office-space-consulting-services

Managing Your Future Leasing Liabilities with Flexible Office Space

With new leasing regulations coming on board as soon as 2019, both owners and lessors of commercial office space need to start thinking outside the box if they don’t want to be holding the bag when the ball drops.

Currently, your company’s leases – whether they be property, vehicles, or other high-value equipment – do not have to be listed as an asset on the balance sheet. With the implementation of IFRS 16, due to comes into play in 2019, all that changes.

What does this mean for my company?

IFRS 16 has the potential to increase your company’s liability in several ways, as you will suddenly see a significant jump in total assets as a result of having to recognize a right-of-use asset and a lease liability. For a new company that is trying to stay lean, this could present problems.

Having fixed office space can exacerbate this issue. What, then, is the solution?

Should I buy my office space?

If you can afford to buy your space and turn it into a permanent asset, perhaps that is an option for you. However, there are probably just as many reasons not to buy. The added expense of upkeep and the depletion of your working capital, combined with a sudden inflexibility of a fixed location might not be the best decision for you.

Consider flexible office space as a viable option. It’s cost-effective, it’s agile, and it won’t tip your balance sheet in the wrong direction.

Do I really need fixed office space at all?

With the millennial trend toward remote working, many offices remain empty for the better part of the week. If you’re not using it, the money you are investing in square footage is being wasted on an unnecessary expense. By eliminating the workstations and offices you are not using, it solves several problems: it helps you reduce your dependence on fixed office space, reduces your monthly spend, and protects you from potential liability issues from IFRS 16.

Flexible office space solves the problems that fixed office space represents. It reduces monthly expenditures and supports workforce agility and productivity. Plus, your flexible office space agreements are, well, flexible.

The Benefits of Flexible Office Spaces

By implementing a short-term philosophy, it opens you up to other options as well as keeping your physical office space off the balance sheet.

Take a good look at how and where your workforce is spending their time, and consider what a flexible office space could do for you.

In general, companies are seeing a marked increase in flexible office space. It provides them with the ability to scale along with their company’s needs and gives them on-demand access to the services they want when they need them most.

Office Suites Strategies: flexibility when you need it most

If you’ve been considering shifting to a more flexible office environment, there is no time like the present. With IFRS 16 looming, being ahead of the curve is never a bad idea. If you would like to learn more about how flexible office space can benefit businesses, contact us today.

The Workplace Revolution: Key Trends that are Changing How Work Is Getting Done in 2017

As companies strive to become more cost-effective and employees are encouraged to streamline their workflows for optimum productivity, technology shares the podium with human process for the most influential drivers of innovation in workplace dynamics.

In 2017, some key trends are emerging:

Workplace trend: Mobility and workplace flexibility

Though mobile is nothing new per se, the population of mobile workers continues to grow. It is predicted that by 2020, 42% of the global workforce will be mobile, allowing workers to access information and work from wherever they like. To this end, employee-centric applications will become firmly mainstream, bringing with them a level of cost optimization that will fuel the new normal. In terms of the workplace itself, we are seeing the demise of the conventional office, largely because of the prevalence of mobile workers, and a widespread commitment to cost-reduction.

Companies with a commitment to transparency will prevail

Millennials have taught us that it’s not good to do business with a company that you don’t trust. Businesses that are fully transparent about their code of ethics, their methodologies, their hiring processes, and their values will continue to gain the public’s trust, relegating those who do not care about their people, the planet, or a worthwhile cause eating dust. Companies must support their mission through action, and constantly be aware of how their vision must change to reflect changing values. A strong commitment to transparency not only pleases customers, but it empowers employees to work harder, knowing that the company they represent is worth it.

Flexible processes usurp tech reliance

While productivity applications are not going away anytime soon, they have brought a certain sensibility into the human element: as much as we have become reliant on apps to streamline our day and help us work more efficiently, we ourselves are becoming more and more like the apps we use. These apps are based on ideal human workflows, after all, but they have started to shift the way we think on the fly, helping us to reorganize and simplify what we do every day.

Process design is a thing

There’s a new sheriff in the c-suite: the chief process officer (CPO) has entered the building. Responsible for overseeing and developing the overall approach to process design and execution, the CPO focuses on a more detailed and multi-layered approach to company-wide processes with the ultimate goal of optimizing employee engagement and productivity.

Business Intelligence (BI) to prove ROL (return on learning)

More and more companies are relying on BI data to help them make business decisions. This leads to much-improved process design and efficiency overall by helping to identify areas where performance pales in contrast to desired benchmarks. With the ability to view this data in real time, it is possible to intervene and resolve any issues before they cause too much damage.

Driving your success through innovation

Office Suites Strategies is a shared space consulting company comprised of experienced property management and shared space professionals focused on assisting property owners achieve maximum value from their real estate investments. Contact us and find out more about how we can help position your business for success.

How is Technology Impacting the Changes in Today’s Workplace?

I think most would agree, no matter what business they are involved in, that technology has changed the face of the modern office. Some of the changes were sudden, some more gradual, but most we have come to take for granted over a very short space of time. From flexible communications options, to mobile computing and “anywhere” connectivity, we depend on the convenience and enhanced collaborative tools that our tech gives us.

Staying current with tech is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses

For companies both large and small, staying up to date with the latest advances can be a challenge. It means being able to provide office workers with the tools they need to get their work done efficiently, securely, and in such a way that improves – rather than hinders – their workflow. In a shared office environment this is especially important, as members will expect the latest accommodations. Being well-acquainted with the possibilities, as well as the near-future eventualities is a must.

Regardless of how you may feel about technology in the workplace, it’s all for the greater good. Let’s look at some of the ways tech has changed the way we do things in an office environment:

Technology in the workplace impact #1: Enhanced Productivity

Technology tools, applications and networking capabilities now shape the course of our day. From the calendar and scheduling, our time management has never been more efficient. Because we have so many collaborative tools at our disposal, we spend less time locating people, having off-topic conversations, and getting answers to burning questions. Due to the immediate nature of our tech, results are also expected much more quickly. Using cloud technologies like virtual desktop, employees can access their files and the company network from anywhere, and on any device. In fact, many companies maintain a remote workforce in this way for the purposes of staying lean. Getting things done is the name of the game.

Technology in the workplace impact #2: Workforce Collaboration

Our ability to collaborate in flexible ways is on the rise, and in no small part due to the advances in communications technology. For many companies, the workforce has gone global, whether that means having a sales team in other cities, or outsourcing partners around the globe. The ubiquitous nature of the internet, combined with communications advances like Skype, and VoIP phone systems that are fully integrated with your CRM allow employees to make the most of their time, providing enhanced value to the company bottom line as well as making everybody’s lives easier. Cloud-based services like Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365, and Google simplify document sharing and collaboration, and even provide online access to software that even a few years ago would not have been possible without a significant investment. Which brings us to the next item …

Technology in the workplace impact #3: Cost Management

Workplace tech has allowed many companies to dramatically lower their costs for many essential services and tools. Software, for example, has increasingly become available on a monthly, per-user basis, eliminating the need to purchase exorbitantly expensive licenses for company-wide use. This model also pushes automatic updates, which cuts down on time spent updating by an IT professional, and ensures maximum security and efficiency. VoIP telephony has replaced legacy PBX, dramatically slashing the cost of business phone systems and services while providing full integration with many popular CRMs. Skype and Skype for Business (S4B) has tossed out the need for in-person meetings, thus helping companies save on travel expenses. Cloud storage and computing has eliminated the need to purchase and maintain on-site servers, and provides companies with the ability to scale quickly and efficiently without much fuss or added expense. Remote workforces are enabled through virtualization and cloud technology, saving on office real estate and all its related expenses.

Technology in the workplace impact #4: Heightened Security

IT security is a growing issue in 2017. The good news is that protecting your network is easier than ever. With the accessibility of cloud platforms, many IT security solutions can be deployed on-line, running in the background as you work. With automatic updates being pushed out to keep your software current, you will always have the latest security patches. Backups can be scheduled automatically, ensuring that you always have access to a “clean” copy of your systems in case anything happens.

Office Suites Strategies: helping you keep up with advancing technology trends

We understand the need to stay current with your technology to increase efficiency, enhance productivity and reduce cost. Office Suites Strategies is a leader in workspace management, and we would be delighted to have the opportunity to help you meet your operational and revenue goals. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.

What To Look For When Considering Office Space

So, you need a place to work from. Home won’t do, the local coffee shop also won’t do, and you’re not ready to sign a 10-year lease. What now?

Luckily for you, flexible workplace options have grown in popularity in the last few years, so there is no shortage of options. Quite the contrary, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of options that you have, so how do you chose the right office space for you and your business?

At Office Suite Strategies, we always tell our clients to initially look at these 4 factors: location, price, amenities, and design.

Location

Location, location, location. When you look at office space, you need to consider how accessible it is; via public transportation, by car, by foot, or any other means that you might use to get around. Also think about what other businesses are nearby; do you have commercial or retail stores close by? Are there restaurants? You want a location that is convenient for you but also for your clients and fellow team members.

Price

As a business owner, you probably understand the importance of having a budget and adhering to it. With the plethora of workspace options available today, you should be able to find an option that fits your budget as well as your physical space needs. When looking at the price, consider the square footage, the services and perks that are included, and how long it will take you to commute (this plays into public transportation or gas prices). However, don’t focus only on the price–you need to also consider whether you like the space and the people in it, otherwise you might risk hindering your productivity and your overall wellness.

Amenities

This is closely tied in with the previous factor. What amenities does the space offer? Kitchen storage, physical storage, gym facilities, parking spots, wifi, printing services, meeting room time, free coffee or tea. These are important factors to consider when selecting the right office space; while some providers might offer these amenities for free, others might charge for them so you would need to include them in your budget.

Design

Workplace design today is more important than ever. From temperature, to colors, to lighting, to furniture, make sure that the office space you choose will positively impact your productivity and your wellness. Look at the space’s layout and different types of workstations. Is the design inclusive, does it allow for people to move from area to area and work effectively? Is there enough natural light coming in? Is the furniture comfortable? These questions can help you define whether the physical space will be able to satisfy your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about how to select the right workspace for you and your business, reach out to us here.

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The Benefits of Virtual Office Space for Small Businesses

Virtual offices are becoming an increasingly popular decision for small business owners who want to enjoy the luxuries of a traditional office space, while still having the flexibility to enjoy work on their own terms. With a virtual office, you have the ability to work anytime anywhere and still take full advantage of the support, technology, and meeting space that a regular office provides.

Professional Business Address Provided

If you’ve ever hesitated at the idea of having to put your home address on your website or cringed at the thought of someone checking you out on Google only to discover your location is in a residential neighborhood, a virtual office has a major benefit to you. With a virtual office you are provided a professional business address at well-known buildings in your community. The best part? You don’t even have to rent office space at the building. The virtual office service forwards all mail sent to this address to the client. This is an essential advantage with Google; the service is not a fan of P.O. Boxes or home addresses linked to a business.

No Commute Time to the Office

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average travel time to work in the US is 25.4 minutes. Depending on your location, that number can be considerably higher and significantly more stressful. Now you don’t have to spend all that extra time getting ready for work and then sitting in traffic. Since there hasn’t quite been a way invented to combine these two activities into one yet, it all feels like such a huge waste of time. That one, two or more hours could be spent working, growing your business and actually BEING PRODUCTIVE. When you’re ready to grow your team, an additional bonus is that you can now hire employees anywhere in the US without having to relocate them or be overly concerned with their personal commute and how it will affect their work/life balance.

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Reception and Communication Services

As many of us know, a quality reception service can really help elevate the perception of your business. Having someone who handles phone calls professionally adds clout and authenticity to the office experience. Adding a mailbox number that doesn’t start with P.O., as well as having items and mail delivered to a professional business address can only help to increase the feeling of security for your clients that they are doing business with an established and well developed business.

The virtual office service can provide live phone receptionists, voice mail and other communications options. Your office can even have its own email address and fax number for these communications and to increase the professional image of your business.The front desk staff will also receive and sign for any parcels sent to the business address. The service then arranges for delivery of the parcel to the client. It may also be possible to arrange for on-site notaries and witnesses.

Meeting Rooms and Day Offices are Available for Use

How many meetings have you had to drive exceptionally far out of your way for to meet at a client’s location? What about meeting at a coffee shop with too-small tables and too much noise for productive discourse? Virtual office space and business centers offer rental meeting rooms and conference rooms to clients that are available on-demand. This meeting space is available at the same building as their professional business address. In addition to meeting rooms, the virtual office space may offer temporary office or work space to clients. In many of these cases you may also have access to amenities like video conferencing equipment, break rooms and wireless Internet connectivity.

Cost Savings for Your Small Business

The average monthly rent per square foot of office space is $65.16 in San Francisco and $23.09 in Dallas, according to data from TheSquareFoot.com. With virtual office space, many basic packages start below $100 per month. There’s no office lease, no utility payments, no hardware and none of the associated costs that come with having a brick-and-mortar space. All that savings can not only be passed along to clients, but it also affects your profit margin, allowing you to invest more in your people. Not to mention, you won’t be forced to drink five cups of coffee a day just to stay at your makeshift coffee shop meeting space.

Starting a small business is time consuming and costly. Having the ability to eliminate some of the cost concerns, like the fear of getting an office before you are ready or being concerned you will end up with either too much or too little space can take a lot of stress of a small business owner’s plate. Additionally, being able to pass along some of the tasks that are important, but could definitely be handled by someone else frees up time and energy to focus on what you can do to build your business. Ultimately, taking advantage of a virtual office space means you don’t have to do it all on your own!

 

When to Offer a Promotion

Not unlike most other types of businesses, promotions, sales, and discounts are effective tools for growth in the workspace services industry. Over my 17-year career, I’ve found that there are several ideal times of the year to offer special pricing for business center services. I’ll walk you through each of them in this post. This is not an exhaustive list though, I welcome your feedback and stories about a particular sale that produced results for your business.

  1. When School’s Out
  2. A large sector of the customer base of workspace services industry businesses consists of those who primarily work from home. For families with school-aged children, the home office can be incredibly distracting when school is not in session. The question for them becomes, “Where can I find a distraction free zone?” Enter: virtual offices and meeting room services.

    You’re probably asking, “Why, if the need is high during these times, do we need to offer special pricing?” The answer is the nuanced difference between need and demand for the solutions serviced office centers provide. Home-based business owners are fully aware of their need for a more productive environment when school is out, but they might not be aware that workspace service solutions are available to suit exactly this need. Hence, there is no demand for our services specifically during this time. With a well-composed and publicized limited time offer of special pricing that highlights the various solutions to fulfill the distraction-free zone need, serviced office centers can generate demand and see new business opportunities arise.

  3. When it’s Tax Time
  4. The angle for advertising special pricing during tax time is much different for the serviced office center than many other businesses. Tax time is when small business owners have to really evaluate the necessity of the expense of their office space. Their considering questions like: “Does this set up make me any money?” and “Has my office really been worth it?” At this time, serviced office centers generate special pricing offers to drive home the realization that the answer to those questions is a resounding “No!” Our primary target audience for the workspace services industry are those whose businesses don’t really rely on the traditional office format full-time. But, unfortunately, part of our battle is making that fact clear when the traditional office format is so ingrained as the “right” option for businesses. When we offer special pricing during tax time, we are spotlighting our solutions as more flexible and less financially burdensome option to consider as they are considering questions related to money in general and the necessity of office expenditures.

  5. When the New Year Rolls Around
  6. The new year is a perfect time to promote special pricing offers because, like tax time, it is a time when our primary target audience is weighing various options. While budgeting and financial planning for already established businesses occurs during this time, it also a time when would-be entrepreneurs are considering new ventures. Your limited time offer for special pricing can be just the motivation they need to take the plunge and get started. Promotions to entrepreneurs during this time should work to contrast the advantages of workspace services solutions to the burdens of traditional office space. It is important to always present the services your business provides as the best answer during your prospects time of questioning and consideration.

    Final thoughts…

    I hope this blog post has been helpful. I encourage you to share your thoughts on the times of year that are best for serviced office centers to offer promotions, sales, and discounts. I look forward to reading and responding to your comments and questions. If you a workspace industry business owner and you need assistance crafting an attractive offer for special pricing for your center’s services, please contact me, Karen Condi, Office Suite Strategies’ president and founder, at kcondi@officesuitestrategies.com.

Office Suites Strategies Site Selection Process

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my consulting work is assisting my clients with site selection for a new serviced office center.  Usually, I work with office property owners to establish centers within their current buildings.   In other cases, I’ve worked with investors to purchase a new investment property in which to create a executive […]