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Creating an Agile Workplace Using Office Space Hoteling

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So, You think you might want to change your traditional office into an office hoteling agile office space but have no idea how or where to begin. From the experience of businesses that have successfully performed the transition, we’ve collected some steps that will help you.

Do Your Research

Research on the Internet net and learn about the types of companies that have make successful transitions. Look for ways where your business is similar and ways in which it is different. Do a study on your office over the period of a week or more and assess the actual occupancy. If you find your company office space has 20% or more vacant on average, then this may be a good alternative for you. The higher the normal vacancy rate, the better suited to office hoteling. If you find you run 50% or more vacancy, it only makes good sense to implement office hoteling.

Identify Employees Not Suited to Office Hoteling

Look at your skill mix. Few companies have 100% of their employees away from their traditional workspace the majority of the time. Your receptionist, office manager, some executives and management are in the office on a 90% or greater basis. The traditional office is where they perform their jobs. Those workers should be included in the office hoteling plan as permanent on-site and should remain with their traditional assigned workspace. Choose employees available for agile working is the key to making work more efficient for the hoteling workers once the transition is made.

Determine the Maximum Employee Density on an Average Day

Having looked at average occupancy vacancy rates previously, you should be able to translate that study into a highest average occupancy rate. The lower the occupancy, the more money you can save, but you need to be careful to provide enough hoteling workspaces. If not, you could find unhappy employees standing around waiting for workspaces. It is far better to set up an extra workspace or two to be on the safe side. Office hoteling workspaces don’t have to be large or take up a lot of square footage. Better too many than too few.

Choose an Easy to Use Office Hoteling Reservation Software

When employees choose to come in to utilize a workspace or conference, they will need to log into a control system; the office space hoteling reservation system. By entering a unique identifier, they can pick any available workspace to use for their time in office. They can reserve a meeting room if a client gathering is their purpose, even reserving those spaces several days before the meeting. When the employee has finished using the space they reserved, they simply log out of the office hoteling reservation system, or in the case of a meeting room, might close out their meeting room use and select a workspace to make calls or type up minutes of the meeting. A good office hoteling reservation system will even know which workspace they are using and allow the receptionist to route their calls to where they are at work.

There is Help

Office Hoteling is not a new field and there is help available. There are consultants who specialize in this field and can help you with the transition. it is not necessarily inexpensive to implement an office hoteling system, but it results in savings on average of 30% - 40% of your office rental costs. It is well worth the effort.

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By: James Osgood

Agile Workplace , Office Hoteling , Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space Design

Los Angeles Office Space Market Conditions

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Los Angeles, known as the City of Angels, boasts a population of 3.82 million people soaking up the sunshine and surfing the waves, making it the most populous city in Southern California.  It is home to people from over 140 countries, speaking 224 different languages.
The city is made up of 80 districts and neighborhoods.  Some of the more well known communities are Venice, Bel Air, Hollywood Hills, and Brentwood. Generally, Los Angeles is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, Westside, and San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.

Los Angeles is not only a mecca for the entertainment and media industry, but also for tourism.  With so much diversity in Arts and Culture, over 800 museums and art galleries, sports teams from all major leagues, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., Los Angeles is the place to be.

Los Angeles boasts a very diverse and driven economy.  One of the most substantial economic markets in the U.S., Los Angeles has strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, medicine, research and media, just to name a few. The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, together, comprise the fifth busiest port in the world.  The city is home to six Fortune 500 companies, including real estate group CBRE.  The Downtown Financial District holds offices for many of the U.S. top financial companies, including Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

Being the second largest city in the U.S. comes with its share of problems though, including a high crime rate and high taxes.  With the city of Los Angeles charging a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, many companies have opted to move outside of the city limits into neighboring cities with flat tax fees.  In order to attract more new businesses to Los Angeles, the city has implemented several local incentives, including Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and reduced parking requirements.

In the second quarter of 2013, the Los Angeles office space market experienced a +18,800 square feet net absorption, an increased office vacancy rate of 18.2%, and an increase of asking rental rates to $2.52 per square foot per month or $30.24 per square foot per year.  Given the current office market conditions, tenants are able to obtain landlord concessions such as free rent and improvements. West Los Angeles appears to be the most expensive office space in the area, coming in at $3.33 per square foot per month ($40.00 / sf / yr).

Market

Total Office Vacancy %

Net Office Absorption SF

Asking Mo. Lease Rate SF

Central

20.3%

-14,800

$1.88

Downtown

19.2%

-46,500

$2.75

West

16.0%

83,400

$3.33

Tri Cities

18.1%

-140,600

$2.63

San Fernando/Ventura County

17.7%

172,700

$2.16

South Bay

22.5%

-121,400

$1.99

San Gabriel Valley

13.8%

86,000

$1.89


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By: James Osgood

Los Angeles Office Space , Office Rental , Office Space

SBA 504 Loans and Commercial Real Estate Could Be a Good Fit

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The effects of the financial crisis of 2008-2009 rippled throughout the U.S. economy like a pebble hitting a still lake. The commercial real estate market was hit hard, of course, and unemployment soared, especially in industries tied to real estate.

Credit to finance commercial real estate all but vanished. While the credit markets are finally starting to thaw, it can still be difficult for business owners to secure the financing they need to purchase or renovate commercial property.

Small Business Administration (or SBA) loans are one option that can help many business owners who are struggling to obtain financing. SBA loans are made through regular banks, but the SBA guarantees repayment of a portion of the loan, which helps reduce the bank’s risk.

There are several different types of SBA loans — including the SBA 504 loan, which is often used to finance commercial real estate. SBA 504 loans are available to for-profit small businesses for the acquisition and improvement of owner-occupied commercial property. They offer fixed-rate, long-term financing with 90 percent loan-to-value and a 10- or 20-year amortization schedule.

Here’s how 504 loans work: The bank provides 50 percent of the financing and the SBA 40 percent, while the business owner kicks in the remaining 10 percent. This can provide a huge cash flow advantage compared to a traditional commercial mortgage, which might require a down payment of 20 to 30 percent or more.

For example, with a $500,000 piece of commercial property, the down payment on a 504 loan would be just $50,000, compared to $150,000 or more with a traditional commercial mortgage.

Some changes were made to the SBA loan program by the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act that make it even more attractive. The Act increased the SBA 504 loan limit to $5 million and it expanded the definition of a small business for the purpose of applying for an SBA loan. Any business with a tangible net worth of under $15 million and average net income over the past two years of under $5 million can now apply for an SBA 504 loan.

There’s a wide range of latitude when it comes to how the proceeds from a 504 loan can be used. These include:  finance the purchase of land and existing owner-occupied buildings, construction of new facilities, grading, street improvements, utilities, parking lots, and landscaping, as well as modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities. Soft costs like architectural and legal fees, environmental studies, appraisals, interest and fees can also be rolled into the 504 loan.

Keep in mind that not all banks are created equally when it comes to SBA lending. Be sure to look for a bank that is designated as an “SBA Preferred Lender.” These banks follow a streamlined method of underwriting SBA loans, which usually enables them to process SBA loan applications faster than banks that aren’t SBA Preferred Lenders.

Also, just because a loan is “SBA-guaranteed” doesn’t mean the bank will be any less diligent in its loan underwriting process. You’ll need to prepare the same kind of thorough loan application package for an SBA 504 loan as you would for a traditional commercial mortgage.

SBA 504 loans aren’t a panacea that cures all the ills of the commercial real estate credit crunch. But in the right circumstances, they could help you get the financing you need for a commercial real estate project.

Guest ArOfficeFinder Specialistticle by our Atlana OfficeFinder Specialist

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Atlanta Office Space , Buying Office Space , Financing Office Space , Office Building Sales

How to Find an Office for Rent that Embraces Current Workplace Trends

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Whether you are relocating your business or are moving into your first office, finding the right office for rent can make a big difference to your company’s productivity. While the look and feel of the building, its landscaping and its location determine the reaction of clients, customers and suppliers, the setup of the interior may put you behind the eight ball when compared to your competitors. The easiest way to avoid this pitfall is by staying on top of current trends and implementing them as much as possible.

Avoid the Cubicle Setup

Invented in the 1960s by a savvy office furniture manufacturer, the cubicle has long been hailed as the most conducive setting for the office worker. In a wireless world that no longer needs a lot of the office machines and accompanying furniture that used to be the norm, the cubicle can now actually be a damper on your staff’s productivity. Business Insider notes a survey of 7,000 professionals in a global setting, which had 19 percent decree that the cubicle is a thing of the past.

There is no Need for Offices with Doors

With the exception of doctors and lawyers, the same survey found that 16 percent of respondents noted the disappearance of individual offices with doors. This is particularly true for managers and other executives. Rather than working behind closed doors, 21 percent of survey respondents noted that these professionals are joining the staff in an open workspace environment.

Become Part of the Trend

Commercial real estate brokers have been examining these trends. It has become clear that today’s company thrives in an office space that meets three distinct criteria.

  • Support of ad hoc team work. When wireless technology is the norm, there is no need for workers to stay at their desks. When a project calls for collaboration, team members occupy the same work space for the duration of the job. Creative office designers have experimented with huddle rooms and smaller conference rooms with movable wall panels.  
  • Layout is king. There no longer is a need for the big office that supports plenty of individual workspace. Rather, go for a smaller space as long as it has the open floor plan that lets you set up work spaces based on projects and current business needs.
  • Embrace the coffee shop concept. It may seem at odds with everything that you learned in business school, but there is a strong trend toward renting a space that is kept large by adding a wide variety of seating options versus formalized work stations. Remember, wireless technology makes it possible to take the laptop or tablet anywhere your workers need to be.

The professionals at OfficeFinder, LLC know that it can be a difficult task to find just the right space. Contact us today to discuss the current trend in office rentals and to find out how we can help you get set up.

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By: James Osgood

Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design

Office Space Hoteling Reservation Systems: A Rapidly Emerging Trend

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Perhaps you have heard the term Office Space Hoteling or read an article somewhere in a business journal. This rapidly expanding trend is allowing offices to save space and maximize productivity? It is part of a new office space trend, the Agile Workplace.

Why Join the Trend of Office Hoteling?

If you have a traditional office, walk through the space at any given time and look at all the empty desks. Some people may be telecommuting that day. Other people are out at meetings, visiting clients, department meeting, making sales pitches, and all the other tasks required to make your business a success. Other workers are away on travel to take care of business for your company or gone on a well-earned vacation or away on necessary medical leave. What a lot of wasted square footage you are paying for every month. when you pay rent. Office hoteling can save you tons of money by reducing all this empty space.

What Makes Office Hoteling Work?

Work is no longer just a place, but an activity. However, everyone needs the support of an office with a copy machine, may be support staff, fax machines and a workspace or conference room as needed. And you probably realize a few spots simply won’t work as an agile workspace. For example, the support staff and maybe a high level executive. Those employees need to have dedicated workspaces.

To ensure a worker has a space when needed, a office hoteling reservation system should be in place. When a worker klnows they will need to be in the office, they check into the reservation system with their unique login. They choose an available work space of the kind they need and provide the amount of time they expect to use the space. It is pretty simple and relatively easy to executeon a company wide basis. Different systems allow various means for checking on available space, but the office hoteling reservation system you put in place should be easy to identify vacant spaces and input their reservation.

The worker then goes to their selected workspace and gets right to work. The workspace should have an up to date computer, legal pads, pens, and other handy tools.

Once the employee has performed all the necessary tasks, they neaten the workspace for the next person and go log out of the office hoteling reservation system. It’s as simple as that. Once an employee logs out of  the desk space, another employee can log in and choose that space is they wish or any other available location.

Promote An Agile Workplace and Save Money

Not only will employees feel free to work where they need to work, but as the business owner, you will benefit in a big way. Studies have shown that 40% to 70% of employees work away from their desks in many industries.

Rent is calculated on square footage. If you are paying for even 30% too much square footage, you are throwing dollars to your landlord for nothing. By downsizing the office and changing to a non-traditional setup for all workspaces that make sense not to be dedicated to just one employee, you can reduce your overhead in a very noticeable way. One surpirse you may receive is that employees will be happier and more productive, knowing they can work from where ever they feel they can be more productive.

Up next: Creating an Agile Workplace Using an Office Space Hoteling Reservation System

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By: James Osgood

Agile Workplace , Office Hoteling , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Design