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    Will the “Envy Office” Help Revive the Office Building Market?

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the era of remote work, companies and businesses have been looking for unique ways to draw workers back to the office. The “envy office” - or office buildings with aesthetically pleasing and Instagrammable lobbies, conference rooms, or shared spaces - are the latest attempt to get remote workers returning to in-person work. From bright, colorful walls perfect for posing in front of, to exposed brick and beams meant to mirror a coffeehouse aesthetic, companies are hoping homey, luxurious environments will help workers see the office as a destination spot. Owners and landlords may see this trend occurring more often amid attempts to revive the struggling office building market. 

    Let’s take a closer look at the “envy office” trend, and its implications for office space as an asset class: 

    The Role of the “Envy Office” in the Office Building Market 

    The “envy office”, a term coined by the New York Times, differs both from the cubicle format of the traditional office and the hot desking culture of early tech startups. Instead, envy offices aim to incentivize workers back to the office with bright walls, vibrant plant life, banquettes, tables with coffee table books, and library nooks. Companies want the workplace to feel both homey and glamorous, luring workers back to the office for the opportunity to snap a photo for their social media feed. Jordan Goldstein, co-managing principal at architecture firm Gensler, described the new ideal office as “taking cues from home, from hospitality, and Pinterest,” in the New York Times. 

    Enviable offices often feature biophilic design, a type of architecture integrating sustainable materials, the natural world, and plants to promote health and productivity. Plant life and natural light make environments more pleasant to work in, and sustainability is increasingly a desired feature among prospective employees. In a survey conducted by the US Green Building Council, 79% of employees said, other factors being equal, they were more likely to accept a job in a LEED-certified building. Sustainable design elements make office space fresh and Instagram-worthy while demonstrating a company’s commitment to the environment to prospective workers.

    Design renovations can be costly, and while not every business will be able to afford these upgrades, the spaces are indicative of larger trends in office space. As remote work remains dominant, envy offices allow companies to prioritize flexible working, and encourage younger workers to share their offices on social media. Class A office space with health and wellness options, social spaces, and hospitality features continues to win out. Workers want the office to be a destination spot, and a place to take aesthetically pleasing social media pictures can act as a desirable amenity, especially among younger employees. 

    Discover how to save up to 6% on overall project costs by becoming more  proactive and data-driven in your project delivery. Book a Demo today.

    “Envy Office” Success Stories 

    Instagrammable offices are working as a way to catch the eye of younger employees, showing how the trend could give a boost to the struggling office market. As a result, many companies have already converted or renovated their space to align with the trend. The company Magic Spoon’s SoHo offices made waves online with cereal-themed conference rooms, colorful couches, and bright social spaces. Marriot opened a new corporate office in 2022, a hospitality-forward, amenity-rich building meant to look like one of its hotels. The new building has a cafe on the ground floor, a three-story atrium in the center of the building, and an entire floor dedicated to health, wellness, and childcare. Barclays, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are among the other high-profile companies seeking homey, aesthetic-first redesigns, showing the strength of the trend. 

    The rise of luxurious, photo-worthy workspaces extends into the shared workspace industry as well. High-profile coworking business The Wing pioneered the idea that Instagram-worthy design could be part of the draw for customers, and the designers behind the spaces went on to found the architecture firm Roarke. Roarke is now helping startups across industries execute similarly visual office layouts, helping hybrid and shared workspaces redesign for adaptability, productivity, and positivity. The Wing shuttered during the pandemic, but aesthetics are continuing to be at the front and center of the business model for co-working spaces. 

    Roarke may have pioneered the Instagram-centric space, but new co-working clubs are adopting highly visual aesthetics of their own. For example, Neuhouse, a co-working space in New York and Los Angeles, offers a highly-curated aesthetic experience for customers. The buildings are largely adaptive reuse projects, such as a defunct CBS studio in Hollywood or a repurposed space in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The interiors feature low-lighting, exposed wood, and sound-dampening furniture, making all aspects of the space highly photographable and well-suited for its ideal customer base of business creatives. Bian, a health and wellness-oriented coworking club based in Chicago, offers a clean and minimalist aesthetic for customers. 

    Leveraging Technology to Assess Office Building Market Opportunities 

    Looking ahead at the real estate industry’s 2024 predictions, Class B and Class C office space will likely continue to struggle. Class A office space, especially combined in mixed-use projects, caters better to the current market. If your team is considering an amenity-rich, luxury office space similar to the envy offices currently on the rise, modern real estate development software can help your team determine the risks and rewards of including these assets in your portfolio. Northspyre’s real estate development platform empowers you to leverage data to determine what your projects should cost based on location, asset class, and other factors. The platform acts as your real estate command center, empowering you to leverage data from 175 billion dollars worth of projects fused with algorithmic intelligence to facilitate your decision-making. 

    Learn More About Northspyre 

    Northspyre is the purpose-built, single software solution ensuring high returns from pre-development to stabilization on your complex development projects. The platform is designed to keep projects on track and budget, allowing your team to leverage data and automation in early project planning to quickly bring projects to market. Eliminate the gut decisions, error-prone spreadsheets, and information silos that undermine your project before it begins. Leverage Northspyre’s Anticipated Cost Report to detect risks and accurately track aspects of your project finances including contingency, variance, available funds, cost per square foot, acquisition costs, and more.

    Book a demo today and start ensuring all your complex development projects come in on time and on budget.

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