Fourth of July 2015

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Making the Most of Every Square Foot of Office Space

Facilities managers who occupy real estate inside high-rise buildings must make the most of every square foot of interior office space. Office buildings are like budgets – just as financial managers look to squeeze value out of every single dollar, facilities managers must similarly look to extract utility from all available space on their floors.

When occupying a high-rise office space, most businesses are in the position of rental tenant, which means premium costs per square foot. Wasted space is, in effect, wasted money, which can be a company’s undoing.

Luckily, there are technological tools that can help managers make decisions about how to best optimize interior space. By using software to analyze space allocation, you can visualize how rooms are being utilized and make important decisions regarding floor-plan reconfiguration.

Reevaluating Utilization Plans

When a company or a department first moves into an office space, it typically begins with a specific plan: which department will use which floor, who will sit where, and the location of company assets. Over time, companies tend to deviate from these plans and find themselves using their space in ways they may not have anticipated – ways that are less-than-optimal uses of the space.

By using software tools to manage space, you can compare planned space utilization strategies with their actual usage, identifying how perception differs from reality and how wasted space can be reallocated within the building. Below are a few examples of how space management solutions provide insight into space utilization for facilities managers.

  • Identifying Underused Spaces: According to IWMS News, companies typically leave 45 percent of office space vacant at any given time. This can occur for a number of reasons. Perhaps the company planned poorly for the initial amount of space needed, or perhaps needs have changed as goals were met.
  • Management may have anticipated housing a larger number of employees in the office, but downsizing or out-of-office working conditions may have dropped that figure. Whatever the case, this is an alarming amount of empty space being wasted – yet companies consistently spend money to rent this unused space, as well as pay utilities and insurance.
  • For maximized efficiency, interior space use must be monitored more closely and with greater fidelity. There are a number of methods to track pre-assigned spaces, but tracking actual, real-time usage is becoming just as important:

    Interface with Security: Tracking office usage can be accomplished simply by tracking who is physically in the building at any given time. Security badge systems, which are scanned upon entry and exit, can monitor the staff onsite and provide data showing minor and major activity periods, and long-term trends for average usage per day, week, and month
    Interface with Phone or Computer Systems: Another method involves the use of phone or computer systems to determine office space usage. When an employee logs in on an office computer and/or phone system, FMs are alerted to the employee’s presence and the amount of time they are actually using the space.
    Seat Detection: An even more exact monitoring system utilizes monitors in seating. This data collection method will give detailed data relating to the numbers of employees and total time spent in the office. The main advantage of this system type is its ability to track space occupation even if an employee isn’t using phone or computer systems, or has requested use of a space. These intangibles of spatial use can all be tracked and assessed to provide the most complete picture of the overall usage.
    Floorplan Monitoring: Space management systems should be able to view usage on floorplan models for past gathered data, as well as real-time activity, and allow current and future monitoring systems to easily interface with your existing facility management tools.

Streamline the Moving Process

Once your organization has gained a clear understanding as to how real estate is currently being used, you can consider tracking various metrics to make predictions regarding the future of the workspace, and begin coordinating any moves that might be necessary.

Such a process, particularly when occupying a high-rise, is both costly and time-consuming. Management must coordinate movers, vendors, and elevator and docking usage, as well as consider any union roadblocks that may arise.

Couple that with lost productivity due to employee downtime, and you have an incredibly expensive process. Careful planning and attention to detail is critical if facilities management wishes to realize significant return on company investments. Facility management software solutions, such as space management and move management tools, make it easier for companies to coordinate moves and streamline processes.

Working Toward Larger Business Goals

By using facilities management software solutions to ensure the efficiency of your office space, you improve the performance of the entire organization. Less time and money is spent on moving offices around, allowing companies to allocate resources on their overarching business goals. For companies who are looking to become more efficient, cost-effective, mobile, and eco-friendly, investing in the right tools is essential in realizing these goals.

While corporate real estate costs comprise a significant portion of the annual budget, no company wants to be bogged down by the details of office space concerns. Space management software offers high-rise occupants increased visibility into how their space is actually being used, location of employees and assets, and total cost per square foot.

Such awareness ensures greater efficiency and higher productivity, allowing the entire team to focus on supporting the company in achieving long-term goals.

The story originally appeared on the High Rise Facilities website.

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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Can These Five Office Design Strategies Make Employees Happier?

If I told you that a software engineer and salesperson need the exact same skills and tools to accomplish their job, you would call me crazy. Yet, when we take a software engineer and salesperson, stick them in the exact same office environment and expect them to thrive, why are we surprised when both are disgruntled and disengaged?

Like an antibiotic prescribed too indiscriminately, many office design concepts have been implemented so widely and dogmatically that their intended benefits backfire. Researchers are discovering that using one uniform office design to serve very different departments and individuals is at best idealistic, and at worst, extremely detrimental to productivity and wellbeing.

The “open office” concept, with one space and shared tables for everyone, is a great example. Originally conceived as a way to increase collaboration, transparency, and equality in the office, the open concept creates the opposite effect when it’s applied with broad brushstrokes. As the design firm Gensler concluded from a survey of over 90,000 workers, when an open office sacrifices focus to collaboration, both suffer. People who are constantly distracted from their core work grow deeply frustrated and therefore less likely to socialize and collaborate with their coworkers.

The prevalence and impact of poor office is design is astounding. In an international IPSOS survey commissioned by office supplier Steelcase, 84% of workers reported that their work environment did not allow them to concentrate easily, express ideas freely, work in teams without interruption, or choose where to work based on the task at hand. They found a lack of privacy to be one of the most sinister office issues, though they cautioned that a wholesale shift to private offices is no solution—it’s all about striking a balance.

Like the devices and software that power information businesses, office design must be viewed as a tool that we can leverage in the pursuit of productivity, well-being and engagement. Instead of having one office environment, we need a collage of environments, each tailored to the needs the departments and individuals that will actually use them. At my company engage:BDR, we planned our office in West Hollywood with that exact mission in mind. Our space was designed according to five principles that could benefit many other companies:

  1. CUSTOMIZE EACH SPACE TO THE DEPARTMENT AND ITS MEMBERS

Above all else, how people work is what should drive office design. At engage:BDR, our engineers need to be in constant communication, so they have a separate space, closed off by a door, where they can collaborate without distracting other departments. In finance, people who deal with sensitive materials and conversations work in personal offices, while more collaborative groups like accounts payable work in the open with their desks clustered. Salespeople are placed in offices if their role requires lots of phone calls, and creatives overwhelmingly prefer privacy and complete quiet.

When an employee can’t work effectively, we try to adapt the space to the person rather than the person to the space. Design around each job function, not some ideology about how an office should be.

  1. USE LOTS OF GLASS

With the power to welcome natural light, unobstructed views, and unclutteredness, glass is the single most important material we use at our office. In a real and metaphorical sense, it helps create a clear space for free thinking. From a biological perspective, the light helps with happiness, energy, and morale.

  1. OPEN SPACE ALONG THE WINDOWS

Most companies place individual offices on the exterior and “bullpens” on the interior. While corner offices may be enviable, they block exterior light from reaching most employees.

That’s why we placed bullpens and clusters along the exterior and offices in the interior. The offices are designed so that they can still overlook the Los Angeles skyline and catch plenty of that precious light.

  1. PROVIDE MULTIPLE COMMUNAL AREAS

The researchers at Gensler concluded that “the threshold for effective collaboration space is relatively low; people collaborate in a wide variety of space types and find those spaces by and large effective.” However, they found the opposite is true of focus spaces—people need uninterrupted privacy and quiet to stay engaged.

To address this conflict, we built multiple collaboration spaces where no one would expect privacy anyway. For example, the kitchen and the sitting area in our lobby have comfy couches where people from different departments socialize, brainstorm, and often come up with awesome ideas. Of course, we have conference rooms for more formal meetings, too.

  1. MAKE YOUR WALLS INTERACTIVE

Every single wall and window in our office can be written on. We have three different materials—glass, chalkboard, and whiteboard, all of which have special, erasable writing utensils. If you’re in a meeting and need to flesh out an idea, the wall’s right there. For note taking, virtually every employee is arm’s length from a wall.

This has two interesting benefits. First, ideas become contagious—walking around the office, you constantly see and absorb ideas from co-workers who work in other departments. Everyone feeds on this continuous brainstorm session. Second, we have a tendency to be more visual. We draw out relationships and connections in ways we wouldn’t if we were stuck on paper or limited writing surfaces.

FROM FUNCTION TO FASHION

If you redesign your office, let function inspire fashion. We went with a modern aesthetic, but you get equally good results with traditional, industrial, southwestern, rustic, zen, or any other design theme. Personal taste, office culture and the community surrounding your office will all influence your style. In the process, ask employees about the office environment—find out what helps or inhibits their work before you assume that you have the answers.

You wouldn’t withhold computers from your software engineers or ban phones from your sales desk. So don’t withhold the environments that are essential to your employees and the quality work they strive to accomplish. It’s time to think of your office design as an essential tool and a competitive edge.

The story originally appeared on the Fast Company website.

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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The Ultimate Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

 

 

 

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

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Flight Videos Deconstructed

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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Six Attributes That Make A Great Workplace

Many smart people have cultivated an understanding of the attributes that make a great workplace. Keith Perske, a thought leader in workplace innovation, breaks down workplace attributes into six distinct buckets. Each contributes to engaging and connecting the employee to the enterprise.

These six components include:

  • Workplace: Layout of the office including its space and architecture
  • Technology: IT infrastructure supporting the work
  • Human Resources: Policies supporting the people who do the work
  • Culture: Values and ideals driving the work
  • Wellness: Amenities and other provided support within the environment that contributes to overall worker health and wellness
  • Brand: How the brand connects the company and the product to the space and the people within it

Workplace: The existing academic literature regarding how best to lay out space to maximize productivity is both expansive and exhaustive — and well beyond the scope of this blog post. However, a few key points: Architecturally speaking, ceiling height is important as it primes us for feelings of freedom and creativity. Also, regardless of the desk sharing ratio you implement (or don’t, for that matter), insist that every person be assigned a space, either a specific desk or a “neighborhood” of desks workers can call their own. This leads to greater employee engagement. Clearly, there are other considerations, but these two related to workplace are key.

Technology: Every worker in the knowledge economy, regardless of generational cohort, requires technology to perform work. How the company supports this within the workplace — and out of the workplace for that matter (either at the employee homes, client workplaces or some other third-party space) — is key to attracting and retaining employees. There is a big difference between shackling employees to a desk for lack of Wi-Fi in the workplace and providing employees with laptops, Wi-Fi, smartphones and the like, empowering them with the freedom to work from wherever they need in order to get the job done.

Human Resources: Related to empowering employees to produce their best work are the human resource policies supporting and incentivizing these behaviors. HR policies that provide for a flexible work schedule, create a sense of community, equitability and transparency, and empower employees to work from where they need without incurring negative effects are key to attracting and retaining Millennials.

Culture: It’s intuitive and generally accepted that people want to work in places and for companies that align who they are with what they do. Creating a workplace that is positive and energetic, where leadership is exemplified and on display, where gossip and negativity are not tolerated, where team members believe that the team is more important than the task, and where communication is strong and change is welcome, is a strategic objective that the workplace helps to define. To do so requires inclusion of all team members, strong values and ethics, and clear leadership. Exemplifying these ideals via the design of the workplace is a tactic that can be employed in support of creating a strong, positive culture. For examples, look to some of these companies that have designed some inspiring workplaces.

Wellness: Access to natural light, ergonomic furniture, clean air, water and food — these are the things that nurture us and make us productive. They are also the things that today’s workers are expecting to be provided in the workplace. Without them, you will lose your talent, the work they produce and, in the case of Millennials, your future workforce.

Brand: Like culture, this is one of the more ethereal and less concrete of the workplace components. But your company’s brand made manifest via your workplace is critical to attracting and retaining Millennials. If you are able to translate what your brand means to you and your customers by how you build and design your workplaces, you provide your company and employees a comparative advantage and engage your employees.

The story originally appeared on the Insigths website.

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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Memorial Day 2015

history-memorial-day-infographic

 

 

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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