GLENDALE, CA—During the first week after opening CBRE ‘s newest office at the Masonic Temple in Glendale , the property’s built-in concierge services saved CBRE employees a total of 34 hours in “second shift” tasks, those daily to-do’s that employees otherwise would have to handle after work, according to data collected by landlord Caruso Affiliated. The 112 tasks performed by Caruso’s concierge staff included package pick-up and delivery, gift purchasing and wrapping, restaurant reservations, fueling services and checking tire pressure, grocery shopping, car wash, and even having an acoustic guitar repaired. “We all spend so much time at work, these services have real value in terms of giving our employees back time in their day that they otherwise could spend with family or on hobbies,” said CBRE Los Angeles North managing director David Josker . “For instance, I had an incredibly busy work day, filled with back-to-back meetings, when my wife called to ask me if I could bring home Gatorade and popsicles for one of our daughters who had strep throat. So I called the concierge desk, and by the time I got to my car to drive home, it was sitting in a cooler bag on the backseat of my car. I was able to get home at least 30 minutes earlier than if I would have had to stop on my way.” Money is great. Benefits are nice.  Perks  like free snacks and game tables may sweeten the deal. Yet in order to ensure that workers remain productive and content in their jobs, forward-thinking employers such as CBRE are taking the next step in making sure their people stay for the long haul. These days the typical worker stays at a company for an average of just  3.68 years . It costs 20 percent of an annual salary to replace a mid-level employee and more than twice annual pay to replace a C-suite executive, according to a 2013 study by the  Center for American Progress . So, the ability to recruit and retain top talent is more important than ever. Offering freedom from time-consuming chores allows employees more quality time at home and enables them to focus more at work. Aside from hospitality services, employees also value the freedom a flexible workplace can provide, according to Greg Rokos , president and co-founder of video interviewing firm GreenJobInterview. Workers value the flexibility “to work at their own schedule, their own pace, and even at their own locations,” he says. “We have the tools and technology to allow that now,” he says, calling workplace flexibility perhaps the biggest employee incentive, after basic compensation, such as salary and benefits. CBRE has incorporated its global workplace strategy initiative at the new Glendale office, becoming one of more than 30 Workplace360 offices around the world including the company’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles which was the first in the US when it opened two and a half years ago. The leading-edge workplace strategy approach includes a mix of private, collaborative and social spaces that accommodate varied needs of different job functions and employee preferences. Implementing a policy of “dynamic density” gives employees the flexibility to work in various parts of the office as opposed to being assigned a fixed desk. While flexibility comes with investing in design and creating office environments with a greater diversity of spaces, modern offices also need to provide the right technology that enables employees to work seamlessly from anywhere. Ensuring employees can access key files remotely is key to a productive workforce, according to Lewis C. Horne , CBRE president for the Greater LA and OC region. “We’re helping our employees learn to access information through our cloud sharing and storage system, ensuring they are completely mobile and can access their documents from anywhere, at any time,” Horne says. “We take pride in knowing that while we’re the largest real estate services company in the world, we’re also nimble enough to be able to change our culture and the spaces we work in. Making these changes is about recruiting and retaining top talent.” A CBRE employee survey found 93 percent of workers would not go back to the old way of working, 86 percent believed there was a strong improvement in employee health and wellness and 79 percent of the workforce felt more productive compared to the previous office space. Modern offices, such as the workspace at the new Masonic Temple, are ahead of the curve in differentiating themselves from being mere places of business to being means of recruiting and retaining top talent.

Matthew Heyn is SVP of the Los Angeles North region of CBRE. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

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