Rail Yard Telecom Concierge® now available on OfficeSpace.com  

Access to fast, reliable internet is essential for any business looking for their next space. That’s why we’ve partnered with Rail Yard to provide prospective tenants with internet connectivity information. With Rail Yard’s Telecom Concierge®, OfficeSpace.com users can now access telecom services and quotes for properties across 40 cities!

Here’s what OfficeSpace.com users will see when they visit a listing on OfficeSpace.com:

Rail Yard Telecom Concierge on OfficeSpace.com – Example 

This feature allows OfficeSpace.com users to view available telecom providers servicing the buildings they’re interested in on OfficeSpace.com. Users can also compare service providers and request customized quotes in real-time directly on the website.

Check out the official announcement to learn more about our partnership!

What’s the most important service a broker can provide a tenant?

Our platform serves the purpose of connecting brokers and tenants, which is why we love hearing feedback from both sides and helping tenants and brokers have an easier time making connections. 

In order to explore ways to improve our user experience and to better understand how closely brokers’ and tenants’ expectations aligned, we decided to ask the following question: What is the most important service a broker can provide a tenant? Hundreds of users gave us feedback!

Check out the responses below to see the top answers provided by both sides. You might be surprised to see the differences in the feedback we got.

What is the most important service a broker can provide a tenant? 

Top broker responses:

Broker Replies.png

Breakdown:

  • Market knowledge: 21% of responses
  • Locating a space that meets their needs: 15% of responses
  • Good communication/Timeliness: 13% of responses
  • Accuracy: 12% of responses
  • Lease negotiations: 10% of responses
  • Honesty: 7% of responses
  • CRE knowledge/ advice: 6% of responses

Top tenant responses:

Tenant Replies.png

Breakdown:

  • Good communication/Timeliness: 37% of responses
  • Locating a space that meets their needs: 15% of responses
  • Helping them get a good deal: 12% of responses
  • Honesty: 8% of responses
  • Market knowledge: 6% of responses
  • Negotiation skills: 5% of responses
  • Access to hard-to-find listings: 4% of responses

So what conclusions can we draw from this?

Market knowledge may not be the most important attribute for a broker from the tenant’s perspective. While this was the number one response from brokers, less than 2% of tenant responses had market knowledge listed as most important broker service.

The second most popular response from brokers was locating a space that meets the tenant’s needs.  Tenants too felt that this was important, and it was a match for second place.  There’s really no surprise here, this is a universal expectation.  

Good and timely communication from brokers is essential for tenants, making this attribute the number one ranked response from tenants with 37% of the responses. Only 13% of brokers marked this as the most important attribute, ranking it the third most popular attribute among broker responses.

Tenants want to get a good deal, and they expect their brokers to help. This answer seems like a no-brainer, so we were surprised that there was a bit of a mismatch between the two groups. For tenants, this was listed in their top three responses. For brokers, this came in as the 12th most popular response with only a small percentage falling this category. We could dive into the differences of responses between landlord representative brokers and tenant representative brokers, and hopefully we would see a difference. However, if we take this at face value, brokers who leverage this attribute could have a big opportunity to attract new clients. 

Tell us what you think! Is this feedback different from what you had expected?

How are tenants searching for office space?

Finding your first office space can be one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking experiences. The team here at OfficeSpace.com has interacted with millions of tenants who have been in the same position.

This is why in an effort to shed some light on the process, we recently surveyed tenants about their search experience. Part of what we found out was what we expected, while some responses took us by surprise. Here’s a look at what tenants shared with us about their CRE search experience.

How much time did you spend researching commercial real estate leasing online prior to connecting with a broker?

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When asked how much time they spent researching CRE leasing online prior to connecting with a broker, almost have of our respondents (45%) selected “within days”.

How many brokers did you reach out to before selecting one to work with?

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Over half of our participants (54%) also revealed that they had not yet selected a broker to work with yet. Of those who did, 32% said they reached out to 2 to 5 different brokers before selecting one.

If you have not yet selected a broker, where are you now with your space search?

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For those who had not yet selected a broker, 33% had told us that they decided to look for space on their own when asked where they currently were with their space search. 11% of the 33% who decided to look on their own also reported that brokers had not responded to their initial inquiries, so there wasn’t much choice.

How many spaces did you see, or plan on seeing, during your search?

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In regards to space searches, we also asked how many spaces they’ve seen or planned on seeing during their search. More than half (54%) said between 2 to 5.

Do you have a preference for working with a tenant representative’s broker or a landlord’s representative’s broker to help you find a space?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 2.32.01 PM.pngWhen asked if they had a preference to work with the landlord’s broker or a tenant representative’s broker, 37% of our respondents did not know the difference between the two.  The majority of tenants did not have a preference (44%) while 14% preferred to work specifically with a tenant representative’s broker and 6% preferred to work with the landlord’s broker.

Did you end up signing a lease with the broker you decided to work with?

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Finally, over 66% of tenants said that they did not sign a lease with the broker they initially selected to work with. When we asked for their reasons, 50% had to do with a negative experience with their broker, 26% of the tenants had a change in circumstances in their situation and 18% were still looking for the right space.

We would love to hear from tenants and brokers on our research. Does this information surprise you or is it what you would have expected?  

Eco-friendly office space: Modern ways to make your office greener

Contemporary office culture has come a long way since people first started talking about green solutions. Here are a few things to consider when you’re taking steps toward creating more sustainable office practices.

Don’t Forget Your Tech

In today’s office world, suggestions like “recycle your paper” are swiftly becoming much less relevant than energy saving tips involving technology. Although, of course, it’s still important to recycle waste paper, or choose recycled paper in the first place, in increasingly paperless offices it pays to consider the energy use of your electronics. If every person in your office is using a computer, imagine the impact of a company-wide policy governing their energy usage.

Program all computers to enter sleep mode after ten minutes of inactivity, and shut down your computer completely at the end of each day rather than allowing it to enter sleep mode. And if you’re still using screen savers, skip it—screen savers are a vestige of the early days of computers, when the image of your desktop would eventually be burned into your screen if left on too long. A static image—or better yet, black—requires much less energy to run than a moving screen saver. Or better yet, if you’re walking away for a few minutes, just turn your monitor off completely. It won’t affect your computer’s memory, performance, or state in any way, but saves energy just like turning off a light switch.

Choose Energy-Saving Appliances

There are many upgrades you can make in your appliances that will go a long way toward saving power, many of which are already becoming the new standard. Just as energy efficient light bulbs are the new norm, LCD monitors have been swiftly replacing the CRT monitors of the past, and if you haven’t made the change yet you should as soon as possible—not only are they three times as efficient, but the upgrade is inevitable. It’s also worth it in both the long and short run to invest in efficient hardware—when buying your computer processors and accessories, look at Energy Star 4.0 ratings or high EPEAT marks.

There are many things offices don’t even think about that can be made more efficient with upgrades—for example, using virtualization technology to consolidate your servers, reducing your need for multiple physical servers (which are huge energy suckers).

Consider Green or Alternative Buildings

The amount of resources used for brick-and-mortar buildings and traditional methods of construction are often overlooked. The Construction Materials Recycling Association estimates that the construction and demolition industries account for 250 million tons of waste each year (which doesn’t include roads or bridges), and these C&D materials make up approximately 35 percent of all waste generated annually. Luckily, there are greener modes of construction for office space. LEED-certified buildings are increasingly becoming a popular trend in CRE. Through LEED, developers and owners are provided with measurable solutions for creating more sustainable buildings. There are also alternative options, especially if you’re feeling a bit more creative, such as such as PVC fabric buildings, which require a fraction of the construction materials or transport, allow greater amounts of natural light to enter, and are made of entirely recyclable materials.

Incorporate Telecommuting

Telecommuting is more feasible in the workplace now than ever before. With dozens of ways of instantly communicating through video, audio, and computer screen shares, the necessity of in-person meetings has been largely reduced. If your employees or partners can work from home, they save a bundle in terms of the energy that would otherwise be spent on commuting. If you have meetings with clients or partners that would usually require someone driving for miles, consider having digital meetings whenever possible. You might want to allow employees to work from home a day or two out of the week. You’ll save money on your office resources while also saving some gas. 44 million Americans currently telecommute full-time, and that number is growing daily because it offers so many practical and environmental advantages.

In this constantly evolving modern workplace, the ways we think about going green need to keep evolving as well. What are some other things you implement to make your office greener? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author:

This post was authored by Peter Kim, a freelance writer with a passion for the environment and green business. He has worked for a home improvement company and writes about the construction industry, maintenance advice and tips on how to live a greener life. 

OfficeSpace.com elevates technology standards of CRE industry with a new mobile website

Earlier today, OfficeSpace.com announced the launch of its new mobile website. Mobile users can now browse commercial properties and contact brokers with greater ease and efficiency.

The new website is built as a single-page isomorphic web application, a cutting edge concept in web application development. Typical single-page web applications have to load application code before a user can see anything, but an isomorphic application renders the page before the application code is even downloaded. “This leads to a significantly faster experience on mobile devices, especially when using slower mobile internet connections,” says Amol Kelkar, CTO.

Only a handful of major sites on the Internet are built isomorphic today, and OfficeSpace.com is the first one in CRE to utilize this technology. “OfficeSpace.com’s goal is to elevate the technology and user experience standards that are expected from online CRE services,” according to Kelkar. “We are leading the way with this new site.”

OfficeSpace.com plans to share their new isomorphic web platform with the open-source community.

Mobile and tablet users already account for nearly 33% of OfficeSpace.com’s traffic. “We’ve seen a 240% jump in mobile users in the first quarter of this year compared to last year. We are excited to see how our investment in mobile will empower our rapidly growing user base,” says Susie Algard, CEO.

The mobile site is available by navigating to OfficeSpace.com from any mobile device.

Example images of OfficeSpace.com’s new mobile site:

OfficeSpaceScreenshot1

OfficeSpaceScreenshot2

For press inquiries, please contact Jenica Rhee at jenica@officespace.com or 503-407-5523. 

Tenants. Tenants, Everywhere.

Throughout the past year, one of our goals has been to develop a better understanding of who our users are. While we have always had a general idea about this, it was important for us to confirm our understanding of the matter, especially considering how much we’ve grown over the past 12 months.

We’re now averaging nearly 150,000 new users visiting OfficeSpace.com per month. So we had to ask ourselves: who exactly are our users? And more importantly, what are they looking for?

We set out to find the answers by, well, simply asking our users themselves. We implemented a short survey on our site and received a flood of responses.

In short, here’s what we found:

  • Over 75% of participants said they were tenants who were searching on their own.
  • 80% stated that they were interested in seeing what was available on the market.
  • 31% wanted to see photos and floor plans.

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What does this mean? Tenants are actively searching for available spaces on our site, and the majority are using OfficeSpace.com as the starting point for their office search. While this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to us, it’s a great feeling, as our efforts over the past year have been focused on improving this very experience. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and we’re continuously working towards improving the search experience across all fronts.

More importantly, this confirms how online platforms like OfficeSpace.com are an amazing opportunity for CRE brokers to market their listings and ultimately connect with tenants. Unlike existing pay-to-access services (e.g., Loopnet, Costar), that are primarily used to market to other real estate professionals, our unrestricted platform attracts tenants who are actively searching and researching on their own. With over 75% of our users being tenants searching for space without any initial help, the majority are looking to connect with someone as evidenced by the number of tenant inquiries we pass through on a daily basis. A recent survey also revealed that nearly 60% of all tenants and investors start their commercial real estate search online.

So tell us, how have online platforms like OfficeSpace.com changed how you find and connect with tenants?

Update: To learn more about tenant trends, check our latest survey results. We reveal how tenants are searching for office space and what they’re saying about their CRE search experience. 

Why Brokers Won’t Return Entrepreneurs’ Calls

It’s a common complaint among entrepreneurs looking for office space. Why don’t brokers call them back? The truth is that the majority of brokers do return inquiries.

At OfficeSpace.com, we’ve found that how you phrase your initial request about space has a huge impact on whether or not you get a response. After analyzing 10,000 email requests in the last six months, here’s what we’ve determined to be the top three types of requests that do not get responded to quickly.

The wishy-washy entrepreneur  

When inquiring on a space, you have a wide range of what will work for you. You may have a huge range of space that you might need, and you don’t say when you need the space. You might need it right away or you might need it in six months. It can be fully built-out space or a wide-open bullpen.

While you might get lucky with a broker who is willing to spend the time extra time talking to you and helping you figure out what you truly need, most brokers won’t know how to prioritize their response for you as they fear you are not serious or that you will require a lot of work.

The short-term entrepreneur  

You request a month-to-month lease or something short term (less than one year). If you’re requesting a short-lease term you might as well be saying please do not call me back as far as a broker is concerned. This is fine to request if you are looking at a sublease or executive suite, but it’s not realistic for most landlords, so brokers will not want to waste their time with you.

The secretive entrepreneur

You don’t include enough personal information like your full name, company and any further details or descriptions of what the business use is for the space you’re inquiring about. The only thing you tell the broker is that details on the company are “under wraps.”

Brokers tend to de-prioritize these kinds of inquiries, because it gives them the impression that your business could be dangerous or illegal, which is obviously something the landlord would not allow in their building.

While it’s normal for entrepreneurs to want to keep details of their companies private for competitive reasons, there needs to be a balance with providing the necessary details for landlords. They will want to see financials and even a business plan if you are a startup with no track record.

Best practices

Based on our analysis, providing your full name, company name and specific details are ideal. For example, you might say that you are currently in a 5,000 square-foot space and are looking for bigger space, need a kitchen, two conference rooms and access to storage.

You can also count on a faster call back by including details that show that you’re an established company or what your timing is. You don’t need to divulge all your information, just enough to make the broker know that you are serious.  It’s not imperative that you sound like you know everything, just that you are serious.

So, the next time you spend the time to make the calls or emails to a broker, remember to give enough details and be thoughtful to get the fastest response back.

To get more answers to common tenant-related questions, visit our FAQ page.

This article was written by Susie Algard and  originally featured on Entrepreneur.com. See original source here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235894

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 Officespace.com 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.

 

Startups, Get Your Finances in Order Before Leasing Office Space

This post was authored by Nathan Smith, a commercial real estate consultant and owner of Austin Tenant Advisors

As a startup or new business owner it’s important to be financially prepared before starting the process of looking for and leasing office space. Gathering your financial information and making your startup look financially strong in the eyes of a Landlord takes longer than you think so you want to do this well in advance. By preparing in advance you better your chances of gaining the Landlord’s confidence in your tenancy and increase your chances of negotiating better office lease concessions such as tenant improvements, rental abatements, etc.

Similar to how banks preapprove you for a loan, Landlords want to make sure you are financially qualified before they lease you office space, especially in hot markets like Austin, TX.   They will be investing time, resources, tenant improvements and other lease concessions in your tenancy so it’s imperative that you prove your financial ability & stability to pay any upfront costs and rent for the duration of the lease term.

Proving that your startup company is financially qualified takes more than a great business idea, having a large 401k, or a big expensive house.

  • If you are a startup company that has been around for a few years Landlords want to see current profit & loss statements, cash flows, balance sheets, and/or other sources of financing and funding. Depending on the landlord’s perception of your financials you may need to securitize the lease with a security deposit, letter of credit (LOC), personal guaranty or a combination of the latter. Your financial strength, lease term length, total lease amount, tenant improvement costs, & lease commissions will determine the amount needed to securitize the lease.
  • If you are a brand new startup with no track record or you’re an existing one with weak financials Landlord’s will probably want the person signing the lease to provide 2-3 years of personal tax returns and/or a personal financial statement. Depending on the Landlord’s perception of those personal financial statements they may require that the lease be personally guaranteed, need a larger security deposit, or need a letter of credit (LOC) that will cover the landlords up front costs to do the deal (e.g. tenant improvements, lease commissions, etc.).

Before you begin the search for office space, make sure you have your financials in order and have them ready to show Landlords. You might also consider having your business plan and pro-forma available to show your current and future financial projections.

Do all that you can to put your best foot forward, however because you are a startup Landlord’s still may require you to sign a personal guarantee, pay a larger security deposit, or have a letter of credit (LOC). You only get one shot at making a good impression! The more prepared you are and the better your finances look the better chance you have at proving to the Landlord that you can pay rent AND in receiving office lease concessions.

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Nathan Smith specializes in helping startups companies find, lease and/or purchase office space in Austin, TX. He has advised over 300 companies in finding the best office locations, negotiate new leases and lease renewals, facilitate relocations and expansions. Outside the office Nathan enjoys hanging out with his wife and two children in Bee Cave, TX and is an avid runner and cyclist that participates in many local triathlons and running events.