Creating Productive Office Space in 5 Easy Steps

Let the Sunshine In! – Adjusting Light and Temperature

These may seem like basic necessities for any office space, but the benefits of maximizing their potential are often overlooked. While people are naturally more enthusiastic when they’re comfortable in their environment, as no employee wants to be stuck in a sweltering, dark space, recent studies have shown that fine tuning these two factors can actually have a direct impact on a person’s levels of motivation and fatigue – two key elements of workplace productivity.

For example, one study tested subjects with both daylight and artificial light throughout the course of several days. From that, they found that those who had daylight exposure had significantly better performance than those with artificial light exposure by  the second day. Additionally, another study from Cornell showed results indicating that office productivity actually improves as room temperatures approach a predicted thermal comfort zone.

When considering your space, it is important to learn the details of how the HVAC system works so that temperatures can be adjusted according the day and season (as opposed to leaving the settings at a fixed point, as found in many workplaces). Additionally, employees should be situated near spaces with as much natural lighting as possible, particularly if their work quality is heavily reliant on productivity markers. As the cold reign of noisy, blinkering fluorescent lighting comes to an end, many innovative new lighting options have appeared, including those that serve emulate sunlight itself – which are often useful options to invest in if your work space lacks access to natural lighting.

Turn Down For What? Better Office Productivity!

While it’s true that some of us are more sensitive to noise than others, it’s generally agreed upon that excessive noise is a distraction to most people while trying to work. Unsurprisingly, studies have been performed where up to 99% of those sampled reported that their concentration was negatively affected by various office noises, such as incessantly ringing telephones and constant background chatter.

In addition to being a general annoyance, workplace noise is a serious threat to overall productivity, and is an issue that requires attention now more than ever as offices frequently choose to adopt an open floor plan – less walls does equal more opportunity for noise to travel. Luckily, there are practical ways to control sound in the work space, in order to create a more peaceful and productive environment for employees.

Regardless of your floor plan, it’s always a good idea to create areas of refuge within work spaces where workers can go to focus their concentration, such as a privacy room, a quiet section in a corner outside of all the usual busy distractions, or a sound-proofed conference room – solutions that can usually be enacted without a great deal of time or cost. Other noise reduction options include everything from larger scale projects like sound-masking systems, to smaller solutions such as communal play lists comprised of music that employees can all agree to. At the end of the day, even taking the first step of simply being mindful of the noise levels and looking for solutions can be a great first step towards improving the workplace environment.

The Benefits of A Thoughtful Floor Plan

The debate about the superiority of open floor plans vs closed ones is ongoing, and remains as heated as ever. However, there are certainly ways to make improvements to productivity that work under both options. In it’s most fundamental sense, this comes down to striking the right balance for your space, and being attentive and thoughtful in regards to creating a layout that serves to help employees in achieving their specific work goals.

If you’re in an open space, as mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to create spaces where workers can go to concentrate away from the high-traffic areas. Conversely, if your main work space is primarily closed, having open collaborative areas where workers can get together to brainstorm, discuss, and interact with each other in a personal manner can be a boon as well. Optimally, the goal should be to foster an environment that allows for both privacy and collaboration, as each is needed.

In addition to these conceptual tips, there are also more practical things that can be done, such as organizing the work pace so that people don’t have to constantly walk across the entire room (and thus distract others) in order to access a commonly used area or piece of equipment. A little bit of observation and consideration can go a long way when planning an office layout.

Love Your Body – Ergonomics and Workplace Flexibility

While this ‘tip’ might be commonly known, it’s still important not to underestimate just what good posture and functional desk space can do for productivity levels. Ensuring that your office is equipped with appropriate equipment (chairs, desks, the right technology, etc.) is always a worthwhile investment. Taking this a step further, many companies of late have been giving the option for workers to choose from a variety of different setups – from standing up with an adjustable desk, to sitting on a medicine ball, as well as all the more conventional options in between.

Sometimes we all need a change in scenery to get our brains going, or a chance to get up and stretch, and in this regard workplace flexibility can be a significant step toward providing better overall productivity. Many companies even allow for telecommuting, which is great when possible, but improving workplace flexibility can be something as simple as creating a space where workers can move around and refresh their minds and bodies if needed.

In the most basic terms, efforts to make the office space an enjoyable, comfortable, and efficient place to work can do wonders for performance and productivity. So whether you’re searching for your next office space on or simply looking to spruce up your current office, taking the time to give proper attention to some of the factors discussed above can be a great first step towards improving any type of working environment.


When Does it Make Sense to Use a Broker to Find Office Space?

With the explosive growth of small businesses in the U.S., more entrepreneurs are finding themselves negotiating and closing leases without the help of a broker. While at times it makes sense to do this, using a broker in the right scenario can greatly assist in securing the best possible lease for you and your company.

Before deciding whether you need extra help, it’s important to understand what motivates brokers and how they can benefit you during a lease transaction.

Getting their attention. Knowing how brokers get paid is important to understanding their motivations — and why sometimes, they don’t return your calls. Most brokers get paid a percentage of your total lease value, which is typically between 3 and 5 percent. However, this often isn’t the full amount your broker will receive, as they usually have to share a percentage of their commission with their brokerage companies.

Getting to a signed lease can be a lot of work. This can involve conference calls or face-to-face meetings, searching for spaces that satisfy your requirements, setting up and attending property tours and actual lease negotiations themselves.

A broker will have to do these steps for a company regardless of if they’re looking for 10,000 square feet of space or 500 square feet of space, but the difference in size means that the amount the broker receives will be significantly different.

This is why you might want to — or have to — represent yourself in a lease transaction for a smaller space. If your space requirements are bigger or more complicated, then there are instances where using a broker may be in your best interest. To better understand the potential costs of working with a broker, check out our FAQ.

Knowing the landlord landscape. It’s tempting for experienced entrepreneurs to think that they can deal with the landlord directly and save money by not using a broker, expecting that the landlord will pass savings on to them. While there may be times when this is true, there are just as many situations where it isn’t necessarily the case.

While you might do a lease transaction every three to five years, brokers do many deals every month. The end result is that brokers are likely to know more about the landlords operating in the local area than you do. They know the property owning landscape well: who is flexible, who is motivated and who will go the extra mile to accommodate a tenant.

For example, let’s say you are a growing company with the stability to sign a long-term lease if desired, but want to retain a short-term lease for greater growth flexibility. In situations such as this, an experienced broker can guide you to spaces with landlords who are not only flexible, but can accommodate you in alternative buildings while under your current lease.

Let’s say you run out of space two years into a five-year lease, you may have the option to transfer your lease terms and move to a larger space in their portfolio. Additionally, as opposed to having to take a large space that is intended to be grown into, a broker may be able to negotiate rights of first refusal on adjacent spaces one or two years into your lease term, saving you from paying that rent from the onset.

Striking a creative deal. A broker may also be able to work out a plan that works best for your company’s financial needs by getting creative with how your rent escalation is constructed. If you are working on a product launch that runs on an 18-month cycle, a broker may work with you to escalate your rent accordingly instead of a traditional 12-month rent increase cycle.

If you are facing a scenario where you may have run out of space completely, they may even be able to negotiate a lease buyout with the landlord so that you can move into their new space without paying double rent.

There are no hard and fast rules on when to work with a broker. Before putting in a lot of work shaving a few percentage points off your lease by saving the landlord from a commission, ask yourself if you’re paying for something that you shouldn’t have to or if there’s any flexibility that is worth more to your company than the rent savings.

These factors could amount to much more savings than the commission saved and passed to you.

This article was written by Susie Algard and  originally featured on See original source here:

Broker Banter Q&A – Part II (The Denver Chapter)


This week we have the pleasure of sharing another Q&A for our Broker Banter series, featuring Denver Broker Jason Bollhoefner.  Similar to our previous conversation with Portland broker Kristi Ricker, we connected with Jason to get more insight into some key things that tenants should know before touring potential sites, selecting a space, and negotiating a lease.

OfficeSpace: What are some things that tenants typically overlook when looking for new space that they should be paying attention to?

Jason:  Commercial leasing is a complex process, fraught with significant potential risks and liabilities, and should only be handled by a representative that has both the necessary experience and your best interests in place.  I have found tenants tend to overlook the importance of their creditworthiness and the time required to bring a commercial lease transaction to close.  Leasing commercial space is very comparable to getting a loan from a bank.  Tenants should be prepared to share financial statements and to appropriately collateralize the lease transaction.

Commercial real estate transactions, even for a seemingly “simple” deal, may take a considerable amount of time to successfully complete.  Having adequate time to identify, tour, design, price, negotiate terms on, construct or improve, and move into suitable commercial space helps to shift negotiating leverage to the tenant’s benefit.  Start the process 4-8 months before you need to occupy your new space.

OfficeSpace: What are the best practices to selecting the best space?

Jason: The best space is the space which meets unique criteria that vary by industry, property type, the nature of the user’s business and their business plan, and location.  I ensure a successful process by taking the time to understand the intricacies of my clients and their businesses up-front so the real estate supports these needs and requirements.

OfficeSpace: What are the best practices in negotiating my lease?

Jason: The best practices in negotiating a lease are summarized into 4 critical path items as follows:

  1. Start your needs analysis and discussion well before the need is estimated to commence.
  2. Engage an expert commercial real estate broker with proven experience and leverage their knowledge; we are here to help you starting with the needs analysis and continuing from occupancy throughout your lease term.
  3. Always have a solid back-up option at hand, especially in an improving real estate market. Being prepared to walk away is a very powerful aspect of successful negotiation.
  4. Engage a real estate attorney to provide counsel and revise the lease document.

OfficeSpace: What are the hidden costs in a lease?

Jason: Your real estate broker should be well versed and provide assistance in mitigating latent/hidden costs within the lease agreement.  The primary area of hidden costs arise from Operating Expenses or Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges and maintenance obligations.  Other potential pitfalls include Tenant Restoration requirements, Tenant Alteration processes, landlord administrative markups, and property management fees. My experience  negotiating thousands of lease agreements is invaluable to my clients in these areas.

OfficeSpace: What’s the best way to compare offers?

Jason: The best way to compare offers is on a Net Present Value (NPV) basis and $/RSF basis with a matrix for a side by side comparison.  This analysis should also take into account intangibles such as building image, proximity to employees and clients, ease of ingress/egress, and the true cost of occupancy including any tenant contributions to build-out and relocation costs.

Jason Bollhoefner joined Corum Real Estate Group as a Leasing Agent in January 2001 and was promoted to Senior Leasing Agent in 2007 and to his current position as Assistant Vice President in 2008.

Find office, retail or industrial space by visiting:

2013 Didn’t Bring An NBA Team to Seattle, But It Did Bring…

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What does Seattle have?  A thriving start-up community and established technology hub, world renowned coffee, an infamous independent music scene, a top ranked NFL team, the lush green of the Pacific NorthWest and so much more.

Sadly, 2013 did not bring back an NBA team, but there is a game changer in town.’s long awaited new platform is about to change the way players in the commercial real estate arena engage with clients.

In fact, businesses and commercial real estate pros now have a new online stadium with’s improved site and service for the Seattle market.

Since launching its new service 18 months ago, has served thousands of tenants looking to lease office, retail and industrial spaces. allows tenants unrestricted searches of its comprehensive database with over 27,000 properties, at no charge, something typically not done in the traditional commercial real estate world.

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Today, we are proud to launch our free service in our home market of Seattle.  “We felt this was a great time to launch as the business community is thriving and there are a lot of eyes on Seattle right now.” says Susie Algard, CEO. 

Businesses can now search from over 7,000 available listings in the Greater Seattle area. We expect the number of tenants coming to access these listings will grow quickly, as we are the city’s only commercial real estate site offering this type of platform.

The new site has a clean design aesthetic with an intuitive, user-friendly map based search, photo rich listings, and advanced search filters, all of which were created to make the tenant search experience much more engaging and efficient.

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“With today’s launch, we are excited to be bringing more qualified tenants to the broker community.” says Algard.’s new site was designed with these relationships in mind. The commercial real estate audience can benefit from several complimentary marketing tools, including nationwide tenant rosters, a no-software flyer creator, comprehensive market surveys, and upgraded property listings.

So, while the city sits waiting patiently for another opportunity to bring back the NBA, we’ll continue to up our game to better serve the Seattle market. We’re no substitute for a basketball team but we’re practicing our virtual jump shots none the less in hopes of a CRE MVP title. is now serving Seattle, Denver, Portland and San Diego with upcoming markets on the horizon.

Broker Banter – Questions & Answers (The Portland Chapter)

We’re the first to admit we don’t always have all the answers when it comes to the fine details of leasing and all the questions that come with it. That’s when we turn to our commercial comrades to aid with the broadening of our knowledge base.  This week we’ve gone straight to the source to speak with Portland, OR broker Kristi Ricker.

We connected with Kristi to talk shop, and in fact, where to set up shop.

OfficeSpace: What do you think is the most important question a tenant should be asking, that they never seem to ask when looking for space?

Kristi: Zoning, tenants need to learn more out about zoning. There are so many issues in this area and if you’re not aware of this in the beginning it could hurt your chances of securing your ideal space. It’s something you should ask your broker about as they’ll be able to determine how to move forward in narrowing down your search. It’s just not something that’s on the top of your mind when you’re looking for a space and it definitely should be.

OfficeSpace: What is the best tip in negotiating a lease you think all tenants should consider? 

Kristi: The longer the lease, the better you’re going to be able to negotiate, especially if you are going to need anything done to your space. People are nervous with the idea of securing a 5 year lease, they think “What if something happens?” – but they can always put a clause in allowing them to sublease (A lease of a property by a tenant to a subtenant.).

OfficeSpace: What do tenants focus on, that perhaps they shouldn’t when searching for space?

Kristi: Recently, I’ve had clients who have looked at a space and were concerned the buildings around it were being worked on or unfinished. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always paint a pretty picture of the neighborhood, especially when it’s an up and coming urban area. I recommend looking at the bigger finished picture and inquiring about what’s being developed in the area.

OfficeSpace: What area of town would you recommend to a Start-Up in Portland?

Kristi: The inner Southeast, Northeast and North Portland are very hot right now. They were predominantly industrial areas and now they’ve turned into these very creative pockets with great opportunities for startups, restaurants, retail and more.

OfficeSpace: What are you starting to see more of in Portland?

Kristi: Tons of startups, restaurants, breweries, delis – there’s a great food scene here.

OfficeSpace: And lastly, what makes Portland great?

Kristi: Portland‘s so diverse, we have a little bit of everything for everyone. Everything goes here – that’s what I love about it. I see all these new ideas here and they seem to work. If you have a crazy, fun new idea, there’s a great support network for that here. It just seems out of the ordinary things work here more than other places. Nothing is guaranteed but your chances of making it a go seems to have better odds in Portland.

Kristi has over 15 years of real estate experience in the greater Portland area and has recently started her own company.

Need Office, Retail or Industrial Space in Portland? Visit us here –

Connect at CRE Tech Intersect

The team has been busy rolling out our services nationwide, albeit on a small scale as we embrace this unexpected turn of events. The goal was to roll out market by market but when tenants are searching across the country and the demand is there, it’s time to open up the flood gates. While we are still quietly focused on markets where we’ve seen the most activity, it’s been a breath of fresh air connecting with owners, developers, brokers, landlords in person at events like ICSC’s RECon, Sperry Van Ness’s Tech Den among others. (In fact, now is a great time to get ahead of the curve and add your listings to reach tenants as the summer season officially kicks off.)

This week we look forward to CRE Tech Intersect in San Francisco, taking place on Thursday June 20th from 6-9pm. The 2nd annual event brings together some of the most innovative tech companies in today’s commercial real estate market, along with a great line up of speakers, promising to be an exciting evening filled with insight into the following areas:

– What new technology will give you a competitive edge?

– How are today’s CRE technology firms changing to meet the needs of owners/operators/brokers?

– What are your competitors doing with these technologies?

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We hope to see you there and look forward to sharing the latest from

Brokers, Are You Still Walking Through Buildings?

Gone are the days of walking from building to building…

Search online, anytime with the latest from as we introduce the prospecting must-have for the commercial real estate industry; The OfficeSpace Tenant Roster. Here’s to finally accessing up to date, reliable and affordable information on buildings and tenants through out the country!

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Interested in Earning a Free Membership?

Refer Tenant Concierge services.

We’ve built out a trusted network of vendors, featuring reliable service providers to help businesses manage everything related to setting up their new office, retail or industrial spaces. We built this service to help tenants who come directly to us asking for help. If you have a client interested in saving time and money by connecting with our Concierge, please send them our way.

By the way, our Tenant Concierge service has no hidden fees or costs – it’s a complimentary service aimed at making tenants lives easier!

Contact us for more information on how to earn your free Tenant Roster membership.

John Heimbigner | | (800) 560-3544

How Important is the Office Neighborhood?

At, Amazon is a part of our lives in more ways than one.  Our headquarters are located in the downtown Queen Anne/Belltown neighborhoods, within one mile of South Lake Union/Denny Regrade, home to Amazon’s new proposed campus, Facebook’s new Seattle office, Vulcan and a number of up-and-coming internet companies.

Recently, Seattle mayor Mike McGinn has proposed increasing the office tower limit to 240 feet, up from the current 124 feet in South Lake Union.

Why are all these companies moving to South Lake Union?  The answer is simple: the neighborhood puts them in the “center of the Seattle universe.”

McGinn even went as far as to credit the neighborhood growth with the success the city has had in recovering from a slow economy CEO Susie Algard was recently featured in a article speaking to the emphasis of transit-options and amenities.

“[The companies] want to be as competitive as possible on the recruiting front,” Algard said in the article.  “They know that people want to work where they can easily walk to lunch and other amenities.”

The office neighborhood has become particularly important with tech companies in the Pacific Northwest.  These companies are competitive with recruiting and know what their young recruits want.

In addition to restaurants, Algard mentioned doctor’s offices, parks, fitness centers and parking lots as important amenities.  On top of these amenities, South Lake Union is bustling with new condominiums.

For this reason, our listings always include a walk score.  Tenants want to know what’s nearby and how their employees will get to work.  Our walk scores are expandable and include a breakdown of transit, restaurant, hotel and coffee options by distance.  Tenants can also search for directions by entering information on their commute.

Let’s hear back from other cities: How important is the office neighborhood to you and what are the quickly growing neighborhoods in your city?

Commercial Real Estate Start-Up Reinvents the Way Business Owners Search for Space


Ninette Cheng

Marketing Coordinator,

office: 206.686.4545 |

June 13, 2012 knows a change in commercial real estate technology is coming— in fact, they’ve known and are readying to launch their free broker and landlord-to-tenant service in its second market.

After its successful beta launch reaching 24,000 tenants, connecting 350 tenants to brokers and landlords and covering 186 million square feet of space in Portland, Ore. officially launches its new service, starting with Denver, Colo. on June 13.

“As an entrepreneur, finding the right space was always more difficult that I anticipated,” CEO and Founder Susie Algard said.  “The system of waiting for someone to call you back just to give you the space details or rate information is highly inefficient.  All of the tools were focused on people who were familiar with commercial real estate, not for people who only need to find space once every few years.”

In Denver, currently covers over 172 million square feet of space and over 3,000 buildings available for tenants to search.

The days of expensive broker-to-broker subscription services are behind.

“By providing open access to details on an office space, we are helping all business owners during their research phase,” Algard said. “In particular, we are serving an audience whose needs are currently not sufficiently met – small business owners.  It’s difficult for brokers to make small requirements profitable, but we have created tools to help them directly with that.  We connect qualified tenants to brokers for free.”’s website offers free viewings and listings and social media tools for sharing. The company most recently launched a free Broker Tools suite for brokers to create flyers, surveys and communicate with tenants.  It also features photo-friendly interface and information on the confusing aspects of a lease for tenants.

About is a start up with the goal of creating an efficient marketplace connecting tenants with landlords and brokers.  The company, purchased by Internet entrepreneurs Susie and Alex Algard, launched it’s new beta service launched in Portland in January 2012 and to date, has serviced over 350 tenants looking for space. also operates one of the leading commercial real estate marketing and analytics services in Seattle, Spokane, Denver, Minneapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus and can be found at