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Entries for month: December 2012

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.

 Find out out Virtual Office Space or Small Office Alternatives for Home Based Businesses

By: James Osgood

Office Space Design , Virtual Office Space , Flexible Workspace

New Commercial Loans Expected to Increase in 2013

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In commercial real estate, financing is always an extremely important component of the game. Financing makes properties easier to buy, easier to sell, and the availability of good, solid financing definitely does its own part in helping to support commercial real estate property values.

With this in mind, in a report issued in November of this year, Deutsche Bank declared that it expects the issuance of Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) to increase by a full 50% in 2013, totaling to approximately $60 billion in new loans that are expected to be issued within this arena.

For the commercial real estate industry, this is great news!

CMBS represent approximately 23% of all of the loans currently in place on commercial real estate within the United States. An increase of this amount in the issuance of these new securities would then represent the greatest total annual amount of CMBS-type loans that will be issued since the financial meltdown of 2008, which is a very good sign for the direction that commercial real estate is now heading in.

When lenders begin making financing more easily available to borrowers, more buyers will come into the market. As an example of this, when a property is available for sale for $1,000,000.00, but no financing is available to purchase it, the buyer then needs to come up with all cash out of their own pocket. This in itself will reduce the number of potential buyers for the property, as fewer people will be willing to now purchase the property for all cash.

But when available leverage begins to increase with more financing becoming available, and buyers are now able to purchase the property with let’s say 25% down, instead of having to come up with the entire $1,000,000.00 purchase price, more buyers will then become interested in buying the property. This then leads to the seller receiving multiple, competitive offers from more buyers, helping the seller to then obtain a higher price for their property. While at the same time, buyers end up purchasing and owning more properties that they would not have been able to purchase without the availability of this new financing.

In short, this greater availability of good financing is helpful to both buyers and sellers, and it helps to restore both liquidity and an ease in doing transactions within the marketplace again.

In their November report, Deutsche Bank commented on CMBS 3.0, the new program now being utilized to deliver CMBS to the commercial real estate community, by stating the following:

"In our view, it is nearly impossible to over-estimate just how important CMBS 3.0 is to the health of the commercial real estate market."

 In addition, there is more good news for the entire CMBS market. The vast majority of legacy CMBS loans maturing in 2013 should now be able to be refinanced. Deutsche Bank estimates that $34 billion of these loans will be refinanced, that approximately $5 billion of them will be extended, and that only $1 billion of these loans will have to be liquidated. This is a substantial improvement over the current year where only about $1 billion worth of these loans were refinanced, $500 million worth of them were extended, and approximately $4 billion in value were liquidated.

CMBS-type loans have grown to become an important component within the overall availability of financing in commercial real estate. With the way that good financing has been tougher to obtain for commercial properties within recent years, it’s exciting to see that this segment of the market is now poised to expand significantly in 2013.

This is a guest post from one of our OfficeFinder Memebrs in the Atlanta area. Contact the Author

 

Office Space , Investment Real Estate

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