7 Keys To A More Productive Office Space

Whether you are having trouble focusing in your office, or feel stifled and cramped in your cubicle, a disorganized or too-relaxed workspace can be a source of mental blocks and procrastination. But by identifying these distractions, you can come up with a plan to create an environment that prevents distraction and creates a more productive office space. At Modernize, we are committed to helping you find ways to streamline your space and increase productivity. Follow these 7 guidelines to help you create a better workspace that will make your productivity skyrocket and your overall mood improve.

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via Modernize

Office Layout

The first step to creating a more productive office space is to choose a layout that makes sense. Many employees feel their productivity levels rise with a diverse work environment, so if your office space allows, make room for your desk, a sofa and/or chairs, a meeting table, and filing cabinets or other storage. Use your desk for daily tasks such as catching up on emails, working on spreadsheets, and other computer or writing based tasks. A comfortable sofa or chairs is perfect for informal meetings, while a larger and more formal meeting table works best for group meetings and brainstorming sessions. By sticking to these unspoken room dividing rules, you will feel more comfortable in each work space. If you spend some of your time working from home, follow the same rules as above, making sure your home/work boundary lines are clear and that your home office is set up in a similar way.


Nothing stifles productivity like a dimly lit room, so it’s important to get the lighting right in your office space. If you have control of the windows, open the blinds and let in as much natural light as possible. Psychologists have found that sunlight does wonders for mental health. Sadly, a corner office with wall-to-wall windows isn’t available to everyone, so try to pay attention to the lighting you do have and your reaction to it. Are you squinting to read or straining your eyes? Is a dim workspace causing you to feel lethargic? Experiment with some different lighting options. A simple lighting change could alleviate this stress and create a much more productive environment.


Getting the comfort levels just right in your office makes a huge difference in terms of productivity. Too much comfort induces lethargy and sleepiness, whereas too little lowers morale and discourages work.Get the balance right by investing in a few products that will keep you and your office space at optimum output. First, invest in a top-notch office chair or portable back support. According to the American Academy of Physicians, around 90% of adults have experienced back pain, and we all know that getting good back support while you work makes a huge difference in both mood and effectiveness in the workplace. Second, make sure to take control of your body temperature. Most rented and leased office spaces will have centralized air conditioning and heating, so dress for the indoor weather with layers.


Personalizing your office is important for employee morale, but make sure you don’t take it too far. Adopting a minimalist approach will greatly benefit your productivity by helping you focus on work instead of cluttered distractions. A few family photos and low-maintenance plants make your office seem less like the cubicle or boxed room that it is and more like home without taking your attention away from your daily tasks.


Remove all electronics that tend to distract you. Perhaps you work best while playing music in the background—however, playing music on your cell phone leads to texting and surfing the web unintentionally. You may notice that playing pop music has you thinking more about the weekend’s plans than the task at hand. Researchers from Cambridge found that music with lyrics are 48% more likely to distract a worker while music without lyrics increases productivity. Set your radio or music app to a classical music station and watch your productivity levels increase dramatically.


Organize your space for efficiency. Consider how you operate day to day and make the things you access most often easiest to reach. Color code when you can, and label your storage to make old files easy to find. If you also work from home, equip your home office in a similar setup to your rented or leased space: the same technologies, operating systems, and programs will maximize your productivity and efficiency when you are on the go. A productive flexible work space consists of well organized, portable items, so make use of memory sticks, smartphones, and laptops. Lastly, remember to bring your briefcase or portfolio to work every day in case you need to grab files and go.


Those of us with busy work schedules often find it difficult to keep a clean and tidy office space. By putting off the cleaning process, the clutter can become overwhelming and unbearable. Set aside a day each month to organize and clean your workspace and ensure that your space will never become too untidy and disorganized.

A guest blog courtesy of Modernize.

Is Third Place Working Right For Your Company?

Third Place WorkingThird Place Working is a new concept when it comes to office space design and the way businesses and developers develop their office space. It is new and innovative and many companies find third place working to increase productivity among their employees. In this day and age of being able to work from anywhere at any time, third place workspaces can be a valuable addition in designing office space to keep employees happy, productive and engaged.

What is Third Place Working?

Third place working offers a casual coffee shop-type feel within an office campus or development. It provides a flexible, relaxed work environment. It’s not the home -” first place”-and it’s not your office- “second place”, but a comfortable and convenient space built for business. It provides employees with a neutral place where they may work with other employees or even meet with clients.  It feels more like a coffee shop or cafe rather than an extension of the office.

Why does it work?

Many companies are finding that by providing a space where employees can relax and work undisturbed, they are more productive. For years, many have worked remotely from coffee shops. Providing the conveniences of the office with the relaxed environment of a coffee shop on campus is improving productivity for many businesses. Many employees find their work day has fewer interruptions by working in a third place. It can also be a place for casual interaction, collaboration and team building.

What are the benefits?

In a day and age when many employees are able to work from home, some still find it unproductive to do so. The distractions at home can limit productivity, so many find cafe’s or coffee shops instead. Dealing with slow internet and no printers, however, may drive employees back to the office. Campuses or office developments that provide a third place, allows for all the amenities of both home and office. Employees benefit by having all the conveniences of work, but the relaxed environment they may be seeking at home. A third place also provides a social climate in the workspace, allowing employees to foster positive work relationships with other employees. This benefits companies when group projects require cooperation among team members.

The need for providing a third place is becoming more popular. If you would like help in locating a space that may fit your company’s needs to provide a third place workspace for your employees, please contact us. We specialize in representing businesses looking for office space and we help with entire process, even space design. There is no cost to the service and you end up with a professional on your side who understands both the market and the entire process.

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Benefits of Flexible Workplaces

Flexible WorkspacesThe idea of flexible workplaces began in the 1980s, when business centers developed. Regus, the worlds largest provider of flexible workplaces was founded in 1989. Overt time the idea of a flexible work environment has changed and expanded to allow for unique arrangements that now include coworking spaces, agile office space as well as many other options. Because there are so many good options available to businesses today, companies that aren’t interested in a traditional office can still get great space that works for them, their clients, and their budget.

For our purposes here, we will focus on the flexible workspace options for companies looking for smaller amounts of office space, whether small companies or branches of larger ones. For them, flexible workplaces provide the opportunity for  to have all the resources they need, but they will pay significantly less than they would with a more traditional office space. Much of that is related to the services, furniture and equipment that are included in the cost. These workplaces offer private and public space, copy machines, desks, conference rooms, and even a receptionist. They can allow very small companies to appear bigger and more established to prospective clients, without the significant costs associated with a long-term lease on a traditional office space and the hiring of more staff.

An additional benefit is in the length of lease terms required. Most traditional office space will require a 3 to 5 year lease commitment. Many of the flexible workplaces available are on annual renewal plans and many will even go on a month to month basis. This provides the flexibility of fast growing companies to move quickly to take advantage of business opportunities and obtain space as needed, without long term commitments.

Flexible workplaces are generally located in prime locations. Traditional office space in prime locations is usually extremely costly, and that can keep newer or smaller companies from being able to lease in their preferred area. With flexible options, companies can lease office space on a short-term agreement, move if it doesn’t work for them, and avoid being forced to locate their company in a sub-prime location due to costs and availability.

The number of flexible office and workplace options available throughout the world is on the rise, so companies have more options today than ever before. When you contact us, you’ll be taking the first step toward finding a flexible workplace that can help your company maximize its abilities, and its value to clients.

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A Video Tour of Facebook HQ with Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg just posted a Facebook video showing us their new office space and telling us why they designed it as they did. The Facebook HQ office space is mostly open with desks spattered through-out, including his own. No private office for Mark… One thing I noticed was that the noise level was very low. Most likely due to the fact that the ceilings are exceptionally high, allowing the noise to move upward.  This open are design is more or less the standard for high tech companies to allow for team building and collaboration. Facebook is no exceptions. I personally like the feel of the space. Thanks for sharing Mark.Facebook office space

Millennials in the Workplace: This Isn’t Your Father’s Office

Millennials in the workplaceThe generation born after 1980, referred to as Millennials, have a completely different view of career and family life than their predecessors. They have just become the majority of the workforce in the US. Their shift in thinking creates a unique opportunity for companies of all sizes. With increasingly sophisticated employees who are not willing to settle for the status quo, it’s vital that companies change and adapt, or they risk losing their most valuable asset. But, what, exactly, do Millennials in the Workplace want? It’s not what you may expect from a tech savvy group of young workers. In fact, some of their demands might surprise you.

Work and Family Balance

According to research performed by Bentley University, both male and female Millennials are more interested in striking a balance between their work and family time than previous generations. They are not willing to sacrifice time with children, spouses and other loved ones to climb the corporate ladder. In addition, round three-quarters of men and women say they are not willing to jeopardize their personal values in the name of their careers. Millennials also value both maternity and paternity leave, citing it as one of their top concerns. Employers that are sensitive and responsive to this need are more likely to retain talent than those that aren’t.

Workplace Relationships

This segment of the workforce places a premium on the atmosphere of their workplace. Collaborative, mutually respectful, and appreciative environments attract and retain them. They also have a strong need to be a valuable member of the team, but it’s not all about personal recognition. In fact, around 84 percent of Millennials have the desire to make a positive impact on the world around them through their work. Most of these younger workers are not willing to deal with unpleasant situations, disrespect or other dramas in the workplace simply to advance their careers. They are quick to change employers should the circumstances become too difficult.

Career Advancement Timeline

For past generations, the goal was to get your foot in the door of a company, start at ground level and work your way up the ladder as quickly as possible. It was considered a badge of honor, something to aspire to. For this generation, however, it’s not as important to race to the finish line. In fact, most prefer the option to slowly work their way towards higher levels within the company or industry. Therefore, it is a wise move for companies to offer multiple, individualized paths to leadership positions in their workforce. The reality is, however, that over a third of Millennials simply are not interested in leadership roles because it takes time and energy away from their families.

Millennials, while fully aware of the need to secure and retain a well-paid position with a solid company, are not willing to sacrifice much. They demand a workplace that allows them to learn, grow and prosper without taking a moment away from their family lives. If you’d like more information about Millennials in the workplace, or if you have thoughts to share, contact us. We would love to hear from you.

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Tips for Choosing Office Space For Attracting And Retaining Employees

Choosing office spaceChoosing office space is an exciting and often challenging process for most business owners. Not only do you want a space that helps improve your business image, but you will also want a space that contributes to employee satisfaction and productivity.

Considering that an employee spends on average over one-third of their day at the office, a  poorly designed office space can affect morale, productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. When potential candidates enter your workplace, they are taking the environment into consideration. Research has shown that various types of workspaces in an office environment can help improve worker productivity. Therefore, choosing an office space for employees is essential for attracting and retaining great talent. Here are a few ideas of how to do so.


Collaboration is a key element to the success of most businesses. It is also the centerpiece of an agile workplace; a workplace that can change as business needs dictate. Designing your space to encourage collaboration, while still allowing for space that provides privacy and focus can be a challenge. It has become more the norm than the exception. The good news is that most of these spaces are generally open areas with only a small portion of the entire space enclosed. This will mean you can rent less space than you might otherwise, saving up to 40%.

Employee Commute Time

Also when choosing office space, take into account the commute time for your employees. A centralized location is a good idea. Over time, long commutes can have an impact on employee satisfaction. you may also want to even consider flexible working, also a key to an agile workplace, to allow employees to work when and where they choose. Studies have shown employees appreciate this option and happy employees generally mean more engaged and productive employees. You can find average commute times on many of our local office market overviews. Obviously, your goal would be to be under that average for your area.

Diverse Work Environment

You may want to consider an office space that allows for a diverse work environment. Many employees appreciate having a choice of workspaces in the office. Open workspaces help develop professional bonds between employees and managers. This can lead to increased brainstorming sessions and provide a boost in creativity. Personalization of workplaces should not only be allowed, but encouraged (with reason). Let your employees take ownership of the space they occupy. They will be happier and more productive

As you can see, designing and choosing office space for your business requires a bit of effort. However, it is well worth it in the long run for attracting and retaining talented employees.

Contact us today. We can help you find the right office space at the best price. Our services are free, It is a no lose proposition for you.

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3 Factors to Consider When Leasing Office Space

Leasing office space involves more than just thinking about location, price, and size.

leasing office space strategyYou have to find a space that meets those needs, but there are also many other considerations that you must factor into your decision so you can avoid mistakes when leasing office space. A good tenant representative, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, will ensure that you take these, as well as many other considerations into account when leasing office space for your company.

Parking Availability

Parking at some office buildings can be sparse for clients and visitors because the parking lots or garages are filled with employees from the various tenant companies within the building or surrounding area. When you are considering an office space, make sure that you inquire about the parking availability not only for employees, but your visitors too. Most visitors would like to avoid paying for parking when they come to visit you. See if you can negotiate some parking vouchers to alleviate the cost to visitors. Employees don’t like to pay for parking either. A good idea is to lease office space near convenient public transportation to give employees an option other than having to pay for parking.

Security Availability

Companies that are searching for office space want a place that is safe and secure. Some office buildings offer security for the tenants in the building. It is vital that you discuss how the security personnel will interact with your employees and visitors. You should also find out how security personnel will react if there is an incident in the building. Check out the crime rate in the area to make sure you are not moving into a nightmare.

Access Availability

If your business operates during non-traditional hours, you will need to find a building that will allow access during those hours. Some office buildings might lock entrances during certain times. Some may still allow you access, but not visitors. If you plan on doing business during those times, you must consider other options. You don’t want your employees or visitors to find locked entrances when they try to come into your office.

We have a variety of office space options that can meet most needs. Our local tenant reps use proprietary and up-to-date databases to locate just the right office space. Our services are free to our clients. There is no cost to you. So, contact us today so that we can help you find an office space that will allow you to conduct business in a productive environment.

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Competitive Workplace Strategies: Do They Work?

competitive workplaceIs encouraging a competitive workplace right for your business model?

There’s no question that we live in a competitive business culture.

  • Technology changes entire industries every year.
  • Technology also creates industries, creates jobs and eliminates jobs every year.
  • New forms of marketing engage consumers every year, and
  • Businesses are now competing with both local business communities and a global ones.

Over the past few weeks, much has been made of the business culture and work environment at Amazon. There has been much criticism and questioning of the necessity of their highly competitive workplace considered by many to be overly harsh.

In the NY times article on Amazon, it claims that their professional employees are well paid and have the opportunity to work on exciting world-changing projects. The problem arises that they are pushed to the breaking point in a Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest climate where many burn out and end up leaving for less harsh environments.

The big question is, is this the right environment for a 21st century business? Amazon is an extreme example. As one of the top online retailer of the world, they can do pretty much as they please. I would not be surprised to see them making changes after this expose. Many potential millennium recruits may steer away from this type of  competitive workplace environment. After all , their mantra is “work to live,” unlike the baby boomers “live to work” attitude.

So this bring up the question for you of how competitive should your workplace be?

Depending on your industry, there are probably dozens of other daily reminders of what a different time we live in. Business owners and managers are consistently looking for ways to make sure they can still thrive in modern marketplaces. One important way to set your business apart is to hire top talent. However, in so many industries like high-end sales, technology, advertising, finance, oil and gas; you’re not the only suitor that’s come by for Sunday dinner.

One alternative many employers are considering is using competition to develop certain skills in staff they already have. However, aggressive competition isn’t right for every organization.

The Good

Many people believe that every organization should have some competition, and that no competition leads to mediocrity. However, if you’re happy with the way your company is performing and aren’t seeking growth, (this is common with small businesses and microenterprises like shops and corner stores), then aggressive gamification isn’t for your company. Rewarding staff for gaining CEU credits, doing work in the community and other non-competitive acts are the type of workplace strategies that will improve your organization.

However, competition typically does promote performance and productivity, at least for a little while. Just think of the ongoing wars between your local cable and satellite companies. In addition, if you’re having trouble attracting top talent, you’ll find that top performers are attracted to environments where they receive performance rewards and status recognition. This is because they feel employers like this recognize their contribution. As the saying goes, if you don’t make your mate happy someone else will. Well, the same goes for your business’s top performers.

However, you won’t attract non-competitive, easy-going people to your organization. It’s important to understand also that having a company fully staffed with strong individuals might present challenges.

The Bad

Environments that are too competitive can lead to internal destruction as your employees:

  • Undermine one another,
  • Steal clients from one another,
  • Cyber-bully each other,
  • Tarnish each other’s reputation, and
  • Get so distracted with internal drama, they miss opportunities

It’s important to make sure your staff understands that the ultimate competition is with your business’ competition. The wrong kind of competition can inhibit healthy collaboration. Encourage your staff to recognize when it’s time to work together and don’t breed bitterness.

Getting Started

  1. Define your current company culture. An easy-going office should add enrichment games, not competitive ones. A staff of fast-talking sales professionals, however, can handle stiffer competition.
  2. Ask employees if they want to compete. They might know best what will make them work better and faster.
  3. Test your gamification out on one group to make sure it will work in your office. Many people start with sales departments or interns. See if your plan works well and if other staff members seem interested.
  4. Carefully go about introducing the game and gauge results as often as possible to make sure it’s still producing results that benefit your organization.

Contact us today! We understand that enhancing your office doesn’t just stop at choosing your space. Our hope is that businesses can create successful business environments incorporating the right staff, design and current trends.

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Top 10 Metro Areas with Biggest Office Rental Rate Increases

REALTORS® office vacancy graph

REALTORS® office vacancy chart

In the second quarter of 2015, the Seattle metro area — which includes the urban areas in King and Snohomish counties — led the nation’s metro markets in in office rental rate annual increases. While Seattle’s office rental rate increases are high, they are not the only office market in the US seeing significant increases in their office rental rate increase.  Here are the remaining top 10 with the highest annual Office Rental Rate increases.

  1. Seattle 7.2%
  2. San Francisco 6.3%
  3. San Jose 5.9%
  4. Dallas 5%
  5. Boston 4.8%
  6. New York 4.8%
  7. Orange County 4.8%
  8. Miami 3.9%
  9. Austin 3.8%
  10. Philadelphia 3.7%
    Source: Reis via the Seattle Times

While these steep increases of the office rental rate for the top 10 markets are very sharp, thanks to declining supply, the rest of the office markets in the US are also seeing steady declines in the vacancy rates, as well. A recent report on office space rent by the National Association of REALTORS® confirmed that in the 2nd quarter of this year, office vacancies declined 65 basis points to 15.9 percent, compared with a year ago. This will lead to increases in the office rental rate generally throughout the US office markets.

For tenant’s this means it is better not to wait. Rents will be going up over at least the next year or two until more new construction comes on line. Even then, due to the cost of construction, rents will most likely not decline from the highs achieved. This is especially true in the more desirable office buildings in your market. So, don’t delay or you will see your office space costing even more than it does now.

If you would like some free assistance in locating office space, the top professionals at Office Finder are here to help. Feel free to contact us to find out more.

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Prepare Yourself So You Can Avoid Mistakes When Leasing Office Space

No Mistakes leasing office spaceWhen it comes to scouting out a new office space location, you may be in the mood to hit the ground running full speed ahead.  Whether you have a small start-up company or you employ thousands, choosing an office space should not be taken lightly.  We have put together a list of a few common mistakes that businesses make when leasing office space:

Not allowing enough time. Depending on the size of office space you need, it could take up to a year to locate, negotiate and build out the new office. Make sure and allow enough time so that you don’t have to compromise and end up with less than you could have had otherwise. Timeline and process for leasing office space.

Not enough planning.  Don’t be tempted to jump into an agreement when you come across a space that “looks good on paper.”  What may seem like a dream location may not work for your particular business.  Carefully consider the location pluses and minuses, square footage, layout, and design of the building first. Make sure to discuss it with your top employees to get their input. After all they are your most important asset and should be consulted.

Not having representation.  More than likely, the building owner will have a listing agent working on his/her behalf. You cannot rely on them to help you. They are required to represent the best interest of the landlord, not yours. When leasing office space, it’s smart practice to have somebody on your side as well.  A good tenant representative, like the ones at OfficeFinder, will know the nuances of a negotiation and know what the comparable rents in the area are, so you don’t end up making costly mistakes.

Not understanding the documents.  This is another reason why having representation is crucial.  When signing a lease, the paperwork can be lengthy and full of legal jargon.  Have somebody who can help clarify what it all means, so you can be sure you know what you are signing. You can get an idea of the complexity by checking out our leasing office space lease checklist.

Not planning for the future.  Are you hoping for your company to expand in the next five to ten years?  It’s imperative to not only know if the building fits your current needs, but if it will satisfy for your company’s growth as well.

There are several reasons to be cautious when renting for commercial use, but with these tips in mind, they should help you avoid mistakes when leasing office space.  Please contact us to help you find your ideal location.

Also see our post on the Top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space

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