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Tips For Creating A Home Office When Bringing Your Job Home

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A 2008 World at Work consortium study found that more than 17 million Americans telecommute at least part time, a number that continues to grow as companies look for ways to cut costs and increase productivity

To create a functional home office, interior designer Sharon McCormick suggests considering the following:

Location: Possible spaces include a spare bedroom, bonus room, guest bedroom, walk-in closet, unused living room, dining room, basement, attic, landing, kitchen or, as a last resort, your bedroom.

Privacy: Consider how much privacy and quiet you need and whether you hate feeling isolated.

Tax write-off: If you are looking for a tax deduction, your space will need to be dedicated to work.

Utilities and equipment: Consider whether you have, or can install, electrical outlets, phone jacks and cable in the space. Determine your equipment needs: phone, fax, printer, desktop or laptop. Consider wireless applications to minimize cords and allow for more flexibility.

Lighting: Overhead lighting is optimal and compensates for lack of natural light. Task lighting is needed for individual activities, for example, a desk lamp.

Noise: Telephone conversations with clients or co-workers require a professional atmosphere. Think about adding French doors to a living room, changing out hollow-core doors to solid doors, or adding carpeting and window treatments to muffle outside sounds.

Storage needs: Do you need bookshelves for reference manuals? Filing cabinets? Do you use many office supplies? Will you be keeping sensitive information that needs to be under lock and key?

Desk configuration: An L- or U-shaped arrangement may be best if you like to spread out your projects.
Wire management: Will you end up with unsightly wires everywhere? Sometimes just drilling a grommet hole in a desk can solve that problem.

Source: Courant.com

Flexible Workspace , Home Office , Office Leasing Tips , Office Space Design

Volcanic Eruptions Lead to a 230% Increase in Video Communication in the UK

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April 23, 2010 - Regus, the world’s largest executive suite provider, has seen a 230% increase in video communication over the last week in the UK, helping to alleviate the problem of displacement and enabling business to continue as usual.

Since the situation began last Thursday, demand for virtual meetings has been unprecedented. Across Europe week-on-week demand increased by 180%, whilst on Monday calls to Regus call centres were 450% above the daily average.

Source

Executive Suites , Flexible Workspace , Office Space , Serviced Office Space , UK Office Space , Virtual Office Space

38% of an Office is not Utilized Yet Consumes Resources

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National Green Office Week is focusing public attention on the need for greater environmental sensitivity at work.  But if a real green contribution is to be made, then firms need to look at their office facilities and understand the level to which they are really used.

A study by workplace solutions provider Regus has shown that around 38% of office space is not utilised at any given time.  However, from an environmental point of view, that space is being heated, lit and otherwise consuming energy, whether staff are using it or not.  Therefore office businesses in South Africa need to examine the ways in which they provide workspace facilities in order to better align facilities with actual occupancy, and eliminate the wastage of huge amounts of energy each year.

Various studies have identified that each employee in a service industry business consumes energy equivalent to two tonnes of carbon emission each year.  If the Regus study’s findings about office under-utilisation are combined with these third party statistics on employee workspace energy consumption, then across South Africa’s 3 million office workers, over 2 million tonnes of carbon is being unnecessarily emitted every year.  South African businesses are also wasting money on energy consumption for office space that simply isn’t being used Business’s rands-and-cents perspective on green issues is spotlighted by Joanne Bushell at Regus South Africa.

She notes: “Being smart about the workspace you provide delivers ‘greenback’ to the environment and into your bottom line.  How compelling an argument is that?  Good environmental practice is good business.  But it requires businesses to take a step back and strategically review how they provide employees with workspace.
 
Smart firms are already adopting hybrid solutions that relieve them from the wastage inherent in traditional long-term leases.  Traditional office property arrangements may be retained for the inner core of a company’s administration.  However, the recent global recession has taught us all that firms need to become smarter, more agile and able to morph quickly with volatile and rapidly changing markets.  We need to make sure that our workspace arrangements are totally aligned with the ability to scale and change at the rate that keeps business competitive in the 21st century.  In addition, smart, cost-effective workspace solutions cut carbon emissions, energy costs and waste.”

Bushell, Johannesburg-based Regus vice-president, Middle East and Africa, adds: “Local firms are keen to optimise the economic upturn without renting more space and adding to fixed overheads.
 
“Office space is not only a major cost, it’s also a big user of electricity, air-conditioning and heating fuel – again underlining the relationship between the carbon footprint and the bottom line.”

Source: EPROP

Bolgger's note: Although this is specific to South Africa, it can be apllied to office space everywhere else as well.

Green Office , Office Space , Office Space Design , Office Vacancy Rate

Markets with the Biggest 1Q Jumps in Vacancy Rates and Declines in Rental Rates

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OC Register - Orange County office rents fell at an 8.7% annual rate in the first quarter — 2nd worst drop among 79 U.S. markets tracked by commercial real estate analysts at Reis Inc.

Reis pegged typical Orange County office rents at $27.12 per square foot after tumbling in the past year. Only New York — with its $54 rents after a 12.4% cut in a year — had a bigger drop. (Nationally, rents fell 4.2% in the past year!)

One reason for the Orange County rent cuts was a flood of empty offices. Reis put Orange County office vacancy at 19.6% off all space — up 3.8 percentage points in a year. (Nationally, vacancy ran 17.3% in Q1 — up 2.1 percentage points in a year.)

Only 5 U.S. markets had bigger jumps in their vacancy rates:

    * Seattle: 17.1% Q1 vacancy — up 5.1 percentage points in a year.
    * Phoenix: 25.2%  vacancy — up 4.6 points.
    * Las Vegas: 24.2% vacancy — up 4.3 points.
    * Fairfield (Conn.): 19.2% vacancy — up 4.3 points.
    * Ft. Lauderdale: 20.3% vacancy — up 4.2 points.

Victor Calanog, Reis’ director of research, on the national outlook; “Reis does not expect vacancies to begin declining until 2011. It may take another quarter or two after that for positive rent growth to resume. 2010 will be marked by rising vacancies and negative rent growth, but as the overall economy and labor markets continue to recover, the magnitudes of decline should be far less relative to what we recorded in 2009.”

Office Vacancy Rate , Orange County Office Space , Phoenix Office Space , Seattle Office Space

Rise in Video Conference Bookings Due to Volcanic Ash in Europe

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Officing Today 4/20/2010 - News sources across the globe are reporting on the disruption of so many businesses due to the cloud of volcanic ash over northern Europe that has forced the closure of all airports in the UK, France and Germany. Businessmen stranded away from home or unable to fly to meet colleagues have been beseiging business centres in airport cities like London, Edinburgh  and Manchester  looking for conference airtime. With all the unexpected and very long delays in getting to or from the UK and Europe, business people are turning more and more to the services offered by the serviced office industry.

Executive suites giant Regus reported a 38% rise in bookings for its video conference facilities as a result of delays due to the volcanic ash. Serviced office companies everywhere are opting to use video conference facilities to hold meetings, conduct business and keep things going as normally as possible during this challenging time.

Business centre companies should take a lesson from this experience and start promoting videoconferencing facilities to businesses in their area immediately. But why stop at businesses? Radio reports in London this morning featured a woman visiting friends in Tokyo who was told that her airline could only give her a replacement booking on May 1st, two weeks after her due departure. Maybe she'd like to videoconference her family?
 
Many centres that invested in this equipment have not seen sensible returns from it in the past. Let's hope they don't miss this opportunity to promote the product and get the benefit of the silver lining from this grey cloud.

Executive Suites , Office Space