference rooms are built with interactive displays and video calling,” Black says. “These contemporary advancements have helped agents connect with their consumers, but they also help them stay congruent with current environment friendly trends as Century 21 Sweyer makes their effort to go paperless.”

So where does your business center fit into all this? It’s not necessary to have a Jetsons-style business center with ultra modern bells and whistles, but if you haven’t upgraded in a while it may be time for a more modern look—and modern amenities. It maybe time to reconfigure some of your space and create an Activity Hub, of sorts, all your own.

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