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Six Factors That Can Help Turn Your Office Space Into a Great Workplace

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Everyone wants a workplace that is wonderful but why is one workplace great while another is lacking? Is it the leased office space that makes a particular firm productive and profitable? Could it be the specific office furniture or location? None of these things alone make any workplace truly great.

A great workplace is not about the brand of computers, the prestige of the building’s address. Here are six factors that can work together to allow business owners to create an organization that excites employees, resulting in the reputation of being a great workplace.

Replace Policies with Company Mission: Hiring, motivating and retaining top notch employees if not about policies; those are simply rules. Create a company mission and vision that the team believes in and supports. With passion for a mission based on the CEO’s vision, rather than a bunch of policy statements, cultivates a real team capable of leaping forward with ideas and innovations as well as loyalty and hard work.

Nurture Collaboration: Never stifle team members’ desires to work together, carrying ideas from one area of the business into others. Create a workplace where each group or department is allowed to freely convey ideas to other organizational groups. The pay-off in productivity, amazing leaps forward and trained staff retention is incredible.

Cultivate Agile Workspaces: Today’s office space is not the traditional cubicle or corner office. An office hoteling software application allows easy utilization of much smaller workspaces and allows each member of an organization to work in the style that is best for them. Technology allows the telecommuting or third place team members to only be physically in-office as needed. Work areas that provide desks or standing work counters allow team members to avoid the strain of sitting at a computer immobile for hours at a time. Staying in close contact does not have to mean being in the same conference room any longer. The office space of today is any area where business can conveniently and productively be conducted.

Replace Ownership with Membership: Everyone employee is accountable to their customers and managers but in the past processes were “owned” by an employee, generating office stress and politics as power plays were often used to try to win the ownership role. Instead, remove the territorial nature of office spaces and encourage the concept of being privileged to be a member of a team or teams that create revenue and find ways for the company to save money. It becomes everyone’s process and fosters a sense of belonging and identity in the work environment.

Create a Quality Experience for Employees: It is little surprise that employee retention is low in those workspaces that are dull and uninspiring. Create an office space that team members what to enter into and do work. Strive for a vibrant, magnetic space that draws people in during their in-office work time. This engages employees and they will look forward to the connected, exhilarated feeling obtained when they need to hotel an office space for an hour or a day.

Stay on the Cutting Edge: Today’s fast paced, constantly changing economy allows those companies built on flexible office spaces with strong company values and loyalty to survive when others around them fall. As work methods, technological capabilities and mobile computing power speed along, use best practices to stay on the cutting edge. Remember that it’s the people who create value in a knowledge based company; an office is just a space that houses technology where people can come perform productive tasks. .

These are some of the keys that can turn your office space into a great workplace for your employees, making them happier and more productive at the same time.

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By: James Osgood

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

Getting A Great Deal On Your Office Space For Rent

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If your business is new or growing, you need to save money everywhere you can. There are many expenses associated with starting or growing a business and they're not all planned expenses. Wouldn't it be nice to have an even bigger cushion of funds than you planned on originally?  That's entirely possible when you work with a professional to find your office space for rent.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is in choosing the first location for their business.  Maybe it's because they're so excited and eager to get things up and running that they don't take the time to choose carefully.  Or, perhaps it's just lack of experience that results in a need to upgrade to a new property sooner than they thought they would.  For many, however, it's not knowing what the rental market is like for businesses like theirs.  That's why working with a professional office tenant representative is really importnant.

If you're not familiar with the office rental market in your area, it's easy to pay too much for a space that's nowhere near big enough for you. There are also tons of other costly mistakes you can make.  Even though paying too much is a common mistake, that doesn't mean it has to be one that you make.  When you work with OfficeFinder, you'll find our professional services to be second to none in our industry.  We've helped countless, businesses just like yours, find the perfect property that's the right size and the right price.  

If there's one thing we've learned in this business, it's that it's important to have someone you trust on your side.  You need to have an advocate working for you, who has your best interests at heart.  That is what a tenent representative does for you and all at no cost to you.

We'd love to talk to you about your business.  Where do you see yourself in a year?  How about five years?  Why not contact us today, and find out how we could help you find a great deal on the perfect location?

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By: James Osgood

Lease Negotiations , Office Leasing Tips , Office Relocation , Office Rental , Office Space Negotiations

The Trend Toward Flexible Workplaces - How Will it Affect Your Office Space?

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Trends toward flexible workplaces has replaced the “doing business as usual”. In fact, the term “doing business as usual” has almost no meaning today if we want to complete in today’s economy and the changing marketplace. We have three, and in some cases, even four generations colliding in the workforce today and each has its own values, life styles and work styles. These all have to be accommodated in order to turn a profit.

The flexible workplace trend -- that of providing each generation of worker the environment in which they can be most productive -- has been driven by pure dollars and cents (read “sense” here). Even within each generation in the workplace, there are those employees that simply by their very natures work best and are more productive in differing environments.

A truly flexible workplace provides an office space where some workers, especially the most traditional employees such as the veteran and baby boomer generations, report to a desk and perform their tasks from there daily. This category of employee needs the direction of a schedule of 9-5 or similar, reporting five days per week on a more or less fixed schedule. These can be key players in the business and shouldn’t be shunned just because of their old fashioned work style. They need the networking, idea generating, and stability of getting away from home to work. They may have small children that make working from home less than productive, or they have the need for IT support for computer issues. Don’t discount this talent in any way. Their ideas will make money, just as in past decades, but if you only have this type of employee, you will miss out on a world of talent. We all know: talent is everything in staying on the edge of the market today. In order to keep good talent, provide for their needs.

Another wealth of talent is available through the virtual world. From simple, mundane tasks such as data base input to highly creative tasks such as design and graphic arts, people often work best from home. Moms that might not be on the job market due to child care issues can be highly productive while the children are in school and after the kid’s bedtime. People who have the talent but don’t live in your city are also key players in this group of the flexible workplace. There is no good reason why some tasks must be performed between 9 and 5, five days per week. As long as the job is done within budget and schedule, the hours in which it is performed should not be an issue with the virtual employee, rather productivity should be the primary measure. This is one form of outsource, but outsourcing to the highly skilled talent that prefer to skip the commute and use that time to log in, do the job, and log out. It’s a huge trend today with more and more work being doing from home and the employee only appearing for face-to-face meetings or networking when necessary – or never. The employee may be across the country or even across the world from the home office and still produce valuable input. With online meeting tools, you may choose to hold meetings including this type of employee or simply work through assignment, price quote, product delivery, payment. It’s working well today for many businesses.

Depending on your market and what you market, you may need employees that visit clients and customers frequently. This portion of the flexible workplace will provide computer time in the office as needed but  some, or even most, of the job may be performed “on the run”, using personal data devices such as iPhones and laptops and third spaces to get the job done in between client visits. Why have someone drive across town to use a computer with secure networking from just about anywhere. A Starbucks or other Coworking space may be the best workspace to update contacts, send email, update the boss, get the latest info from the office, and pick up the office news via email. This type of employee wants the flexible workspace of choosing a parked auto, a café, their home, or the office to get their jobs done.

If you want to keep happy talent and cut costs, encourage flexible workspaces to stay on the leading  edge and attract the most talented employees. With technology moving forward, and the more traditional type of employee retiring or becoming much scarcer, you may find yourself working from home to operate the entire business in years to come. 

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Coworking office space , Flexible Workspace , Office Relocation , Office Rental , Office Space Design

Commercial Real Estate Market Stabilizing According to NAR

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According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, the US commercial real estate markets stabilizing with more demand and growing employment numbers. According th the NAR forecast office vacancy rates are expected to drop slowly over the next few years. The national office vacancy rate is expect to fall from 16.1% now to 15.3% by the end of 2012. This is based upon their economist's forecast of job growth of 1.5 million and 2 million jobs in 2011 and 2012.

If the NAR is correct and job growth continues at this pace beyond their predicted time period ending 2012, it would be 2018 or 2019 before the Office Vacancy rate drops to a more normal 10% level. This is assuming developers don't decide to provide any significant amount of new office space.

It also means that there are great opportunities in the market place for office tenants looking for office space. With the help of an experience local representative, a great deal can be had on office space of all types.

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Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Negotiations , Office Vacancy Rate , Tenant Representation

Choosing the Right Size for Your Leased Office Space

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When you contact an office finder service to locate a new or different space for your business home, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is,” What size office are you seeking?” Knowing how to respond to that query will make all the difference in the effectiveness of your search for commercial space to lease and your satisfaction with the office that you’ll spend many hours inside conducting business.

Leasing an office which is too small can make you and your employees feel cramped, increase ambient noise levels to near-intolerable, and reduce productivity and employee satisfaction. On the other hand, a space which is significantly too large, beyond predicted near-term growth factors, will result in many extra footsteps during each workday, excessive rent for unused square footage, and give the employees in the workspace a feeling of loneliness rather than the comfort of feeling part of a team.

To select the right office size for your business, consider at these factors:

  •  Executive Offices: These offices are those which need doors that close for executive privacy, usually those which house upper management. Determine how many executive offices you need based on the number of people who require this type of space. As a general yardstick, between 150-300+ square feet should be allocated to each of these offices.
     
  • Reception Area: Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need a lobby or waiting area in the front reception space. To determine the size of this area, consider the average number of people who may be waiting and allow space for seating, tables, lamps, and green plants. You’ll want your front office employee to have plenty of space to provide a professional first impression to those entering your office space. If you plan to place equipment such as copier, fax, and other items needing space for both the hardware and the person operating it, take this into consideration. Provide plenty of walking space around any equipment, furniture, and seating to prevent a feeling of crowding.
     
  • Meeting Space: Do you hold small meetings in your office frequently and conduct large meetings rarely? If so, consider saving money by locating nearby meeting facilities which can be rented only as needed. If, however, you hold large meetings frequently, it may be more cost effective to choose to lease an office space with at least one very large meeting room. Also, consider how many meetings may commonly be scheduled simultaneously. If necessary, select a space with several meeting spaces, but you can save rental charge if you can schedule meetings so that fewer meeting areas are needed. Since the square footage taken up by conference rooms is calculated into your lease fees yet the space may be used infrequently, it can be wise to avoid excessive conference spaces.
     
  • Useable Square Feet per Person: If your employee workspace is open plan using minimal partitions or desks separated by space only, you should plan for 90-125 square feet per employee for desks, filing cabinets, and other necessary furnishings. A closed plan requires more square footage of useable space per person for comfort, on average 125-200 square feet is needed for comfort. Take into account that you also need traffic areas for personnel and client circulation. Crowded walkways can lead to a sense of walking over one another and even result in accidents.
     
  • Community Areas: Every office space needs a space which can be used as a break area or lunch room so that employees can safely store bag lunches in a refrigerator, provide a place for coffee service, and allow those who like to save money by avoiding restaurant lunches have a space to eat. Estimate the size of this area based on what conveniences you plan to provide such as microwave, water cooler, coffee machine, sink, tables, and chairs. You may also need a common area for shared equipment such as copiers, paper shredders, and other common office hardware.
     
  • Sanitary Facilities: You’ll need to take into account restrooms if those are inside your leased space.
     
  • Growth Factor: Look at your company’s plan for future grow and the lease period. Do you expect to grow significantly during the lease lifespan? If so, you’ll want to allow for space in which to grow since there can be stiff penalties if you need to relocate before you lease period has expired. Keep in mind that moving is an expensive proposition since business cards, letterhead, signage, advertising, and other associated costs really add up and if proper planning can prevent an unnecessary relocation, it is well worth the time to carefully consider the future.
     
  • Seek Professional Advice: Choosing a qualified, experienced office locating service and seeking the advice of seasoned commercial real estate professionals can ensure that you choose the perfect office that is right-sized. Each business is unique and a trained professional can best assess your specific requirements. While you should use guidelines to do pre-planning, listen to the advice provide by your professional leasing advisor.

We also have some Online Tools you can use in evaluating how much office space you should rent:

The OfficeFinder Office Space Calculator will give you a fairly accurate idea of the square footage you need.

Our Conventional Office Space Rental vs Executive Suite Offices Rent Calculator will give you a price comparison between renting conventional office space compared to executive Suite Office space.

"How Much Office Space for This? How Much Office Space for That?" will show you the itemized sizes of different areas you may need.

To learn about how your office space should be measured to make sure you get all of the square footage you are paying for CLICK HERE.

Finally there is a lot of other good information related to office space design in other OfficeFinder Blog posts.

If you need office space, we can help! Just CLICK HERE.

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