Monthly Archives: July 2018

Green Office Space Tips and Tricks

Going Green Office SpaceAre you willing to pay more for green office space? According to many surveys many companies are. Roughly 48% said they would pay as much as 10 percent more for sustainable (green) space, and 2% said they would expect to pay even more.

Owners on the other hand showed that 57% would expect payback of the investment with savings over a 1 – 3 year period and only 9% would consider a period of over 5 years acceptable.

In actuality, you can go green without having to breaking the bank. You save your money and you save mother earth! Nothing to lose.

Here are some of the tips and tricks to go green. Always remember, apply the 3Rs;

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Office Supplies.

  • The key here is to keep all office supplies organized. Keep all office supplies in one storage. Have someone in charge in tracking and supervising the usage of the supplies, in this way employees will be less careless or wasteful of supplies.
  • Use reusable items, one example is a reusable or refillable pen rather than the disposable ones. Reuse old or used papers blank page at the back and turn them memo pads, be careful with confidential documents though! Place a box in a common area where employees can put their scrap papers to recycle.

Go Paperless.

In larger or global organizations, papers are really out. Most of the conventional companies are still using papers to send around memos to departments or employees, emails are way too better, faster and cheaper.

  • Limit the access to the printers, most of the employees will just go trigger happy with printing if not being supervised.
  • Invest in HR Software tools, it is more environment friendly and more cost efficient in the long run. Getting signatures or approvals can be done online. You will not need to print papers to get approvals for your vacation leaves, pay slips, performance reviews and all other employee related documents. Can you imagine how many papers will be used per employee, per type of document, it will be tons. We have not talked about the space that these papers will occupy, can you imagine that? Use the “cloud” to store them!
  • Online billing is also an alternative for your clients (if applicable). Push your clients or customers for paperless by convincing them what this can do for our environment. Giving them rewards and discounts is a best way to convince them to go paperless billing.
  • If printing is necessary, make sure you use environment friendly papers. Look for chlorine-free paper or go with the papers that has recycled materials. Make use of the both sides the papers, use smaller fonts can save a lot of papers too.

The Bathroom and Kitchen.

  • Use hand dryers rather than paper towels in both bathroom and kitchen.
  • Reduce water consumption. Reduce the amount of water for flushing toilets, ask your office or building engineers about putting brick tank or low-flush models. There are systems too that you can recycle water used in washing hands, reuse it for flushing the toilets.  Again, this could be an investment, but you’ll benefit later.
  • In your pantry, do not supply disposable cups, coffee stirrers spoon and fork for your employees. Have them bring their own utensils and tumblers. Buy in bulk, less plastic consumption rather than buying individually wrapped coffee, creamer and sugar. Use bigger jars or dispensers that everyone can use, make sure it is being cleaned and maintained.
  • Drive BYO Lunch. Healthier but lesser plastic wastes from the fast food packaging.

Office Equipment, Maintenance and the Facility.

  • Buy Energy-friendly items
  • Use LED lamps, it uses less power.  Replace inefficient and high energy light bulbs with lower wattage.
  • Use multi-purpose machines, smaller and lesser machines you buy, the smaller footprint will be. One example, printer that can also be used for photocopying, faxing and scanning.
  • Consider buying second hand. It is understandable that sometimes you have to keep an attractive and great appearance for your clients. But if you consider getting a second hand, your company will be a great help in reducing wastes and you’ll save almost 50% of your money.
  • Control and maintain comfortable temperature in the office. Most of the employees keep sweater and extra clothing inside the office as temperature in the office is colder than outside. You can implement a business-casual clothing policy as they can wear comfortable clothes they want than getting suit up.
  • Use environment friendly cleaning products. You can also recycle some items to eliminate odors, like used coffee grounds in your pantry. It’s sets up the mood of your employees plus it more environment friendly than using the chemically produced one.
  • Get indoor plants, they absorb pollutants and clean air, some are also can naturally repel insects. It’s will also make the office’s ambiance relaxed.
  • Put up reminders in every wall, bulletin boards or even at the back of the toilet’s door. Make it creative to appear more interesting for the employees to read, put quotes, trivia and info graphics about saving mother earth at work.
  • Segregate Trash. Put a separate trash bins for biodegradable, for pet bottles and tin cans and all other non-biodegradable. This way, it will be much easier to recycle. Partner with a non-profit organization/community that uses recycled materials to make money out of it, donate your recyclable waste products (such as tin cans, pet bottles, newspapers, plastic wrappers) to them regularly. you help mother earth, you helped the community.

Power Savings.

  • Set a power down time, for example during lunch breaks, turn off some lights, lamps and computer monitors for one hour every day.
  • Procure motion-detecting switch for lights in the meeting rooms or bathrooms. Sometimes, employees tend to forget the number one rule in energy saving even at home – TURN OFF LIGHTS IF NOT IN USE.
  • Set up your computers and do not allow screensavers, it consumes a lot of energy even not in use.
  • Carpool or commute going to office every day, it is a big help to lessen the carbon emission. Saves your pocket too with parking fee and gasoline. Consider biking going to the office that will give health benefits too.

Raise Awareness.

Organize a team or a committee that will drive programs for eco-friendlier environment in the office.

  • This is the most important part, you need people to explain to your employees the objectives and goals of this. It will also project that your company is serious about going green.
  • Have this committee to put up rules and policy to implement.
  • This team can also make fun events with “Go Green” themes such a fashion show contest where they will be judged according to the recycled materials they used. Give good prizes, everyone will be excited and will have fun. Make fun events where the employees get to enjoy while you deliver the message to go green and love mother earth.

Here are a few more questions to ask and things to consider if you want to think green when seeking office space.

  • Is there any active or passive solar built into the construction of the building? Active solar would be solar collectors for generating electricity or heating water. Passive solar is building construction that takes into account the building’s orientation, so that the sun’s effects (such as heat and light) are minimized in summer and maximized in winter. Buildings that have a central atrium built into them also make a big difference for bringing light into the entire building, thus lessening your portion of the cost to light common areas in the building.
  • If you are looking at a newer building, ask if it is LEED certified. According to the US Green Building Council, LEED buildings lower operating costs, reduce construction waste, conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in cities around the country. LEED certification also is better and safer for tenants, because of healthier indoor environments.
  • Find out if your prospective office building is paying attention to their use of water. Do they have low flow toilets and faucets? Do they have reclaimed or grey water systems? These will take water from sinks and filter it for use in toilets and landscaping.
  • Ask if they are doing anything less common in the area of green building, such as a vegetative roof, which increases insulation and helps filter pollution. (If there is one, find out if tenants can eat their sack lunches on the roof!)

From an article published by The University of Berkley, they discovered that the development of an active environmental policy actually has a positive impact on a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace.

How can you benefit from this green office space trend when it comes to finding the perfect office rental for your company?

Green Construction Cuts Down on Operating Costs

The cost savings associated with already installed active solar collectors are not negligible. They greatly decrease the amount of money your company spends on daily electricity. When your targeted office building also falls into the passive solar collection category, you know that its positioning will greatly decrease the need for daytime artificial light usage and winter heating expenditures. A central atrium is a big plus when you look for an office that receives natural light from all sides.

Green Landscaping Reduces Water Costs

When you rent office space, the overall operating costs of the property are built into the square footage price Choose a green building that has environmentally friendly features, which extend to the choice of landscaping. While a nicely manicured landscape provides excellent curb appeal and increases the suitability of the building as an office address, the choice of exotic flora can greatly increase the water costs. Pick an office building that uses native plants in its landscape, which cuts down on the watering cost significantly.

Green Office Space Reduces Employee Absenteeism

Whether you have 10 employees or 100, the absence of even just one worker creates a drain on your company’s productivity. A study by the City of Seattle proves that a decrease of indoor pollutants has made it possible for one company to reduce its absenteeism rate by 40 percent. In addition, productivity went up by 5 percent. When you combine the use of green building technology with the choice of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and companies, it is clear that this is a result your company could imitate.

Going green is easy. Be passionate about green office space and be true about your care for our environment. We do not need to spend so much to achieve this environment-friendly office goals. A few small steps and actions by each of your employees will create a green office space for your company, if we all try this together, it will create big impact for the environment. Whether you have a large, small or even home office, let’s love mother earth for our future.

If you need help finding green office space, contact us. It is what we do.

What You Need to Know in Hiring Virtual Assistants

virtual assistantsAs a business owner, your prime objective is to make money. As the old adage goes, time is money, especially in business. Did you know that by attempting to perform every task related to the operation of your business yourself, it may be costing you up to 40% in lost revenue?

According to statistics by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average small business owner spends up to 40% of his or her time on routine administrative tasks. Also, business experts say, approximately 80% of your time should be focused exclusively on performing activities that create the most value and profits. The more time you can spend planning, strategizing, marketing, networking, and creating and delivering your revenue-producing products or services, the greater your business will grow and profit.

The demand for services from Virtual Assistants has seen a steady increase in recent years as business owners seek ways to run and grow their businesses using support services that are flexible and cost effective. Virtual Assistants can offer many benefits, but it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate those that are reputable from those that have set up to make easy money without the relevant experience, skills, or systems to do the job effectively.

In this article, you will learn about all the things you need in hiring virtual assistants:

  • What is a “Virtual Assistant” and what they can do and scopes of jobs they can deliver.
  • Legit platforms where you can hire virtual assistants
  • Screening the right VA for you.
  • Salaries and Fees

What is a Virtual Assistant?

According to Wikipedia, A virtual assistant or VA is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Virtual assistants are in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need support but don’t require or want to have their staff physically present in their work locations or offices.

What can they offer?

You might be wondering, what can a VA offer if they are miles away from you or from your business. With the technology that we have right now, nothing is impossible to get things done (except shred the paper).  Virtual Assistants works are not limited to administrative or clerical work, or as your Executive Assistant doing your admirative project from scheduling meetings, taking calls. There are a lot of VAs provide marketing, web design and IT support, social media management, project management and can even provide Customer Service or support for your customers via phones or email.  There are VAs too that can help you to manage finances, help you with Taxes, accounting or bookkeeping.

However, take note that just like the other normal employees in an office based set up, VAs has specific skill sets too. For example, a marketing or PR virtual assistant only does marketing or PR work, same goes with web developer and other fields. Other Virtual Assistants do a variety of duties but within a specific industry. On the other hand, there are Virtual Assistants that are flexible and can perform general administrative tasks to make your life easier, delegate tasks so to free up your time that will allow you to focus on the work that will make money.

How and where do we get a good one

First, you need to know what the tasks are you want to outsource.

The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to make a list of the tasks you want to outsource. Make a complete list, prioritizing the activities you want to delegate first.  For example, if managing email takes up too much of time and tedious, put it at the top of your list. Or, maybe assisting your customers with their concerns is also important for your business, hiring an experienced customer service representative will be really a great help for you. You are spending too much time for your technical issues, search for someone who is an expert in IT or website management.

Next step is to determine who to hire. There are many ways to hire a Virtual Assistant. You can connect with an agency or a company that hires and trains and profiles them according to your requirements.  Going through an agency will save up time in sourcing, interviewing and screening your VA, agencies will also cover the works for the compensation for the VA. However, getting a VA via agencies might a little expensive than going through a freelance service.

Here are some of the top platforms in hiring freelance Virtual Assistants:

  1. Upwork

One of the largest marketplaces for projects. You can see all expertise, projects and you can see freelancers related to it. It has now 12 M registered freelancers and 5M registered clients. Can offer shorter/longer-term projects, from entry up to expert level.  Upwork has a tool to monitor the work and time spent by your VA then you will pay your VA through them.

  1. Onlinejobs.ph

One of the largest job board in the Philippines, with more than 250,000 members. Onlinejobs.ph is a subscription-based pricing model, where you will be subject for a fee to be able to contact the workers. You can do all the filtering and searching you want, but you can’t communicate with the workers until you pay. Here, you can arrange payment directly with your VA .

  1. PeoplePerHour

It offers all-around freelancers and outsourcing marketplace with a wide range of categories like Web Design, Video, Audio, Web Development, Sales & Marketing, Support, Writing, Translation, Social media, Software Development, Mobile Development.

  1. Guru

Another marketplace for finding VAs, they have a simple hiring process. Marketplace is smaller than the mentioned platforms though making it less competitive.

  1.  Freelancer.com

This could be possibly second best to Upwork.  According to their homepage, they have millions of businesses use them.

Rates and Fees

Virtual Assistants’ rates varies from $5 USD to $25 USD plus per hour. There are also factors that decide rates of freelance virtual assistant.

First is the location, hiring VA based is significantly higher than other part of the region.

Secondly is the experience, experienced VAs frequently charges more money than the beginner ones. That is why it is really important that you identify what task that you are going to offload, weather is a simple task that can be done by a fresh graduate or complicated one that needs someone who has an experience.

Another factor is the type of service or technical expertise, Virtual assistants with technical expertise in any software or application, such as programming, digital marketing are relatively charging hugely.

Use these as a guide when you are evaluating a Virtual Assistant. Determine if the rates are worth, probe they length of their experiences, seek testimonials from previous clients, or proof of their good work from past projects. Do you need who complete pro or maybe newbie that can perform the simple tasks. On a brighter side, you can always negotiate with reasonable rate, of course. Always ask nicely, they are doing these jobs for a living, so it is always within their right to say no. Come up with an arrangement that will work for both sides. If this doesn’t work and not a good fit, move on and jump to the next applicant.

To sum up, here are the Pros and Cons of having a Virtual Assistant.

PROS:

  • Makes your life easier. How great it is to know that you always have a helping hand.
  • Saves time (resulting to a healthy work-life balance)
  • Decreases stress level, beating deadlines or dealing with hard customers, pass it on!
  • Saves Money, significantly more cost efficient than hiring an in-house assistant.
  • Provides flexibility, VAs have flexible working hours, you can also work on a contract month-by-month basis, replace someone who’s not performing in just little amount of time.
  • Makes you focus on developing your business. You will have more time to plan and strategize sales (more profits) while your precious VA is continuing the day to day administrative operation.
  • Bonuses/rewards are flexible. Since you are not mandated by the government and VAs are independent contractors.

 CONS:

  • Language barrier. Since you hire someone from different region, there will always be cultural differences. Always us simple English.
  • Work monitoring is difficult. You can’t watch your assistant’s screen and monitor how they actually work.
  • Trust and Confidentiality. VAs will be exposed with you and your client’s information. Observe and know your VAs very well before exposing them to confidential information.
  • Connectivity can be an issue. Internet/Technical issues are beyond our control. It can cause big problem in case there are urgent tasks. Ask your VAs to have a backup connection or plan and always communicate in times like this.
  • Unable to meet face-to-face. Tech tools such as Skype or Facetime are available, but meetings and conversations are always better face-to-face….. also… you cannot treat your assistant for lunch.

So, maybe youare wondering why a company who helps business get into office space would be promoting remote workers. The reason is we want to see business thrive and if it means you take a few square feet less, so be it. Even if you use a virtual assistant or two, you will still need some office space for your local staff. That is where we come in. Our local reps are pros at helping make sure you get the right office space for your business. There is no cost to their services. The landlord pays them to represent you. We do a lot more than just find offices that could work for you. We make sure you get the right space at the best possible price. Give us a try.