Monthly Archives: July 2021

How to Encourage Employees to Return to the Office

Return to the OfficeThanks to the COVID-19 pandemic that caused most businesses to adopt remote working, most employees are reluctant to come back to the office. Some of the reasons for the reluctance include the flexibility and convenience of working from home and safety concerns. Therefore, if you plan on reopening your offices, you need to find a balance between the company’s needs and those of your workers to ensure a smooth transition. Here are a few tips that you can use to encourage employees to return to the office.

1. Employee Safety

One of the biggest challenges hindering employees to return to office is safety and health concerns. As the HR or management, you need to assure your staff that they can work from the office without putting their health at risk. To do this, put in place safety measures and policies to safeguard employee physical and mental health.

Some of the best practices to implement at the office include providing protective equipment like masks, thorough workplace sanitization, social distancing, and testing. As the management, ensure you communicate to your staff about how you intend to make the workplace safe. Doing so inspires trust and confidence from employees and makes coming back to the office less scary.

2. Have a Flexible Back-to-Office Strategy

Employees will be more receptive to the idea of coming back to the office when they are under no pressure to report to work. Therefore, come up with flexible guidelines on how your staff can get back to the office. You can decide to allow employees to work from the office for a few days of the week and then work remotely for the remaining days.

The best way to manage office re-entry is to involve the staff when coming up with the ground rules for getting back to work. Doing so not only makes them feel included and valued, but it also makes the whole exercise less pushy. By gradually reintroducing your staff back to the office, you ease employee anxiety and make it easy for them to acclimatize to the new working environment.

3. Organize Training to Upskill Employees

Most employees value career development and will be more excited coming back to work knowing they have opportunities to upskill and boost their financial security. As such, employee training programs at the workplace is an excellent incentive to encourage employees to get back to the office.  Besides fostering personal and professional development through upskilling, employee training programs allow your staff to find mentors.

While job-related upskilling courses such as coding classes for your IT team are great motivators, consider soft skills such as problem-solving and team building. It is advisable to make the training programs long-term to promote employee motivation and upward mobility.

4. Adapt Your Office Space to Match Employee Needs

One of the keys to achieving a successful employee return to the office is understanding that their needs may have changed when they were away. Some employees may be motivated to come to the office by the possibility of socializing, while others require a quiet working environment without the distractions of working from home. As such, you should adapt your workspaces to accommodate the different needs of your team and offer personalized experiences at work.

Consult your employees before opening up your offices on what they need so you can prepare adequately to meet their expectations. You can do this by sending out surveys and questionnaires to help you consider everyone when reimagining your office spaces. Your employees will be eager to get back to the office once they know their individual needs are well taken care of, and they can feel at home working from the office workspaces.

5. Promote Personal Connections among Employees

Reports show that 73% of employees working from home miss socializing with their colleagues. To encourage your staff to get back to working from the office, you need to capitalize on the need for human connection. You can do this by creating working spaces that encourage personal interactions and introducing activities requiring your staff to come together.

Since the office setup may limit the necessary connection your employees need, come up with creative and fun activities outside work hours. These include community service, going for picnics, scheduling alfresco lunches once in a while, and organizing games. By incorporating fun activities in your return-to-the-office strategy, you get to leverage the fear of missing out (FOMO) on those who are reluctant to come back to the office.

The Bottom Line

How you handle your company’s transition from remote to office working can make or break your employees’ morale, affecting your business productivity in the long run. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, the above tips can help encourage your employees to get back to the office. By listening to your employee’s needs and striving to provide them with the ideal working environment, you can achieve a successful transition back to the office.

Looking for an office for your employees to return to? Many companies had the fortune of getting out of their leases during the pandemic. Our local reps know the market, know the landlord and know what takes care of their buildings. Contact us if we can help! No obligation.

8 Tips To Help You Better Organize Your Office

If you work in an office, there is a good chance that your desk has become cluttered with papers, pens, and other items. This can be problematic because it may lead to stress and make it difficult to find what you are looking for when you need it. Organize your office to be more productive.

Luckily, there are a few ways that you can better organize your office so that everything stays neat. In this post, we will discuss eight tips to help keep your office organized!

Tidy Up Your Desk Every Day

If you work in an office, the chances are that a lot is going on around you. The constant movement of people can make it easy to ignore the messiness of your own space. This will lead to stress and frustration, which are not good for anyone! Ensure to tidy up your workspace at least once per day so that things don’t get out of hand. You can use a plastic banding machine for the office to bind items together which helps to declutter and make your office tidy. It’s also important that all items have a place where they belong – this includes pens and other stationery items. Clean off the top of desks regularly.

It is important not to let papers and other items accumulate on the top of desks. This will increase clutter, making it difficult for people to find what they are looking for when they need it. It’s also a good idea to clean off your desk every day so you don’t have old coffee cups sitting there as well!

Rearrange Your Office

Organizing your office is not just about sorting through things and throwing away anything you don’t need. Sometimes, it can also be helpful to redesign your co-working space or rearrange where certain items are located so that they’re easier for people to find when they need them.

For example: if a person always grabs their phone charger from the same place every day, it might make sense to have chargers stored in drawers or lockboxes on each desk instead of having one centralized location across an entire floor!

Develop a Filing System

If you have many papers and other items that need to be filed away, develop your system for where things should go. For example, if all invoices are stored in one cabinet in alphabetical order by company name, then it would make sense to store them this way on your desk as well!

This will help keep everything neat and organized so that people can easily find what they’re looking for when they need it without having to search through every single drawer or file cabinet themselves.

Organize Your Desktop

If you want to organize your office, you need to keep your desk organized. It might be helpful to store things like notebooks, pens, and other stationery items in drawers or containers rather than sitting out where they can get knocked over when someone walks by. Do not place anything on your keyboard because this will make the keys harder to press, leading to frustration while typing!

Keep an eye out next time you’re at a conference for how neatly some offices are set up: something is satisfying about walking into an office space with everything neat! When we take care of our own spaces – whether it’s our desks at work or our homes – we have a better sense of control over the chaos that comes with being busy.

Time Management Tips

If you have a hard time managing your time, consider giving yourself more “deadlines” so that there is a goal to work towards. For example: if you need to finish three tasks by the end of the day but can’t seem to get them done before lunchtime rolls around, it might be helpful for you to give yourself specific deadlines throughout the morning instead.

To-do lists are also great because they make sure we do not forget anything. If you find that these don’t work for you or feel overwhelmed with all of the different items on them, try breaking down your list into smaller parts.

Organize Digitally

It’s also important to keep your digital workspace organized, especially if you work remotely. You might want to create a specific folder on your computer for any projects currently in progress and store other files into sub-folders.

This will make it easier for people who come (to) visit your office space or remote location to find what they’re looking for without having to spend hours scrolling through all of the different documents on your desktop!

Communicate on Schedule

If you correspond by email, make sure that your emails follow a specific schedule so that people know when they should expect to hear back from you. This will help alleviate any frustrations or misunderstandings since everyone knows what is going on and has some idea of where things stand at all times.

It might also be helpful to reply with a timestamp at the end of your email so that people know when it was sent or received. This can help someone who is on the go and needs to get back to you as soon as possible, so they don’t have to wait around for an answer!

Ritualize Your Day

If you find that your day is always a rush and it’s hard to get everything done, then try ritualizing what time of the day you should complete each task. For example: if most days are hectic because there are so many meetings, then maybe schedule your morning hours for answering emails or making phone calls while in the evening hours focus on tasks like writing blog posts or creating graphics!

This will help give some structure to your workday so that things don’t seem disorganized and overwhelming when you’re juggling many things at once!

Now that you’ve learned all of these tips to organize your office, it is time to put them into action. Start by purging your workspace and tidying up your desk every day. Next, rearrange the office furniture, so everything has a place. Develop an organizational system for paper filing and digital files on your computer desktop as well as in folders on your laptop or phone. Make sure to schedule blocks of time for each task you need to accomplish and stick with those times daily or weekly! When scheduling appointments, meetings, and events, make sure they are written down somewhere (paper planner, online calendar) so there is no confusion about what needs to be done when. Finally, try incorporating some rituals like reading emails at the same time every day.

And if you are looking for a new office where you can re organize your office, we can help. Contact us today so we can show you how we can help you find the right office at the best price. No Obligation!

What to Know Before Hiring a Commercial Property Manager

Commercial Property ManagerIf you’re just getting into real estate investment or you purchased an office building to house your business, you’re probably thinking about whether or not you should seek out a commercial property manager. We’ll save you some time: yes, you should hire a property manager. Real estate investors large and small, and at every level of experience, will benefit from hiring a property manager. There are managers and management styles to suit every possible portfolio, from single properties to diverse, expansive real estate empires.

Efficient “lone wolf” managers, locally focused management firms, and large, resourceful management firms with projection power all have something unique to offer, and the type of manager you choose will depend on your specific needs and the nature of your portfolio. However, like in any marketplace, there’s more underneath the surface; before you deal with a new property manager, you should make sure to vet them properly. Doing your due diligence upfront will spare you the headache of dealing with bad management. According to Utopia Management, the industry nationwide has some stellar management teams, but sadly it is also rife with inexperienced, ineffective property managers. It’s a fairly easy career to start, which tends to attract people that may not have the level of commitment and business acumen that is required to maximize ROI and streamline operations. Pete Evering of Utopia shares with us these ways to sort out your options and trust your investment to a smart, effective property management firm.

1. Zero In on Your Needs

Before you search for a potential manager, take stock of what exactly you require and expect from your management. For example, a single family home and a mixed portfolio of multifamily residential and commercial properties will have acutely different needs, most obviously concerning the number of staff necessary for general upkeep and the resources available to them. If you have properties in different, disconnected locales, a large-scale firm with a presence in different counties or states is ideal.

In general, you’ll want to work with only one manager or management firm that can service all of your properties. Small-time investors may want to save money by going with an efficient, solo manager, but depending on your situation, your needs may extend beyond the physical act of management and into the realms of marketing and advertising, meaning you’ll want to choose someone able to properly advertise vacant rental units and fill them promptly. Many property managers also assume the duties of tenant interaction, including processing applications, background checks, and leases. For this reason, many proactive landlords opt for a fully staffed firm.

2. Inquire About Experience

A manager can claim expertise in several subfields of property management, but talk is cheap. Before signing with a manager, get a good idea of their management experience. In any field, there’s a debate between those who prize freshness and innovation over cooked-to-death tradition and those who trust old wisdom more than they trust untested possibility. In general, however, you should choose management that can display a long history of experience, having dealt with changes in the real estate market over decades and adjusted accordingly. Don’t forget: if a management firm is old, that means they’ve been doing something right.

Of course, management experience itself isn’t universal. A firm specializing in walkup apartments, with few if any commercial properties in their management history, is obviously not an ideal candidate to market and manage a small armada of retail spaces. Having no precisely relevant management experience shouldn’t automatically disqualify a manager, but you should consider looking elsewhere until you find someone whose clients typically resemble yourself.

3. Ask How They Reduce Vacancy Rates

This is a magic bullet question that will highlight immediately how savvy the agency or manager is.  Listen for answers that discuss:

  • Highly visible marketing to attract more tenants, including digital and signage
  • Attractive listings with professional photography
  • 7 days a week showing availability
  • Strong screening to identify longer term reliable tenants
  • Tenant retention strategies, including being responsive to tenants needs and ability to pay rent online
  • In house maintenance teams that are typically more responsive (and save you money)
  • Market familiarity to price appropriately
  • Eviction protection programs, which function similar to insurance

It’s a giant red flag if they gloss over this topic, or worse if they imply vacancy rates are out of their control.

4. Investigate Their Reputation

This should come as second nature to us in the digital age: before patronizing a new restaurant, specialty shop, or any other business, we habitually look for the lowdown on its reputation and quality. Usually, that involves a Google search, some number of stars, and written reviews.

For property managers, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. Many management firms receive most of their online feedback, such as what you’ll find on a Google business profile, from tenants, not landlords. Because of the nature of tenant and management relations, most of these tenant reviews will be complaints, and many of them will be outright hostile. This doesn’t mean an online quality score is useless — after all, as a landlord, you should desire that your tenants are satisfied and happy — but it does mean you should do some more digging to get a good idea of a manager’s business reputation with their clients.

If you have peers or acquaintances involved in real estate investment, ask for their opinions. See who they use, and ask what they think of your prospective manager. Even if they’ve never worked together, your friends may have heard something, and if it’s the bad kind of something, they’ll probably be able to recommend someone better.

5. Are They Insured?

All the relevant experience and positive recommendations in the world won’t save you from unforeseen circumstances. No matter the size of your property manager, it’s paramount they’re armed with a full risk management arsenal that can limit the damage done by bad actors and general negligence.

Let’s start with general liability insurance, an essential type of business insurance. This covers the firm in the event a tenant is injured, or property is damaged due to employee negligence. In addition, the commercial property managers at Buttonwood advise that your management firm should be covered by a fidelity bond in case of purposeful theft or fraud committed by its employees.

Professional liability insurance will cover losses due to damaging professional advice and other abstract types of professional negligence, essentially filling the liability holes left unfilled by a general liability insurance policy. To cover all bases, forgery and alteration insurance will protect against the financial fallout from fraudulent or altered checks and other payment methods.

6. Understand the Fee Structure

Simply put, you should know how much something costs before you agree to buy it. Most management firms don’t lead with their asking price and fees, so ask a prospective property manager to plainly describe their fee structure before hopping aboard.

Typically, manager fees take one of three forms:

  • Flat Fee

The flat fee is the same amount every month, regardless of actual cost of operations. A manager will usually set this amount based on reasonable expectations of cost.

  • Percentage of Revenue

This fee structure extracts a percentage of your rental property’s gross revenue. This includes not only rent, but also bill-backs for utility overuse and other costs incurred by tenants.

  • Hybrid

When managers are unwilling to commit to either a flat fee or gross percentage, they will often institute a hybrid fee model in which gross revenue percentage and a flat fee are compared, with the greater of the two selected.

If you are interested in finding an office building to purchase either for your business or as an investment, we have top local commercial real estate agents throughout the US and Canada who can help. They will represent you and make sure you avoid any costly mistakes. Contact us today for more information.