3 Workplace Strategies That Will Boost Productivity And Morale

For some business owners, blending workplace productivity with morale can seem like something of a balancing act. But this doesn’t have to be the case when you employ workplace strategies that prioritize both. In this post, we will examine three key workplace strategies that will help you boost productivity and morale in the office.

  1. Set up Spaces to Disconnect: With technology and social connection dominating not only our personal lives, but our work, it is becoming increasingly harder to step away from the online connectivity. However, if you want to place more emphasis on empowering the natural creative talents of your employees, you’ll need to set up an area where your team can disconnect. Have an internet-free zone somewhere in the office. Dedicate this space to natural production of creative ideas where inspiration won’t be interrupted by the internet.
  2. Keep Placing Emphasis on Flexible Work Areas: Although we have seen a recent push in workplace flexibility, it’s important to continuously re-introduce it to your team. Don’t let these flexible spaces be underutilized. Part of the reason some companies might struggle to utilize these spaces more often is because employees don’t know how. If many workers have been used to the cubicle setup for decades, it can be difficult to break that habit. Continue to reiterate the availability of unassigned work spaces and encourage your employees to use them.
  3. Prioritize Coworking: Coworking is not just for the creative freelancer. If you are employing co-working tactics in your company, embrace this mode of working and celebrate the benefits of it. Continue to evolve your coworking strategy to build both flexibility and stronger relationships among your talented employees. Offer an agile workplace with flexibility to meet your needs and boost productivity and morale among your employees.

For more info of getting help with your office space needs, contact us today.

5 Ways to Make Your Workplace Millennial Friendly

Looking to make your workplace a better fit for millennials? Millennials are now the majority of the workforce and research shows that millennials are also a major driving force behind workplace change. Here are a few tips for making your workplace millennial-friendly.

Incorporate Technology

Millennials are in love with technology. Find ways to incorporate tech into your workforce. Go digital and discard the paperwork. You can also use technology to collaborate on various projects, whether in the office or remotely. You can create private groups on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn groups, for your workers to connect even when not at work.

Offer Flexibility

Millennials don’t like sitting in a cubicle eight hours a day. Offer flexibility, such as lounges or sofas where they can work on their laptops. You can even give them an opportunity to work remotely at times.

Offer a Workout Area

Offer your employees the opportunity to work out. You don’t need a full gym. A treadmill, a chin-up bar, and a few weights may be enough. You can also get standing desks and treadmill desks for your workers.

Offer a Snack and Drink Bar

Millennials love a fridge full of cold drinks. Offer soft drinks and perhaps even beer. Offer various healthy snacks such as fruits and health bars. Let them understand that you trust them to use the snack bar to improve their performance.

Go Green

Millennials care about the environment. Make your office a green office. Do this by making the building, office products and business practices environmentally friendly.

While the workplace itself is not the only thing that will keep millennials happy, it is a start. For help with finding a workplace millennial friendly and everyone else, contact us today!

Creating Connections in Coworking Office Space

Coworking office space provides you a great opportunity to make business connections and generate new business from within. Just outside your office door are so many potential clients. Are you using your work environment to your competitive advantage?

Here are three tips for how you can create meaningful business relationships in your own coworking office space.

  • Participate in Informal Networking Events. Most  coworking office space offers their resident companies learning opportunities, lunches, happy hour activities, and other times to just gather in the common areas. Use this time as chance to get to know the companies around you. Find out more about these companies lines of business. Remember to bring your business cards with you too.
  • Monitor Message Boards. Many coworking spaces offer a place to post information about yourself and your company. This is also a chance to see if others are posting job opportunities too. Often you will see that companies are posting for accounting services, graphic designers, videographers or legal services.
  • Use Your Space as a Calling Card. Many coworking spaces allow you to put your logo on your door or on the windows to your office. Use this also as an opportunity to create a poster sized board within site of the common areas with more information about your company, something similar to what you might bring to a trade show. The companies around you will get a chance to see you and your line of business. This may encourage them to knock on your door.

The best by-product of coworking office space is that opportunity lies just outside your door. Contact us for more information on how we can find the right office space for you.

3 Critical Tips for Successful Office Space Leasing

Office Space Leasing is an important step for your business. However, jumping into just any lease available may not work out in the end. You may wonder what to look for in leasing office space, so we’ve developed 3 tips to help you on your journey.

Consider your business’ brand

When you look for an office, you want to keep your business brand in mind. You may think, what does my brand have to do with the office space. The fact is every part of your business is relevant to your branding image. You want the office to reflect a consistent image of your business’ brand. Your brand is important to not only your customers, but also to your employees. For example, if your brand image is about being down to earth, then certain office spaces may enhance that better. On the other hand, if your image is refined or elegant, then you wouldn’t want a casual office. Both your customers and employees will relate you your company better with a clear brand identification.

Consider the size

In office space leasing, size is important especially if you have many employees. Obviously, you don’t want to pay for space you won’t use, but be mindful of your potential to grow. Maybe, your plans don’t include expanding in size and you know the smallest size office will work. Consider the options provided with an agile workplace strategy. Thinking ahead early will spare you headaches later. Finding an office to lease with a bit of wiggle room or room to grow will likely be worth the investment.

Consider enlisting help

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have extra time to waste. That’s why it’s a good idea to enlist a tenant representative to help you find the best match in leasing office space for your business. Using a tenant rep service such as OfficeFinder is a time-saver. They also ensure you avoid costly mistakes. After all most tenants only have to make a move every few years. Tenant reps help businesses every day to get the fight space at the right price Plus, there is no cost to you for their services. Contact us today for more information about finding your next office!

CBC Survey Results on Employee Workplace Preferences

An interview with Fred Schmidt, Chief Operating Officer of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates on  their recent survey about employee workplace preferences.

Intro: On this call today we have Fred Schmidt, Chief Operating Officer of Coldwell Banker Commercial. We also have James Osgood the founder of OfficeFinder. They will be discussing the CBC Survey Results on Employee Workplace Preferences.

James: Thank you. The purpose of this call is to talk with you about your recent survey about employee workplace preferences. First, Fred, can you tell me a little bit about Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates and what they do?

Fred: Sure. Coldwell Banker Commercial is in 275 locations in 44 countries. We have about 3600 associates. We have all the full-service capabilities from retail office, industrial, multifamily investments and property management. That’s more or less, we’re a commercial entity with regard to all that.

James: So, you’re international and have capabilities of servicing clients who are looking for commercial real estate of all types throughout the world then?

Fred: That’s correct. I have been in the business 37 years. Coincidentally on this discussion, because I know what you do with your report, I was a formerly a tenant rep office broker also [laughs]. I come from that world.

James: OfficeFinder is a network of commercial real estate brokers specializing in tenant representation and executive suites. We have roughly 500 tenant rep members and 500 executive suite members in our network including quite a few Coldwell Banker Commercial associates. We primarily service the US and Canada. We refer our visitors to our members to help them meet their office space needs and provide them information on the process as well.

James: Let’s get back to the survey. You did a survey about Employees Workplace Preferences. I guess a couple of questions I would have is, why did you do it and what did you expect to find?

Fred: This is with the Harris Poll. It will be our third or fourth year. What’s the purpose? The premise was to compare and contrast. Also, to see the evolution of the user and occupier of space. How are they looking at that space? What does it mean? What the dynamics? What are they feeling? Evaluating in terms of generations; millennials, boomers, generation x, all the generations in the workforce; all those types of things. There were no preliminary expectations or thoughts looking at this survey.

I think I was just saying to the team when you jumped on, that I think a lot of what they’re saying about the need for privacy or private areas to work and to do certain types of tasks. It’s really common sense if you take a step and look at it, depending on the type of work you are doing, or what your task is. There’s times that you need space where you can be in the collaborative environment working with other people. There’s other times when you need privacy to be able to do that work. A lot of it is common sense when you take a step back and look it, yes, this makes sense.

James: One of the things that I’ve seen going into many offices with open areas, especially with the millennials is that headphones are the new walls. You’ll walk through an office and you’ll see people with headphones on listening to whatever it is they may be listening to, but also gives a signal that, “Hey, I need my privacy to get my work done.” As another means that they’re using now to be able to create a do not disturb signal that effectively creates a wall within an open area.

Fred: I think that’s some interesting observation. We have open plans at our offices, our headquarters. There are a lot of folks, on our team, including those that use their headphones as they’re working. So, it’s interesting that when people need privacy, when they need to have conversations or really need to concentrate, they need private areas. I like that headphones are the new wall, I think it’s an interesting phenomenon.

James: Actually, the post we did on it a few years ago was kind of interesting. Walking around in open area offices and seeing all the headphones demonstrates how they can be used to allow less distractions. There are a lot of these newer spaces, like WeWork coworking spaces that are open area. They do have the collaborative areas, and the phone booths for privacy. They are pretty interesting and very popular now, especially for millennials. Although, people of all age groups are joining in the preference for the coworking style and open space, too. Anyway, getting back to the survey, were there any surprises in the survey? Is there anything that was surprised you to find out?

Fred: I think the ones that were coming out at us were of people, folks saying that we could better utilize our physical space, the actual tenants in there, as a way to utilize it, and how it manifests itself. I’ve got floor plans for about a third of them so that was interesting to see.

They are much more aware because when you’re on an open plan you become aware of the configuration how it impacts their work. I don’t think that was as much in the past. I know that we’ve heard as much about them, that awareness of the space you’re in. But if you think about it, when you are spending well over a third of your life at work,  it’s logical that people will the cognitive of that.

James: Absolutely I have heard studies that talking about the average use of office space is about fifty percent at any one point in time. So, I think the open area with the flexibility of perhaps having different workstations at any one time could be much more cost-effective for employers. Not needing to take quite as much space, too.

Fred: Well the average square foot per employee has gone down according to CoreNet as you probably know it’s about 150 square feet per person as compared to 250 to 300 over ten years ago. The open space design, the shared space, which is one of our questions was definitely a major factor. I think particularly in the millennial generations were the majority in terms of willingness to share their work spaces.

I think in terms of corporate America looking at your point about 50% usage, that change is one that will be very interesting. I think going forward we will see more people sharing desks, hoteling and working remotely.

James: You mentioned the different generations. I see in your workplace preferences report that the results are divided up by employee generation. You know one of the big challenges I think a lot of businesses have is trying to keep a balance between the millennial workers and the baby boomer workers. Is there a way to do that or are their styles so generally very different to be incompatible? Baby boomers are typically office-oriented, and the millennials prefer, as you mentioned in the survey, a more communal type of office environment.

Fred: I think here’s we have to be careful of the generational play, I’m a of boomer okay? [laughs]. I think the cultural shift definitely toward the open plans and managing to that is probably as key as the actual physical space, the way people conduct and handle their business.

You just mentioned the earphone as the new wall. I don’t think many boomers are walking around with their earphones on. They’d probably be more attuned to getting into private areas. Not necessarily private offices, but private areas. I worked at an open-plan for a good, part of my career. I think there is always sensibility with regard to that but managing the culture of your office and the type of work you’re doing still need to be paid attention to.

This is what we’re obviously painting things with the broad brush and looking at what the needs by generation are. But like I said if you are depending on the project, depending on the work, that will dictate where you’re going to use space or how you’re going to use it if that makes sense. I know it’s a very nuance thing but it’s very important to pay attention to. And then it isn’t necessarily generational.

James: One of the things that struck me in the press release was the discussions about 63% of workers surveyed would like to see easy parking. This seems to be a contradiction to the desire for people to have office space in the downtown markets now versus the suburban markets. Obviously, the suburban market’s parking is readily available but downtown it’s much more of a challenge.

Fred: It is one of those anomalies we’re saying, “Is this a trend or is it something that we’re seeing?” and if you look at older– younger millennials 63% of the group are looking at the parking. So, we’re not sure. I think it’s one of those things that you maybe ask the questions next year and the year after and then you’ll see a trend might evolving on that.

James: I guess it’s really a contradiction to the findings, they want convenience with more lunch time options in the workplace and then they want ample parking. Suburbia doesn’t typically have a lot of lunch options nearby and downtown won’t have a lot of parking.

Fred: We paint in broad strokes but if you look around the country, two thirds to three quarters of the working population is out in the suburbs or exurbs, just outside the city. I’m not sure of the exact number but it’s something like that. So, at the end of the day, despite all what we talked about urbanization or everything else, there’s a good chunk of the office workforce is out in the suburbs.

James: Yes. Absolutely. It’ll be interesting to do to your next survey maybe you do urban versus suburban analysis.

Fred: Yes.

James: When I go into one of the coworking spaces there’s always a lot of young people. Typically, there’s no parking because most of them are in the downtown, high-density areas and people are taking public transportation or biking or whatever. You always see the bike racks and the new office spaces, too.

Fred: I think that that’s one of the questions. If you are looking at survey, the parking, storage, commuting options, electric car charging stations, weather protecting bicycle storage are all of interest. We have that and no doubt the millennials are definitely focused on that and aware of it. So, is that the other trend? We’re not sure. It makes sense– common sense right?

James: Yes, it was an interesting study and I appreciate the time you’ve taken to talk to me about it and is there anything else you’d like to add?

Fred: I think the key thing is in tenant representation work is focusing on the user. Paying attention to that and how that reflects in terms of space impacts not only developers, but  occupiers and how they can recruit and retain good people. Paying attention to this is key given the amount of time and effort and money that’s spent in terms of configuring these spaces and the amount of time it takes to train employees.

James: That’s a very good point. In terms of the brokers community and the development community having clear understanding of what tenant’s workplace preferences are, so they can meet them as best as they can.

Fred: Yes. Like I said earlier, I think the nuance on this is, if you’re sitting down, you are sitting down to write an article or a blog or something, you probably want to be in a quiet spot, most people do. You need to have a place you can focus. If you’re in a open plan you need to go to have a spot that you can do you work uninterrupted or focus on it.

James: Thank you very much. I really appreciate this opportunity of talking with you about the employee workplace preferences survey.

More information on CBC Survey Results on Employee Workplace Preferences

Press Release: here

Full results: here

Coworking Medical Office Space: A New Twist on an Old Model

Medicine is no stranger to the concept of coworking. For many years, it has not been at all unusual to find different medical practices renting space within the same building, at about 2,000 square-feet and a long-term lease apiece. However, according to a recent report from National Real Estate Investor, there’s a new twist to sharing medical office space: Renting just one office, for just the days or hours it’s needed or coworking medical office space.

The downside to the traditional idea of renting a large space for a long period of time, the article notes, is that many practices had to commit to more space than they needed or could afford, and hope to attract another practice to move into that extra space and help with the bills, or else be forced to fit into someone else’s extra space. With the new model, a tenant signs up for just one exam room or a few rooms, for however many days or even hours a week that the room is needed. The space is often made available through an access card that only works for those specific hours or days. The tenant is charged a weekly rent based on the time they’ve signed up for and the lease can be canceled within a relatively short period of time.

While the situation may not be ideal for every doctor or every practice, the report notes, many young doctors and up-and-coming practices are finding this trend to be a good way to save the money and time spent on paying for and maintaining a large space, thus spending those efforts on building clientele and making a profit. The model works for investors too, as more medical professionals seek the flexibility and other benefits provided through timeshare and coworking spaces.

Would you like to know more about coworking medical office space for rent? It’s a subject we love to talk about! Contact us.

What to Look for in High-Tech Office Leasing Opportunities

It’s a fact: the modern workforce is increasingly dependent on technology. From the necessity of high-speed internet to the convenience of automated building functions, you are searching for the best options not only in price and location, but also in digital amenities. So, what kind of office building technology can you look for in High-Tech Office Leasing? Read on!

  • “Wired Certification”. WiredScore offers building certification that advertises how well-connected a property is. It takes into account infrastructure, readiness, and what (if any) internet providers are already in use within the building. This certification is a simple and effective way of letting you know how reliable the connectivity is.
  • Stimulate common area engagement. Is the lobby interesting and helpful with the addition of smart technology. Are there smart screens for tenant directories, digital signage, and news, weather, and traffic updates on screens throughout your building?
  • Connect with management. Is there a building-specific app or software designed to create easy communication between building administration and tenants. Good communication is, after all, a major factor in tenant satisfaction.
  • Automated building functions. This is a growing area of technological advancement that is built for convenience. There are currently apps that automate HVAC systems, lights, elevators, security clearance, and guest sign-in. The possibilities for this technology are endless and it’s likely they will become standard in office buildings of the future.

Feel free to contact us for more information on how to find high-tech solutions to meet your office space needs.

Lease Office Space Tips; Choosing Space That Suits Everyone Involved

Looking to lease office space?

Whether your business is small or growing, there are several vital clues and illuminating facts for choosing an effective office space for you and your employees.  So whatever business you are in or plan on creating, make sure you ponder all your options especially the question of what works best for you by carefully considering these tips.

Look for Open and Negotiable Lease Terms

In starting and maintaining a business, it is always necessary to evaluate risks and possible future changes.  Looking for leases that allow you to “break” with little to no cost can be a great option if your business is unsure of its future plan.  While a long-term lease can provide you with stability, short-term leases allow you to “test the water” until that stability is a real thing.

Consider Accessibility

Plan on meeting with clients daily?  It is important to consider where you will be located and whether it is easily accessible.  Or, perhaps your employees use on average, a public commute system to get to work.  It is important to be aware of how your location can affect the overall stamina of your workplace.  A central location or one that is more easily accessible also tend to be located closer to other businesses such as restaurants and other places needed to keep you happy and sane.

Make Sure you Understand the Lease Especially When it Comes to Repairs

Let us consider the topic of leases again. They can often times include small print, meaning, you sign up for something you did not intend too.  Small print can sometimes include problems and miscommunications such as who is responsible for repairs and other issues as they arise.  That is why it is important to ask questions, get a legal opinion and make sure you address these issues before you move in.  You do not want to be left with a mess!

Building Security

Building security is also something that should be at the top of your list when searching for office space.  Wouldn’t want an unsavory character to walk in and harass clients or employees or worse.  Ask about physical and electronic security options and if needed, whether extra security is an option too.

Parking

And last but certainly not least, take a look at available parking options in a prospective office space.  Not only do employees need to have a place to park, so do clients and other visitors.  Consider, is the parking public or private? Street or parking lot options?  Furthermore, make sure you familiarize yourself with the parking situation in the area so as to avoid any pesky dilemmas such as tickets or towing.

While these Office space leasing tips are a start when you lease office space, consider writing a list of things you and your business are looking for and carry it with you as you search.  contact us for assistance or further tips on finding the best space that works for you.

Here are a few other useful resources when looking to lease office space:

 

4 Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in an Agile Office

The success of any 21st century business can be distilled down to three key factors: people, place, and technology. However, while many companies put a great deal of effort into hiring the best people and then equipping them with the latest tech, the environment in which they work usually receives less attention.

At XSolve, we use agile office methodology to drive highly successful software development projects, emphasizing collaboration, self-organization and accountability. Recently, we completely changed the design of our workplace with agile in mind and that experience has brought home the amazing benefits that come from paying attention to ‘place’.

  1. Easier and better communication

Communication is the difference between a group of individuals and a real team. Transparency and communication are often linked terms and we found that our communication benefited when we took ‘transparency’ literally.

Getting rid of cubicles and walls, opening up the space, using glass paneling, getting managers out of those corner offices, and transmitting important data via easy-to-see display screens… all made our environment more transparent and we found that when people can simply look up and see their colleagues they are much, much more likely to communicate with them.

  1. Enhanced collaboration

Collaboration is key. The good news is in the 21st century we are much more inclined to collaborate. Social media is a significant enabler, encouraging wide-ranging communities by providing a flexible space beyond traditional boundaries of country and culture. The same thing happens in your office when you create new opportunities for people to meet and exchange knowledge outside of the interactions that their specific roles demand. We created a ‘work anywhere’, plug-n-play office with standardized workstations and disrupted the ergonomics by reducing the number of natural meetings points (water coolers, coffee machines, printers) and creating less predictable spontaneous gatherings. Having a dedicated café space also boosted our level of unplanned conversations and problem-solving.

  1. Counter-intuitive efficiency

The right design boosts overall company efficiency but often not in the ways you might imagine. You might think locating the bathrooms so that people have to walk through the main office space past the café and kitchen to reach them is inefficient. But the chance meetings on that short walk more than repaid the slightly longer journey.

We were inspired by the example of the Norwegian telecom company Telenor. They ditched hundreds of coffee machines, forcing staff to go to the cafeteria for a cup of joe. The result? More communication and collaboration and a better information flow, all leading to a 20% increase in profits!

  1. Fun!

Research shows that creating a fun environment for people improves mood, boost problem-solving, and increases the quality of the work done. We upped the fun factor by creating a variety of spaces, including chaos rooms for noisy play, silence rooms for contemplation, outdoor spaces for a literal breath of fresh air, and the café as our social hub. Each offers a different working experience to match individual moods and as a result encourages a more relaxed (and productive) frame of mind.

A team’s success is greatly influenced by where it works and having an agile office that is designed to make working together a pleasurable experience actually pushes that team to work in a more agile way, achieving better quality results more efficiently. To reiterate, at XSolve we have experienced the above benefits to an incredible degree, simply by treating place as important as people and technology.

Guest post by Piotr Majchrzak is CEO at XSolve – software development company

All images:  Janina Tyńska/ XSolve and Chilid

Creating Healthy Green Office Spaces

Our relationship with nature (biophilia) is crucial to our creativity, health, and performance in all aspects of our life. In a recent study by Human Spaces, measurable improvements of up to 15% were detected in the well-being of employees that work in spaces that incorporate nature. According to the study, overall employee productivity rose by 6% when green elements were introduced into the work place. If your office is devoid of earthy influences, consider these opportunities to improve employee welfare and start to create a healthy green office.

Natural Light. In the Human Spaces Global Report, employees requested natural light more than any other element in the office. Adding windows, skylights, or solar tubes is the most effective way to improve a work place. Interior glass divisions and transoms can also help spread that sunlight to hallways and interior spaces that haven’t the possibilities of a perimeter area.

Color and Texture. When choosing colors for your office, stay bright, neutral, and natural. Weathered wood, stone, and contemporary designs that pay homage to nature are also helpful in creating that outdoorsy feel. Reception areas, places where employees gather, and common rooms should be focal points for natural color and textures.

Accents. Bring the outdoors in, literally. Adding plants improves both mood and air quality. Peace lilies and ficus trees are good choices for longevity and ease of maintenance. Add art pieces that feature natural subjects or colors. And don’t discount shape. A large horizontal panoramic photo emulates the outdoors better than a series of square pictures.

Practices. Looking the part is important for the health of your staff, but it is important to extend that treatment into the best practices of your office. Think about limiting paper, creating designated and specific recycling stations, and choosing products that minimize the impact on your employees, clients, and the planet.

Office Finder is ready to work with employers that want to improve productivity by bringing the outdoors in. If you want to find a healthy green office, contact us. We are available to help you navigate your project from start to finish.