How to Set Your Employees Up for Success in Your New Offices

Successful employees are happy and productive. Make sure everyone stays successful in your new office by following these tips.

It’s no secret that office space is a significant business expense. Signing that rental agreement is an exciting new stage for your company, but it’s also a big commitment.

Think of your new office like an investment. It should increase your revenue by making your team more productive, giving you a place to meet with clients, and allowing you to expand your operations.

But in order to protect that investment, you have to do everything you can to ensure a good return. That means setting you and your employees up for success in your new environment.

What does success mean? For one, you want your team to like their jobs.

The University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive. The research team said: “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

There’s plenty more science behind that, too. Shawn Achor, a Harvard psychologist, found that our brains actually work better when we’re generally happy. Happiness, he asserts, isn’t innate. It can be managed. “It’s a cultural myth that we cannot change our happiness.”

Furthermore, productivity can be influenced outside of happiness, as well. A few changes to work schedules, environment, and even lighting can fan the flames of productivity without pushing workers like a slave driver.

Here are some ways you can make your team successful in the new office.

Haven’t rented space yet? Ask your team these questions beforehand to make everyone successful.

1. Give them whatever information they need

give-employees-information

Make your employees’ transition comfortable by supplying them with information about your new office environment.

Pick up some maps or whatever literature the town/city provides on public transportation. They’ll need bus routes, subway stations, train stations, pricing, etc. If there are any nearby parking lots or garages, pick up flyers with their rates and hours.

(Extra tip: Look into negotiated parking or public transit rates for your business. Some places offer reduced rates if you’re buying bulk. Your team might appreciate the savings.)

You should also grab menus from local restaurants or take out places. Yes, your team can easily Google for location food spots, but this will make them feel like you care about easing their transition.

Furthermore, make them aware of any company policies that change or come into effect because of the new office. For instance, you might implement a dress code or more structured working hours. Put all of these changes in writing for later reference.

2. Be flexible with their schedules

Give your team a little leeway with their work schedules once you move into your new office. If this is your first office, they’ll be adjusting to office life after a period of time working from home. If this isn’t your first office, they’ll be adjusting to the new commute. They’ll be learning the new route, traffic patterns, and when to leave the house.

If possible, use the transition as a time to experiment with not worrying about work hours at all or getting rid of the eight hour work day. See if you can depend on your team to work a fair day, even if it’s not exactly nine to five. You might be surprised that people appreciate the latitude and try not to overstep.

Depending on how much you trust your team, you might also give them total access to the unit. Give everyone a key so they can come and go as they please. If someone wants to work late and start late the next morning, give them that option. If you treat people like professionals, they’ll usually respond in kind.

3. Schedule uninterrupted work time

If your employees are used to working in a home environment, they had all the peace and quiet they would ever need. They could turn down their phone, ignore their emails, and log out of Slack chat any time they needed to get something finished.

In an office, we lose that luxury. There’s ambient noise, other people typing, and it’s easy to interrupt each other.

Designate a portion of the day for uninterrupted, solitary work. This is called time-blocking. Usually this is best for early hours when the work day starts. That’s when creativity and productivity are at their highest.

Time blocking is an excellent way to focus on a task without becoming distracted. When we’re interrupted for other things, we have to reorient ourselves back to the project at hand. This constant reorientation costs time and erodes the quality of the work. It’s also stressful.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, blocks off time each day to address his top priority for the year. You could encourage your team to do this by identifying the one thing you want them to do best and giving them uninterrupted time each day to work on it.

During this blocked off time period, team members have the right to work quietly without being interrupted. It doesn’t mean they have to, however. If two people decide to work together or don’t need the quiet block that day, they can work as they please. The key is to give everyone the opportunity so they can really push their own productivity.

4. Make the environment pleasant

You may have worked amidst an untidy mess in your spare bedroom, but that won’t work in a proper office.

Your employees expect a professional environment. They don’t want to be crowded by excess furniture, squint their eyes all day due to poor light, or pinch their noses against odors. It’s your job to create an office environment that’s comfortable and encourages productivity.

Working in a pleasant environment can have a tremendous impact on workers’ performance. A relaxing atmosphere with a few extra amenities may not seem cost-effective, but they can go a long way to influence the attitude of your team.

Lighting is extremely important. Poor lighting can cause eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, and overall poor productivity. Natural lighting is best, but if that’s not an option use lights with adjustable filters.

Finally, give your employees options in regards to their furniture. In turnkey spaces, you’re usually renting the space with basic furniture, but customize whatever you can for comfort and ergonomics. Give your team their preferred chairs, computer monitors, and other tools (wherever possible).

5. Ask your employees what they want

Image: David Wall/FlickrM
Image: David Wall/FlickrM

The best way to learn how you can support your employees is to ask them directly. Find out what they need, what they like, and what would make them more successful on the job. Do they need a special tool or software? Noise-canceling headphones? Flexibility with a certain policy?

Getting honest feedback isn’t easy, though. No one wants to complain to the boss and disrupt the work environment.

Skip the “anonymous” suggestion boxes. If you have a small team, it’s pretty clear who’s making the suggestions. Plus they foster an office culture where suggestions can only be made anonymously due to fear of retribution.

Instead, encourage your team to have honest conversations with you about how the business environment can be made better. Don’t expect your employees to come to you with complaints or new ideas; ask insightful questions regularly.

To rent the perfect office space, survey your team with this list of questions.

Final thoughts

Any time you make a substantial change, there will be an adjustment period. Don’t expect you and your team to become perfectly comfortable in your new office environment right away. Change takes time.

For instance, if your employees are late every day for the first two weeks, chalk it up new routes and traffic, not sudden laziness. Over time, everyone will settle into their new environment, and happiness and productivity will soar.

If you haven’t found your new office yet, start your search today.

4 Things to Look for When Viewing Potential Office Space

When you start viewing office spaces for your business, make sure to keep these four important points in mind.

Phone conversations with the property owner, pictures, or even video can’t give you a true appreciation of the unit. You need to stand in the potential space to understand its size, smell, and feeling.

During your office search, there’s a good chance you’ll make the same mistake many small businesses make: You’ll overestimate your needs. (You might make some other mistakes too.)

Many people think an employee needs far more work space than they actually do. Once you stand inside a unit, however, you’ll probably say “Wow, this is more space than we need.” That’s not something you can learn from a photograph.

(Tenant Advisors has a handy calculator to help you discover how much space you need.)

But one viewing isn’t enough. You have to view multiple properties before you can confidently rent one. This is especially important for businesses who have never rented space in the past. There’s no way to know what’s available or what you want without touring around a bit.

A viewing can be an exciting moment for you. You’ll feel like your business is growing right before your eyes. Don’t become overwhelmed with excitement and forget to thoroughly investigate the potential space. Enjoy the hype in the car ride, but when you step into the unit, it’s time to focus.

As you view office environments, make sure to carefully consider these factors.

Make sure to bring our office viewing checklist with you to each walkthrough so you don’t forget anything!

1. Common Areas

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It’s important to consider hallways, walkways, patios, courtyards, rooftops, lobbies, and other common areas of a potential office. You can use them as a meter to determine how well the property owner cares for the individual units.

Are the common areas clean and free of clutter or debris? Are there any ongoing projects that look like they’ve been in-progress for a while? Are there any easy-to-fix blemishes (like scuffs or dents in the walls, worn carpeting, or broken fixtures) that haven’t been repaired?

The office environment may have shared spaces that are included in your rent as well. For instance, you might have rights to use the conference room on your floor, but so does everyone else. There’s likely a shared bathroom. In some cases, you might share a receptionist with several units. (He/she will answer your phones in your name and transfer calls accordingly.)

Make sure these spaces are appropriate for your business. For example, an accessible conference room may sound useful, but if your three-person team can easily meet within your unit, is it worth paying extra for the space?

What about the other units on the floor? If the conference room is shared between twenty businesses, how often will you get to use it? If there’s a reserve schedule for shared spaces, examine it briefly to see how often it’s used.

2. Infrastructure

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The beauty of a turnkey space is that you can start working on the first day of your lease. The leases are simple, written in plain language, and the units often come with their own amenities.

Most businesses need a reliable Internet connection (and you’re probably one of them). Don’t be satisfied with the property owner’s opinion here. If a connection is important to you, ask the other tenants about it. If you really rely on your connection, ask a tenant if you can plug in for a few minutes and test your most taxing task.

Second, test your cellular service in the building. Even if you can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, you’ll still want the ability to make phone calls.

If having mail delivered is important to you, you’ll want to make sure the postal service delivers to the building. Or will you have to rent a PO Box across town?

3. Space

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Source: BAKOKO/Flickr

I don’t recommend stressing over the square footage of a potential unit. The exact footage is important if you have a lot of employees or bulky equipment, but if your business is just a few people and their computers you can get all the information you need by standing in the space.

Keep in mind that your business may grow. You don’t want to move in a year or have to break your lease because your team expanded suddenly. Think ahead: Will you be hiring more people soon? If so, does the unit make room for them?

Consider the acoustics. Is there a lot of ambient noise that would disrupt your work? Does sound echo within the unit? Can you hear traffic, other businesses, or machinery?

Finally, make sure you’re happy with the layout. Smaller turnkey spaces can have interesting layouts because a property owner is attempting to use every nook and cranny in his building (but most are laid out reasonably). Do you need an open plan or office separation? HubSpot has a great guide on determining the right layout for your team.

Don’t be afraid to consider the style of the unit. With a turnkey space, you don’t have a lot of leeway to customize the unit (plus wall art and new carpeting are unnecessary expenses for growing businesses). Do you enjoy sitting in it? Does it make you feel productive? Will you be comfortable bringing clients or customers in? Would you be proud to show pictures of your office on social media?

4. Location

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It’s important to investigate the area before or after your viewing. Take a walk or drive around the neighborhood to get a feel for where you might be working.

What’s nearby? Are there places to eat lunch, or maybe a nice restaurant to take clients/customers? Everyone has basic needs, so check for a supermarket or convenience store if you need a stack of napkins or tin of coffee. Your employees would love it if their new office came with a nearby bank, pharmacy, post office, or dry cleaners.

Is the neighborhood trendy, casual, family, or business-orientated? Will the scene hurt or help your business in anyway? For instance, a disruptive startup would benefit from a trendy entrepreneur scene, but not from an old town center.

Is there any construction in the area? Look for crews breaking ground on big projects. You might prefer a quiet setting, but it won’t be if a mall or shopping center is built nearby. (If you’re especially concerned about this, big projects are pretty easy to look up online.)

Finally, check the commute situation. Is there enough space for your entire team (and future team)? If you rely on public transportation, is it adjacent to any hubs? If you plan to have clients or customers stop by, make sure directions to the location are easy to explain.

(Ideally you should have considered the length of the commute for you and your employees before you arranged the viewing. If you didn’t, track the time it takes to arrive at the property from your home. Don’t forget to take into account traffic conditions.)

Don’t miss anything by keeping our handy checklist nearby when you view potential office units.

Making a Decision

Try to make a calculating, objective decision, but don’t rent any space that doesn’t feel right. Tenants rarely learn to love their office space. If you aren’t happy with what you see at the viewing, you won’t be happy in a few months or a year.

That said, if you do like the unit you’ve viewed, don’t sit on the decision too long. Turnkey spaces are rarely held for tenants. The property owner will still show it to other people, even if you verbally express interest. Sign the paperwork and get back to growing your business.
If you’re ready to find your next office, start your search here.

12 Common Office Leasing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Renting office space doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are the most common office renting mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Renting office space is an exciting time for your business, but it’s also one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. After payroll, it’s likely to be your largest expense. You owe it to yourself to be as educated as possible to avoid a bad deal.

If this is your first time renting office space, you’re bound to make some type of error. That’s part of the learning process. But it’s best to insulate yourself from costly mistakes as much as possible so you don’t handicap your company’s growth.

Below you’ll find the most common mistakes businesses make when they rent office space and how you can avoid them.

Is this your first time renting office space? Download our free guide that explains the process step by step.

1. Rushing in Without a Plan

renting-office-space-without-plan

Before you make the jump to your own office you need to have a plan. Sit down with your key employees and figure out what your business needs in terms of office space. Ask yourself some questions.

  • How much room do you need?
  • What amenities do you need?
  • Do you require a specific layout (like open space or separate offices)?
  • Does it need to accommodate clients, customers or equipment?
  • Will you be bringing in your own furniture or do you require furnishings?
  • Do you know what you can afford to spend?
  • Which areas do you prefer?
  • Does parking or security matter?

Companies who rush through the process and don’t take the time to consider their needs objectively regret it later on.

2. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement

It’s amazing how many people don’t read the things they sign. They usually figure they don’t need to because they’ve already spoken with the landlord/property manager/realtor. Sometimes they assume they don’t wouldn’t understand the terms anyway.

“While a lease allows tenants to stake their claim on a particular space, it can also end up trapping them in an environment that doesn’t live up to expectations,” says Ron Bockstahler of Amata Office Solutions, a real estate provider of massive corporate offices. It’s important to read the lease so you don’t get trapped in something unsuitable. If something is incorrect, you could be obligated to honor what you signed.

We recommend turnkey office spaces to our clients because they come with short, easy to understand agreements without hundreds of clauses.

3. Renting an Unseen Unit

Busy people are often tempted to agree to rent a unit without seeing it first. This is always a mistake. Even if you are given pictures, you can’t be sure what you’re renting until you actually stand in the space.

Clever photography and well-crafted ad copy can be deceiving and won’t give you an idea of the area or any odors or noise. Plus, can you visualize what 1000, 1500 or 2000 square feet of space looks like?

If a property owner isn’t willing to let you into a unit before signing an agreement or taking some money, the opportunity is most definitely a scam. Immediately stop speaking to the scammer.

4. Not Consulting Your Employees

not-consulting-employees

It’s best to have a discussion with your employees before you rent a particular space. Find out if anyone has any problems with the unit, the commute, the parking, or the neighborhood. You can’t please everyone, but it’s smart to ask their opinions in case there’s a problem you didn’t foresee.

5. Not Documenting the Unit’s Condition

At the end of your lease, you’ll be billed for any damages or alterations you caused. Sometimes tenants get accidentally charged for things that were already there.

It’s a smart idea to take photos or video of the unit during your walkthrough or just before you sign your agreement. Even if the landlord has photos, there’s no telling if they’re accurate or unaltered, so obtain your own. Look for dents or chips in the wall, carpet stains, window cracks, or anything that doesn’t work properly.

Send your photos to the landlord immediately so you have dated communication. Explain that you don’t mind the imperfections, but you’re speaking up so you don’t get charged at the end of the term.

6. Forgetting Renters Insurance

The owner of the building will have insurance on the property, but not your belongings. If you have any property or equipment you wouldn’t want to lose (like computers or electronic devices), I strongly recommend buying renters insurance. It only costs a few hundred dollars for the year, yet (shockingly) only 37% of renters buy it, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

7. Only Viewing One Property

If you rent the first property you see, you’re setting yourself up for a bad experience. This is especially true if you’ve never rented office space before. You need to see multiple units to get a grasp of what you like and don’t like. For instance, you may not know you want lots of natural light until you see a unit with big windows.

Furthermore, viewing multiple properties gives you leverage with the property owners. You get to say something like “I’m seeing five spaces today. I’ll let you know what I decide.” Language like that tells the property owner that he has to compete with other units.

8. Failing to Benchmark Similar Properties

Before you buy anything, you should make sure you’re paying a fair price. Office space is no exception.

The best way to do this is to arrange appointments to view multiple properties and spend a few minutes glancing through ads. Compare units with similar square footage and amenities to the one you like. Is the price reasonable? Does it feel like a value?

9. Failing to Negotiate

Just because you’re renting a small unit with a simple lease doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. In fact, property owners expect it. In the case of a turnkey space, you be able to negotiate alterations to the space, but you can haggle over your overall rent and which amenities you have access to (like common areas and shared receptionists).

10. Falling in Love

falling-in-love-office-space

Sometimes a renter will fall in love with a particular location. They’ll love the lighting, the layout, the furniture (if provided), or maybe the neighborhood. It’s good to enjoy your space, but make sure it serves your business’ purposes. Is it worth cramming into a small room just to have a coffee shop nearby? Are you willing to spend extra to be right on the main road?

“You have to go into negotiations knowing that if you don’t get a fair deal, you can move on and your business will thrive elsewhere,” says serial entrepreneur Melody Stevens. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.

11. Miscalculating Growth

When you rent space, it’s important to consider your company’s future size. How many people will you have? Will you be buying new equipment that requires spaces? Will the growth be steady and predictable, or sudden and urgent?

If you miscalculate growth, you might end up in a space that’s too small for your company, or a space that’s too large and waste of money. Take some time to figure out what your company will look like by the end of the rental term.

Career and Workplace Expert Heather R. Huhman recommends anticipating product launches, expansions, employee turnover, industry changes, new business investment, and your goals.

12. Being Picky with Location

Yes, it’s important to find a great location, but there are probably lots of suitable areas within a reasonable commuting distance. Instead of limiting your search to an area you like, figure out what you like about it. You may like the closeness to public transportation or the nearby healthy lunch options. Measure new areas against your requirements.

Don’t begin the rental process without an idea of how it works. Subscribe to receive our free step by step guide on renting office space.

As you view properties and move through the renting process, keep these mistakes at the forefront of your mind. If you can avoid making common errors, you’ll land a quality unit that supports your business’ growth without cumbersome expenses and hassles.

Can You Afford to Rent Office Space?

Renting office space is a big step for your business. Before you visit properties, ask what you can truly afford.

When you begin dreaming about working in your own professional office space, you’ll likely have visions of trendy layouts, colorful walls, and ergonomic chairs. You’ll imagine yourself tossing a ball around with your team while you brainstorm ideas and impressing clients with gourmet coffee. Hey, maybe there will be a foosball table!

It’s great that you have big dreams, but in business, everything boils down to one factor: cost. Before you start visiting properties and signing paperwork, you have to understand what you can afford.

Are you truly prepared to sign an office space lease? Ask yourself these questions before you sign.

Evaluating Your Budget

evaluating-your-budget

Ideally, you should have a thorough business plan that projects your expenses over a few years. A business plan is a fantastic document that not only gives you an overview of your company now, but makes educated predictions about what your company will look like in the future.

But if you’re a little less prepared, don’t fear. You’re in the same boat as many entrepreneurs. In fact, U.S. Trust found that “A large number of business owners have not articulated a strategy…” All you need is a careful understanding of your budget.

(I’m going to give a basic budgeting overview, but Info Entrepreneurs has an excellent guide.)

Step 1: Calculate your income

Gather all information about monthly income you can depend on. In this category, you should round all of your numbers down. Use worst-case scenarios.

Don’t use last year’s numbers. Use what you can expect next year. For instance, if you made $25,000 at a trade show, but don’t plan to attend it this year, you wouldn’t calculate that as income.

Step 2: Calculate your fixed costs

Add all of the costs you expect each month. This category includes salaries, licensing fees, insurance, fees, web hosting, and anything you’re paying for your current workspace.

Step 3: Calculate your variable expenses

These are expenses that may change each month. It includes items like utility bills, material costs, commissions, marketing costs, travel, equipment rental fees, etc. Most of these expenses scale up or down with your sales, so when the bills get higher, you’re also making more money.

Step 4: Predict big expenses

This is tough, but necessary. Consider any big purchases you’ll have to make within the next few years. You won’t be able to predict everything (like a broken computer, which will happen unexpectedly), but new hires or equipment usually have some lead time.

Distribute these expenses into the months leading up to the purchase. For instance, if your expenses total $5,500/month and you have a $2,000 purchase coming up in six months, your actual expenses are $5,833.33 per month for the next six months.

Step 5: Look at the big picture

Now that you know where your money is coming from and where it’s going, put everything together. How much is left over each month after your expenses are covered? This is how much you can spend on growth, including new office space. Ideally your income will grow over time, so your office space will eventually require a smaller percentage of your income (although it should never be more than 10%).

Keep in mind that was just a light overview. Business budgeting can be a complex process depending on your unique situation. However you do it, just make sure you know how much money you have available before you begin looking at potential office spaces. It may seem obvious, but many business owners fail to make these calculations.

The Hidden Costs of Office Space

hidden-office-costs

If the lease and utilities were the only costs you had to consider, office space would be quite affordable and available to more people. Unfortunately, your costs don’t end there. There are some significant hidden expenses that many new lessees fail to consider.

1. Office furniture

People need to sit, right? You’ll need desks and chairs, which can add up quickly depending on the models you choose. If your staff sits for long periods of time, you can’t buy poor-quality chairs or they’ll quickly complain of back problems. Sure, you can buy cheap or snag free furniture off Craigslist, but it likely won’t last long.

2. Office supplies

Even if your team has always worked remotely and paid for their own expenses in the past, they’ll expect you to provide office supplies once everyone moves into the office. These are recurring expenses you should plan for every month. Your team will need basic items like pens, calendars, printer paper and ink, mouse pads, highlighters, etc.

3. Technology

Your staff used their home computers before, but they won’t be willing to haul their desktops to work every day. You’ll have to invest in new machines to keep the work moving. If your technology needs are high (like drafting equipment, servers, or 3D printers), you may have to pick up new units.

4. Move-in expenses

Depending on the equipment you need, moving in might be a challenge. You may have a few desks, chairs, or maybe a copier sitting around your garage. You can save money by using what you have, but getting to your office space might require renting a truck.

5. Liability or property insurance

Anticipating lawsuits are a part of doing business. Many landlords require the lessee to take out insurance with the lessor named as the additional insured. Since you won’t be doing anything industrial, this won’t be terribly expensive, but it’s a cost many businesses fail to consider.

6. Property taxes

Many leases require the lessee to pay a prorated portion of the site’s property taxes. (If this isn’t listed as its own line item, it’s already been rolled into your rent.) Make sure you’re aware of this charge (and all other charges) before you sign the lease.

7. Common area fees

If your office space shares common areas with other businesses on the site (like parking lots, bathrooms, or waiting areas), make sure you understand the fee structure and how you benefit. You don’t want to be surprised by a hefty fee for a shared receptionist you don’t intend to use.

8. Overtime utilities

In many leases, the utilities are included in the rent as long as they are used during normal business hours (typically set as 7 AM to 6 PM). If you use power, water, gas, or oil outside of those hours, you’ll pay additional fees. If you have a charge like this, make sure you understand how it lines up with your working hours.

9. Communication services

Telephones, Internet, and cable services are rarely included under utilities, although many lessees make the mistake of assuming they do. You’ll have to cover these costs yourself.

Think About the Future

When you lease office space, you’re investing in the future of your company. Naturally, you expect the business to grow, make more money, hire more people, and generally get bigger.

But in most cases, your office space won’t.

Sure, some locations offer nearby units you can grow into. Maybe there’s room for construction and expansion. But the building owner isn’t going to hold that space for you. There’s no guarantee the extra space will be available when you need it.

Before you sign the lease, think about your future. In what ways will your company grow? Will you need more space for people or equipment (both have different needs in space)? Will you need to switch from an open layout to closable offices? Will you need a reception area?

Most importantly, think of your future cash situation. How will growth affect your cash flow? For instance, maybe penetrating a new market will tie up all your cash, so it’s best to sign a smaller lease than you can afford right now.

Before you formalize a new office space agreement, ask yourself these questions. Subscribe to download this free resource.

Going Forward

There are spaces nearby that you probably aren’t aware of. If your budget feels tight, remember that there are all sorts of office types available. You don’t have to rent a large, elaborate space with a complex, tough-to-negotiate lease. A turnkey unit (with furnishings and a hassle-free rental agreement) might be just the thing your growing business needs.

If your business needs its own space, you can search for office space in your area now. If you have questions about whether you can afford space, speak with us.

The Briefcase Replacement: A Low Down

These days fashion is synonymous with office culture. Does your getup match your furnished office?

Maybe you need to take a harder look. Sick of throwing on that backpack every morning? Perhaps you wish you had something more sophisticated to tote on the subway on the way to work. With the evolution of technology comes the evolution of fashion. At Turnkey Office Space we’ve synthesized a list of the best designed bags that look great in any environment but especially thrive in the office. Check ‘em out!

Tubo Rayado Duffle by Mafia (Starts at $99) Mafia is Paz and Marcos Mafia, a brother and sister team from Argentina. Marcos is a kitesurfer and Paz was a banker, the two merged their passions for sustainable product design and watersports to create Mafia, a company that produces a variety of bags made from recycled sails. Mafia works with Argentina and San Francisco-based NGOs to sew and produce the bags. They’re in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign to raise money to expand their San Francisco production shop. Our favorite is the Tubo Rayado Duffle, not only does it have a special, secure space for your laptop but its size allows it to double as a weekend and travel bag.

Waxed-Canvas Weekender by L.L.Bean. ($179) This is the perfect bag for both flying and regular ground commuting. It’s timeless beige and tan color palette with leather trim gives the owner a glow of sophistication and business credibility. There’s an option to add monogramming, but we don’t recommend that because its look is so unique that it’s difficult for anybody to forget that it belongs to you.

WWII Bags by Temple ($250-650) Does your office need a history lesson? Maybe your executive suite needs more of a ‘general officer’ feel? These duffel bags from Temple will give your workspace that regal presence its been lacking. Each bag is uniquely made from authentic World War II field wool blankets, bags and camp packs. Although the price is a little steep, knowing that your bag has survived an epic 6 year battle is pretty much worth it.

Ultra Light Cargo Duffel by Brics ($200). Teddy Minford, an editor at Fodors tested this light and breathable duffel and said, “The size was great for packing the necessities and still being able to navigate crowded subways and trains, and I actually felt quite fashionable with it.” This bag will brighten up your desk or workstation, and it also fits great in overhead bins on airplanes.

Everybody Needs To Move To Oklahoma City And Start A Business

Office-Space-Oklahoma

Minimal income tax. Low-cost of living. The two things that every fresh-faced entrepreneur wants to hear.

Furnished, business ready office suites at cheap and reasonable rates? Sounds too good to be true! Not in Oklahoma City! To say business is booming in Oklahoma City would be a drastic understatement. Status reports that there are more than 100 new small startups cropping up every month in The Cinderella City. With only 4.4% unemployment, ranked as number 4 on Forbes’ “Manufacturing Boomtown” list, listed as no.1 for economic strength in The Business Journal’s list, and no.1 in CNN’s book of “Most Business-Friendly Cities”, what is stopping anyone from moving to Oklahoma City? According to CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Roy Williams, people are drawn to OKC for a variety of strongreasons. “It’s relatively easy to start up a business here. The revelatory environment, the access to capitol and the technical assistance. Small business development assistance – those type of infrastructure capacity and resource are here.” He says.

Oklahoma City is rich with culture – after you’ve landed in Will Rogers Airport, it may be difficult to believe you’re truly in The Midwest. Jazz and blues bars line downtown’s art-deco stylized streets. The Oklahoma City Museum of Art contains the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly art work, including his 55-foot tall glass sculpture. From the deadCENTER Film Festival, to the abundance of American Indian organizations and shops (Oklahoma has 38 sovereign tribes), to the Bricktown Water Taxis, and across the way to Prosperity Junction, a 14,000 square foot replica of a 20th century cattle town – there is no shortage of fun and excitement in Oklahoma City.

Renting and owning real estate is a breeze in OKC. The city has some of the most affordable luxury apartments in the country. Executive suites start at $400 and many feature a variety of amenities – including but not limited to phone answering reception, office machines, internet, and cleaning services. Due to its low cost of living, Oklahoma City is also one of the country’s biggest hubs for recent graduates. For those who fear Oklahoma’s obesity rates, take a look at Mayor Mick Cornett’s “This City is Going on a Diet” project. In 2007, Cornett “challenged” the city to collectively lose 1,000,000 pounds. With nearly 50,000 participants and 8 years later, the city reached its goal. During the challenge, the city built new sidewalks and added 100 miles of bike trails to encourage citizens to be more physically active in their daily life.

The Best Apple Products Of All Time

Apple-Products

“Later this year, we’ve got the best product pipeline that I’ve seen in my 25 years at Apple.”

These words were said by Apple’s senior vice president, Eddy Cue just last month. Sitting in our office in New York City, the gang at Turnkey Office Space got to thinking – what are the best Apple products? The mega-corporation has produced so many with such speed and grandeur over the last quarter of century, it’s difficult to really consider what are an office’s most vital Apple devices and computers. Fortunately we were able to concoct a succinct yet comprehensive list of the most intuitive and intelligent Apple gadgets and contraptions.

1. Mac 128K. After an embarrassing failure with the Apple III, the Mac 128K had its promotional debut in a commercialduring the 1984 Superbowl. The sarcastically somber tagline “You’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’” swayed thousands of consumers to rush to their local tech stores and drop a whopping $2,495 on this beige, boxy critter.

2. iMac. From 1998 to 2003 we graced our desks with these translucent gum drop-esque machines. They came in a variety of “flavors” – from Bondi Blue to Tangerine to Flower Power. Today the iMac has a totally different reputation than it did 10 years ago. The 6th generation iMac features a 5mm thick edge and full lamination, a process that minimizes the gap between the LCD panel and the glass, thus eliminating reflection from the screen. The latest iMac is 97% more energy efficient than the original version, and uses just .9 watt of electricity in sleep mode.

3. iPad Air. iPads have a great, natural command for business activities. The set of preinstalled apps streamline projects, presentations, and data in a way that many computers can’t. Keynote allows you to easily create beautiful and inventive presentations, Pages helps you generate powerful and illustrative reports, and Numbers lets you track and compile data by using tables and graphs. We chose the iPad Air over the traditional iPad because of its improved design and new front facing camera which features face detection and backside illumination.

4. iPhone. It would be weird if we didn’t include the iPhone on this list! The all-in-one phone, computer, organizer, GPS, camera etc… is an office’s no.1 lifeline. We made it number 4 because the monthly bill is a bit of a drag, but all of its resources make it a must-have.

How To Not Fall Asleep At Meetings: A Comprehensive Guide

Office-Meetings

Molly Schneider is a meeting snoozer. She works as a marketing researcher at a major PR firm in Miami.

She’s an active lady, regularly runs half marathons, volunteers at an animal shelter, and goes on weekend hikes and trips with her friends. It’s hard to believe that someone like her – funny, smart, and engaging can barely keep her eyes open in a conference room. At her job, she typically spends half the day at her desk and the other half in meetings listening to presentations. She’s been to sleep specialists, psychologists, meditation retreats, and once drank a 16-oz espresso, but nothing’s helped. Apparently, Molly isn’t alone. Many office workers suffer from meeting-naps or “shoulder drooling sessions” as Molly has appropriately called her bouts of slumber. We at Turnkey Office Space have compiled a list of some great tips that will keep you awake during that lecture or meeting.

The Presentation Voice. Does your facilitator sound like Ben Stein or Gilbert Gottfried? Narelle Lee, founder of Performance Masters, says, “The tonality of presenters contributes (to worker engagement) as there are certain monotone delivery styles that are hypnotic and this easily induces sleep.” Have HR reach out to a cheap talent agency and get a trained baritone or tenor to sing data reports and marketing objectives to the group.

Temperature Change. Setting the thermostat to 72°F can be just warm enough to lull us to sleep. Blazing heat will make workers uncomfortable and distracted. Install a couple of extra AC units in your conference room and turn them up full blast during a meeting. Tell workers that they’re not allowed to wear extra layers during the presentation. Keeping the room around 44°F is guaranteed to keep employees cold enough so that they’re alert and paying attention, but not so cold that their skin is turning blue.

Aromatherapy. According to Tucker Cummings at Lifehack, “one simple life hack that can bring about an almost instant improvement in productivity is aromatherapy. By simply smelling the correct scents, you can lower your blood pressure, sharpen your mind, and improve your outlook on life.” Cummings recommends natural scents like orange, rosemary, and lemon as “energizing and invigorating” scents. We at TurnKey Office Space, on the other hand, suggest keeping a collection of communal diffusers filled with gasoline, skunk spray, and permanent marker ink. A deep whiff of any of these during or before a meeting will most likely light your smell receptors on fire and increase brain productivity to the zillionth power.

How To Turn Useless Furniture Into Hot Office Commodity

Furniture. It’s a big-time necessity for living in the modern world. It’s hard to imagine life without it.

However, how often do we move, redecorate and end up discarding it? All the dang time. Sidewalks are strewn with unwanted mattresses, dressers and desks, and to us, we don’t think twice – it’s just a natural part of our urban landscape. Yet, there are visionary recyclists out there who want to revolutionize the way we utilize and treat unused furniture. They’ve developed repurposing practices that’ll keep that ol’ dresser, crib, armoire, or chest off the streets and into that hip, fresh new office or that old executive suite that needs a face-lift. We’ve scoured blogs, magazines and Pinterest boards to find you the best ideas for inexpensive, yet sophisticated office design.

Paige, an antique furniture aficionado at Lucky Me Studios, repurposed this 1940s dresser that originally belonged to a student at Penn State University into a stellar mini-workstation. One of the previous owners had removed the upper-middle drawer and drilled a hole in the back to thread a cord. Voilà! Compact desk perfection!

Chests usually only make sense in sprawling living rooms, dens and at the foot of a bed. They’re gigantic, heavy and difficult to maneuver. Guess what else fits that description… filing cabinets! Except finely crafted wooden and antique chests are not things you want to dispose of. Trade in your clunky green filing cabinets for an old fashioned chest! Loraine at Breakfast 4 Dinner has the right idea. She has sanded and painted over an old chest, emptied and cleaned it out, and turned it into a filing system!

Are you a clutter bug? Do you accumulate mail like Justin Beiber collects Instagram likes? Martha Stewart has figured out how to repurpose an unused coat-hook plaque into a classic mail sorter. Stewart recommends the following steps:

1) Paint or stain a precut plaque, available at crafts stores.

2) Paint hooks to desired color.

3) Secure the hooks side-by-side with 1/2-inch wood screws. Repeat to form additional rows to separate your mail.

Moved to the city and wondering what to do with your family’s old wooden shutters? No fear, Martha’s done it again! Three-panel shutters are easy to hang and perfect for storing and bulletining important papers. Best of all, it’ll add some home-grown charm to your office and some excellent conversation!

The Best Jobs for Fresh College Graduates

Youth. Workforce. Unemployment: three words that don’t sound that great together.

But in this current economic climate, new college graduates have to face the facts, that landing your dream job is a challenging feat for this generation. The overall unemployment rate in the US is 6.3%. In NYC it’s 7.4%, San Francisco 4.4%, Los Angeles 7.6%, and Chicago a whopping 8.4%. So, what’s an ambitious, young go-getter supposed to do? Fear not, budding careerist, we at Turnkey Office Space have some guiding points:

Software Developer (Applications or Systems Software). Technology comprises every miniscule detail of daily life, and thus, its developers are in constant high demand. From computers to automobiles, consumer electronics to Smartphones – behind every device or screen is a developer wiz kid. Software is an easy field to break into, especially if your major was math, engineering or computer science, and many pro coders are self-taught. The salary isn’t too shabby either and can start as high as $100,000.

Analyst (Marketing and Data). According to UC Davis’ Career Report, “market research analyst positions have exploded throughout every sector of the economy with the rise of widespread data-gathering through transactional databases, consumer preference and loyalty programs, the Internet and social media, and customer relationship management systems.” As technology grows, so does the research behind it. With so much competition between software and apps, the analyst’s role is critical to forecasting and trends and pricing between competitors. Luckily the field attracts psychology, sociology, and communications majors as well as math, statistics and computer science graduates. The mean salary for an analyst is around $67,000.

Elementary School Teacher. There are more employed schoolteachers than any other profession. Although many states require a master’s or credential, there are also some that only require a bachelor’s. It’s tough yet rewarding work to command a group of 20-30 young people five days a week, but luckily there are school vacation weeks and a couple of months in summer that provide ample relaxation time. The mean annual salary for a teacher in the US is around $56,000.

Public Relations Specialist. If you’re a people person and care about corporate, media or non-profit consumerism, consider a job in PR. They essentially hold the reigns to a company’s reputation. The job is not nearly as glamorous as Kim Cattrall’s character portrays it as in Sex in the City. As an entry-level employee, you’ll be writing press releases, producing publicity materials and website content.

Freshly graduated AND employed? Looks like all you’re missing is a grade-a office space! Take a look around at our unique selection of office space for rent and we’ll take care of the rest!