Monthly Archives: August 2015

Competitive Workplace Strategies: Do They Work?

competitive workplaceIs encouraging a competitive workplace right for your business model?

There’s no question that we live in a competitive business culture.

  • Technology changes entire industries every year.
  • Technology also creates industries, creates jobs and eliminates jobs every year.
  • New forms of marketing engage consumers every year, and
  • Businesses are now competing with both local business communities and a global ones.

Over the past few weeks, much has been made of the business culture and work environment at Amazon. There has been much criticism and questioning of the necessity of their highly competitive workplace considered by many to be overly harsh.

In the NY times article on Amazon, it claims that their professional employees are well paid and have the opportunity to work on exciting world-changing projects. The problem arises that they are pushed to the breaking point in a Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest climate where many burn out and end up leaving for less harsh environments.

The big question is, is this the right environment for a 21st century business? Amazon is an extreme example. As one of the top online retailer of the world, they can do pretty much as they please. I would not be surprised to see them making changes after this expose. Many potential millennium recruits may steer away from this type of  competitive workplace environment. After all , their mantra is “work to live,” unlike the baby boomers “live to work” attitude.

So this bring up the question for you of how competitive should your workplace be?

Depending on your industry, there are probably dozens of other daily reminders of what a different time we live in. Business owners and managers are consistently looking for ways to make sure they can still thrive in modern marketplaces. One important way to set your business apart is to hire top talent. However, in so many industries like high-end sales, technology, advertising, finance, oil and gas; you’re not the only suitor that’s come by for Sunday dinner.

One alternative many employers are considering is using competition to develop certain skills in staff they already have. However, aggressive competition isn’t right for every organization.

The Good

Many people believe that every organization should have some competition, and that no competition leads to mediocrity. However, if you’re happy with the way your company is performing and aren’t seeking growth, (this is common with small businesses and microenterprises like shops and corner stores), then aggressive gamification isn’t for your company. Rewarding staff for gaining CEU credits, doing work in the community and other non-competitive acts are the type of workplace strategies that will improve your organization.

However, competition typically does promote performance and productivity, at least for a little while. Just think of the ongoing wars between your local cable and satellite companies. In addition, if you’re having trouble attracting top talent, you’ll find that top performers are attracted to environments where they receive performance rewards and status recognition. This is because they feel employers like this recognize their contribution. As the saying goes, if you don’t make your mate happy someone else will. Well, the same goes for your business’s top performers.

However, you won’t attract non-competitive, easy-going people to your organization. It’s important to understand also that having a company fully staffed with strong individuals might present challenges.

The Bad

Environments that are too competitive can lead to internal destruction as your employees:

  • Undermine one another,
  • Steal clients from one another,
  • Cyber-bully each other,
  • Tarnish each other’s reputation, and
  • Get so distracted with internal drama, they miss opportunities

It’s important to make sure your staff understands that the ultimate competition is with your business’ competition. The wrong kind of competition can inhibit healthy collaboration. Encourage your staff to recognize when it’s time to work together and don’t breed bitterness.

Getting Started

  1. Define your current company culture. An easy-going office should add enrichment games, not competitive ones. A staff of fast-talking sales professionals, however, can handle stiffer competition.
  2. Ask employees if they want to compete. They might know best what will make them work better and faster.
  3. Test your gamification out on one group to make sure it will work in your office. Many people start with sales departments or interns. See if your plan works well and if other staff members seem interested.
  4. Carefully go about introducing the game and gauge results as often as possible to make sure it’s still producing results that benefit your organization.

Contact us today! We understand that enhancing your office doesn’t just stop at choosing your space. Our hope is that businesses can create successful business environments incorporating the right staff, design and current trends.

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Top 10 Metro Areas with Biggest Office Rental Rate Increases

REALTORS® office vacancy graph

REALTORS® office vacancy chart

In the second quarter of 2015, the Seattle metro area — which includes the urban areas in King and Snohomish counties — led the nation’s metro markets in in office rental rate annual increases. While Seattle’s office rental rate increases are high, they are not the only office market in the US seeing significant increases in their office rental rate increase.  Here are the remaining top 10 with the highest annual Office Rental Rate increases.

  1. Seattle 7.2%
  2. San Francisco 6.3%
  3. San Jose 5.9%
  4. Dallas 5%
  5. Boston 4.8%
  6. New York 4.8%
  7. Orange County 4.8%
  8. Miami 3.9%
  9. Austin 3.8%
  10. Philadelphia 3.7%
    Source: Reis via the Seattle Times

While these steep increases of the office rental rate for the top 10 markets are very sharp, thanks to declining supply, the rest of the office markets in the US are also seeing steady declines in the vacancy rates, as well. A recent report on office space rent by the National Association of REALTORS® confirmed that in the 2nd quarter of this year, office vacancies declined 65 basis points to 15.9 percent, compared with a year ago. This will lead to increases in the office rental rate generally throughout the US office markets.

For tenant’s this means it is better not to wait. Rents will be going up over at least the next year or two until more new construction comes on line. Even then, due to the cost of construction, rents will most likely not decline from the highs achieved. This is especially true in the more desirable office buildings in your market. So, don’t delay or you will see your office space costing even more than it does now.

If you would like some free assistance in locating office space, the top professionals at Office Finder are here to help. Feel free to contact us to find out more.

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Prepare Yourself So You Can Avoid Mistakes When Leasing Office Space

No Mistakes leasing office spaceWhen it comes to scouting out a new office space location, you may be in the mood to hit the ground running full speed ahead.  Whether you have a small start-up company or you employ thousands, choosing an office space should not be taken lightly.  We have put together a list of a few common mistakes that businesses make when leasing office space:

Not allowing enough time. Depending on the size of office space you need, it could take up to a year to locate, negotiate and build out the new office. Make sure and allow enough time so that you don’t have to compromise and end up with less than you could have had otherwise. Timeline and process for leasing office space.

Not enough planning.  Don’t be tempted to jump into an agreement when you come across a space that “looks good on paper.”  What may seem like a dream location may not work for your particular business.  Carefully consider the location pluses and minuses, square footage, layout, and design of the building first. Make sure to discuss it with your top employees to get their input. After all they are your most important asset and should be consulted.

Not having representation.  More than likely, the building owner will have a listing agent working on his/her behalf. You cannot rely on them to help you. They are required to represent the best interest of the landlord, not yours. When leasing office space, it’s smart practice to have somebody on your side as well.  A good tenant representative, like the ones at OfficeFinder, will know the nuances of a negotiation and know what the comparable rents in the area are, so you don’t end up making costly mistakes.

Not understanding the documents.  This is another reason why having representation is crucial.  When signing a lease, the paperwork can be lengthy and full of legal jargon.  Have somebody who can help clarify what it all means, so you can be sure you know what you are signing. You can get an idea of the complexity by checking out our leasing office space lease checklist.

Not planning for the future.  Are you hoping for your company to expand in the next five to ten years?  It’s imperative to not only know if the building fits your current needs, but if it will satisfy for your company’s growth as well.

There are several reasons to be cautious when renting for commercial use, but with these tips in mind, they should help you avoid mistakes when leasing office space.  Please contact us to help you find your ideal location.

Also see our post on the Top 15 Mistakes Businesses Make When Leasing Office Space

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Three Key Elements of an Agile Workplace

elements of an agile workplaceWhile creating an environment in which employees feel comfortable and happy ensures that they will also be productive and engaged. Designing an office space that allows flexibility for your business to adjust quickly to changing business landscapes is the concept behind an agile workplace. Every aspect of the design of an office space must be taken into consideration for it to become a truly agile workplace. There are three key elements of an agile workplace that play a major role in the design of the workplace and productivity of employees, including; continuous connectivity, unique work zones and the overall appearance and ambiance of the space design.


It is nearly impossible for anything to get accomplished in an office setting without the aid of technology. Without the internet, email, and file-sharing capabilities, work can literally come to a standstill. It is imperative that every area of the office has unlimited connectivity for laptops, tablets and other devices. That means powerful WIFI, ample power stations and access to printers and other network accessories. What’s more, community desktop workstations, should be placed throughout the office, to allow employees to quickly log on to access company and customer data and other pertinent information. Ability for employees to work remotely, to be able to connect to the office, will allow greater flexibility as organizational needs change. Not to mention, happier employees with more flexibility to work where and when they so choose.

Unique Work Zones

An agile workplace consists of several unique zones, that employees can access as needed  throughout the work day. The first is collaborative zones, where groups of people can come together to work on projects. Secondly, focus zones allow employees to separate themselves from the pack to work on individual projects. Additionally, private meeting areas where small and large groups can convene are necessary. Finally, there should also be social spaces where employees can step away from their work, relax, have a cup of coffee, or enjoy a meal.

Appearance and Ambiance

Bright, open spaces are an important aspect of an agile workplace. Appropriate artwork, comfortable workstations, soothing colors and natural sunlight are the best ways to accomplish this. These elements, when brought together creatively, help to lighten the mood within the office, boost morale and create an environment that employees want to be in. Since we spend the majority of our week within the confines of our work space, the way that it looks, and feels, makes a big difference in the way we perceive our jobs, co-workers and the company we work for.

If you would like to learn more about the elements of an agile workplace and how you can go about creating an agile workplace, please feel free to contact us. We will be more than happy to help you figure out the best way that you can go about implementing the above techniques into your space.

More posts on the the elements of an agile workplace.

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3 Workplace Strategies To Help Boost Productivity

Goal SettingIn today’s ultra competitive business climate it’s more important than ever to shake things up around the office and inspire your employees to make the most out of their work week. All too often employees are prone to aiming low and going throughout the day getting the bare minimum amount of work done. Employees might be filling in the hours but they aren’t living up to their full potential. Here are 3 Workplace Strategies to help get the most out of your employees:

  1. Inspire, Inspire, Inspire! It’s vital to the success of your business that you’ve fully communicated what you need from your employees but even more important is how you can inspire them. Your employees want to work hard and do a good job (if you’ve hired the right team). You need to think of ways you can help them live up to any challenge and turn your wins into their wins as well. Make sure to let your entire team in on office victories no matter how small.
  2. Ask Your Employees For Their Ideas. Sometimes as business owners we think we have it all figured out but that’s not true. Your employees can solutions to problems you might miss. Take the time to sit down with your employees and hear their ideas. Brainstorming sessions can come up with some great ideas. Make sure to ask open ended questions and don’t be overly critical of other’s ideas.
  3. Share Common Goals. A team works together by adhering to common goals. Every team needs to have a deeply rooted sense of purpose that will bind them together. In order to achieve your goals, they need to be broadcasted to everyone to ensure everyone is on the same wave length. More on setting team goals.

If you are looking to find office space, OfficeFinder is an experienced company you can trust. Since 1995 the OfficeFinder all-star team of dedicated local office and commercial real estate brokers have personally assisted requests from over 234,000 businesses of all sizes looking for office space. For more info on us, contact us today!

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