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Blog Archive For June

Demand for Larger Office Spaces Crowding Out Smaller Firms?

That situation appears to be the case in central Florida, according to an Orlando Business Journal article.

The cause? The region has been courting so-called corporate immigrants to relocate there, hoping that more business behemoths will result in higher paying jobs and an overall positive economic effect. Without the availability of larger office spaces, some major corporations could decide to set up shop elsewhere.

As a result, landlords have been taking smaller rental spaces off the market and, in some cases, combining the spaces into larger configurations – a clear move to play to the demand for larger office spaces.

“Anything under 5,000 square feet is getting to be hard to find in a quality building,” says one commercial rental pro. “It leaves you having to educate your clients on what to expect in the market.”

And even when a larger space becomes available, it doesn’t sit on the market for long. Verizon Communications reportedly flew the coop on a 130,000 square foot office space. Not long thereafter, Deloitte leased the space to house an IT operations center.

The impact of such market conditions hasn’t been lost on developers, some of whom seem inclined to build larger office spaces – even on spec – to meet the rising demand. As our commercial pro notes, “Tenants don’t want to wait around — they want it now.”

Such market conditions could have a ripple effect on residential spaces, as well. Particularly in neighborhoods where longtime industry tenants have left the area or simply gone out of business. Much like the steel market implosion decades ago, the acreage formerly dedicated to factories and nearby housing could be reimagined as large office spaces and associated upscale housing.

While markets are always hard to predict – particularly real estate markets — it’s possible that, down the road, some companies with space to spare could consider re-designing their digs to accommodate a smaller firm. That might work especially well if the companies involved were already partners in some way. Even competitors might gain some benefit from having a rival startup under the same roof.



Managing the Sounds of Your Office

Businesswoman covering her ears in an officeThe open-office concept has long been praised for the benefits it offers to workers: Transparent communication that can lead to greater creativity and enhanced collaboration.

As with any space where walls tumble down, though, the open-office concept also presents a few challenges, among them the problem of noise that can travel practically unabated from one end of an office floor to the other.

According to a recent study, the drawbacks of an open-office environment may be costing companies more in productivity than previously believed.

The research, conducted by a pair of gentlemen from the University of Sydney’s Center on the Built Environment, indicates that workers struggle maintain productivity when presented with noisy surroundings and very little privacy.

In fact, according to the numbers, almost 50% of workers in open-office environments and just short of 60%who work at stations with partitions cite the lack of privacy from noise as the chief problem with their working worlds.

Which begs the question – how best to take advantage of the open-office benefits while minimizing the threats to productivity?

One suggestion is to be sure to include breakout spaces and/or modest public spaces in any open-office floor plan. At the same time, consider doubling up on work areas, enclosing two or even three office areas together, where employees can be paired in ways that contribute to everyone’s productivity.

There’s also a need for employees to make telephone calls and to engage in conversations that are best kept from the ears of the entire office. And it’s important to provide areas where employees can concentrate on highly complex tasks or projects. Even a single conference room or phone booth that’s fully enclosed can help to serve as a valuable oasis in the open-air workplace.

Companies can also make use of white noise machines that, while noisy in and of themselves, are still less distracting and disruptive than the cacophony of nearby conversation.

And when the time comes to change office spaces altogether, such as when companies expand or move into new office space, negotiate the highest tenant improvement allowance possible. This will allow the company to take cost-effective steps to set aside a few quiet areas in the new office environment.

In the end, finding a healthy mix between open-office spaces and quieter, more secluded areas should have the overall effect of increasing productivity without forcing the entire workforce to wear headphones for most of the day.



Rotterdam, Europe’s Capital of (Vacant) Office Space

diviA major city with a booming market for new office space is, at the same time, drowning in vacant old office space. Sound ironic? This Catch-22 is the plight of modern Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second-largest city.

One truism of real estate is that vacancy breeds vacancy—a vacant building often leads to decreases in value and ensuing vacancies in the surrounding buildings. Thus it is understandable that the rash of vacancies has spread quickly across the Netherlands, which now has a whopping 18.5% office vacancy rate.

The Netherlands holds a dubious honor—the country has Europe’s highest office vacancy rate, with more than 7.5 million square meters of empty office space. Worse still, more than half of that office space has been unclaimed for more than three years.

The office space issue has been brewing for a long time in the Netherlands—the first signs of an unusable overabundance came in the 1990s. However, the IT industry boomed in the Netherlands that decade, and as demand for office space skyrocketed, many vacancies were filled and the problem was, for some time, fixed. However, during the IT bubble burst of the early 2000s, the demand for vacant offices dropped sharply. Many companies downsized, and either outsourced their labor or built new, smaller offices better suited to company needs.

Some existing vacancies are in a no man’s land—they have not been demolished and have few prospects of occupation in the near future. As offices in the country become smaller and the 2008 global recession’s effects continue to linger, development has stalled on these unused spaces.

It may thus seem curious that the market for new real estate in Rotterdam is booming. Older buildings are not in demand—given the choice, a vast majority of business owners and developers are seeking new spaces. The reason is simple—the vacant office spaces often have not been well maintained over the years, and many need renovations for modern-day use. Structural limitations and a lack of such conveniences as elevators and accessibility make many empty spaces hard sells for prospective buyers.

Brighter times may be ahead in Rotterdam—as an increasing number of entrepreneurs and architects head for the city, the pressure to make use of or replace the vacant office spaces rises. The city’s crisis in wasted space may be a problem now, but it spells opportunity for ambitious planners and developers!

Office Space Planners always welcomes an opportunity to create high-quality working space—take a look at Office Space Planners’ website, and get a free quote on a project of your choosing today!


Going to the Dogs

First, it was Take You Child to Work Day, a practice that many companies still encourage for those with families. More recently, Take Your Dog to Work Day has become a popular employee perk. An official version of the day was created in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, which designated the Friday following Father’s Day Read the full article…