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How Companies Can Attract Google-Level Talent On A Startup Budget

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A Novel coworking space.

Fitness centers and saunas, group cooking classes, free gourmet meals, a bowling alley, beach volleyball — these may sound like the perks at a five-star resort, but they are actually all part of the day-to-day life of working at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Employees at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington, have spaces for pickup games of soccer, basketball and softball, while workers at the Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle can take their dogs out to play on the rooftop dog park.

Elaborate office amenities help these companies attract and retain top talent, so how can startups working out of shared office spaces ever hope to compete? They can start by choosing the right coworking company. 

“Gyms, roof decks, self-storage, bike rooms, we offer companies of all sizes the types of amenities you usually only see in massive organizations,” Novel Coworking CEO and founder Bill Bennett said. “Because we own all of our buildings, we get to say yes to the types of amenities other coworking companies could never offer.” 

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A Novel coworking space.

Novel’s buildings feature the types of amenities that top commercial real estate developers agree are here to stay, including tenant lounges, event spaces and wellness spaces. Bennett said that the company is able to do this because, unlike many of its competitors, Novel does not rent its 3.2M SF of flexible office space; it owns all of the buildings where it operates.

Where other coworking companies have to ask their landlord for permission to give clients the extras that can help push their business over the top, Novel is able to move forward.

“Our clients can do things in our spaces that allow them to truly stand out,” Bennett said. “They can put their logos on the walls, paint the walls in their company colors and really put their best foot forward for potential employees and clients. They wouldn’t be able to do that at most coworking spaces.”

Bennett added that the average Novel building offers 85K SF, while Novel’s largest competitor averages 43K SF. Since Novel owns its buildings, there’s no need to cram as many clients as possible on to each floor in order to make rent. This gives the company more room to create impressive amenity spaces that its tenants have been able to use to keep their employees happy, attract new clients and draw in top talent. 

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A Novel coworking space.

"I wouldn't say that Novel's Edison lights, kegerators and wine fridges are why we moved in, but they are the sprinkles on top that we get to hold over our teammates at other offices,” said Dimitri Antoniou, vice president of delivery at CodeUp, which rents two offices and a SmartSuite in the Katy Building, Novel’s Dallas location. “We really love the feel of the historic Katy Building, the openness of the floor plans, and the attention to detail present in Novel's amenities. These all definitely elevate the employee and customer experience and help us maintain a magnetic workplace."

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The rooftop event space at Novel's Denver location.

Novel’s SmartSuites are customizable, self-contained workspaces that range in size from 800 SF to 15K SF and feature separate, keycard-accessed entrances, private offices, fiber internet, a kitchen, a conference room and more. CodeUp is looking to expand next year to take up the entire second floor of the Katy.

Novel’s spaces are also designed to help companies impress clients. One of Novel’s two Denver locations features a rooftop event space that tenants can use for networking events, product launches or company celebrations. 

"We considered quite a few coworking spaces around Houston,” said Sarah Smith, co-founder and CEO of The Houston Pod, which rents a private office in one of Novel’s Houston locations. “In the end, we selected Novel because of the amazing amenities that it offered including a fully stocked kitchen with great snacks, coffee, and beer on tap. The added conveniences have been invaluable in helping promote my business and provide my customers with great service."

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Bike rooms in a Novel Coworking space.

Along with espresso bars and beer on tap, Novel’s buildings feature thoughtful amenities designed to make every employee’s life easier. The female-driven executive leadership team was inspired to create spaces other companies may not have thought of — like mothers’ rooms — based on personal experiences. 

“I was working at another company when I had my first child and I had to run out to my car whenever I needed to breastfeed,” Novel Chief Operating Officer Kris Elliott said. “We wanted to make sure women at our spaces wouldn’t face those types of challenges.”

Elliott added that it was Novel Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Rhonda Flemming’s love of biking that inspired the company to add bike rooms to its facilities.

Bottom line: It’s all about providing employees with a comfortable work environment, which can help boost retention, keep people happy and even increase productivity — research shows that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.

“I strongly believe a happy employee is a productive employee,” said Andrea Hermosillo, owner of Pull Business Development, which rents a private office in Novel’s Denver location. “Novel has helped me retain my employees by providing an amenity-rich workplace that makes them feel safe.” 

This feature was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and Novel Coworking. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.