How To Organize Your Office For Maximum Productivity

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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.

Survey: Physical Office Space Is Indispensable

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The death of the office may have been a short-lived and heavily rebutted theory to come from the coronavirus outbreak, but there are plenty of businesses that have taken the opportunity of lockdown to permanently, for now at least, close offices in favor of employees working from home.

However, according to a new survey of 65,000 real estate advisor Savills‘ clients, some 89% of respondents believe that retaining physical space is vital for business.

Despite this indication, further results show that its far from business as usual for workplaces.

While many are clear that office design will change going forward to adapt to a post-COVID mindset, focusing more on social distancing areas for shared learning, the study suggests that this will not affect the overall demand for office space significantly.

While 62% of respondents currently operate in towns or cities, the study suggests that this could fall by 23% based on preferences expressed. This would see increases in working from home and working in rural areas.

For future generations of talent, the office has been identified previously as a key area in which workers can be attracted and retained, and this stands for the working world after the coronavirus outbreak too. 25% of 18-24-year old’s expect to spend no time working from home, down from 50% pre-coronavirus, but still representing the largest proportion of all age groups.

“The experience of remote or home working has been felt very differently by people across social and age groups. The consensus is that mental and physical health, personal growth and a separation between home and work life must be supported in both locations. Ultimately video conferencing is no substitute for face-to-face contact,” says Jeremy Bates, executive director and head of occupier services EMEA.

There is also a correlation between the distance employees have to commute and their work from home experience, suggesting a ‘hub and spoke’ model making using of regional and local offices could be a way forward.

Interestingly, up to 67% of people said they’d be willing to desk share again, once it became safe to do so. However, this study does not consider shifting attitudes from the beginning of the lockdown to now.

Bates continues: “Ultimately, it is important to note that the survey results are a reflection of how people felt early on during lockdown and this is likely to change now that restrictions are beginning to lift. This is why we must continue to survey opinion even once the worst of Covid-19 is behind us.”

Portions of this article originally appeared on the On Office Magazine website.

 

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.

 

Psychological Tricks To Get You Spend More Money

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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.

 

How To Stay Better Connected To Colleagues and Clients

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With the sudden and critical need for social distancing, most companies are adapting in ways they had not anticipated. For knowledge workers, this includes a mass transition to working from home. While many organizations had offered remote working prior to coronavirus, most still required people to come into the office for face-to-face interaction, and the vast majority of organizations still utilize in-person meetings as the most effective way to connect and communicate with clients.

Now that in-person contact isn’t as feasible, how do you maintain meaningful and productive connections with your colleagues and clients? You can address this question by focusing on the following three areas:

1) Communication tools

We work with a wide range of clients around the globe and utilize a number of traditional and new technologies to stay connected with them. Many of the existing modes of communication—email, phone, text, videoconferencing—still apply and will continue to be used with greater frequency.

Some new tools, or previously less-used platforms, are also being utilized. The sudden transition to working remotely has led to the widespread adoption of Microsoft Teams as a tool that allows people to collaborate internally on projects. We are seeing clients also make use of new platforms and communication protocols in response to the COVID-19 disruption.

If there was ever a time for experimenting with new digital work tools, this is it. We are exploring several new platforms for virtual collaboration and brainstorming with both colleagues and clients. These include tools such as Mural, Miro, Conceptboard, and others. A willingness to experiment and the patience to learn how to use new tools are crucial in this time of change.

2) Proactive communication and troubleshooting

A lot of people, including your clients, are still working from home. Given all the uncertainty of today’s environment, clients have appreciated a proactive approach to communication. A quick phone call to check-in and touch base (and foster some social interaction!) can go a long way. Transitioning to shorter, more frequent discussions also have been useful given the speed of today’s changing context. In some cases, for example, a standing bi-weekly meeting has transitioned into a shorter weekly call.

Anticipating what your clients are concerned about and focusing your attention on that perspective is important. For a lot of office building projects, marketing and leasing are crucial. How can the projects your clients are working on now be best positioned for success following the pandemic? For interior spaces, how can we create user experiences that are thinking about public health and hygiene habits, such as touch-free experiences, sanitation, and increased opportunities for handwashing? Helping clients think through these new criteria is part of your role as advisors. While no one has all the answers, we can help make sure we are asking the right questions.

3) Personal connections and camaraderie

Virtual communication tends to be easiest with people you already know and requires a bit more practice for newer relationships. Trying to focus on the basics of human-to-human communication can help. You can do this by assuming people have a positive intent, asking clarifying questions, and trying to ensure all parties feel comfortable communicating in the medium of choice.

Lastly, remember that we are all going through this together, professionally and personally. Reaching out to clients to ask how they’re coping can be helpful. So, too, is sharing humor or personal details about your daily predicaments, such as why there are children’s voices in the background of a video call or how the barking in the background is just the dog’s way of saying he too wants to join the discussion.

In short, these are not typical times and the typical and traditional modes of professional communication no longer apply. Yet by rethinking your approach, this time of social distancing may actually help you become better connected to your colleagues and your clients in a meaningful way.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine website.

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.

 

Live Long: What Really Extends Lifespan

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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.

 

How To Stay Focused And Get To Work

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For leaders navigating unpredictable times, one attribute is critical to thinking strategically: focus.

Disrupted routines are partly responsible for derailed attention spans, but biology is also part of the cause.

When your brain detects imminent danger, the prefrontal cortex—the area responsible for critical thinking, impulse control, and focus—gives way to more primitive functions that protect you in the present moment. The pandemic is an ongoing threat, but most of us are not in immediate danger. Yet this often-chaotic situation demands clarity. To keep a business afloat or plan for an ever-changing future, you need to think strategically—not frantically.

The good news? Strategic thinking is a practice. Even as the world shifts below our feet, we can cultivate the ability to generate new ideas and make ingenious, unexpected connections. Here are three ways to focus on the big picture.

Make Time to Reflect

Jumping from task to task inhibits your ability to process new information. Your mind needs time to let ideas sink in. “Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle, and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning,” leadership consultant Jennifer Porter writes for Harvard Business Review. “This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions.”

If you’re struggling to pull back from day-to-day details, block off an hour in your calendar. Treat it as a non-negotiable appointment. Minimize distractions and ask yourself questions such as “What will success look like 2, 5, or 10 years from now?” In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, shorter time frames might also be appropriate. Think 6-8 weeks or even six months into the future and ask about your company, “How do our current projects contribute to our mission?”

Strategic thinking is essential, but it’s not always comfortable. You might have creative breakthroughs and feel inspired to blaze ahead. You might also feel vulnerable, scared, irritated, or even bored. Take a deep breath, sit with those feelings, and persevere.

In my experience, there’s always something valuable on the other side of discomfort.

Aim to Embrace Change

The pandemic has already been devastating for millions of people worldwide. From job loss to human loss, there’s no sugarcoating this crisis. At the same time, there are always glimmers of hope in difficult moments. Consider how you can adapt to the economic, cultural, and social changes of the past several months—even if they’re shifts you didn’t welcome.

For example, can you develop an offering that blends digital and in-person delivery? Could a physical product evolve into a virtual service? As an employee, how can you add more value? And most importantly, how can you help others adapt to our new realities?

Broaden Your Perspective

Travel is always one of the best ways to cultivate fresh ideas, whether you’re attending a conference or seeing the world. Most trips aren’t in the cards for a while, but you can still connect with people who challenge and engage you. Set up a brainstorming session with a friend or colleague. Read about topics outside your normal range of interests.

If you have the time, take an online class or view live presentations. You’ve probably watched some great TED Talks, but I also recommend Creative Mornings, the breakfast speaker series that launched in New York and spread around the globe. These newly virtual talks put the world at your fingertips. Tune in for live presentations from Barcelona to Baltimore or choose from almost 9,000 archived videos.

You can also explore strategic relationships. Many top companies collaborate with employees, customers, and other organizations to expand their thinking. For example, Nike and Apple teamed up to create Nike+, while Barnes & Noble bookstores invited Starbucks to create in-house coffee shops. “Partnerships are transactional. Strategic relationships are transformational,” says David Nour, author of Co-Create: How Your Business Will Profit From Innovative and Strategic Collaboration.

In other words, with a wider range of viewpoints, you can create something completely above and beyond your individual efforts.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Fast Company website.

 

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.

 

Fourth of July: Then and Now

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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.

 

 

How Downtime and Speed Affects Your Website

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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.

How To Get More Time Out Of Your Day

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“I never feel like I have enough time. It’s the end of the day and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything I set out to. I feel like there’s too much to do that I can’t focus on anything!”

If you’ve ever felt something similar to these sentiments, then you’re most likely drowning in what’s called time debt.

Every task on your to-do list, unread email, meeting request, project update, and goal requires time to complete.

But more than just that initial expense, the actions and choices you make today have a compounding impact on how much time you have in the future.

The more time debt you take on from overcommitting yourself, inefficient processes, and wasting time, the less time you’ll have in the future. Eventually, you take on so much time debt that every hour of your day is spoken for before you even start!

But you don’t have to go into debt with your time. With a few tweaks to how you approach your daily work, you can start building “time assets” that free your future up.

So how do you make sure you’re building more time assets than debts?

Before we dive in, did you know that 92% of people regularly work in the evenings and on weekends?

Your bank account has a finite amount of money in it. However, if you have a credit card, you can access more money with the understanding that you’ll have to pay it back (with interest) in the future. In other words: You’re making a choice to get something now knowing you’ll pay more for it in the future.

But debt doesn’t just relate to dollars and cents. In software development, there’s a term called “technical debt.” Technical debt is accrued when you quickly build features to keep up with demand even though you know it will need to be reworked later. Again, you’re making a choice to build something now knowing you’ll pay more (in time and resources) later.

The problem is that debt in any form is easy to take on but hard to pay back.

Continue to rack up credit card expenses and you’ll end up with a bill that would make Warren Buffett blush. Or keep cranking out patchwork feature updates and you’ll end up with a codebase so convoluted that it could bring your entire company crashing down.

The same goes for your time.

We all know that our daily time is finite. Yet few of us treat it that way. When we analyzed 185 million hours of data, we found that workers average just two hours and 48 minutes of productive time a day.

Instead of prioritizing, delegating, saying no, and being smart with our time, we obsessively say yes, overcommit on our daily tasks, and work longer hours to catch up. When we interviewed 800+ knowledge workers, only 5% of people said they complete their tasks every day. Instead, those unfinished tasks get pushed to tomorrow’s list and the next day until suddenly your day is fully booked before you can even take on your most important work.

As freelance writer Sierra Black explains, “Pretty soon, I needed to start repaying some of that borrowed time. . .. I ran into the same problems I’m familiar with from money-based debt: I owed more than I could pay.”

Time Debt Comes With Its Own Form of Interest

Just like you have to repay money you borrow from a bank (with interest), there comes a time when you have to pay back the time debt you’ve accrued. Unfortunately, just like monetary debt, time debt also comes with interest that makes it harder to pay back.

Time debt takes its interest in focus and attention. The more time you’ve loaned out to other tasks, the more those tasks weigh on your mind and steal your attention. For example, it’s much harder to focus on an upcoming deadline when you have tons of overdue tasks hanging over you.

One study found that people spend 46.9% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing.

Not only does this splitting of your attention make you unhappy, but trying to multitask or context-switch eats at your productivity. In fact, every additional task you try to take on or even think about takes away 20% of your productive time.

On the other hand, time assets are tools, choices, and workflows that give you time in the future.

Balance Your Time Budget

Here’s the good news: Getting out of time debt isn’t difficult, but it does (ironically) take time. You get out of time debt by spending wisely and building better habits.

  1. Start tracking where your time is going

If you want to save money, you track what you buy. If you want to get out of time debt, you need to track where your time currently goes.

Time debt accrues when you’re unaware that you’re committing more time than you have or you’re not using the time you have wisely. So, it only makes sense that to turn that trend around you need a deep understanding of where your time is actually going.

RescueTime’s free time-tracking tool automatically observes how you spend your time on your devices so you can get a clear picture of where your days go.

If you want a more basic pen-and-paper approach, you can also track your day in 10- or 15-minute chunks on a spreadsheet. However, this requires constant attention and will bring in some level of observation bias.

This might seem like a lot of work, but the goal here is to dig yourself out of debt and start building assets that give you more time in the future. Once you build the habits that will get you out of time debt, you’ll most likely stay that way.

  1. Declare time bankruptcy on your daily schedule

Coming back from time debt requires more than just building better habits. You need to be drastic and rebuild from the ground up.

Now that you have a system in place for tracking your time it’s time to declare time bankruptcy. In other words, audit your calendar and to-do list and clear out everything except for mission-critical tasks.

Now, see what happens. Are all those “priorities” really that important? Is anything broken?

If you need a precedent for making such a huge change, just look to Dropbox. Back in 2013, the company deleted all recurring meetings from their calendars and didn’t allow new ones to be booked for a two-week period. Two years later and with triple the team size, they still had fewer meetings on the books.

  1. Create a time-blocked template for your days

If you have bad spending habits, the last thing you need is unlimited credit. Instead, you need to create guidelines that keep you on track.

For time management, the most powerful tool here is time blocking.

Time blocking is when you break up your entire day into a set of scheduled work “blocks.” These blocks aren’t for specific tasks but rather types of work:

Deep work such as coding, designing, writing, or whatever your “core” work task is

Shallow work such as daily tasks, maintenance, updates, etc.

Meetings and emails

Breaks throughout the day to keep your energy levels high

Buffers in between blocks to give you time to decompress and avoid attention residue

Thanks to something called The Planning Fallacy we’re overly optimistic about what we can get done in a day. This causes us to overschedule and take on more time debt.

When you block your day, every task has to fit into a specific time, and you become much more aware of what can and can’t be done.

  1. Prioritize what tasks, meetings, and to-dos you let back in

Now it’s time to slowly start filling in your schedule. This is where most people mess up, by opening the floodgate and letting all of those time-debt activities back in.

Instead, you need to be hyperaware of your priorities. Only you know what work is most important to you and should be included here. In our Guide on How to Prioritize Work, we highlight seven practical ways you can figure out what work should be included here.

The most time-tested method is still the Eisenhower Matrix—a simple box that asks you to score your work as urgent and important. While it isn’t a foolproof system, it will keep you thinking about what deserves your time. Score your tasks and obligations and then delegate or drop anything that’s in the bottom two squares.

  1. Pay yourself first

Recovering from time debt isn’t just about tracking time and scheduling your day.

As we wrote in our Guide to the Fundamentals of Productivity, your ability to properly use your time depends on being healthy and happy. In other words, you need to pay yourself first. This means setting aside time to rest and recharge, disconnect from work, and pursue hobbies and work-life balance.

  1. Remove energy drains and incomplete items

One of the big issues with time debt is that many of the things that contribute to it are productive.

Creative coach Tina Essmaker calls these Drains and Incompletions. Drains are things we have to do and can’t necessarily remove from our day. For example, long commute times, unnecessary meetings, phone calls, emails, putting out fires, etc. Incompletions are to-dos that take up space in your mind. For example, conversations to be had, deferred dreams, projects to wrap up, etc. Both drains and incompletions sap your energy, focus, and attention and make it harder to properly use your time. To remove them from your day, Tina suggests a 3-step plan:

Set aside five minutes to write down every single drain and incompletion you can think of

Cross off anything on your list that you can’t control

Create an action plan for the rest of your list

For incompletions, this might mean delegating tasks, not procrastinating, and just doing it, finding the resources you need. For drains, you might want to limit your time spent on them, set clear boundaries on your availability, or shift the way you use your time.

  1. Practice saying no and turning down requests

Finally, you’ll need to put some work into keeping your system in place. Practice saying no to your boss and coworkers when tasks and requests go beyond the time you have. Be open and transparent about your priorities and where your time is being spent.

For future meetings or obligations, use this simple trick: Ask if you would take it on if it was happening today. When a meeting, deadline, or call is way off in the future, it’s easy to say yes. Instead, ask if it deserves to be on your calendar at all. Would you say yes if it was for next week? What about tomorrow? Or this afternoon? Use this mental strategy to discover the true urgency of a request.

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Fast Company website.

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.

 

Employee Engagement and the Productivity Gap

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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.