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Entries Tagged as 'Office Space Design'

Keys to Maximizing Your Mobile Workforce

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More and more professional workers in all phases of business are working from home office spaces. Your business may already have mobile and virtual workers, but if you have not yet implemented this option, now would be a great time to consider doing so.

Mobile workers in home office spaces and third places are a rapidly growing trend. In the event of inability to physically commute to a brick and mortar office space for any reason, mobile employees can continue performing their functions. The recent damages from Hurricane Sandy are a prime example, but other events such as blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, power grid failures and other similar events can impact a business much harder if virtual office spaces are not already functioning.

The United States government recognized this fact and passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. This legislation mandates that Federal agencies have in place strategies that permit their employees to perform their work remotely. By using alternative work processes during emergencies, work stoppages are minimized since mobile devices can have workers back at work as soon as power is available to operate computers and technological devices.

With a 41% increase in Americans working from home office spaces during the past decade, it is clear that business is finally embracing the alternative work methods of the mobile workforce. In fact, sometimes it is best to get away from work in the traditional office in order to get work done in a quieter, less hectic third place.

No longer should employers think of workers performing business outside the traditional office space as “telecommuters”. Today these workers represent a mobile workforce, going where business can most effectively be accomplished. For some time business professionals have stopped into third places such as coffee shops to conduct business but today companies are making these arrangements formal and acceptable.

There is a huge trend in office space rental to book a meeting space or work cubicle much like booking a hotel room. Entire businesses have become successful by providing the third places where a mobilized workforce can stop to conduct business meetings or have access to printers and copy machines.

The question in the minds of many business owners is “How do I create an effective mobile workforce?” Even with the obvious benefits of reduced overhead by reducing the square footage required when leasing office space, every business owner wants to ensure that going mobile or “moving into the cloud” does not impact productivity or profits. Here are a few simple keys to implementing an effective mobile workforce.

Touchdown Office Space: Sometimes a worker needs to come into an office physically but mobile workers don’t require assigned cubicles. Provide office space that is set up with current technology so that those workers that need to have an on-demand office. Hold meetings that require all company employees to attend at alternative sites such as hotel meetings spaces.  Provide touchdown office space in a traditional leased office or contract with a touchdown space provider if you don’t need a brick and mortar headquarters for your business.

Answering Service: It’s important that going mobile doesn’t impact the company image as a professional entity. Either assign the main office clerical staff to handle phone calls for all employees or contact with a professional answering service. Unless you must maintain a significant on-site staff because of the nature of your business, the answering service solution is a big money saving option.

Technology: Be sure to remain on the cutting edge of technology so the benefits of new devices and communication methods can benefit your business. Provide business-dedicated equipment to employees and upgrade it often. New software applications and improved mobile devices are important to creating a mobile workforce that can stay in touch in the most effective ways and hold virtual meetings as needed.

Outsource: Freelance workers are more available than ever as more and more people open small service industry businesses such as virtual assistant services, writing and editing services and data entry or translation services. Freelancers are professionals who have chosen to become part of the mobile workforce by providing a skilled service to multiple clients. This can provide your company with services on an as-needed basis, allowing the employee with other skills to do the work at which they are most effective.

Communicate: Stay in touch with your mobile workforce. Make it a policy to have daily updates emailed so you know what projects or deals are in work and the status of on-going projects. Hold staff meetings, but do it virtually by using one of the many effective online meeting applications. Update your staff members just as your work in traditional meetings by using email or conference phone calls.

Accept Alternative Work Styles: Let your employees work in whatever way suits them best and allows them to be most effective. Some people work best from their home office space while others prefer third place workspaces while between meetings with clients. Still others need to use the quiet of landing spaces for tedious tasks. Don’t expect every mobile worker to operate in the same manner. Look at productivity, sales or profit, whichever metric best suits your type of business and the mobile workers’ tasks. 

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By: James Osgood

Flexible Workspace , Home Office , Office Space , Office Space Design

Huge Increase in Work from Home in Past Decade

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In just 10 years the trend of working from office space inside a person’s home has soared by 41% according to CNN Money. Rising by four million since 1999, there are over 13 million people working from their homes in the United States alone based on US Census Bureau statistics recently reported.

 One of the drivers behind this huge surge is the fact that broadband internet access has become readily available and affordable. The economic difficulties of recent years have led to workers finding creative ways to make their desktop or laptop computers and other mobile devices generate income. Software applications which allow virtual meetings and voice over internet protocol communications to the entire globe at little or no cost have continued to make working from home even more practical.

While some support staff positions in business require physical presence of a wage earner at a specific office during specific time periods, many other professionals find that working from their home office space is as easy or easier than working in a traditional business location.

For start-up business enterprises, working from home cuts overhead vastly and allows the entrepreneur to start their business organization where many small businesses simply can not operate within their budgets if leasing an office space is required.

 It really doesn’t matter whether a person operates the business or works for an organization owned by another person, the ability to maintain and work from a home office space can be very appealing. In busy cities and rural areas alike, skipping a hectic commute and the reduced fuel and vehicle expense is one point that many state as the driver behind their desire to work from their home one or more days each week.

 Only a few years ago, employers were not very supportive of the idea of having an employee work from home. The fear that production and profit would suffer caused the home as virtual office space to be off to a slow beginning. As employers gave workers the chance to prove themselves in the virtual office world, employers were pleasantly surprised to learn that their businesses thrived as a result and employee satisfaction soared.

Virtual commuter working from home offices saved many business enterprises recently during the October 2012 Hurricane Sandy destruction and on-going recovery efforts. Awakening to find brick and mortar businesses flooded or otherwise damaged by the storm, those workers already set up for working from their home office spaces jumped right back into production as soon as power and internet services were restored. Other workers quickly set up a home office space for doing business. Some businesses that might have been forced to go out of business were saved and continue to generate jobs and profits for their local areas.

While those businesses with mobile workforces were tested during Hurricane Sandy, the impact of school closures and day care center outages allowed those businesses with cloud-based systems were among the most rapid enterprises to return to operation. As a result of the catastrophe, more and more businesses will recognize the benefits inherent to allowing employees to operate from home office spaces.

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By: James Osgood

Flexible Workspace , Office Space Design , Virtual Office Space

Collaboration in Office Space Design is a Must

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I ran across a great article on workspace design titled "A Brave New (Integrated-Business) World."  It provides a great overview of what is happening in the workplace design space with special emphasis on collaboration. Here are some excerpts:

Without a doubt, we’re operating in a brave new business world.

  • The era of cubicle farms and private offices is well behind us
  • Forward-thinking companies realize that future growth lies in the ability to create value-based, multigenerational, and interconnected workspaces
  • Rapid and ever changing technologies are driving this change for furniture that both anticipates and seamlessly integrates these advances

And speaking of integration, with technology advancing at a dizzying rate — what steps are you taking to ensure your workspace reflects this rate of change?

Integration Revolution

Today it’s not a question of whether you should acquire collaborative workspace technologies, it’s deciding what and how soon.

There are several workforce trends that are at the forefront of ushering in the furniture/technology integration revolution, namely “the office minus the office” and “innovation through collaboration.”

With these trends in mind, there are many unique challenges and opportunities for work place design.  Integrated furniture provides an opportunity to leverage the opportunities presented by this connected, global marketplace.

The office minus the office

Let’s paint the picture of the world-class modern office — what will you expect to see? Lavishly appointed offices? Think again.

One thing we can guarantee you’ll see less of in progressive workspaces is actual walls and actual (face-to-face) workers. No longer can we remain tucked away in isolation at work — seating arranged by “neighborhoods,” large-scale open spaces, free-address, “drop-in” workstations, and dedicated brainstorm lounges are all the hallmark features of the next generation of office design.

In short, we’re working in a global platform that demands transparency. Furniture that integrates technology on the front-end provides an additional outlet for the creation of collaborative knowledge, which many experts believe to be the epicenter of innovation.

Innovation through collaboration

Collaboration isn’t just a passing trend — it’s a steadfast business imperative.

Collaboration generates energy, and a workplace with positive energy will produce positive results. The numerous benefits of increased workplace collaboration have been well documented by researchers:

  • Two heads are better than one: employees who are encouraged to collaborate become more engaged at work, sparking greater opportunity for new ideas and insights
  • Companies that foster a team-centered approach to problem solving experience increased retention and productivity rates
  • Effective collaboration plays an integral role in positively influencing how well an organization, irrespective of size, will perform over time
  • The promotion of interaction provides a sustained competitive advantage to the business while boosting employee moral and overall well being
  • Plus, our global economy requires businesses to perform more with less, across multiple time zones, 24/7.

“We know that creating fluid, agile work environments that encourage collaboration will continue to be a challenge for many businesses,” said Paul Waskey, managing director for Regalmark.  “Their ability to foster interactivity in a workplace culture that encourages team-building is intrinsically linked to their ability to cultivate innovation.”

That being said, work environments now must acquire flexible and adaptive furniture solutions that integrate the very technologies driving this change.

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Office Space , Office Space Design

Expand your Office Space Without Leasing More Space

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This is a blog post from one of our Local OfficeFinder Memebers in the Dallas Office Market.

"Nearly everyone enjoys the success of an expanding business. More work, clients and employees allow your business to not only become more successful, but also make a greater impact on your field.

But rent is expensive. It's usually the 2nd-highest expense for most companies. Wouldn't it be great is you could grow your business without taking on the financial burden of expanding office space?

Well there are several simple and cost-effective alternatives to expanding which can be implemented within the perimeters of your existing office.

Rearrange. It seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how much more efficient you can arrange your office. Your office layout may not be set in stone, so explore a redesign of the layout of your space - remove walls, move or replace the furniture to promote density where extra space is underutilized or unnecessary. Rearrange the layout of cubicles. Cubicles are designed with flexibility in mind, so use them to your advantage rather than arbitrarily partitioning your employees. 

Open. Collaborative spaces not only take up less square feet, but they can also promote a more creative and efficient workplace. This is especially true of younger workers who don't want to be isolated in private offices. The social aspect of an open plan where they can talk to each other throughout the day can make a big difference in their happiness in the office. My son recently passed on an offer from another company which included a very large salary increase primarily because the office environment of the new company was very quiet, staid and basically boring. Not everyone will feel this way, of course, but with a generation of workers who have spent a considerable amount of time socializing, studying and working in Starbucks, the buzz of an open environment is preferred. 

ClusterSalespeople are often not in the office much. Instead of dedicating offices or desks in an open layout to each individual person waiting for the occasional visit, condense them into a shared work area. A few shared desks for use as-needed by your on-the-go sales team can save a lot of space and not take away any of the resources. With a shared workspace in place, you can cycle employees between working at home and working in the office. This adds a new dimension of flexibility while allowing for less or reallocated office space. Dynamic office situations such as these can break up monotonous ruts and give a new energy to an office and your employees.

You don't always need more space to expand your business. Sometimes all you need is a new plan.These suggestions may not work for every business and that's okay. It may only take an architect or furniture expert to review your situation to provide solutions other than just taking on more office space. Better to pay an architect, contractor and/or furniture dealer once than to pay the landlord every month for years."

Source

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By: James Osgood

Dallas Office Space , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design

Maximizing the Small Office Space

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Recently smaller commercial office spaces have become the solution for small and medium sized businesses. Some businesses have adopted non-tradition work spaces in which workspaces are shared by whoever needs them at the moment while other team members work on the road or meet with clients. Meeting spaces have becomes smaller and other creative solutions have been implemented to save overhead due to the last few years of tough economic times.

If your business happens to be located in a small office space, you need to maximize the space, both in terms of visual effects and efficiency. The idea is that clients should well welcomed and comfortable while visiting the smaller workspaces and meeting rooms. Here are a few tips for help you maximize a smaller office:

  • Walls: Paint the walls all a single color throughout the office space. Don’t decide to make one room different because it will ruin the visual effect of creating a larger area than actually exists.
  • Lighting: The brighter the commercial office space, the larger it will seem. Dark spaces tend to close in and appear smaller, so be sure to include bright lighting, preferably full-spectrum lights, to make the small office space grow to a larger size visually.
  • Plants: Choose plants that are tall but narrow. Any plant that spreads out widely will close in the space, but tall plants give an up and down visual effect that does not close the space in any way.
  • Floors: Choose a top-quality flooring that is extremely durable and use it throughout your office space. Do not place area rugs over parts of the floor; the idea is to create a larger visual space in your commercial office space by allowing the eye to move from area to area with any breaks in the flooring color or texture.
  • Decorations: Place groups of smaller artwork together rather than placing a single large piece of art in the office. The smaller groups make the brain think that there is more space than is if a large painting or poster is place on the walls. Strategically place a few quality items on tables, desks and other areas; whatever you do, avoid cluttering the areas in your commercial office space.
  • Work Stations: Purchase glass work stations for your office space so that the eye does not really see the object as a break in the visual effect. Large, heavy wooden desks will create a visual break and reduce the maximization effects.

Implement these ideas in ways that suit your specific office space and you will find that the space expands and grows larger. This will allow you to fully enjoy your new, lower overhead without experiencing any negative impacts.  

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By: James Osgood

Flexible Workspace , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design