Monthly Archives: February 2014

Office Workplace Strategy: 3 Areas Impacting Productivity

When working conditions are right, the results are easy to see. Your employees perform better at their jobs, employee engagement is higher and so is productivity. You reap the rewards. The question is, how do you get there? How do you develop an office workplace strategy that will give you the outcome you’re looking for? We’ve compiled three key areas of focus that will significantly  improve your workplace, almost immediately.

Ability

good office chairThe productive efforts of your employees will improve when they have the ability to do so. Take a look at the offices and work areas of your employees. Are the conditions comfortable for them? Do they have the opportunity to make the adjustments that work for them? Adding components like ergonomically correct and comfortable seating, and heat and air conditioning controls are small adjustments you can offer them that will improve their ability to be productive.

Motivation

When your employees are motivated to do their best work, they become engaged employees  with the work they are doing. The results often surpass your expectations. You can improve their motivation by changing their surroundings to suit their styles and preferences, provide flexible working hours or even offer telecommuting for those who do not need to be in the office all of the time. This might mean different things for different people, but if you can engage their minds while they work, you’ll find that they will become motivated with little effort on or part. Do what you can to create the right mood in their work area, and you’ll find that they are more motivated than ever.

Opportunity

Headphones for noise controlWhile your employees might not realize it, many of them probably aren’t as productive as they could be because they simply don’t have the opportunity. Noise control is often a major problem for many businesses, and the need for more or less noise varies by individual and very often by generation. Younger workers are very often more productive with noise and able tune it out,  while the baby boomers are less likely to be able to cope with it. Crowding can be another factor that determines how successful your employees are. If you are not taking advantage of all of the office space that’s available to you, you might consider making some changes so that each of your employees have the opportunity to work in the type of environment that works for them.

Here at OfficeFinder, we educate our office tenant reps. They are familiar with office workplace strategy concepts that can help improve your workplace, thereby increasing employee engagement and productivity and typically, as a by-product, reducing the amount of office space you need to lease or rent. If you need some professional assistance in this area, we would love to help you. For more information on this and all of our services, please contact us today.

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Chair Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg via Compfight cc

Office Rental Rates Predicted to Increase by 5.6% by End of 2015

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors recently reported that the “Growth in commercial real estate sectors continues at a moderate pace from a very slow pace of absorption, despite job additions to the economy. Companies appear hesitant to add new space.”

The good news is that the pace of the recovery in the commercial sector and, in particular, office space is continuing to improve.

His predictions related to the Office Markets include:

Office Space Vacancy rates should decline from an expected 15.8 percent in the first quarter of this year to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

Office rental rates are projected to increase 2.3 percent in 2014 and 3.2 percent next year or a compounded 5.6% by the end of 2015 compared with current office rental rates. Net absorption of office space in the U.S., which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is likely to total 44.6 million square feet this year and 50.0 million in 2015.

The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates presently (in the first quarter) are

  • New York City, with a vacancy rate of 9.5 percent
  • Washington, D.C., at 10.2 percent; Little Rock, Ark., 11.6 percent
  • Birmingham, Ala., 12.7 percent
  • San Francisco and Nashville, Tenn., at 12.8 percent each

Read more at Realtor.org

Find office space for lease, rent or purchaseBy: James Osgood

Agile Workplace is Changing The Traditional Office Environment

ChangeToday the office workplace must be flexible enough to be able to quickly and easily adapt to change. These are important features of an agile workplace. It must be versatile and able to support individual ways of working. It’s a place that must be able to provide the opportunity for employees to do work wherever and whenever, so long as it meets the needs of the organization.

According to an article in RFP Magazine, “An agile working environment – where some or all staff are enabled to work from any where, are not assigned to specific desks and are frequently not required to ‘check in’ to any office at particular hours but are judged instead by performance – is a popular choice amongst multinationals in today’s cost conscious and volatile environment.”

New Focus

An agile workplace is one that has moved away from traditional method of work into one that seeks to accommodate workers individual needs and focusing on productivity instead of time in the office. Some people are more productive at night while others thrive working a standard eight hours. With four generations in the workplace, much of it is generational preferences. Rather than worry about being late for work or not following office rules, the emphasis is on completing the assigned tasks and measuring employees by their productivity. Many offices who have done this report very positive results. Workers are happier, enjoy their work more, work longer hours and are more productive. Success with projects increases.

Goals

Before a company initiates an agile workplace, they need to make certain it will meet with their goals. If the everyone actually needs to be in the office, workers will have to be willing to accept a certain level of work scheduling. An office hoteling reservation system can be put in place to assure all employees have a place to work when they are in the office. The goal is to provide as much freedom for workers as possible as long as the needs of the business are met.

Technology

The only way most agile workplaces are successful is with the proper utilization of technology. Mobile and many wireless devices make it possible for people to work at any location. Technology increase communication options. It provides a way for employees to perform in whatever environment where they’re most comfortable; whether it is the office, home or any other 3rd party location.

Want to know more? We can help your workplace become an agile one, please Contact us and we will get you started in learning about creating an Agile Workplace and then showing you how it might work for your company.

New Realities Impacting Office Space Workplaces

Maybe this is not a big surprise: The office space workplace has changed. People no longer want to work in cubicles or, for that matter, traditional private offices. This is the new workspace reality and it is impacting the workplace. To be able to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, businesses need to leverage their office space by aligning the physical workspace with updated workplace strategies and transform their business to allow their employees to be more satisfied and productive.  Recent studies show that only about 30% of the workforce is engaged in their jobs. Make sure your workplace is not a part of that statistic.

Of course, there are employees, like reception and support staff, who still need traditional office space style workspaces and need to spend most of their work week at their desks or in the office due to the nature of their duties. A lot of this is generational. With 4 generations now in the workforces, multiple styles of work need to be accommodated. Most employees today, however, don’t need to spend nearly as much time seated behind desktop computers in the traditional office space workplace. Often, the best workplace for them is where they happen to be at the moment. For these employees, office hoteling is a good option for a company to implement. The office hoteling process allows the employee to log and reserve an office, work station or conference rooms as needed. A good broker, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, will guide you to workplace strategists who will study your workspace, it’s density patterns and employee work habits before recommending a comprehensive strategy that will probably include ea  number of hoteling workspaces.

There are still cases where some office space can be used most effectively using bench seating, cubicles or even the traditional private office. Many younger workers today actually are most productive, tend to collaborate and share ideas more in an open work area. Reducing  distractions by having focus rooms is important to some workers while others can easily ignore interoffice sounds and want the easy communication and collaboration fostered in an open work area. If you have been reading my past posts, you will know that one of my favorite sayings is “Headphones are the new office walls;” a means to privacy.

On-demand work areas that can be used for a few minutes such as stand up workstations where an employee simply has a space to power or charge their laptop while doing a few minor tasks or making phone calls and picking up messages or snail mail will help enhance the efficiency of your office space. This type of work area requires very little square footage, leveraging your leased office space costs to the minimum you effectively use.

Choose office space that reflects the type of business you operate. Some companies, like legal firms and architectural organizations, need to hold a lot of meetings with clients in formal meeting area. These firms needs ample meeting spaces of various sizes but during periods that no meetings are scheduled, these areas can provide impromptu work areas that can be scheduled for use. These types of rooms also provide quiet space for those who need time to focus on tasks that office noise can prove distracting

If you are interesting in more information on office hoteling workplace strategies, please Contact us. We can help get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

3 Tips For Organizing Your Office Workplace

When you started your business, you seemed to have plenty of office space. In fact, it felt like you even had room to grow.

organized officeNow, perhaps it’s been five or ten years, and you’ve certainly grown, but it’s almost as if you’ve grown too much. You know that there are many tips out there to help you save on space in your workplace, but you’re just too busy to sit down and put any of them into place. If you’re not quite ready to move everyone into a larger office office, it’s time to put some office workplace organizing  strategies into place that will help you maximize the space you do have, while increasing the productivity of your employees.

Tip #1: Use Various Boards for Important Reminders

While Post-It notes are certainly popular (and, let’s face it, they sure do come in handy once in a while), they can create quite a bit of clutter if they’re not thrown away when you’re finished using them. They can also get lost pretty easily because we tend to jot down important notes on them and then stick those notes to practically anything. You probably won’t be able to convince your employees to abandon the notion of Post-It notes altogether, but by installing a few boards in their offices or cubicles (think white boards and good, old fashioned, cork bulletin boards), you can help them make use of their walls to stick important papers, or to jot down quick notes. These make their important memos much harder to lose.

Tip #2: Think Vertical

When we think of having more space, we tend to think horizontally. However, that’s not always the best option, especially if your office space really is pretty limited. Office supply stores are full of great tools that can help you create vertical storage solutions for your office. Consider hanging some baskets on the walls to hold different types of papers. A wall file organizer is a great way to have client files at the ready, or to keep those other important files off your desk and make them easy to grab in a hurry.

Tip #3: Incorporate a Miscellaneous Information Book

Let’s think about your filing cabinets for a moment. How many of those files contain one or two pieces of paper? Unfortunately, we’ve come to believe that paper files are an absolute necessity for the office, and in some cases, they’re pretty handy. However, it’s important to periodically downsize these filing cabinets, and some corporations do this every year. When some of your files are just taking up space because they’re contain very minimal information, why not take down that information into a book? Every office should have a miscellaneous information book that holds important passwords, license numbers, or other information so that it’s easily accessible. If your office is more electronically-savvy, you might even consider trading in your paper files for electronic ones. Are you ready to make a complete switch? Many offices have, and they’re saving a lot of space.

If you’re finding that you need some help making better use of your workspace, or if you’re really ready to upgrade to a larger office, we’d love to talk with you. For more information, contact us today.

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Case4Space Workplace Research Project : Why Change?

Research ProjectThe goal of the Case4Space Workplace Research Project is to determine what drives productivity in the workplace. They are taking a look at change in the workplace and are finding out why the changes have taken place.

What they found was that office space must be planned and designed to help businesses to “manage and nourish ideas; space should not be looked at as just another overhead expense; and we must plan for disruption.”

Office space has evolved from just an “overhead expense, something necessary to house an organization’s people” where the big debate was whether it should be open bullpen space, private offices or what combination of the two.

Today’s Office space is much more dynamic and complicated. Many more factors involved thanks to constant technological change and challenges.

The conclusion they come to is “Organizations without the tools to adapt will miss the opportunity to seize the change necessary to create and innovate, to embrace new ideas, and to keep up with the competition. They risk slow growth or, even worse, catastrophic failure. In other words: there is a very strong case for space.” Throughout the study the nurturing and encouragement of ideas is paramount to the success of businesses.

This is what we, at OfficeFinder, have been calling the need to create an agile workplace for businesses to survive and thrive in today’s rapidly evolving business world.

We can help make your workplace more agile, please Contact us. We can help get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

via Case4Space: The Wake Up Call?

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The Agile Workplace: The Secret to Keeping Employees Happy

I found this great infographic (below) on Entrepreneur.com which pretty much makes the case for Companies to move their office space and workplace strategy towards an Agile Workplace.

What struck me the most was the Cornell University study that found small businesses that provided employees a choice in how they work, grew 4 times faster and had 1/3 less turnover  than those that did not. I think you will agree, that is very significant

The Cornell Report summary:
“In this study, we found evidence that groups of HR practices that represent different strategies for managing employees were significantly related to the financial performance of small companies. In particular, we found that an employee selection strategy based on person-organization fit, employee management strategy based on self-management, and employee motivation and retention strategy based on creating a family-like environment were all significantly related to firm performance in terms of revenue and profit growth. In addition, we found that the relationships between these HR strategies and firm performance were stronger in firms that face greater competition, are pursuing growth strategies, and are larger in size.”

Agile Workplace key to keeping employees happyClick here to visit original article

 Make your workplace more agile, improve both employee engagement and productivity please Contact us. We can help get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

What Will the Office Space of the Future be Like?

Technology is changing the world we live in and the way we work. It is allowing much more flexibility in where and how we work. The Millennial, Gen X and Gen Y generations, now in the workforce,  have grown up in the digital age and have very different work / life requirements that have been developed from their upbringing; understanding that it does not mater where you are to do whatever it may be you want to do. Much of their communications is by text messaging or Facebook. It is a very different world to them than it is to the Baby Boomers. With 4 generations in the workplace, office design and employee management is a challenge

The San Francisco tech industry, laden with a younger workforce, has been leading the way with the “Office Space of the Future.” Very often you will see no private offices, only a few desks, but lots of collaboration spaces and quiet zones in one of their offices. The result is a happier and more productive workforce with savings in the amount of office space needed, energy and money.

In other words the office of the future will  be an agile workplace. One that is constantly changing, adjusting and responding to organizational needs. It will require a dynamic relationship between employees, management, work and the workplace as well how work productivity gets measured.

Interesting video at:
What Will the Office of the Future Look Like?: Video – Bloomberg.

Make your workplace more agile, please Contact us. We can help get you started finding out about creating an Agile Workplace and how it might work for your company.

The 21st Century Office Space (2006 but still relevant)

Office Space: Creating a Welcoming Environment for Clients

When a potential client is sitting in a cold office lobby waiting for an appointment, they don’t have a chance to adequately warm to your services. In contrast, an inviting yet classic and clean office space draws potential clients in and makes them instinctively trust you.

A barren space makes new clients feel uncomfortable, as if your business is missing something. A cluttered space can make you look unorganized and sloppy. The small details can be hard to get right, but in taking the time to scrutinize, you make yourself and your company more attractive to new and current clients.

Amplify Your Professional Status

In the Journal of Dispute Resolution, Fred I. Williams writes that the office is an indicator and amplifier of professional status. The space should make clients feel like they are in a professional arena, distinct from the regular world. To get started on your decorating journey, think about your practice and the mood that you want to reflect to clients. If you like traditional ideals, decorate with dark woods and rich colors. If you prefer a more fun image, pick contemporary styles, light woods and splashes of color.

Nature and Light

Although you may be used to glaring lights, the clutter of paperwork and the surrounding typing noises of your office, your clients aren’t accustomed to this environment. You need to create an aesthetically pleasing office space environment for them, too. This will simultaneously relax the client while giving them confidence about your abilities.

Natural light is essential, and whether it is streaming in from windows or skylights, it should hit natural materials like wood walls and shelves as well as natural colors. In the evening or when natural light is not available, look for the gentle illumination of stylish overhead lighting like chandeliers to offer a grandiose feel. Combine this overhead lighting with small table lamps to create pools of light. To increase the natural effect, use plants or other natural elements like rocks or water features in your decorating scheme.

Small Spaces

The average amount of space of most offices has decreased by 21 percent since the mid-90s, according to the Wall Street Journal, and if you are decorating a small space, you may not have room for the classic mahogany desks, thick bookcases or other iconic symbols of traditional law offices. If space is limited, consider swapping out bulky furnishings with desks and tables featuring lean legs, modern lines and Scandinavian stylings. Add in some color to keep it from appearing too drab, but only on accent walls in parts of the building where you really want to bring attention.

Simple Touches Added to your office space

Even if your budget isn’t large enough to add private client rooms and catering services to your office space, you can still impress new clients with simple touches. Business professionals should create a welcoming environment with fresh flowers in the reception area, free snacks and hot coffee. Don’t just settle for the warehouse stuff either. Putting in a Keurig with different coffee options and some healthy snacks like dark chocolate-covered fruit will raise the bar, and the compliments. If possible, give your clients some space to use the phone, relax or store their luggage if they are from out of town.

 

Using Office Space Design to Boost Productivity and Improve Morale

11908989116_dfd8f1ce64_mConfRoomWhile efficient use of office space is important, you should also keep in mind that it should be motivational as well as space efficient. You want high employee engagement and that comes when they are motivated. Office space design that includes comfortable and efficient use of space as well as fostering better collaboration and communication makes the workplace more productive, less stressful and a more enjoyable place to work. Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report found that only 30% of American employees say they feel engaged and inspired at work. It reports that 18% are actively disengaged, and tend to “roam the halls spreading discontent.”

A friendly and supportive work environment results in happier, more engaged employees who are more dedicated to making the business successful, and less concerned with finding a better job somewhere else. On the other hand, an office full of stress and tension destroys motivation and breeds discontent. Here are some ideas to make your workplace more efficient and motivational:

Comfortable and Ergonomic Furniture and Equipment

Long periods of time spent in uncomfortable chairs, and using computers and other equipment that are not optimized to suit workers properly, distracts them from being able to focus on their work. Proper lighting and temperature are also important to an efficient office environment. Besides increasing efficiency, an ergonomic office reduces time lost from carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive movement injuries.

Organize Shared Items

Offices are often filled with printers, books, manuals, phones, wires and other obstacles. If unorganized, this leads to a messy office that negatively affects the overall mood and wastes too much time in finding needed items. There should be designated drawers, shelves and other appropriate storage areas that are easy to access. Items should be easy to find, and to put away after being used. Eliminating redundant items not only saves money and space, but increases efficiency and productivity while making the office more attractive.

Add Some Color

While a drab and uninteresting work environment is destructive to office efficiency, the opposite is also true. Making an office more attractive and colorful has an affect on how productive it can be. One study by the University of British Columbia found that colors, specifically red and blue, can have a significant impact on productivity. The study found that red increased performance on detail-oriented tasks like memory retrieval and proofreading, while blue increased output when working on creative tasks. Other studies have shown that these colors also raise spirits and improves morale.

Efficient office spaces need to provide employees with an environment in which they are able to maximize what they are able to achieve. They must also be a place where customers feel comfortable, and which builds their confidence in the business and its employees.

If you would like help finding office space, contact us. We are a leading source, with our local pros, for assisting  businesses locate the office space that suits them best.

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