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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
As the world adapts to the internet era, there are an increasing number of jobs that can be done completely remotely and sometimes with no physical office at all. This is because all the things that were once necessary about an office like inboxes and phone availability can now be accessed in a mobile workspace on almost any mobile device.
Whether you’ve started your own business or are working with an amazing company that allows remote work from anywhere, a high-quality virtual workspace that allows you to collaborate easily with co-workers can allow a savvy tech professional to do their job anywhere without affecting the quality of their work. With all this freedom, some people will happily stay at home in their pajamas and slippers while others will take their show on the road, able to go anywhere they please while still remaining a rock-star employee.
Of course, that work depends heavily on being well-equipped and finding the time to settle in and get some work done. If you’ve already got travel plans in place and you want to try remote work from your RV, here’s the ultimate packing list to make sure you’re on the ball and at work when needed no matter where you choose to take your internet lifestyle.
The star of your show and the center of your remote work – your laptop – is the number one most important thing that needs to come with you every time you travel. A fast, powerful laptop is the perfect center for any traveling office because you can take it with you and get work done even if the RV is in the shop.
Through the laptop, you’ll be staying in contact with your team and/or employers and contributing to the project remotely. It can only be assumed that your laptop will wind up with a lot of accessories from a convenient mouse to external hard drives.
There are many different hotspot devices and plans, and some are significantly better than others. That said, the hotspot will be your connection to the rest of the world. While your laptop may have WiFi, there’s not always going to be a high-quality wifi network nearby.
It’s important that you find a device with a reliable battery, strong signal, and fast network connection along with a plan that suits it well. Make sure to go for the highest possible data plan you can manage and don’t forget to read the reviews before buying. If you plan to work as remotely as possibly, pairing your hotspot with a signal booster is a very good idea.
Whether you’re running your own business or working remotely for someone else, there’s a good chance you’ll need to speak on the phone. Rather than diving for a device, try the convenience of a Bluetooth earpiece, now much smaller than the original fangs.
A hands-free and cordless headset is the perfect addition to a ‘remote work from your RV’ lifestyle because it allows you to stay connected with clients, friends, and relatives while you can still completely keep driving or working. Of course, if you prefer the smart home RV, you can hold your phone conversations through the hub instead.
Unless you’re one of the rare people overjoyed with the features, laptop touchpads are a nightmare. They’re very practical given how laptops are built, but you don’t have to lightly tap and drag your way around the screen if you don’t want to. Instead, get yourself a wireless mouse!
The signal-nubbin can be plugged into your laptop while the mouse itself gives you absolute control over your workflow and improve your own efficiency. Plus, they’re just plain more comfortable.
This is only the first half of our packing list for remote work from your RV! If you’re ready to hit the road with all the powers of a laptop and a virtual office, join us next time for the second half of our two-part article where we’ll cover batteries, solar, emergencies, and more.
For more information about remote work and the freedom of a virtual office, contact us today!
When people work for a company, they will give more effort when they feel a sense of autonomy and purpose within the organization. Leaders must give employees a degree of autonomy in their own jobs. Autonomy, or control over one’s work, enables employees to achieve their sense of purpose. Employees who determine their own tasks and visualize how those tasks will help their business unit or team reach its central goals exhibit higher levels of motivation and commitment, and thus they will work harder to achieve their performance objectives.
In this post, we describe 3 ways that leaders can bring more autonomy and purpose to an organization:
Give employees frequent opportunities to shape their own work environment. This means that you refrain from using micromanagement techniques and permit employees to work away from the central office.
It could be that you provide funds for them to work from a facility like WorkSocial, especially your employees with long commutes who want more time with their loved ones. Letting go some degree of control over your team’s work environment means that you must focus more on results. Give employees what they must achieve and a deadline for when their work must be completed. Let them enjoy autonomy as they organize each day and accomplish tasks in their preferred workspace.
This could be focusing your team on not only outperforming other teams, which is the feeling of winning, but it could also include encouraging each person to innovate.
For example, we like to believe that employees will best determine how to reorganize the steps in a shared work task while saving time and money. Tell your team members that you will give the winner a $100 gift card for reducing the number of signatures required to complete a sales transaction. Remind them that the new process may not include shortcuts that will lead to decreased accountability or undermine compliance with applicable governmental regulations.
This may be a stretch, but it’s like saying to yourself: “When I finish this report, I’m going to reward myself with a glass of wine in front of the fire.” In your body, not just your mind, you can imagine how the wine will produce that dopamine effect once you drink the tasty glass.
In a similar manner, you want employees to make a decision to work for expected rewards. Some team members have greater intrinsic motivation and others must work for an external stimulus-reward. Some workers crave the semblance of free-choice or the chance to select the activity they will work on each day. Other workers will spend as many hours as it takes to complete something because it interests them.
At WorkSocial, we’re passionate about creating a flexible environment where work teams, individuals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers can discover both autonomy and purpose. We do this by creating different common areas, shared workspaces, meeting rooms of assorted sizes, and individual workstations.
In this environment, you have all the tech conveniences you would find at the home office. In our location, you are free to be yourself and to tap into your creative brain. Our high-energy coworking dynamic also makes it easy to bounce ideas off friends and strangers as you work towards performance goals. This is also a great place to schedule your team to brainstorm and execute a new project. They just don’t get that same level of inspiration when they’re stuck in familiar surroundings!
For more details on coworking for greater individual autonomy and purpose, please contact us today.
Discovering the realities of the health of your company can often be eye-opening if you haven’t asked any questions in a while. This is why it’s essential to meet with your employees and ask some key questions about what’s really going on in every department.
Whittling your questions down to the most essential that answer your mission statement is critical. What should those questions address, though?
You should cover everything from understanding your customers to how you’ll market and sell your products. Much of this wraps around what kind of business technologies you and your employees use to find solutions to your questions.
Do you really understand who your customers are? It’s easy to take them for granted if you’ve had some loyal buyers for a long time. Your newer customers might find your products attractive, but how should you market to keep them from switching to your competitors?
As Kissmetrics points out, creating digital engagement with your customers is a good start. Gathering as much data as you can on new prospects is the only way you’re going to get into the head of your customers.
This should expand to creating customer personas and placing yourself in their shoes.
Knowing the pain points of your customers tells you a lot about how you’re going to solve the customer’s problem.
You should look at your products and correlate them to these pains. Can your marketing convey how you’ll solve these problems in a way a competitor can’t?
Don’t forget to answer to how your solution should improve the status quo by at least 10 times.
Once you start asking questions requiring creative answers, you’re going to need to utilize business technologies to find successful answers.
At this point, you’ll want to know how your team prefers working when brainstorming ideas. Do they find your on-site work environment suitable for coming up with ideas? Or do they need to work at home with their own privacy?
Maybe they need to work in a co-working environment where they can learn new ideas from outsiders with fresh expertise.
The more marketing content they can create to bring personal engagement with customers, the more customer loyalty you’ll nurture.
When your team can make customers completely believe in your products and services, you’ll be able to create advocates on both sides. Allowing your team to easily communicate with customers remotely can bring a more personalized approach to make this happen.
To do so, you’re going to need to invest in certain types of digital equipment that makes communication easy. It may come from a remote office where your employees contact customers easily from home or on a mobile device.
Segmentation is another critical aspect to reaching customers in the most effective way. Forbes gives a reminder about segmenting and how analyzing different customer segments lets you focus on the most valuable prospects.
Being able to scale each customer segment should also become a top priority. The way to do that is to stay communicated with customers in ways that prove you understand them.
Sometimes this means answering prospect questions immediately when they ask them. Allowing your employees to work at home and in co-working spaces allows them to approach customers in the right way.
Providing good training venues for your workers also gives you an opportunity to train your team with the right marketing techniques.
Contact us at WorkSocial so we can provide these business technologies for you to help your most pressing company questions receive successful answers!
If you think your personal life has purpose and meaning, do you feel like the business you own has the same golden path? Running a company requires this same philosophy if you’re going to make it successful. Most importantly, providing purpose in your company has to occur with every single one of your employees to create goal unity.
This process is called “Massively Transformative Purpose.” If you think this sounds overly scientific or complex, it’s really not!
Paul Keijzer defines “MTP” as an outrageously and highly aspirational motto for your company. Thinking in grander terms like this inspires you and your employees toward a higher purpose in what you want to achieve.
An essential part of MTP involves using superior office technology to get there.
What’s most important in properly approaching Massively Transformative Purpose is to not feel motivated by narrow-minded goals. This means not focusing merely on technology or ways you can make a quick profit.
These type of goals are short-sighted and typically lead to burnout in many ways. They can also lead to a lack of fulfillment if you end up achieving a narrow profit goal too fast.
You want a long-term mission that can keep your employees inspired for the rest of their careers. Think about the great companies that continue to work on this level.
Corporate behemoths like Apple set this type of philosophy in place through Steve Jobs. Even Tesla has their own MTP with their “accelerate transition to sustainable transport” motto.
How do you go about this, though, when you focus on acquiring technology for success?
Have you thought about what your company can do to help shape the future? This is the true soul of how you create your own MTP. It’s the key to creating true passion in your employees.
Still, they need proper work tools to help shape these ideas to increase productivity! What kind of digital technologies have you invested in to make this happen so your employees feel like they can properly realize their ideas?
You should start with the processes in how employees work. Maybe they prefer working away from the office to help them brainstorm ideas you couldn’t achieve working together in the office.
NPR recently reported on the rise of co-working spaces, a concept that brings more collaboration with those outside your office walls.
Shared office environments allow your employees to collaborate with others to find new ideas for a major business project. Almost like outsourcing, it can help your workers stay passionate about their roles while finding answers to challenging problems.
Then again, some of your employees may find their MTP epiphanies by working alone at home.
Some employees prefer working by themselves. Your office perhaps isn’t conducive to reaching lofty goals due to constant distractions. Whether it’s employees lacking privacy or having to endure constant interruptions from co-workers, a remote office may help them live up to your MTP.
When you set a major company mission, always expect at least a few employees to need solace to get work done at a top-tier level.
However, you might find times when they have one of those eureka moments and need to share ideas with the entire company at a moment’s notice. This is where you must utilize digital conferencing.
Doing video or audio conferencing is so much easier now with better camera technology and faster internet speeds. During those times when an employee needs to share a big idea, they can without video freezes or sound dropouts.
Or, when you find the right company providing remote conference rooms, an employee can use these if traveling in other locations. Either way, you don’t want delays in your employees sharing their major synapses.
Don’t forget about how important training is to maintain your company’s purpose. As Forbes reminds, all employees want ample opportunities for growth to stay motivated.
Give this to them with proper training venues. Some of these venues may need as much solace as remote offices. No matter how you use them, allowing your employees to advance themselves does as much as anything to live up to your massively transformative purpose without it being hyperbole.
We’ve seen a lot of evidence over the years about how great leaders work when running major companies. Everyone from Steve Jobs to Mary Barra has past and present stories that tell about how they unified their companies to greatness.
First and foremost, every great leader will take some steps to help uncover the greatness of all their employees.
Great leaders also avoid making the company all about themselves. Any goal that needs to be reached is primarily the result of a team effort.
So how do you go about being a great leader and helping your valuable employees uncover their greatest work attributes? Sometimes it means working away from the office.
The way to help employees find their potential is to inspire them in their work environments. By giving them freedom to choose where and how they work, they’ll be able to tap into their own productivity habits.
A way to get this started is to meet with your employees and ask them what kind of freedoms they want. Many of them are going to have their own ideas about what kind of work methods they prefer, and many will want the freedom to leave their desk. Listen to these ideas; after all, we’re living in a time where forcing them to sit at a desk all day potentially stifles productivity levels.
Some are going to want to work from home, though others may prefer working in other remote locations.
The only way to accomplish this is to brainstorm on the technologies you need to make this happen.
Don’t ever feel intimidated in researching what your competitors do to create better leadership! They may use specific types of technologies, giving their employees the ability to open their minds to doing great things.
No doubt you’ll discover they do a lot more than just being chained to a desk all day. One of those is the beneficial aspects to co-working.
Entrepreneur wrote on co-working techniques recently and noted how well it allows workers to go outside their comfort zones. By allowing your workers to network with outside sources, you’ll help open their minds to new ideas and move away from sameness.
Look at how many other company leaders use co-working techniques and how they make it work with the right technologies. The key is to find a good provider of co-working technology.
There isn’t any better way for your employees to find their greatness than by giving them autonomy to work from home. As mentioned above, maybe only some will prefer this since some find it a distraction.
Giving them the flexibility to work in their home when they want to is going to allow them to open their minds to new ideas. Plus, their homes may provide more solace away from distractions your office endures daily.
The only way to function in this capacity is to have proper wireless technology so you and your colleagues can take or make calls. You’ll also need immediate access to the digital tools you use and reliable mobile devices.
Don’t fear your workers goofing off when working at home! TED Talks shows evidence that most people are highly productive when working in their own environments.
Once you understand your employees truly want to work away from the office to expand their creativity, how will you communicate when it becomes necessary?
Conferencing rooms can now become mobile thanks to improved cameras and faster internet speeds. As long everyone involved uses high-speed internet you can easily do video conferencing at a moment’s notice.
It’s possible now to talk to multiple people at once, providing a virtual meeting room that expands across the globe. Even if you have employees working in other states (or overseas), you can still share new ideas on a critical project!
Being away from the office means finding more outside perspectives that reach out to innovation and greatness in all companies. Contact us at WorkSocial so we can provide the proper tools to help give your workers more freedom to work elsewhere. You’ll find the hidden greatness in your employees you knew was there all along.
The process of commuting is likely one of your least favorite aspects of your career, especially if you have long commutes every morning. Many of your colleagues likely feel the same way if they commute with you. If you’re running a business, you may all feel burned out after years of doing the same commutes and procedures.
All this does is turn off the prefrontal cortex of your brain to a point where you’re unable to solve challenging business problems.
It’s possible to fix this with a remote office and working part of the time in solitude. When you do, you could bring on the psychological phenomenon known as transient hypofrontality.
Psychology is always directly related to things that happen in the workplace. Transient hypofrontality might sound like an arcane psychological term, but you can equate it directly to all those commutes burning you out.
What happens is when you get stuck in a rut, the focused part of your brain goes into rest. This happens when you focus too much on other functions of your brain, especially dealing with work routines.
A term created by Dr. Arne Dietrich, transient hypofrontality helps reactivate your prefrontal cortex so you focus more on solving the challenges you need to take on.
How does it work, though?
Science and psychology have begun to show us that when you slow your brain down, it starts to function better.
It’s here where you can get a better grasp of how transient hypofrontality works. When we do something active (like exercising, especially), or anything different, it’s going to help reactivate our prefrontal cortex.
A lot of people start running or jogging to help this process along. Working in solitude from your home or another location potentially does the same thing.
No doubt you’ve dreamed of being able to work from home and letting your employees do the same. With mobile technology being omnipresent, you can make this work efficiently!
Then again, maybe you think you need to stay in the office part of the time. You obviously can’t work from home continuously, especially with particular office duties necessary.
What you should do is ditch your commutes at least five times a month.
Recent health reports show long commutes are extremely bad for your health and productivity. Cutting this down at least part of every month helps balance your priorities and resets your brain to take on upcoming business hurdles.
Avoiding the commutes also lets you focus on pockets of solitude every week.
If you have a quiet home, you’re already setting yourself up for more solitude in your work. Finding solitude can also happen in another location if it’s needed.
What’s important to note is that the technology behind remote offices lets you work from anywhere. Finding a service offering this with a tailored plan gives you everything you need at your fingertips.
Using a corporate address, digital phones, dedicated fax, email service, and a virtual conference room helps you work by yourself without distractions. Now you can avoid someone interrupting you, plus eliminate other annoyances your office usually experiences.
Most of all, letting all your employees ditch commutes five times per month saves them and you money. Consider all the gas money saved, while still increasing productivity.
You’ll also make transient hypofrontality a common office term when colleagues start thinking better again.
Contact us at WorkSocial to learn about our remote office or shared office plans. We also offer Co-Working plans, conference rooms, and training venues.
The face of traditional businesses is changing. Not only has the typical workweek changed, but the workplace is evolving as well!
With the advent of high-speed internet connections, Skype, and online conferencing, the rush to be sitting in an office eight to ten hours a day has diminished. The five-day commute is also dwindling as people realize they can do their jobs quite effectively outside of a traditional office setting. Entrepreneurs and small business owners find the luxury of doing their jobs in whatever way suits them and their customers with many working right out of their homes.
However, this can get a bit tricky as the business grows. The current trend toward remote work and telework is gaining traction. In fact, 80 % of the workforce said they would like to telework at some point. Business owners may wonder if there is anything to be gained by having a remote office.
Operating a business sometimes calls for a greater degree of credibility among certain people. It may be you’re trying to gain a contract for a job. You know your skills and service are topnotch, but a corporate address and receptionist service seal the deal for you. It lends some credibility to your name. In a world of competition, you need every inch of recognition you can get.
When you secure a remote work environment with a virtual office, you have the added benefit of amenities. Free high-speed WiFi, healthy drinks and snacks, and all the printing you need are just a few of the amenities that come with a remote office. These amenities add up, saving you many dollars every month and providing you and your customers with a high-class experience.
Maybe you’ve thought about renting out an office building so that you can have the space you and your crew need for the quarterly meeting. Or maybe you need more regular meetings with not only employees but customers, too. That’s a good sign! It means your business is expanding.
A remote office allows you the flexibility to meet with customers in an office setting so that you maintain the level of professionalism that’s necessary. A remote office has all the furnishings you will need for a meeting that is both comfortable and professional.
A business that operates more efficiently will have a greater bottom line. Your email service, domain management, and website page creation and hosting will all be more efficient. In turn, you can focus on marketing and selling your services, meeting with clients in your new remote office, and collecting the money you earn. Your entire office will run more smoothly with the aid of virtual office assistants and that means you are free to pursue other projects.
Remote offices come with several services you may not have realized. You will have access to a fax machine, phone service, lobby listing, accounting services, and more. The services you obtain are equivalent to another part-time employee doing basic office work but for not nearly the cost.
Businesses gain many benefits from finding a remote workspace and virtual office. Money is saved through more efficient practices and by having office space just when you need it instead of paying year round. A credible corporate name, plenty of space to stretch out, and amenities to go along with it all ensures you attract the best clients to your growing business.
Worksocial offers a space where people can come together, collaborate, work, and hold meetings. Jillian, a customer is quoted as saying,
“Worksocial has a variety of workspace options in their brand new energized, bright shared office space with beautiful city views. It is an atmosphere where I can connect and collaborate with others or work in an office when I need privacy.”
The conference rooms are convenient and able to meet your technological needs. If you are beginning to outgrow your home business and desire all the amenities of a staffed office without the price tag, then we have just what you need. To get started, simply contact Worksocial today to schedule a tour!