Speed Reads

the great workplace return

Companies are trying to lure employees back to work with high-end office spaces

In just another bid at enticing work-from-home-loving employees back to office buildings, companies have begun "spending more than ever on upscale workspaces," The Wall Street Journal reports, "reaching deep into their pockets to pay high rents for modern, amenity-rich buildings."

Some buildings might include custom-built lounge areas, or perhaps a game room with ping-pong and foosball tables, writes the Journal. The "state-of-the art office towers also emphasize sanitation, outdoor space and sustainability, featuring robust ventilation systems and outside dining areas with fire pits."

The hunt for luxurious headquarters has contributed to the rebound of the otherwise-decimated office leasing market, with such efforts having already "widened to record levels" the discrepancy in rent between premium buildings and just regular ol' office space, notes the Journal. Overall, the office vacancy rate, is still at 16.8 percent, the highest it's been since 2010, per real estate firm CBRE Group Inc.

"It's all about how do we as landlords create an environment that gives their tenants and their employees no excuses not to show up," Jeff Eckert, who heads JLL's U.S. office landlord representation business, told the Journal.

"The top of the top has just gone crazy," added Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive for CBRE.

Stu Ingis — chair of law firm Venable LLP, which is among those companies opting for a more enticing office offering — said his business is more concerned with bringing employees back to work than with the cost of a luxurious space.

Explained Ingis to the Journal: "We want to be able to answer the question: Why would you come in today when you could just stay at home?"