A Look Inside CBRE’s Incredible “Second Shift”

CBRE is known for having cool offices. Just look at its Workplace360 initiative, which transformed cubicled offices into collaboration perfection.

But, CBRE outdid itself when it opened an office in a repurposed Masonic Temple.

Yes, a Masonic Temple

Opened in January 2016, CBRE moved into a recently renovated Masonic Temple in Glendale, California. The new location quickly became known as one of the company’s most impressive offices, with a strong emphasis on state-of-the-art hospitality, technology, and wellness amenities.

“The Masonic Temple is unlike any office space we have at CBRE,” said Cicily Dostalek, the Workplace360 lead for CBRE’s Workplace team “We occupy 24,000 sq. ft., and the entire space is stunning. The top floor is two stories, almost 40-feet tall, and there is a cathedral roof.”

Even with its unique design, Glendale encompasses many of the trademark Workplace360 elements that have helped to catapult CBRE atop the Forbes “America’s Best Employers” list. These elements include an activity-based environment, a mix of open and enclosed work space, and superior service experience and hospitality.

At Glendale, hospitality has been expanded to include assistance that goes beyond in-office and reaches as far as employees’ “second shift.”  It is part of CBRE’s overarching hospitality goal, to give employees back their most valued possession: time.

What is the Second Shift?

The Second Shift, Cicily said, is the concierge element “focused on solving what employees need to get done when they’ve finished their day job.” In other words, “getting gas, making dinner reservations, running errands - all of those types of activities.”

CBRE thinks those chores can become a real nuisance to productivity and wellness. “The whole point of the program is to provide more time for employees to spend with their family and friends, to indulge in a hobby, or catch up on some overdue work,” explained Cicily.

She added, “We expect a lot of our employees, and we want to make sure they are satisfied and productive. We want to drive happiness, productivity, and wellness with our Workplace360 program.”

Unsurprisingly the response has been extremely positive. “There has been nothing but positive comments coming from the office,” said Cicily. “Brokers and employees alike are using these services to save time and achieve a more ideal work life balance.”

Why the Glendale Office?

In their pursuit to make CBRE an anchor tenant, the Masonic Temple’s landlord Caruso Affiliated focused on providing an amenity that would make a solid difference in the lives of employees. This approach aligns directly with CBRE’s ongoing evolution to attract talent, make going to work enjoyable, and enhancing workplace performance through hospitality services. The Second Shift campaign emerged from this new partnership with Caruso.

“At other Workplace360 offices we have rolled out similar internal concierge programs,” said Cicily. “The program adds a level of hospitality for everyone in the office — both internal and external.” The partnership with Caruso Affiliated presented an opportunity to evolve this service model to the next level. “Caruso Affiliated had already rolled out a retail hospitality program and was interested in applying it to the office environment,” said Cicily. “Since we were their first office property, we were presented with the opportunity to partner with them to create something special for CBRE employees. It was a no-brainer.”

The possibilities extend beyond CBRE’s own walls. As more and more organizations seek the best ways to attract and retain talent, they are looking to CBRE to provide solutions that optimize for experience, not just space. “What we know from working with hundreds of partners and clients, including and beyond CBRE, is that experience is top of mind for everyone,” says Ashley Branca, Director, CBRE’s Workplace team and leader in hospitality. “Our job is to provide in-office solutions that create delight in the workplace, make it easier for employees to do the great work that they were hired to do, and build a community of balance, wellness, and growth.”

The importance of employee experience is particularly true in a competitive market for talent where an internal culture of hospitality service helps employees feel valued and keeps them coming back to work. “The solution was to create a concierge team that could solely focus service experience for employees, clients and visitors. The receptionist can then focus on incoming calls and the added responsibility of managing back-end office support,” said Cicily.  

Can it scale?

The partnership with Caruso Affiliated provided CBRE with a unique opportunity to deliver an evolved concierge service. The workplace team is looking forward to carrying the lessons learned to future Workplace360 offices as well as defining and deploying these types of service models for clients.

“I am really excited to see where Workplace360 concierge service goes,” said Cicily. “We want to take what we’ve learned from working with Caruso and see how we can model it internally at our other offices. I think it’s just going to keep evolving over time.”

As with the growth of the hospitality approach across CBRE, Ashley sees rapid growth of CBRE’s external services. “We are well positioned to push the boundaries of what’s next, and we will continue to define just what it is to be a “world-class” workplace.”

Photo credit: RMA Photography In

Billy Fink
Billy Fink
Billy Fink is a former member of the VTS team. Subscribe to the VTS blog: https://blog.vts.com/
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