Monthly Archives: April 2014

Office Space Design and Productivity

Your office space design can have a large impact on the overall productivity of the people who work there. It may seem odd at first, but design plays a big role in the overall psychology of a office. It can make a difference n employee engagement and turnover. Here ate a few tips to take into consideration when designing office space.

Rid Yourself Of The Cubicles

cubicleOne of the more popular trends in office design is to make a more open design. This means getting rid of the cubicles and trying to promote a more open exchange of ideas among employees. mentions what some think of this idea,

Janet Pogue, a principal in Gensler’s Washington, D.C., office, where she co-leads the firm’s workplace practice is (unsurprisingly) not a fan of the cubicle model. “Having seated privacy is not a bad thing, but there are ways that you can do that without being boxed in from every side,” she says. “I think the Dilbert world is gone.”

The land of cubicles may be something that is looked back upon as something that we did in the past, but no longer wish to do.

Power To The Employees

Believe it or not, offering employees choices about where they work can be helpful. In other words, providing employees with the opportunity to have a say in their work environment is now being encouraged. It is possible to even consider allowing the employees to work from home if this is something that is possible within the field that you operate. It may also allow you to reduce the amount of office space you need to rent and save bottom line dollars.

Quiet Rooms

There are some offices that are so quiet that they almost sounds like a cemetery. No one is speaking, there is almost dead silence. Talk about a depressing place to work! Though it is important to keep the noise level down so as to allow employees to work, it is also nice to have at least a little background noise. Having designated quiet rooms that employees can go to if they need to really focus in is a nice design choice.

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.

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By: James Osgood

Photo Credit: archie4oz via Compfight cc

Honolulu Office Space: A Hot Market?

Honolulu office space repUnfortunately, the air temperature is the only thing that is hot related to Honolulu office space. Although, according to our local OfficeFinder rep the Honolulu office space market is beginning to hold its own:

“After two quarters of negative absorption, Honolulu’s office market registered slight positive absorption in the 4th quarter of 2013 to keep vacancy unchanged at 13.1 %. Healthy occupancy gains in Kakaako and Kalihi/Iwilei were offset by losses in the Airport and Kapiolani submarkets. Downtown’s class A high rises which account for about a third of the island’s inventory remained unchanged at 13.7% vacant. The vacancy range was unchanged from the previous quarter: 5.0% (East Oahu) to 20.9% (Waikiki). Average asking base rents and operating expenses remained unchanged as did the resulting $3.05/sf/month Full Service Gross (FSG) rent (base rent plus full service operating expenses). However, Hawaii Commercial Real Estate’s index of available spaces decreased 3% from 651 to 634 spaces across the island.”

Honolulu is a relatively small market with a little over 11 million square feet of office space. If you are looking for Honolulu office space, we’d love to help.

By: James Osgood

Houston Office Space: Hot Class A Submarkets

A recent report from JLL identified the 5 hottest Class A submarkets within the Houston Office Space Metro area. In addition, CBRE reports that office absorption growth has been steady in Houston.


Here are the Houston office space submarkets that the JLL report identified:

  • The Energy Corridor had the lowest Class A office vacancy in the first quarter of 2014 at 4.7 percent and one of the highest rental rates at $34.17 per square foot.
  • Central Business District: 8.7 percent vacancy with an average rental rate of $40.51
  • Westchase: 8 percent vacancy with an average rental rate of $37.60
  • Greenway Plaza: 7 percent vacancy with an average rental rate of $34.93
  • The Woodlands: 6.6 percent vacancy with an average rental rate of $37.84

JLL Report information via  Houston Business Journal.

Unfortunately the Class B Office Space Market in Houston is not faring quite so well with a vacancy rate near 15% resulting in the average rental rate being over $10 / sf less than that of Class A space. If you are looking for a “deal” in Houston on office space, Class B will be what to consider.

Find out more by contacting our local Houston office space rep.

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By: James Osgood

Good Office Space Design Breeds Collaboration, Productivity, and Identity

Office Space DesignSuccessful businesses owners ensure that their office space design facilitates the very collaboration and innovation necessary for their organizations to thrive. Savvy entrepreneurs understand the powerful influence that environment has on both human emotion and behavior; therefore, it is not at all surprising to discover that companies all over the world spend a great deal of effort planning an advantageous layout for their business’ needs.

If done thoughtfully, rethinking an office space’s design will pay dividends in improving employee engagement and to the productivity, morale, and bottom line for the company. Kevin Kuske, general manager for an office furniture manufacturer that specializes in small and emerging companies, compares the organizational standards found in a city to that in an office: “Vibrant cities have various zones–for play, concentration, collaboration, socialization, and creativity. Every great work space should as well.”

How then do those effective principles found within civil engineering transfer themselves into the confines of an office?

First, Kuske encourages office designers to look beyond the desk. Employees naturally have strong ties to their desks because that is precisely where most of the work is completed–documents, computers, phones, etc. are all located there for ease of access. That doesn’t mean, however, that other unique working areas can’t be scattered throughout the office space. For instance, one area could feature taller cafe-height tables where employees could sit or stand. Another could have clusters of sofas where groups could meet to discuss new ideas, project expectations, etc. Any of these alternative locales can offer employees an equally effective venue for their work, while allowing them the freedom of movement and change of scenery to reinvigorate their creativity.

Office space design should also showcase the company’s unique brand and culture. Considerations as simple as color schemes and furniture design can make some of the most defining statements of all. If a company’s business literature and logo employ blue and yellow, then working that color scheme into the office space itself will embody that brand’s style while giving the entire company a more unified feel. It may seem a bit frivolous to take such considerations into account, but these subtle cues do much for helping employees to feel like an important part of a cohesive whole.

It’s only natural to think about work at an office space, but meaningful play is also crucial. Many businesses will set up a ping pong table or basketball hoop so that employees can relax a little bit throughout the stressful day. These areas also serve a vital role in building stronger connections between employees, while granting working minds new things to think about so that creativity will flow more freely.

Lastly, allowing employees to participate in designing certain areas of the office will help the organization run more smoothly while encouraging the staff to take ownership of the space. Employees are hired because of what skills they can bring to the business, but also because of who they are. Permitting a little celebration of employee personality and uniqueness inspires creativity and productivity for the entire staff.

Certified OfficeFinder SpecialistBefore a business can launch into its office space design, it must locate the perfect blank canvas to fit its needs. Since 1995, OfficeFinder has successfully guided over 234,000 companies to their new homes. Please  contact us today so that we may help you find the perfect space for your future design dreams.

By: James Osgood

3 Tips for Improving Employee Engagement

Employee engagement

Got to love happy employees

Employees are the lifeblood of a business. Many studies show that employee engagement will significantly increases productivity. Your employees are a substantial part of the success of your business. A motivated and engaged employee base is imperative. Here are 3 tips for improving employee engagement:

1. Clue your employees in to the big vision: Vision seems like something to be left to the big boys, to the top executives in the cloistered boardrooms, shut away from the working masses. But the fulfillment, execution and refinement of a vision are always left to employees. Can you see the disconnect here? There’s nothing to gain from keeping the vision separated from the employees – they are the ones to get the vision implemented anyhow. They will be the ones to apply the initiatives, the ones to perform the actual tasks needed to bring the vision to life. So why shut them away? Employees should be allowed to see and understand what they’re working for. A meaningful sense of connection to an organization’s bigger vision is only a boon to productivity. When people know the rationale, when they know why they are doing something and not another, this motivates them more, as compared to just them being commanded what to do. By allowing them to see the vision, they can more easily find ways to make it a reality.

2. Engage them in policy making: Like a vision, policies may be constructed by executives, but it will be the employees that feel the brunt of company directives. So, why not allow them a say in what these directives will be? Have managers or key executives sit down with employees and actually discuss how things will be done at the company. And the possibilities are endless, too. You could talk about work policies like telecommuting options, flexible vacation plans, new feedback processes between employees and managers, etc. There are multiple areas of organizational policy that employee input can contribute to. If you’re okay with it, perhaps ask them about workweeks, and whether they can be shortened. Ask them whether they’d like less managing and more autonomy. You can even ask them whether flex-time and flex-place arrangements are something they’d consider. When you actively seek out this kind of input, it puts you in alignment with your employees, and shows them they’re truly valued.

3. Let them tell you what to improve: Being down in the trenches gives employees a different view of things than management. Management may be concerned with big-picture problems, but employees are the ones to suffer through bad policies, impractical management methods and the like. On a daily basis, they’re the ones to bear the weight of the organization’s issues. With such down-on-the-ground knowledge, you’d be foolish not to ask your employees about where you can improve. Ask them whether their managers are doing their jobs right. Ask them whether the organizations processes and culture help or hinder. Ask whether workloads and deadlines are reasonable. The list of things you can find out is endless. But the important thing is to ask with sincere and meaningful intent. If you’re going to ask, make sure to ask because you intend to act on what you learn. If they identify areas that could do with some work, listen to that input and do something about it. Rarely will you be able to show sincerity better than through action. If employees see you making a concerted effort to improve, they’ll see how they matter in a real way.

By involving employees in these 3 areas, you can increase employee engagement and increase your bottom line.

Want to know more? We can help your workplace become more productive and improve employee engagement. Please Contact us and we will get you started in learning about creating an Agile Workplace and then show you how it might work for your company.

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By: James Osgood

Photo Credit: gcoldironjr2003 via Compfight cc

Standing Desks the Hottest Trend for the Healthy Workplace

“Sitting is Killing You” says LifeHacker. The infographic goes into detail about the health risks of sitting too much and suggests getting up and moving around the office more as a way to combat inactivity. A standing desk isn’t the only answer, but it sure helps in creating a healthy workplace.

Standing Desk

According to Mónica Guzmán at The Seattle Times, given the option, more workers are choosing to stand while working at computers.  Standing desks are becoming especially popular at tech companies where workers can spend upwards of 9 hours a day sitting in front of a computer.

Do-it-yourselfers have been slapping together stand-up desks for awhile now at home, but the trend is growing in more formal settings. A recent post by LifeHacker lists the Five Best Standing Desks, the last of which is a DIY.

In an office with a tight budget, do-it-yourself may be the answer. Gizmodo India posted an example of an inexpensive solution, a clever contraption that turns any table into a standing desk.

Before you jump into standing all day, consider these tips and ideas for a  healthy workplace and a successful transition to a standing desk:

  • Try increasing your standing time by 5 minutes each day until you reach a half a day, then sit for lunch, then go back to standing and sitting in the afternoon.
  • Walk around the office every so often, at least five minutes every hour.
  • Wake up your brain and practice balancing on one foot while you work.
  • If you’re listening to music, dance a little. Do something different!
  • OSHA has guidelines for standing posture – check them out here.
  • Get an anti-fatigue mat and lessen the strain on your body and improve your workspace ergonomics.
  • Seriously consider an adjustable height table. It makes standing and sitting throughout the day easier.
  • To add a bit of fun to the office, here’s a standing clock so you can time how long you stand each day. Is a little healthy standing time competition in order at your office?

OfficeFinder is the leading web based office space referral and information network with highly qualified local office space leasing and sales professionals in over 550 markets.  Contact us and we’ll help you find your space and make it work for you.

By: James Osgood

Latest Employment Data Good For Office Space Market

The NAR just released 10 Things to Know about the Latest Employment Data which included some good news for the office space market. “From the worst of the recent recession a few years ago, nearly 8 million jobs have been added. Recall, however, during the recession that 8 million jobs were shed. Not yet a new employment peak, but getting very close to it.”

Here is what it looks like.

Employment Graph

The office space market is directly linked to employment. Many of the recent reports have identified a general stabilization of the US office market with vacancy rates moving downward  and rental rate moving up. As long as employment continues in an upward trend, so should the tightening trend in office space.

If you need some help, we’d be happy to help you Find Office Space.

By: James Osgood

Office Relocation Planner Guide: Part 1 Overview

office relocation plannerEvery year, hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country relocate their offices to new space.  Many have grown too large for their current space, while some companies are down-sizing to smaller, more cost efficient offices.  Still other businesses may be relocating to a new geographic area offering lower operations costs.  Whatever your particular reason for making a change, moving a company requires a lot of thorough planning, open communication, and hard work.

One of the very few events that may be more stressful than a residential move is a corporate office relocation! Most people are totally unfamiliar with how to prepare for a corporate move and the process can be quite overwhelming to the inexperienced. Without proper planning, you may find yourself with a digital copier too large for its designated space, a phone system without enough telephone lines, or movers being paid to stand around and wait while employees pack up their belongings.

This Guide is designed to inform you of some of the most important issues related to office relocations, and to help you avoid costly mistakes during the process.

According to the International Facilities Management Association “Two-thirds of those responsible for their company’s relocations either lose their job or get demoted after the project.”

Start with a Comprehensive Moving Plan

The key to assuring success with any office relocation is planning everything down to the smallest detail. As part of the process of planning an office move you should first determine who will be on the relocation team and what you can handle in house and what might you need or want to outsource.

If you are considering hiring a relocation consultant to manage the move process only, you may be wasting your money.  Most reputable office moving companies will assign you a project manager to assist you with the process from beginning to end.  However if you need a consultant to help with space planning, furniture purchases, implementing new technology, etc., then a relocation consultant could be a valuable resource.

Factors to Consider When Planning an Office Relocation:

Technology Systems Planning – What is the current status of your high tech equipment? Since most companies renew their technology every 18 to 36 months, is this an opportunity to upgrade or expand your systems?

Asset Management Planning – Audit your existing assets. What’s worth moving in the area of technology and furnishings? What should be replaced or upgraded? Can you install what you’re moving in the new facility or are there obsolescence and incompatibility issues?

Space and Interior Design Planning – Whether you elect to handle the space planning or to use a consultant, building floor plans drawn to scale are very important.  Drawings that are reasonable facsimile representations of your space can be very misleading and create substantial problems on moving day.  Once you have the ‘big picture’ settled you can focus on special details for decorations, artwork, enhanced lighting and plants.

Space Requirements Analysis – For space planning purposes compile a roster of personnel and their anticipated space needs as well as a detailed inventory list of the minimal space requirements for all machinery and office equipment. Once you have your roster and equipment list compiled, you can easily determine your total minimum space requirements.

Business Requirements Analysis – Employees should be consulted for specific preferences and requirements.  Once all the information has been compiled, you will be prepared to complete a ‘needs analysis’ of business requirements and preferences.  Develop a ‘must-have’ priority list from your requirements list to help you identify which areas of your business need the most attention.  Also develop a timeline for your requirements list that includes the start date and the projected completion date for each item.

Part 2 of our Office Relocation Planner Guide will address the key factors in developing an Office Relocation Plan.

If you need some help, we’d be happy to help you Find Office Space.

By: James Osgood

Jones Lang LaSalle Pays OfficeFinder a HUGE Compliment

Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has paid OfficeFinder a HUGE compliment. OfficeFinder has been in operation online since 1995 with it’s registered trademark and we have worked hard to develop a well recognized brand. As we all know, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” and JLL has gone to extremes when it comes to imitating OfficeFinder. I know it is hard to believe that a 5 billion dollar company would feel the need to copy a small business like OfficeFinder, but they did it with the creation of an entire set of websites in Eastern Europe. Here are a few of them:

JLL officefinder

JLL officefinder Logo

Not only did they choose to use our brand in their URL, but they even chose to use the OfficeFinder name brand on the websites by not bothering to separate the words. Wow! I love it. What a huge compliment. We must be doing something they like.

Thank you JLL.

Top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space

Mistakes OopsAlmost every business of any size has a need for leasing office space. It is not an easy task and can take a lot of time. There are lots of challenges and room for mistakes along the way. Here are our top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space. They come from OfficeFinder office tenant reps totaling hundreds of years of experience.

  1. Not allowing enough time for the leasing and negotiating process.
  2. Not adequately defining your needs before you start.
  3. Not getting the professional help you should.
  4. Accepting that the lease the landlord provides is “standard.”
  5. Accepting an inadequate tenant improvement allowance.
  6. Not having the proper base year for annual operating cost pass-throughs.
  7. Not verifying that you can get all of the services you need at the new location.
  8. Not having buy-in from all the major players within the company.
  9. Not negotiating enough flexibility in the lease.
  10. Incomplete understanding of the local market conditions in negotiations.
  11. Failing to thoroughly read and understand the rules and regulations attached to the lease.
  12. Not investigating enough competitive alternatives.
  13. Believing the listing agent has your best interest in mind.
  14. Over guaranteeing the lease by not capping you personal financial liability.
  15. Dragging your feet in a tight market and loosing the office space you wanted.

Certified OfficeFinder SpecialistOne sure way to avoid most of these mistakes is engage the services of a qualified office tenant representative. They will act as the hub of the wheel to ensure a smooth transaction and to make sure you avoid costly mistakes when leasing office space.

We have nearly 500 local office tenant reps in our OfficeFinder network who will personally assist you in meeting your office space needs. They are located in both small and large markets. Get connected now.

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