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Entries for month: September 2013

Know Before You Rent Office Space: Internet & Phone Service

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Tip #1: Before finalizing your office rental and moving to a new location, call your Internet and phone provider(s) to prequalify the new address for the communication services that you may possibly need and find out the timing for getting the service up and running. The last thing you want to happen is to move into your new office space only to discover your communication services have not been installed.  A company like ours, National ComTel, can search ALL possible providers at no cost and ensure that all bases are covered.  In terms of timing, typically broadband or high speed Internet can be ordered and provisioned in about ten to fifteen days.  A dedicated circuit like a T-1, Ethernet whether copper or fiber if available will take approximately 45 days.

When it comes to your COMMUNICATION needs, proper planning and vision is the key and understanding your needs. What you need today along with the future should be taken into account. For additional information on moving your Internet and phone services, planning,  or factors to take into account, visit our blog for customer experiences, suggestions, what to do and not do etc. Or call us direct at 800-987-0100.

Guest Post from National ComTel

Office Rental , Office Space

Solving Management’s Top Concerns About Moving to Remote / Flexible Workforces

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Perhaps the business world would have long ago have embraced the concept for flexible workforces and work styles in the office if management could have overcome their top concerns. Perhaps, in part, it is the convergence of improved technology combined with overcoming these concerns that today is moving organizations worldwide toward accepting alternative workplaces and varying ways of accomplishing profitable work tasks. Today we will investigate some of these concerns and their solutions.

Concern: People simply will not work the prescribed number of hours for which I am paying them.

Solution: In the flexible workplace, compensation must migrate toward goals accomplished equaling pay. Many jobs carry a base salary above which performance increases pay earned, including commission jobs like sales. Only management positions are expected to remain solely salary based in the future as more and more jobs will require performance to generate significant payroll.

By tying goals to pay, knowledge-based positions can be fairly compensated. One means of doing so is to establish a pay scale where percentage of sales is equal to actual compensation payment. Real estate sales have long been based on exactly this payment method: if a real estate agent sells a house or leases an office space for a client for $XX, some predefined portion of that client’s payment goes to create the sales agent’s income and that income may be paid from the buyer or seller’s payments, depending on the contract verbiage agreed upon. A method of logging into a computer system to signify starting work and signing out at day’s end may also make sense in some arenas where employee coverage is important.

To develop this type of pay structure, it is critical for management to understand the tasks they manage. This is easy if that manager who came up through the ranks of the industry managed but is much harder if there are no clear subtasks involved.

Also, what is the employee expected to pay for out of that compensation? Is a benefits package paid for by the employer? If so, that expense does not have to come out of the pocket of the employee and compensation can take this into consideration. If the employees must supply their own retirement plans, insurance, vacation down-time and other items frequently included in benefits packages, the compensation must be relatively higher. No employee in today’s professional market is going to be willing to pay for benefits out of pocket for traditional benefits; plus, today there is a penalty for failing to have basic insurance plans in some industries. Consider all aspects of the job critically such as who provides and pays for transportation, technology upgrades, internet and cell phone services and who benefits from these requirements. Then lay out a reasonable compensation package that keeps the staff on their toes to continually improve income levels.

Employers who have already transitioned to pay for performance find that the hours worked actually increase rather than become reduced just because management isn’t there to “manage by walking around”.

Concern: Employees won’t accept change readily.

Solution: Show employees what they are gaining as well as what they are giving up. Sure, there won’t be a window office with their name on the door any longer at the end of the tunnel, but the benefit of having more time with family in lieu of the commute hours is worth much more to many team members.  Give the team some time to come to grips with the pros and cons before making the transition. Let as many employees are possible provide feedback and take their input into strange consideration when establishing policy.

Concern: The change will lead to massive confusion and arguments over compensation.

Solution: This is one area where the employer is totally in control. If the design, documentation and deployment of the new compensation plan is clear, then these types of problems will not arise. You can expect some complaints from those non-performers that were overly compensated for too little goal achievement in the previous plan, but the rest of the staff will almost certain welcome the chance to shine.

Concern: Salaried staff members will rebel.

Solution: There should be few if any salaried or hourly staff members left on your team after full deployment of the new flexible workforce. Only the team members that provide support functions such as receptionists, secretaries, file clerks, and some management that make no sense to transition will remain at a flat rate of compensation.  The only managers that should remain are those that do not produce direct results and those should be truly few and far between. Give a little and provide some type of incentive pay for those team members that remain as part of the static workforce. Perhaps give a bonus for attendance or tie some portion of their work to pay in whatever way makes good sense.

Concern: I will no longer be in true control of my enterprise.

Solution: Invent some creative method of reporting and tracking metrics. You can’t manage what you can’t measure; that has long been known. Now, think of what you truly need to measure the work accomplished by your team in order to compensate them fairly. What goals can be accomplished as subprocesses to achieving a major goal? If your goal is closing a sale, does generate of a unique lead qualify as a major step in the process? You can’t tell unless you know what percentage of sales leads generate closed sales, now can you? Look into logical and concise measurements that define how much to pay each team member for each goal or subgoal accomplished. In some cases the entire assignment of a team member may be achievement of a subgoal. For example, some organizations employ staff members that have the sole goal of generating a new, uniquely qualified lead. If that is your case, then pay those people based on the unique leads they generate. If the sale closes, you might consider paying not only the closing salesperson but the lead generator as bonus since this proved to be a special lead. But that depends on your situation and business model. Choose wisely and your staff will be happy people who strive hard to make profits for the company -- and themselves as a result.

We can help. Contact us so we can get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

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By: James Osgood

Agile Workplace , Flexible Workspace , Office Hoteling , Office Space , Office Space Design

Of Aetna's 35,000 employees, 14,500 do not have a desk

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I just read a blog post about a study that Regus has recently done. Interesting fact:

"US health insurer Aetna, a thought leader in the field, has added training courses to the mix so remote workers and their managers can be brought up to speed on effective flexible working methods. Of Aetna's 35,000 employees, 14,500 do not have a desk."

The move towards the Agile Workplace is steadily moving forward. We are starting to see more and more companies embrace remote working. What does this mean to the office space industry? Good question. It can only mean that in the future, assuming this trend continues, less office space will be needed. It does not necessarily mean that we won't see new construction. There is almost always a demand for new product. What I think it may mean is that older buildings will suffer high vacancies and need to find other uses. Only time will tell.

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By: James Osgood

Agile Workplace , Executive Suites , Flexible Workspace , Office Hoteling , Office Rental , Office Space

Finding an Office Space for Lease: Maybe You Should Go For A Short Term Office Rental Instead

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When you find the right office space for lease, it is tempting to negotiate a long-term lease. Yet is this really in your best interest? Critics of short-term leases have claimed as long ago as 2009 that this practice was on its way out the door. The New York Observer ran a piece that spoke of a “looming obsolescence,” which observers attributed to business owners’ willingness to once again think long-term.

Asserting that short-tem leasing was a clear sign of a clouded vision, the experts celebrated the companies that decided to commit to a decade-long stay at a variety of prominent office buildings. Fast forward to 2013, and – to paraphrase Mark Twain – it becomes clear that rumors of short-term leasing’s demise have indeed been greatly exaggerated.

In fact, business insiders now recognize that thinking short-term can actually cut costs and position your business for future growth.

  • Be flexible. Are you in expansion talks? A short-term office lease lets you be as nimble as you need if a quick physical relocation or shifts of your business’s emphasis are in your future. Rather than committing to a long-term office lease, you have the option of renewing the lease at some point in the near future or walking away to grow your company. If you are locked in a long-term lease, this move could be so costly that it might make it impossible to turn your plans into reality.
  • Test-drive the size. Do 1,200 square feet meet your needs? Do 2,300 square feet sound like a lot today but maybe meet your needs perfectly in a month or two? When you choose an office space for lease with an eye on trying out the size and the amenities, you have the option of upgrading or downsizing to meet your realistic needs and budget limitations. If you made a mistake in your initial estimate, you can fix it in a few short months.
  • Analyze the expenses. There are a number of short-term office lease buildings that feature a concierge and on-site business services. These costs are usually rolled into the leasing price. Taking advantage of these amenities has the potential of saving you money in the long run, particularly if you are paying staff members or contractors to provide these services.

Of course, there are also plenty of other reasons to consider renting an office space with a short-term lease in mind. If you are currently experiencing funding restrictions, are going through a bout of down-sizing or are in a recovery after a major shakeup of your industry or company, a short-term lease gives you the chance to get settled and plan for your business’s future. On the other side, if rental rates are on the up-swing, going short term will cost you more in the long run. At OfficeFinder, LLC, our office tenant reps make it their business to ensure that your company finds the perfect office space and leasing terms. Contact us today to discuss your business’s needs.

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By: James Osgood

Office Space , Office Rental , Lease Negotiations , Office Leasing Tips , Agile Workplace

Dallas Office Space - Office Market Conditions and More

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Dallas, or “The Big D”, is the ninth largest city in the United States, and the third largest in the state of Texas.  Downtown is the hub of Central Dallas, with several hot spots such as Uptown, and West Village.  East Dallas is a trendy arts area close to Downtown.  The newer area of the city, Midtown, is currently undergoing construction of new restaurants, retail businesses, and apartments.  South Dallas contains large amounts of undeveloped land, due to slow growth in the area. 

Dallas is well known for its culinary cuisine, which includes barbecue, Mexican and Tex-Mex, and several top ranked steakhouses in the nation. The city is also home to a thriving arts community spanning across many districts throughout the downtown area, including the Arts District, City Center District, and Deep Ellum. 

Texans love their sports, and Dallas is home to many professional teams, spanning all four major leagues: NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL.  The city has several sports stadiums and arenas to accommodate all of its teams, including AT&T Stadium, Texas Stadium, and Reunion Arena.  The number of stadiums makes Dallas a good candidate for the 2020 Summer Olympics.  If you are more of a participant than a observer, Dallas offers many recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, biking, and camping. 

The economy of Dallas is anchored by the telecommunications and engineering industries and is home to 12 Fortune 500 companies.  According to Forbes Magazine 2011, Dallas is also home to 17 billionaires.  In addition, the city has more retail shopping outlets per capita than any other in the U.S. and is the nation’s third most popular destination for business travel. 

The Dallas office space and commercial real estate market traditionally has a high vacancy rate, and was at over 23% in the first half of 2013.  Although, this rate is expected to gradually drop over the next few years.  As for asking rental rates, they increased in Q1 2013.  Dallas is expected to continue to be a leader in the economic recovery and a desirable city for expansion and relocation for businesses.

Sub-Market

Total Vacancy (SF)

Avg. Asking Rent ($ SF)

Downtown

Class A:    6,774,052

Class B:    1,688,743

Class A:    $24.31

Class B:    $18.62

Suburban

Class A:    11,434,527

Class B:    13,862,626

Class A:    $22.96

Class B:    $17.50

Source: Jones Lang LaSalle Office Statistics, Dallas, Q2 2013

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By: James Osgood

Office Space , Dallas Office Space