6 tips for renting small business space

The global financial crisis and recession haven’t exactly been a boon for small businesses. But one area where the turmoil has created opportunities for entrepreneurs is in renting real estate space.

“Overall, this has become a tenant’s market,” says Stuart Siegel, executive managing director for real estate broker Grubb & Ellis in New York City. “There are probably more small businesses that are nimble and able to act quickly during this crisis. They can capture landlords who are vulnerable and get anxious to make a really terrific deal.”

While the standard adage for businesses that want to rent space is that bigger is better, “We are seeing a lot more activity with smaller tenants now than larger ones,” Siegel says. “A lot of big companies are downsizing, cutting costs and putting space on the market for sublease.”

As a result: “Rental prices are coming down across the board from top triple A office buildings in New York City to strip malls and freestanding office buildings in smaller markets,” he says. “Tenants can often make numerous offers to see which landlord is the most vulnerable. It’s similar to the residential market, where vulture buyers are seeing who bites.”

Sherry Cushman, a senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis in Washington, D.C., who helps law firms finds space all around the country, has a client that wants to open an office in New York City with 10,000 square feet of space.

“When they started looking eight months ago, they couldn’t touch anything for below $70 per square foot, and most of what they were looking at was $90 to $100 per square foot,” she says. “Now the range is $50 to $70.”

The national office vacancy rate jumped to 14.8 percent at the end of last year from 13 percent 12 months earlier, according to Grubb & Ellis researchers. And they see things getting worse.

“Expect leasing market fundamentals to deteriorate more sharply in 2009 in response to very difficult economic conditions,” they wrote in a recent report. That, of course, is good news for small businesses looking for space.

6 tips on searching for space
Here are six key points for small businesses to keep in mind when searching for space to rent:
  1. Smaller is better
  2. Get the duration you want
  3. Ask for concessions
  4. Don’t expect slack on your security deposit
  5. Learn your market
  6. Investigate your landlord

1. Smaller is better

“The opportunities are there for small businesses,” Siegel says. “Landlords that hadn’t contemplated pursuing smaller tenants are now looking to diversify and are willing to take small tenants in previously large spaces that are now divided into smaller ones. The number of small spaces tenants can consider in their searches has increased.”

2. Get the duration you want

Whether you are looking for a one-year lease or a 10-year lease, you have a good chance of getting your wish. “In good times, landlords could say, ‘We’re only doing five-year leases.’ The strong demand could get them that, and they wouldn’t have to negotiate,” says Jake Harrington, director of business development for On-Site.com, which helps landlords screen tenants.

Now things are different. “My associates are working with small and big businesses,” says Rob Cochran, managing principal of Colliers Pinkard’s Charlotte, N.C., office. “Maybe they have two to three years left on their lease. They can renegotiate for a longer-term commitment. Now is a good time for that.” If you’re a startup, you’ll want to negotiate as short a lease as possible, since you don’t know how long you’re going to be around. On the other hand, if your business is thriving, you should consider locking in today’s cheap rent for a long-term lease.

3. Ask for concessions

“Don’t take the price of the lease at face value,” says Rich Sloan, co-founder of StartUpNation, a Web site that assists small businesses. “Landlords are hungry to earn revenue from properties — hungrier than conceivably they’ve ever been because of the difficult economy. Try to lock in lower-than-advertised rent.”

What landlords like to do is offer tenant improvement dollars, subsidizing renovations for a space, or a period of free rent. “That way word doesn’t have to get out that rent is going down,” even though effectively it is, Siegel points out. You also may be able to negotiate a limit to future rent increases.

With all the monetary stimulus the economy is receiving, inflation likely will accelerate in coming years. Often lease rates rise in synch with the consumer price index. “Tenants should put a cap on that, saying annual increases aren’t to exceed 2 (percent) to 3 percent,” Harrington says. “You don’t want to get stuck with an 8 percent increase.” You often can negotiate an option to expand your space if you need more down the road. And you may be able to get the landlord to pay for management fees, janitorial expenses, maintenance and repairs. Sloan suggests negotiating for perks like parking spots, garbage removal and snow-clearing services if you’re in the north.

4. Don’t expect musmch slack on your security deposit

“This is more of a problem because landlords are concerned about the risk” of tenants failing, given the recession, Cochran says. “People are really looking at credit risk. If you’re already in a space, it’s probably not an issue.” But if you’re taking new space, be prepared to pay about 10 percent of your lease total as a deposit. “Landlords will typically require a letter of credit, and small businesses may be required to make a personal guarantee” to pay the deposit, CBRE’s Cushman says.

Small business tenants often aren’t aware of how important the security deposit is to a landlord, Siegel says. “Landlords don’t want to pay tenant improvement dollars and make other concessions and then get the space handed back to them six months later,” he points out. One exception to this rule: subleases. Companies that have too much space and thus must rent some out to other firms often aren’t in a position to ask for more than one or two months’ rent as a security deposit.

5. Learn your market

“It’s important for the tenant to be educated,” Siegel says. “Now is the time to see a lot of space.” He recommends working with a broker. “Very often small business owners feel they can find space and negotiate a lease on their own,” he says. “But I’m not sure they understand things like how a personal guarantee differs from a good guy guarantee.

“There are many nuances, such as escalator clauses, renewals, expansions and possible termination rights, where terms can be favorable to you in this economy if you know how to ask. Without a broker, you run the risk of the landlord taking advantage of you. A good broker and a good attorney will protect a tenant.” You don’t have to spring for a lawyer until you’re ready to sign a lease, Siegel says. But he emphasizes the importance of using a real estate attorney. “Attorneys who handle regular corporate legal work might not be the right counsel for a complicated commercial lease,” he points out.

6. Investigate your landlord

That’s especially important in this economy, where many major real estate holders are taking it on the chin. “The creditworthiness of a building owner is very important,” Cushman says. “Are they restructuring a loan they can’t repay? Are they in some kind of trouble? It used to be that you’d just look at the tenant. Now you have to look at both sides of the table. In the larger deals, we almost always run a credit check on the owner.”

The bottom line:

 

 

This is a great time to be looking for space. “I don’t think you’ll see opportunities this significant for a long time to come,” Siegel says. “It’s hard to time the market precisely, similar to the stock market. But a time when the market is in transition and landlords are nervous is a good time to act. A lot of people don’t know what the values really are for their spaces. So it’s a neat time for tenants to strike very attractive deals.”

 

Workspaces That Enhance the Employee Experience | Curated Offices

The desire to improve the employee experience presents an opportunity for application leaders of digital workplace programs to work with real-estate and facilities leaders to create inspiring workspaces.

This research provides proven practices to encourage collaboration and allow remote working.

Overview

Impacts


  • The need for well-designed workspaces that attract talent, inspire creativity and enable people to collaborate more effectively requires application leaders to include physical space in their digital workplace program planning.
  • The parallel trends of more remote working and changes to accounting rules for lease transactions increase the need for synergy between application, real estate and facilities management (RE/FM) leaders to better manage office space.

Recommendations


For application leaders responsible for enhancing employee effectiveness as part of digital workplace programs:

  • Build a catalog of activity-based workspaces to accommodate a wide range of work styles, and ensure that the IT technology fabric supports them.
  • Evaluate technologies that support the mobile workforce with a smaller footprint and no loss of productivity.
  • Integrate a visible presence, such as a genius bar or user experience labs, into space plans to force greater interaction between employees and IT.
  • Seek efficiencies by aligning and integrating separate IT and RE/FM efforts.

Strategic Planning Assumptions


By 2020, organizations that support a choose-your-own-work-style culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10%.

By 2021, the increase in the number of employees who prefer to work remotely will allow organizations to support 40% more workers in the same amount of space as they use today.

By 2020, 25% of organizations will have a catalog of smart workspaces maintained by IT, real estate and facilities management.

Analysis

The kinds of workspaces an organization’s leadership provides its workers speak volumes about how much they value their employees. Numerous studies explore the relationship between the physical space and the employee experience. 1 They establish that employees who enjoy their physical work environments are more engaged, productive and happy. Nearly 7% of workers said that physical workspace would be a major factor in considering leaving for a position outside their current organization. 2 An engaged workforce is pivotal for a successful transformation to a digital business.

Gartner analysis of digital workplace initiatives in numerous organizations reflects the growing importance of workspaces in the digital workplace program (see  “Global Digital Workplace Programs Exemplify Promise and Progress Worthy of Emulating”). Crafting digital workplaces that enhance employee effectiveness requires the collaborative efforts of IT, HR and real estate/facility management (RE/FM) leaders (see  “Build Your ‘A Team’ to Lead Successful Digital Workplace Programs”). The digital workplace is intertwined with the physical workspace. Digital experiences are mediated through apps on devices, and devices are part of the physical workspace. Increasingly, their form and position in the physical workspace impact the employee experience.

Traditionally, both IT and RE/FM leaders focused on the legacy of the “one-size-fits-all” approach for both space and technology. The gray cubicle was standard issue regardless of the work people were doing. IT and RE/FM had separate budgets and were populated by people with very different skills.

Today, application leaders who understand the changing business context of “office space” are better able to respond to technology service demands — network access, mobile applications, digital signage and so on — while contributing to a more-engaging employee experience. Digital workers can literally work from any place and at any time. IT is the technology enabler; the RE/FM teams drive the design of the space. All are working toward a shared business outcome that cannot be realized unless they pursue it together.

Recognition is growing that application and RE/FM leaders jointly own the responsibility for combining the virtual and physical to create an environment where employees are excited to work (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Impacts and Top Recommendations for Application Leaders
Source: Gartner (December 2017)

Executive Office

 

Include Well-Designed Workspaces in Digital Workplace Programs to Attract Talent, Inspire Creativity and Increase Collaboration

Space design has a powerful impact on the people who occupy it. The physical attributes of space can encourage behaviors such as collaboration and creativity, or discourage them. Unfortunately, only 11% of respondents to the 2017 Gartner Digital Workplace Survey said they were completely satisfied with their workspace (the mean level of satisfaction was 5, where 1 = completely dissatisfied and 7 = completely satisfied — see Figure 2). The same survey reported that 38% of employees can choose from multiple workspaces when in the office, yet 29% cannot and wish they could. 2

Application leaders responsible for digital workplace programs (hereafter called “digital workplace leaders”) can address this deficit. They can create greater employee satisfaction by incorporating the principles of activity-based working (ABW) into their workspace design.

Figure 2. “How Satisfied Are You With the Physical Workspace Your Organization Provides You?”
Base: Work from office (n = 3,012)
Source: Gartner (December 2017)

The average age of an office building is 60 years. The private office has existed for more than 80 years, and the cubicle for more than 50 years. 3 ABW leaves these antiquated notions behind and instead provides people with a choice of work settings. With ABW, people do not have a permanently assigned space — they move throughout the office choosing whatever type of space fits what they are trying to do, as well as their personal preferences.

A well-designed ABW office provides a mix of “hot” (lots of activity) and “cold” (private) places. It is based on the principle that finding the right balance between public and private workspace best supports collaboration and personal productivity. Digital workplace leaders who begin work now to identify the work styles of their employees will be well-positioned to take advantage of this trend (see  “Create a Catalog of Activity-Based Spaces in the Digital Workplace to Improve the Employee Experience”).

Gartner research indicates that IT most often leads digital workplace programs. 4 This is an opportune time to begin to work more closely with RE/FM leaders to create a shared charter for IT and RE/FM. In addition to planning investments, having a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach will support a vendor procurement process that addresses both technology and physical space challenges.

Case Examples

A growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to a natural environment enhances productivity and improves employee well-being. 5 Biophilic design takes inspiration from nature, integrating natural light, materials and vegetation into the work environment for a positive effect on workers. For example, India-based JLL’s new office in Mumbai is “nature-aligned” with life-size trees and nature sounds at frequent intervals to de-stress the workforce. 6

Land Securities — one of largest commercial property development companies in the U.K. — redesigned its office space to allow employees and visitors to decide how, when and where they work depending on their requirements. The workspace has a combination of space types where people can work quietly or interact with others depending on what tasks they need to carry out during a typical work day. 7

Space planners can take care of human factors and design the appropriate layout, but the space cannot come alive without including the technologies (IT) and the policies and practices around usage (HR). The pieces must work together. Hence, it is the partnership between IT and RE/FM, along with support from HR, that ensures that IT provides the right technology fabric to support various kinds of space and activity. People’s preference is to consume these capabilities as a service — “space as a service.” Thinking in this way will allow planners to understand the utility (use cases and capabilities), warranty (SLAs) and costs (see  “Introducing the Digital Workplace Strategic IT Services Portfolio”).

IT Considerations When Redesigning Office Spaces

Smarter workspaces. Technology forces such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality (augmented reality/virtual reality [AR/VR]) are introducing a myriad of new possibilities for digital workplace leaders to create smart workspaces and, eventually, smart buildings. Seventy-two percent of respondents in the 2016 Gartner IoT Survey said they were implementing or had already implemented IoT-related technology. 8  Digital workplace leaders can facilitate integration of the information from such building and facilities technology into an exceptional employee experience. This information could include lighting systems, air conditioning, heating, air quality, occupancy and so on (see  “Use the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings to Achieve Work-Life Ambience” and  “Align Smart Workplace Efforts With Employee Needs for Knowledge-Based Work”).

Space-based technology requirements. Different types of meeting space have different IT requirements. There has been an explosion in new technologies targeted at everyday meeting rooms in offices. Analyze the various kinds of meeting space within the organization and equip them with the right technology (see  “Select the Right Technology for Modern Meeting Rooms”).

Digital signage/screens. Offer digital signage as an element of digital workplace services. Embedding visual communication capabilities as part of a more modern, dynamic workplace can lead to better employee communication and experience.

Improve IT support/perception. Harness this initiative to introduce a visible presence for IT, such as walk-up service bars. Implementing a “genius bar” can make IT seem more approachable and responsive. Currently, employees feel that their IT groups are not very responsive. A walk-up service can elevate the relationship between employee and IT. Instead of leaving a problem with a technician, the employee is involved in the resolution, and so may be able to solve similar issues themselves next time. Canadian insurance company Manulife has set up a series of what it calls TechLounges in several divisions, starting in Toronto. These are drop-in technical support centers where end users can bring their laptops and other company-issued devices for upgrades and minor fixes. The TechLounges also help remote workers who might not know when they will be in the office for a training session or upgrade. 9

Unified communication needs. Since not everyone can always be in the office, interactions need to support remote participants. For IT, this means continued investment in technologies such as unified communications and collaboration (UCC) and group video, to support collaborative workspaces and facilitate collaboration with third-party partners and vendors. (See  “IT Challenges to Planning the End User’s Physical Work and Collaboration Spaces” for additional IT service challenges emerging from the changes in office space.)

Integrated workplace management systems. Harness the partnership with RE/FM leaders to determine an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) vendor that meets the requirements for smart and cost-effective operation of the facilities (see  “Market Guide for Integrated Workplace Management Systems”).

New procurement skills.Encourage new skills development by having IT leaders work with new types of vendors that they might not normally encounter, such as those for furniture, digital signage, architecture and design firms, IWMS, and resource scheduling.

Recommendations:

  • Develop a common understanding of how people work, starting with a worker segmentation model that satisfies both IT and RE/FM needs.
  • Build a catalog of activity-based workspaces that address the range of work styles you uncover.
  • Ensure that the IT technology fabric supports the requirements of these activity-based workspaces.
  • Adopt a comprehensive endpoint strategy that includes new types of endpoint, such as digital signage.
  • Integrate a visible presence, such as a genius bar or user experience labs, into space plans to force greater interaction between employees and IT.
  • Include RE/FM leaders, along with HR, in digital workplace governance and planning initiatives.

Remote Working Trends and Accounting Rule Changes Increase the Need for Synergy Between Application and RE/FM Leaders

Two parallel trends are increasing the urgency for digital workplace leaders to join forces with RE/FM leaders to better manage office space in their organization:

  • An increase in remote working
  • Changes to accounting rules for lease transactions

Increase in Remote Working

The increase in remote working is a global phenomenon. Three out of 10 Americans spend at least 80% of their time working remotely. 10 In the U.K., 91% of firms have at least one employee working from home, and 19% of companies have over 50% of their employees working remotely. 11, 12 Figure 3 depicts the proportion of remote workers by country. 13

Figure 3. Remote Working Is a Global Phenomenon
Source: ILO-Eurofound

 

Working remotely — sometimes referred to as teleworking or telecommuting — means employees are not working in a traditional corporate office. As shown in Figure 4, the preferences of various segments of workers indicate that workers want the flexibility to work from their choice of locations. They want to be productive regardless of whether they are working from a corporate office, at home or some other place. (For an explanation of the five worker segments — caretakers, pilots, engineers, mavericks, navigators — see  “Understand Five Key Kinds of Workers to Energize Your Digital Workplace.”)

Figure 4. Five Worker Segments and Where They Prefer to Work
Source: Gartner (December 2017)

 

As interest in remote working increases, digital workplace leaders need to make sure that these nomadic employees can easily find and reserve the kind of workspace they require when they do go into the corporate office. Working with RE/FM colleagues, they can support a mobile workforce with a smaller real estate footprint and no loss of productivity.

As part of continually re-evaluating how space is used, RE/FM professionals are exploring more-dynamic subleasing arrangements for unused space. Use of shared workplace or co-working spaces, whereby companies rent office space on flexible terms (hourly, daily, monthly or yearly) directly from businesses with space to share, is increasing. By the end of 2017, nearly 1.2 million people worldwide will have worked in a co-working space. This phenomenon is not restricted to freelancers, individual business executives and fast-growing startups; it includes large enterprises such as AT&T, Tyco, Autodesk and Accenture.

Changes to Accounting Rules for Lease Transactions

FASB/IASB accounting changes to take effect on 1 January 2019 will radically change accounting for operating leases and affect almost every organization, especially those that lease real estate. These changes will effectively do away with the traditional off-balance sheet operating lease for terms longer than 12 months, and will require that they appear as liabilities on the balance sheet. Listed companies using IFRS (international) or GAAP (U.S.) accounting standards have around $3.3 trillion in lease commitments. Specific assets that will be most affected by these accounting changes include corporate real-estate holdings that are often financed via an off-balance-sheet operating lease (see  “Beware the Effect of the Operating Lease’s Demise on Finance and Real Estate”).

While these reporting changes will not directly affect how business is conducted, the changes will impact how a company’s financial health appears on paper. As a company’s total cost of occupancy is typically its second-largest category of expense after the cost of labor, the impacts on financial results for many will be significant. Therefore, this accounting change serves as a catalyst for corporate RE leaders to urgently seek cost-saving opportunities and, in the long term, to revisit or even overhaul their RE management strategies.

RE/FM leaders are already making investments in technology to create smarter, more efficient buildings. Digital workplace leaders need to actively engage with them to ensure that the business outcomes that are fundamental to the RE/FM business case can be addressed with the communication infrastructure. Alignment can drive lower technology costs, lower technology risks, better agility to new hybrid projects and access for IT to new sources of data (see  “Show the Value of OT and IT Alignment, and Realize Digital Business Results”).

IT Considerations to Enable Remote Working and Efficient Use of Space

Right technology and amount of remote work. Enabling remote work requires significant technological investment. For example, IT leaders will have to provide the right technology infrastructure from laptops with preconfigured VPN access to the internet backbone. It will also force IT leaders to reassess their mobile and endpoint strategies, the foundation for which must be the concept of unified workspaces. Technologies and services must securely deliver the right applications and data to the right user, on the right device, at the right time and location (see  “Embrace Unified Workspaces to Deliver on Your Digital Workplace Vision”).

The increase in remote work might give the impression that the future of work is entirely remote, but that is far from true. Not every kind of work can be done remotely, hence it is not applicable to all organizations and job profiles. Respondents to a recent Gartner global survey indicated a wish to spend most of their work time in a corporate office. Remote work has both pros (productivity, reduction in real-estate expense) and cons (burnout, loneliness, lack of collaboration). Some companies, such as IBM and Yahoo, discourage remote working. IT and business leaders must determine how much remote working the firm can handle, as well as ensure that the culture and the technology infrastructure can support it. Digital workplace leaders who design practices that strike a balance between remote work and office work will enjoy the benefits of both.

Managing the workspace with mobile workers. When remote workers need to go to their corporate location, they must be able to find the resources that will enable them to be productive, such as a private workspace, a conference room, directions and even a parking space. Such situations surface the need for resource scheduling tools that will help remote workers to check availability and book these resources. IT needs to work with RE/FM leaders to determine their requirements and deploy resource scheduling tools that provide an optimal employee experience. Co-working spaces or shared spaces, where a number of companies coexist, clearly require technology that can efficiently schedule the shared resources and bill them accordingly (see  “Market Guide for Resource Scheduling Applications”).

Data-based space planning. Leverage the utilization data from RE/FM tools such as IWMS and resource scheduling to design your future workplace. Buildings are no longer built to last for decades; they need to more flexible and adaptable. For example, Japanese imaging and electronics company Ricoh was able to create annual space savings of up to 50% by analyzing data from workspace occupancy sensors. The desk data captured indicated average desk utilization of below 30%, with busiest periods peaking at 51%. The data revealed that 58% of Ricoh’s desks were used under 20% of the time throughout the study. Many such insights on workspace allowed Ricoh to use its resources more efficiently.

Combined user segmentation modelling.It is becoming impractical for RE/FM and IT to address employee needs individually. As part of space utilization studies, RE/FM leaders are beginning to classify workers based on how often they are in the office and what they do when they are there. This is strikingly similar to the user segmentation used by IT organizations to plan for and control service provisioning (for example, who gets a laptop or a desktop and who is entitled to a company-provided mobile device). All organizations should have a single, evolving user segmentation model, developed and applied by all shared service organizations that contribute to the employee experience. This will avoid redundant employee surveys and focus groups whose data and learnings are collected and applied independently.

IT possesses a treasure trove of “digital bread crumbs,” such as usage of mobility and conferencing services as well as device assignment, to help inform user segmentation modeling. Vendors are emerging to operationalize these approaches (see end-user analytics in  “IT Market Clock for Client Computing, 2015”). A simple model that quantifies this information is a good first step, but using techniques such as journey mapping and persona development will start to answer who is using which spaces and for what activities. Work done on the move requires IT to support a work context that follows the worker to any space. Understanding the activities being performed helps inform the space designer of the type of physical space needed to support.

Developing these competencies needs to be a shared activity of IT and HR with RE/FM. The employee experience is the cumulative effect of interactions with services provided by all the shared service organizations.

Recommendations

  • Evaluate technologies that support the mobile workforce with a smaller footprint and no loss of productivity.
  • Ensure that you provide a technology infrastructure and workplace practices that enable remote work.
  • Use the changes to accounting rules for lease transactions as an opportunity to better understand and manage your portfolio of real estate leases. IT and RE/FM must work together to ensure proper categorization of and accounting for these important assets.
  • Exploit insights from space utilization data to gain efficiency, manage cost and plan for change.

Office Share: Why More GEN Xers Are Flocking To Shared Office Spaces

Adapted from Forbes: Larry Alton 

Have you seen a jump in the number of “shared” office spaces in and around your city? The “shared” office model is rising in popularity and has been for the past decade. Back in 2007, the trend was almost unheard of, with only 14 documented coworking spaces in the United States. Now, there are more than 11,100, and we’re projected to see more than 26,000 spaces hosting 3.8 million people by 2020.

One of the biggest drivers of this trend is the emergence of X’ers in the professional world. They’re becoming entrepreneurs, building and joining startups, and are starting to shape the trends of how and where we work. But why are coworking and shared office spaces so appealing to X’ers in the first place?

What Is a “Shared” Office Space?

In case you aren’t familiar with the idea, a coworking  space is a location where individuals from multiple businesses can engage in work by rent office space by the day, month-to-month or for a year. In every case, members of a shared workspace pay a monthly membership / License fee, a cable bill, for regular access , and premium charges for accommodations like meeting rooms or special equipment (pay-per-view).

WorkSocial in New York City has 3 different locations with both daily and hourly rentals.

Millennial’s and Gen Xers Love Shared Office Spaces 

So how are these office spaces able to thrive with the X’ers population?

1. Lower costs.

Shared office spaces are almost always cheaper than their full-office counterparts. Buying a large office could set you back tremendously, and leasing a space will cost at least several thousand dollars a month (especially in an urban center). With membership fees potentially under $100 a month, shared spaces have a major advantage.

2. Fewer responsibilities.

X’ers entrepreneurs who partake in shared space also have fewer responsibilities to worry about. Things like cleaning and maintenance are taken care of by the building’s owners. This is one reason why Gen Xers tend to prefer renting over owning; most of the annoying tasks and responsibilities are already accounted for.

3. Networking opportunities.

In a shared office space, there are usually dozens of other people—if not hundreds—occupying the same location as you, and those demographics will likely change every month. It’s a perfect place to meet new people in the professional world, which is advantageous to the social X’ers who wants to expand their professional network.

4. Smaller commitments.

X’ers also like the idea that they don’t have to commit. Leases tend to cover periods of several years, and owning a building is an investment that can (or should) last for a decade or longer. Shared office space, on the other hand, can be reduced to a monthly, daily, or hourly If your needs change often, this is a must.

5. Support for startups.

Though the data has led to mixed conclusions, most X’ers love the idea of starting their own business, and many are following through on that entrepreneurial drive. Thanks to the availability of online resources, and the fast turnover rate for tech startups, creating a startup from scratch happens fast these days, and can be done with smaller teams. That increased, rapid-fire demand for startup space has been a boon for the shared office space industry; shared spaces are ideal for entrepreneurs with small budgets, uncertain futures, and a need for networking with other business owners.

6. Urban-centric locations.

According to Nielsen surveys, 62% of X’ers prefer to live in urban centers, where access to resources like grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment are convenient and mutually accessible to others. Shared office spaces usually occupy urban centers, making them a perfect fit in Xers’ dream locations. Centrally located, X’ers can either walk to work easily or use the opportunity to explore more of their home city.

7. Resistance to traditional offices.

Finally, remember that X’ers are resisting the urge to comply with traditional office structures (for better or worse). They’re breaking down corporate hierarchies, dismantling 9 to 5 mentalities, and even redefining social norms in business interactions. Shared offices offer more opportunities for individual expression, and offer a counterpoint to traditional office culture. To put it simply, they’re new and they’re hip.

Shared office spaces do have some disadvantages, of course; you’ll be limited in terms of what you can do with the space, and if you need to upgrade, you won’t have much infrastructure to scale (you’ll need to start again from scratch). Still, for the remote workers, entrepreneurs, and other X’ers professionals out there, shared office spaces are quickly becoming the dominant choice in work.

How to be a role model for girls

Together we can encourage the next generation of female leaders. Girls often look to the women in their lives for cues about how to think and act. When we speak confidently, take risks, and own our accomplishments, we set positive examples for girls to follow. There are countless opportunities every day to help girls gain the confidence and skills they need to lean in and take the lead.

Special thanks to Rachel Simmons and the team at Girls Leadership for their expert insights on empowering girls.

Situation

Girls can undermine themselves when they speak. Many girls use phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” to weaken their statements. Some introduce opinions with disclaimers (“I’m not sure if this is right, but . . .”) or use upspeak so their statements sound like questions (“Martin Luther King, Jr., was a civil rights leader?”). These verbal crutches hinder a girl’s ability to share her ideas clearly and confidently—a habit that often carries over into adulthood.

1. Coach Girls to Speak Confidently

Did You Know?

Boys often get more airtime in class than girls—they are more likely to call out answers and less likely to be interrupted.1 Teach girls to counteract this by raising their hands and speaking confidently when they’re called on.

Solution

Speak with confidence so girls hear what it sounds like. Avoid hedging your opinions with disclaimers or apologies. If you observe a girl falling into these same habits, explain how it undermines the point she’s trying to make. Remind her it’s not just what you say that matters, it’s how you say it, too.

Women often avoid giving
each other honest input to
avoid being seen as unkind.

1. Situation

Girls are often taught to suppress their feelings in order to get along with others.2 As a result, they do not learn to speak openly and manage conflict. Fast-forward to adulthood: too often women avoid giving each other honest input to avoid being seen as unkind or fall into the trap of personalizing constructive input we receive. Because we shy away from giving and getting direct feedback, many women miss out on the input we need to be our best selves and advance in our careers more quickly.

2. Teach Girls to Navigate Conflict

Lean In Activity: Problem Solving with G.I.R.L.

Help girls cultivate their problem-solving and conflict-management skills with G.I.R.L., a framework to help them organize their thoughts, weigh options, and strategize a solution. Download Activity >

Solution

Model honest, direct communication for the girls in your life. When faced with a difficult situation, talk to the people involved—not about them—and share your true feelings. Encourage girls to speak their mind and avoid social shortcuts like texting and social media. Role-play difficult conversations together, and ask girls to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Explain that conflict is an inevitable part of relationships—it’s the way we handle it that matters.

Situation

When girls are confident in their abilities, they are more likely to take the lead.3 The problem is that girls are often underestimated by others—and underestimate themselves—which erodes their confidence. When girls are complimented on their achievements, they also tend to deflect praise or minimize their accomplishments,4 yet internalizing success is an important part of building self-confidence.

These same dynamics carry over into adulthood. Women often get less credit for successes and can be blamed more for failures.5 We also tend to underestimate our own abilities and attribute our success to external factors such as “getting lucky” or “help from others.”6 Because we receive less credit and give ourselves less credit, we often feel less self-assured, and it curbs our appetite for taking on new challenges.

3. Encourage Girls to Own Their Success

Did You Know?

The confidence gap starts young: between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’.7

Solution

Model owning your accomplishments for the girls in your life. Say “thank you” when you receive a compliment instead of deflecting it. When girls see that it is okay to own their success, they will feel more comfortable doing it themselves. Moreover, look for opportunities to celebrate girls’ success and acknowledge their strengths, and push back if they fall into the trap of sidestepping praise.

Women often wait to apply for a job until they meet 100 percent of hiring criteria, while men apply when they meet just 60 percent. 8

Situation

Because girls often struggle with confidence and fear making mistakes, they are less likely to take risks. Some girls don’t speak up in class unless they’re 100 percent sure they have the right answer, while others shy away from trying new subjects or activities. This same reluctance also holds women back. Compared to our male counterparts, we can be less likely to take on high-profile projects or lobby for more senior positions.

5. Inspire Girls to Go for It

Lean In Activity: Goal Setting

Use our goal-setting activity to help girls break down their goals into achievable steps—and see a clear path from where they are to where they want to go. Download Activity 

Solution

Model taking healthy risks. Talk about the times you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone, and explain how good it feels when you succeed and how much you learn when you don’t. When you hear girls say they’re “not ready” or “can’t do it,” gently push back and remind them it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Make sure girls know that being brave is rarely about dramatic moments: it’s a skill acquired, little by little, over time.

Situation

Girls and boys get very different messages about leadership. We expect boys to lead, so we applaud them when they do. On the other hand, we expect girls to be kind and communal, so when they speak their mind or take the lead, they often face pushback. As a result, girls often worry they’ll make people mad or be laughed at if they assume a leadership position.9 It’s no wonder that by middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood.10

5. Celebrate Female Leadership

Did You Know?

More than 80 percent of female executives played sports growing up.11 When girls participate in extracurricular activities, they gain leadership skills that stay with them for life.12

Solution

Talk openly about your own experiences taking the lead and celebrate female leaders in your life and in the news. If you hear a girl being criticized for asserting herself or referred to as “bossy” or “aggressive,” step in and explain she should be applauded, not chided, for her leadership skills. Finally, make sure girls understand the benefits of being a leader, like having a voice and making things happen!

Endnotes

  1. Myra Sadker and David M. Sadker, Failing at Fairness: How America’s Schools Cheat Girls (New York: Scribner, 1994); AAUW, How Schools Shortchange Girls (1992).
  2. Girls, Inc., The Supergirl Dilemma: Girls Grapple with the Mounting Pressure of Expectations (2006). Summary of Findings.
  3. Girl Scout Research Institute, Change It Up: What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership (2008). Change it up.
  4. Girls Inc., The Supergirl Dilemma.
  5. Madeline E. Heilman and Michelle C. Hayes, “No Credit Where Credit Is Due: Attributional Rationalization of Women’s Success in Male-Female Teams,” Journal of Applied Psychology 90, no. 5 (2005): 905–26; Michelle C. Hayes and Jason S. Lawrence, “Who’s to Blame? Attributions of Blame in Unsuccessful Mixed-Sex Work Teams,” Basic and Applied Social Psychology 34, no. 6 (2012): 558–64.
  6. Sylvia Beyer, “Gender Differences in Causal Attributions by College Students of Performance on Course Examinations,” Current Psychology 17, no. 4 (1998): 346–58.
  7. AAUW, Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America (1991), Download PDF Click Here.
  8. Georges Desvaux, Sandrine Devillard-Hoellinger, and Mary C. Meaney, “A Business Case for Women,” The McKinsey Quarterly, September 2008, 4. Download PDF for Business Case.
  9. Girl Scout Research Institute, Change It Up.
  10. Deborah Marlino and Fiona Wilson, Teen Girls on Business: Are They Being Empowered?, The Committee of 200, Simmons College School of Management (April 2003), Click here to Download PDF ; Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox, Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics, Women & Politics Institute, American University School of Public Affairs (January 2012), Download Men Rule Report; LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace (2015). Women in the Workplace.
  11. MassMutual Financial Group and OppenheimerFunds, From the Locker Room to the Boardroom: A Survey on Sports in the Lives of Women Business Executives (2002).
  12. Girl Scout Research Institute, Change It Up.

5 Cost-Saving Benefits of Coworking

Running a business costs money, but there’s an easy way to reduce costs: coworking.

Coworking is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and growing companies that want to save on overhead costs.

Renting or owning your own dedicated office space involves a massive investment of time, money, and resources. Costs may include:

  • Furniture and Decorations: This not only includes individual offices but conference rooms and public entryways.
  • Electricity: Electricity costs are not getting cheaper, and in the summertime can spike with air conditioning usage.
  • Internet: High-speed Internet service can run on a yearly average of $3,000 for a small business.
  • Network Manager: You will need a technical expert, either on staff or via contract, to manage and maintain your internal networks.
  • Janitor: You’ll need someone to clean up the offices, take out the trash, and keep the kitchen from growing mold and attracting roaches.
  • Security and Access: Especially if you have expensive equipment left on-site, you will need security technology and protocols in place for your workers.
  • Insurance: These costs can vary but can be prohibitively expensive if your office is in a flood zone or other area that is vulnerable.
  • Office Manager: Don’t forget the recurring costs of a manager to make all this work.

Managing your own office space simply costs money, and those costs can add up over time. In addition to the financial savings, coworking provides many additional benefits such as business networking and access to resources.

5 Great Financial Benefits of Coworking for the Small Business

With coworking, you not only save money, you can also join a vibrant community of other entrepreneurs and small businesses, increasing your exposure to leads and potential business partners. Of course, the bottom line comes first. Here are some of the cost benefits:

1. Coworking can be 60% to 75% cheaper if you have less than 30 people in your team.

This is where the numbers show that coworking is especially beneficial for smaller businesses. Why spend money on renovating an office space that you’ll just be renting out for a few years?

2. Approximately 35% to 55% of your workforce do not need their own workspace.

Many of your workers do not need their own offices to get their work completed. Many of today’s tech workers can easily complete projects sitting at a cramped table in the middle of a noisy Starbucks. Coworking gives your workers the camaraderie of a social working environment that provides the right balance of productivity and personal interaction.

3. Conference rooms can cost on average $75,000 over 5 years.

Conference rooms are critical components of office space, not just for internal meetings but for presentations and meetings with clients and potential customers.

4. The estimated cost to maintain common areas and pantries is $200 per person each month.

Maintaining an on-site kitchen is not only costly, it’s usually messy. You won’t have to bother with the dirty coffee cups, dishwasher maintenance, or refrigerator repairs with coworking. (That said, your employees should still clean up after themselves in a coworking kitchen!)

5. You can gain greater tax benefits with coworking.

You actually don’t get as much of a tax benefit with your own office space as you might think. After commercial standard loss ratios and common space, the technology and meeting space allowance is at 3,000 sq. ft., which in effect gives you 1,400 to 1,500 in working space. The true loss in self-managed space is between 40% to 50%.

Save Money Today by Choosing Coworking

As you can see, there are many cost-saving benefits of coworking. If you move to a coworking space, your occupancy costs drop by 70% or even more. Call us at WorkSocial to find out how.

The Problems of Working in Isolation and Coworking is Fixing it

To some, especially if you’re introverted, working in isolation may seem like a dream come true. Whether you finally have the chance to work remotely or you’re doing the freelance hustle, nothing’s better than staying in bed to do your work, right?

While it may seem ideal, this can lead to a lonely and unfulfilling life. Ever felt like every day repeated itself for weeks on end? Try feeling like that when you hardly get the chance to leave the house.

Isolating yourself isn’t a good idea, even while you’re working. You may think you’re focused, but loneliness can have a terrible effect on your work.

Consequences of Working in Isolation:

No process

One of the benefits of working in isolation is that you don’t have to adhere to a corporate process at every moment. This especially counts if you’re working freelance.

However, you can run into problems if you don’t develop your own process for dealing with problems. If it’s just you for yourself, you can easily get overwhelmed at the amount of work you have to do.

Especially if all of your work is on a tight deadline, you may experience fear or anxiety at what needs to be done, which is counterproductive to actually doing it.

Too much process

It’s obvious that you need some kind of process. The great thing about working in isolation is that you can approach a process however you’d like.

…Within reason.

When you’re working alone without anyone directing you, it’s very easy to throw too much of yourself into a process and start analyzing every little thing. After all, you want it to be perfect for your client, right?

This isn’t an effective way to approach your work because you’ll get bogged down. Overanalyzing every word, every line of code, or every brushstroke will just add more work for you to do.

Overanalyze and you’ll never get any work done.

How to fix it?

Coworking

The easiest way to avoid working in isolation is to work together – literally!

In a setup made for coworking, you’ll share an office space, whether owned by a member of the group or a community office space.

From there, whatever rules you’ve made for your own work process apply! You’re working in a group rather than in isolation. Since most of you will be working on individual projects, you’ll get to take advantage of the socialization benefits of an active work family. At the same time, you can disregard any corporate pressure and complaints that your office-worker friends have.

This can help motivate you to actually work, as well. If everyone around you is working, you might find that you’re more productive.

Get social

When you’re working in isolation, it’s difficult to meet new people. If you don’t have a working family, who can you turn to? Regardless of your hobbies or what you’re interested in, you’re almost certain to find a Meetup group focused toward that.

Regardless of your hobbies or what you’re interested in, you’re almost certain to find a Meetup group focused toward that.

It’s also possible that you’ll find a work-related meetup, either for networking or coworking.

Most of the time, it’s free to attend a group (apart from group dues, which may be waived for new members and aren’t any more than a couple of dollars), and it’s a great way to meet people who you connect with.

Schedule lunch

When you’re working in isolation or freelance, it’s easy to schedule a huge block of time as “work time.”

Still, it’s important to take a break from our daily tasks and step away from the computer to get some fresh air.

Schedule a solid block for lunchtime, and invite a friend to come with you! Maybe you’ll have the chance to get together with other freelancers to discuss your days.

This can give you a sense of camaraderie and work with a group, even as you’re typing away in PJs.

Go to the office

Let’s focus this one toward our friends working remotely for a company. Even though your position is remote, you’re still employed through a corporation or a business.

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you can’t head into the office at all. You’re running your show, so you can pop into the office to get the social interaction you need.

If you work remotely, your coworkers will be happy to see their team member.

If you work freelance, all hope isn’t lost! There’s a possibility you can find a co-work space to meet other remote and freelance workers.

Head to the library

If you want something a little more grown up than your neighborhood Starbucks to work at, you may want to try taking a visit to your local library.

Libraries have the benefit of being quiet as well as being hubs of information for absolutely anything you need.

They may not seem like the most social environments at first, but who knows who you’ll meet? From other remote workers to students studying, you’ll be surprised at who you can find!

Additionally, libraries are awesome places to find out information about social events. Most libraries host groups devoted to particular hobbies.

Networking

Even when you’re working in isolation, the importance of freelancing doesn’t go away. Even though it’s more feasible than ever to work remotely, there’s a chance that could mean that networking is needed more than ever.

Networking can help you not only in the job department but socially. It’s more important than ever to unplug and work on honing our social skills, so don’t let industry events and mixers fall to the wayside.

You’ll get the chance to connect with other freelancers or remote workers as peers, and you may even find a new mentor who can help you up your dream job’s ladder.

WorkSocial

Just because you work remotely or freelance doesn’t mean that you have to spend your days in isolation. Interaction with other people is important, and sometimes it’s possible to forget that it isn’t just you against the world.

Humans are social creatures, and you won’t win any battles by fighting that. Luckily, there are a ton of great ways to make sure you get the social interaction you need.

Start with WorkSocial. Our coworking office can put you in contact with fellow freelancers, letting you kick isolation to the curb once and for all.

Questions regarding solutions for freelance work? Ready to beat your lonely workday? Feel free to reach out to WorkSocial today.

 

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5 Reasons Delegation is a Strategic Move Every Business Owner Must Make

As your business grows, it’s natural to get overwhelmed as more and more tasks pile to your unending to-do list. It can be easy to feel hopeless like you’re always running behind.

If you feel you’re always behind on your to-do list, there is hope: delegation.

Delegation is a critical aspect of every business. It promotes efficiency and development. Best of all, it gives you time to focus on the most important parts of your business.

5 Reasons Delegation is a Strategic Move Every Business Owner Must Make

It might not be easy to give up a few of your daily tasks. However, delegating does more than lighten your to-do list. In fact, it can promote productivity, development, and provide your business with opportunities you did not know were possible.

1. Saves Time

As a business owner, you must assess your goals. To do that, you need time to give yourself tasks and meet those tasks. However, how are you to do that when your schedule is full of mundane tasks?

Assign a colleague to manage the everyday responsibilities, such as planning your meetings, calling, or even monitoring progression.

With all the free time you have, you can concentrate on responsibilities that develop your company — and no longer waste time on tasks your team could easily do themselves.

2. Team Members Can Develop

You want your team to build on skills that help your organization. When you delegate to team members, you are teaching them new skills and furnishing them with personal growth opportunities.

3. Improved Efficiency in the Office

Delegating tasks to new team members, including temporary members, allows everyone to build contacts with one another. Furthermore, it improves your efficiency so that you can make sure no time goes to waste in the office.

4. Spreading Core Values to Team Members

When you delegate, new team members can notice the company’s core values and align their work with those values. Every task performed is in line with your company mission, and it promotes that mission at every turn.

5. An Opportunity to Retain Top Talent

When you use collaborative office spaces at WorkSocial, you are with like-minded professionals who are not only eager to learn new skills but take those skills further and seek new opportunities. Work Social helps you connect with professionals who offer their services, expertise, and help.

You can promote efficiency within your business, try out new talent, and perhaps keep those talented professionals on your staff as your company grows.

It All Starts with WorkSocial

WorkSocial is New Jersey’s premier co-working and shared office space that provides you with the downtown location you need, but also access to a community of professionals ready to take on your delegated tasks and help you succeed.

With an office open 24 hours per day, you can network with entrepreneurs and connect with those you need to optimize your efficiency, boost productivity, and ultimately find top talent to satisfy your much-needed positions in-house.

For more information on ways to grow your business, contact WorkSocial today.

 

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