How To Find Focus In The Office

In its simplest sense, mindfulness means balancing the intense pace of life with being fully present in the moment, which many can agree is easier said than done – especially in the office. Employees in North America, for instance, lose 86 minutes per day due to a variety of interruptions in the workplace, and according to a recent study from Steelcase, only 58 percent of workers reported being able to work in teams without being disturbed.

Life is full of distractions, but workers nowadays are still expected to be “always on,” an ironic metaphor given the proliferation of technology in recent years.

Mental fatigue occurs when we’re often at our busiest, and so at Steelcase we’re asking ourselves, how do we design workplaces that offer workers opportunity for moments of rest, rejuvenation or deep focus free from distractions.

My team has recently completed a comprehensive study on wellbeing at work, and found mindfulness to be one of six dimensions of well-being that the workplace can help improve.

As part of our study, researchers identified and developed design concepts that companies can incorporate into their workplace to help encourage mindfulness by enhancing employees’ ability to concentrate and make thoughtful choices amid distractions and disturbances:

  • Offer spaces where people can seek solitude and respite, or connect with others without distractions or interference.
  • Design areas that allow workers to control the amount of sensory stimulation they are exposed to and enable them to amp it up or ratchet it down.
  • Create spaces that help people stay focused as they interact with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye.
  • Offer places that are restorative and calming, which can be achieved through materials, textures, colors, lighting and views.

Take a look around your own office – how many of these principles ring true of the design and environment in your workspace? This issue isn’t distinct to employees alone. It is a bottom-line issue that can potentially affect the entire organization.

Thirty-six percent of a person’s time is spent working. By creating spaces that help people reconnect with what makes their work fulfilling, employers can help ensure that 100% of that worker’s time is helping to build a better work product and a stronger bottom line.

The story was originally published on Steelcase.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Staying Connected No Matter Where You’re Headed

In an increasingly mobile world, it’s now possible to stay connected and work from just about anywhere. For many of today’s workers, this means checking into the office during summer vacation. If you’re planning to get some work done on your getaway this year, you’ll need the right tools to do it. Here’s a list of tech gadgets to help you work remotely, no matter where you’re headed.

NuForce Cube
Got a conference call? Don’t worry about not being able to hear your colleagues over the crashing waves in the background. When you plug your headphones into this portable audio station, it bypasses your mobile device’s onboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for improved sound quality. It can also serve as a high-performance speaker.

OGIO Covert Shoulder Bag
This slim laptop bag is ideal for air travel. The main, padded compartment keeps your laptop protected and easily accessible, while the secondary compartment is perfect for your chargers, smartphone and other everyday accessories. And don’t worry about damaging this bag at the pool; its water-resistant coating guards against splashes.

Penclic Bluetooth Mouse
No laptop mouse? No problem. Instead of plugging into your computer’s USB port, this Bluetooth-enabled mouse looks, feels and acts like a pen, which allows for faster, more precise navigation. The device features five buttons, a scroll wheel and a laser sensor that operates on almost any surface — without a track pad. With this tool’s two-month battery life, you won’t have to worry about recharging the mouse during your trip.

Booqpad for iPad Air
If you’re constantly searching for paper to jot down memos and thoughts while you’re working, this is the tablet case for you. Made by Booq, it’s a combination iPad Air case, folio and notepad that comes stocked with 50 sheets of eco-friendly paper to make sure you’re always ready to write. The screen protector offers 360-degree protection for your iPad.

Kinivo ZX100 Mini Portable Speakers
Want to listen to some tunes while you work? With these rechargeable mini speakers, you can plug the built-in audio cable right into your phone or laptop for high-quality, 360-degree sound. The speakers’ internal battery lasts for up to 6 hours, so you can spend the day on the beach with them.

Griffin PowerDock 5
Many of today’s workers have multiple mobile devices, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the associated chargers. The PowerDock can store and charge up to five iOS devices simultaneously, with each cable tucked away inside the charging station. You can even keep your iPad right in its case while it charges.

Neptor NP056K Portable Battery Charger
If you left your hotel room for the day and realized you forgot to charge your phone, this dual-port charger lets you power up to two devices at once, without an outlet. With its powerful, 5600mAh battery, you can charge your devices up to four times on just one Neptor charge.

Happy Plugs in-Ear Headphones
Why settle for standard white or black earbuds when you can choose from one of 13 bold colors from Happy Plugs? The built-in microphone makes these headphones ideal for conference calls on the go, while the silicon buds, which come in small, medium and large, fit comfortably in your ears as you listen to music on the plane.

Rapoo E9070 Wireless Keyboard
At just 5.6mm at its thinnest, this wireless keyboard won’t take up much room in your carry-on bag. It features a comfortable scissor-key structure and integrated shortcut controls for audio playback, volume adjustment and Web browsing. The 2.4GHz wireless frequency allows for a smooth, interference-free connection to any computer.

Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp
It may not be the most convenient product to take on a flight with you, but if your vacation is within driving distance, bring along this LED desk lamp. The flexible pivots ensure that the lamp fits into any desk space, and the timer function helps avoid unnecessary energy use. In addition to consuming less power than incandescent and florescent lamps, Satechi’s lamp also has a USB port to charge your mobile devices.

The story was originally published on Business News Daily.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

The Social Side Of The World Cup

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

The 4th of July By The Numbers

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Commercial Property Transaction Volume on Course to Reach a 10-Year High by 2016

A new U.S. real estate forecast based on a survey of 39 of the industry’s leading economists and analysts predicts that commercial property transaction volume will reach $430 billion by 2016, exceeding the volume of 2006. The latest multi-year outlook (covering 2014 through 2016) from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and EY projects steady growth for the U.S. economy; sustained strength from real estate capital markets; and continued improvement in both commercial real estate fundamentals and the housing sector.

The findings were released today in the semi-annual ULI/E&Y Real Estate Consensus Forecast, prepared by the ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The survey, conducted between February 19 and March 14, 2014, is the fifth in a series of polls conducted to gauge sentiment among economists and analysts about the direction of the real estate industry.

The latest forecast is more optimistic than the previous one from October 2013. Although survey respondents moderated their expectations for the housing sector – the latest forecast projects housing starts will remain below the twenty-year annual average through 2016 — the overall industry outlook remains positive. The issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), a key source of financing for commercial real estate, is expected to continue its rebound with consistent growth through 2016.  Hotel occupancy rates are expected to continue improving, while vacancy rates are expected to decrease modestly for office, retail, and industrial properties.  In addition, the forecast expects a turn-around in 2014 with retail rental rates, turning positive for the first time since 2007.

“Respondents to the Consensus Forecast survey project consistent growth in the real estate industry, bringing some key factors back to pre-recession levels and others moderating to long-term averages,” said Anita Kramer, vice president, ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. “Fundamentals beyond multi-family continue to improve with the retail sector now joining in. This overall outlook for real estate is supported by expected on-going improvements in the economy.”

Howard Roth, global real estate leader for EY, commented, “Although we’ve made significant improvement over the past year, the recovery has been uneven globally and many risks still exist, including high global unemployment, high government debt, deflationary pressure in advanced economies, weak domestic demand, capital flow volatility in emerging markets and the potential impact from Fed tapering in the US. Still, all signs point to a continued gradual improvement in both the economy and real estate market fundamentals.”

The Consensus Forecast expects the overall economy to continue expanding a rate equivalent to the 20-year average. Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.8 percent in 2014 and then 3.0 percent in both 2015 and 2016. Survey respondents predict that employment will grow by over 7.5 million jobs in the next three years. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.3 percent by the end of the year, 6.0 by the end of 2015, and 5.8 percent by the end of 2016.

Inflation is expected to grow by 1.9 percent in 2014, and then increase by 2.2 percent in 2015, followed by 2.5 percent in 2016. At the same time, ten-year treasury rates are projected to continue moving up, reaching 3.4 percent by the end of 2014, 4.0 percent by the end of 2015, and 4.4 percent by the end of 2016. Even though treasury rates will increase borrowing costs for real estate investors, survey respondents do not expect these  changes to substantially impact real estate capitalization rates for institutional quality investments (NCREIF capitalization rates), which are expected to remain at 5.7 percent in 2014 and then rise to 5.9 percent in 2015 and 6.2 percent in 2016.

Prices and total returns for commercial real estate investments are projected to increase at moderate rates. Institutional real estate assets are expected to provide total returns of 9.4 percent in 2014, moderating slightly up to 8.5 percent by 2016. NCREIF total returns in 2014 are expected to be fairly consistent across property types with retail and industrial at 10 percent, followed by office and apartments at 9 percent. Total office returns are expected to remain at 9 percent by 2016, while retail, industrial, and apartments are all expected to moderate downward.

The Consensus Forecast survey findings, by commercial property type, are listed below:

  • Apartments – The Consensus Forecast expects end of year vacancy rates to rise slightly to 5 percent in 2014, 5.2 percent in 2015, and 5.3 percent in 2016.  Apartment rental growth rate, which slowed in 2013 after two years of significant growth, is expected to slightly increase in 2014 to 2.7 percent and then moderate to 2.3 percent in 2015 and 2.2 in 2016.
  • Industrial/warehouse – Decreases in the industrial/warehouse sector are expected to continue but at a slower pace. Vacancy rates are projected to go from 11.3 percent in 2013 to 10.7 percent in 2014, 10.3 percent in 2015, and 10.1 percent by the end of 2016. According to CBRE, the sector’s rental growth rate was strong in 2013 at 3.6 percent.  The Consensus Forecast projects continued growth of 3.8 percent in 2014 and 3.7 percent in 2015 before moderating to 3.0 percent in 2016.
  • Office – Office vacancy rates declined for the third straight year to 14.9 percent in 2013 and are expected to continue at the same pace, decreasing to 14.3 percent in 2014, 13.7 percent in 2015, and 13.1 percent by the end of 2016. Survey respondents foresee a healthy and continued growth in office rental rates through 2016. According to the Consensus Forecast, office rental rates will increase by 3 percent in 2014, 3.9 percent in 2015, and 3.6 percent in 2016.
  • Retail – Retail availability rates decreased in 2013; however, the Consensus Forecast anticipates modest improvements over the next three years, with availability rates expected to decline to 11.5 percent by 2014, 11.1 percent by 2015, and 10.8 percent by 2016. CBRE reported a decline in retail rental rates for the past six year; however, survey respondents foresee a turn-around in 2014 with rental rates increasing by 1.9 percent, 2.5 percent in 2015, and 3 percent 2016.
  • Hotel – Hotel occupancy rates are expected to continue their steady improvement, with the 2016 projection surpassing the pre-recession peak in 2006. The Consensus Forecast projects that hotel occupancy rates will continue to strengthen, rising to 63.1 percent in 2014, 63.6 percent in 2015, and 63.8 percent by 2016. The strong growth in hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) of the last four years is expected to continue, remaining above the long-term average annual growth rate but decelerating, with growth of 5 percent in 2014, 4.7 percent in 2015, and 4 percent in 2016.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Where is Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Going in The Next 3 Years?

CRE is changing.  It’s taken longer than many thought but the winds of change keep blowing and they are finally reaching us.  This isn’t going to be an examination of technology specifically but an examination of trends, desires, impacts and what it means to all of us who make a living in CRE. From where I sit there are four main topics:

  • One service is not enough – the entire CRE world is interconnected.
  • Organizations internally changing at a rapid pace.
  • Outsourcing trends continue to accelerate but not in expected ways.
  • One-off transactions and projects grow in prominence but also in expectations.

These four embody most of the change that is taking place.  While the biggest players in CRE continue to grow there is also continued growth of regional, boutique and independent organizations.  This is because the focus of all customers has shifted to excellence in delivery as their key driver in selecting a provider.  You must either be able to deliver the best, most complete solution (be very big) or deliver the best, most comprehensive solution to a single problem (know more about your market, the asset and data than anyone else).  So you must be big or hyper-local.

Good luck if you get stuck in the middle.  There’s no room there at the moment.  You are too big to be hyper-local and too small to do everything.

This is also putting price pressures on all service providers from both ends.  Big organizations can include services (Facility Management, Project Management, Technology, Consulting, Account Management, Brokerage, etc.) at discounts because there is more than one revenue stream.  And the smaller, local organizations can discount their projects because they have fewer overheads than the bigger players.

Then take a look at the non-traditional players that are looking to disrupt the industry.  Tech firms have started to discover the inefficiencies we have and are creating companies to deal with them.  42Floors, HonestBuildings and a growing list of others are entering and seeing success.  They may be occasionally enabling the status quo but if you assume that will remain the case be ready for a rude awakening.

Welcome to the changing world of CRE.

The story was originally published on Box Thoughts.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

Three Common Time Wasters At Work

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

 

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