Look for These Warning Signs Before You Rent an Office

You don’t want to end up in a frustrating or toxic office environment. Protect yourself by looking out for these warning signs during your viewings.

As a business owner, there’s nothing more stressful than a poor relationship with your landlord. You can fire bad employees and clients whenever you want, but you can’t separate yourself as easily from the person who owns your workspace.

It’s critical, therefore, that you take every precaution you can to avoid getting into toxic rental situations. While you can’t see the future and some problems are inevitable, you can mitigate the risk by looking out for these warning signs. If any of these become apparent during your viewings or conversations with property owners/managers, you should find a new work environment.

(Related: 4 Things to Look for When Viewing Potential Office Space)

Free download: Critical Questions to Ask the Property Owner Before Renting Office Space

The exterior and common areas look neglected

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Even if the interior of your unit looks immaculate, you should look at the exterior of the building and any common areas, such as hallways, break rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, stairwells, etc.

A property manager or building owner may spruce up the interior because that’s what most people care about. But maintaining the exterior of the building is often costly and time consuming.

Even if your unit looks fine, you have to assume the lowest form of maintenance is what you’ll end up with. So if the lawn is unkempt, the parking lot is littered, and the lobby is a mess, assume your unit will end up in that condition one day and the owner won’t do anything about it.

This is a bigger problem if your business intends to bring clients to the office. Your clients will judge everything they see, even if it’s not technically your problem. A dirty bathroom will make your clients wonder what else you aren’t managing, even if that bathroom is community space.

“I’ll show you a similar unit”

Sometimes less-than-honest landlords will offer to show you a unit that “looks exactly like the one you’ll be renting.” They offer all types of excuses. They might say that it’s occupied and the tenant doesn’t give him permission to enter (which is nonsense because every landlord writes a walkthrough provision into the lease) or it’s under construction (again this is nonsense because it doesn’t prevent you from seeing it).

Never sign a rental agreement unless you have physically stood in the unit mentioned on the lease. We always tell our clients to arrange a full viewing of the unit and property they’ll be renting. If the landlord says he/she can’t show you something that you’ll be paying for, run away.

The owner doesn’t want to sign an agreement

People make a lot of mistakes regarding rental agreements. The biggest one you could make is not having one.

Property owners sometimes want to avoid leases for different reasons. Some want to avoid paying taxes on the income. In some cases, the space isn’t zoned for commercial use or the owner doesn’t have the right paperwork/licenses/certifications in place. In the worst cases, the owner is actively looking to take advantage of you.

Truthfully, this happens more often in residential renting than commercial office space, but it does happen. Even if the property owner offers you an attractive arrangement in exchange for untraceable cash payments, it’s still in your best interest to have an agreement.

Here are a few problems you could experience if you don’t have a rental agreement.

1. You could be evicted early.

Since there’s no official agreement, the property owner can have you removed at any time. In some states you can prove occupancy without a lease, but that takes time, stress, and money to fight. Experts at Real Estate Lawyers agree. They also suggest a common way un-leased renters can be evicted:

“It is better to rent commercial property with a lease agreement, given the possible liability associated with renting. For example, if someone does not have a lease and their property owner decides to sell the property where the business is located, there is no lease to prevent the new owners from giving notice that they would like you to vacate the property. Without a lease, the new owners would be able to tell you to find a new location for your business.”

2. You could lose any money you put into the unit.

Small businesses don’t usually incur a lot of expenses when moving into a unit, but there are some. For instance, you might buy office furniture that fits the space or maybe a yearly parking pass in a nearby garage. If you are suddenly evicted, you could lose those investments.

3. Your rent could suddenly increase.

If you don’t have a lease, there’s technically no legal rental price. The property owner can demand a bigger rent at any time and your only recourse is to move. Sometimes unscrupulous landlords will bait-and-switch you by letting you in without a lease and then requiring you to sign one at a higher rent.

4. The owner might not perform maintenance or repairs.

Lack of a rental agreement means the landlord isn’t legally liable for basic repairs (excluding repairs relating to health and safety, which they would have to handle even if the unit was empty). You’ll have to pay out of your pocket even for the simplest things, like new lightbulbs or worn carpeting.

Remember: A rental agreement should be in place as much to protect you as the property owner. If the landlord refuses, so should you.

The owner won’t answer questions

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Naturally, you’ll have questions for the property owner or manager. Who will handle repairs? Who do you call if the building is locked? Who do you call if someone is parked in your spot? How are conflicts resolved between tenants?

In turnkey spaces, the tenant relies on the property owner for more services than they would in a traditional lease. The owner might pay for high-speed Internet, phone lines, a shared receptionist, or a hundred other things. As a potential tenant, you would have questions about all of this.

But if the landlord doesn’t have answers to your questions, they either aren’t taking the arrangement seriously, don’t know what they’re doing, or don’t intend to abide by any of the promises they’re making. Either scenario is bad for you.

A good landlord that wants to provide a quality space and build a long term relationship with you should be happy to answer your questions. It’s in their best interest. If you get vague responses or “don’t worry about it,” look elsewhere.

The owner is difficult to deal with

Even if there’s nothing wrong with the unit, you can get an impression of what renting will be like by having a simple conversation with the property owner (or whomever is your point-of-contact). Assess this person carefully. Are they pleased to have a new tenant? Are they proud of their building and business? Are they protective of their other tenants?

People are usually on their best behavior when they’re on first dates and job interviews. If the property owner is distant, distracted, dismissive, or doesn’t seem to have time for you, chances are that won’t change once you’ve signed an agreement. Don’t waste your time trying to work with someone who isn’t willing to invest into the relationship.

Download this free list of questions you should ask at any office space viewing.

Whatever you do, don’t settle

There are likely more available office units available than you know. Most are off the main road without signage. You don’t have to settle on the first property you see. The property owner/manager might try to influence your decision with something like “There isn’t much else available in the area,” but that probably isn’t true.

Make sure you find the right space for your business. The success of your business and your team depends on it. We insist that our customers schedule multiple viewings so they can get a feel for what’s available and what they need. Find your next office today.

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

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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.

Is Telecommuting Good?

Working from home. A dream for some people, a time management nightmare for others.

It takes a kind of resilience and penchant for solitude to work from home. It can require a great deal of self-motivation, strong emailing skills, and of course a steady internet connection. Avoiding traffic, or the bus or train can be a virtue, yet the freedom to brainstorm and socialize with your coworkers without a screen is a difficult benefit to match.

The concept of telecommuting is relatively new. In the early 1970s, Jack Niles, a rocket scientist for NASA first coined the term when a colleague asked, “If you can put a man on the moon how come you can’t do something about traffic?” Niles’ first foray into telecommuting was with an insurance company in 1973. Since the personal computer still hadn’t come into existence yet, Niles worked from one of the satellite offices the company had set up.

The statistics of people who opt for the home desk rather than the office suite are rather surprising. According the think tank, Global Work Place Analytics, the average commuter is breaching middle aged, has a college degree, works for a company with 100 or more employees, and earns around $58,0000 a year. They estimate that about 50% of the U.S.’s full-time work force holds a position that allows for flexible at-home work.

The environmental benefits of telecommuting are unprecedented. Global Work Place Analytics says that if all U.S. full-time workers spent half the week working from home, their business would save $11,000 per person per year, workers would save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year, and “greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.”

However, it’s difficult to replicate the kind of creativity and productivity that an office produces by working at home alone. “I love being in an office and bouncing ideas off of my coworkers. Working in-house promotes a stronger sense of camaraderie within my team.” Says Alfred, who has been working for a San Francisco-based start up the last three years. Without the physical presence of an employee, it’s difficult to determine the caliber of their work, is the most common argument against telecommuting.

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, a company which permits more than half of its employees totelecommute has a different theory. “It’s easier to slack off in that office than if you’re working remotely. If you come into an office and are well-dressed and on time, you assume people are working because they look busy. At home, all you have is your output — did you commit the code, did you write the post, did you make the proposal? There’s no theater of physical proximity.”

Turnkey Office Space Comments on Recent San Francisco Commercial Office Space Report

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A report released earlier this month has found San Francisco office rents are projected to surpass New York City office rents in the near future.

Turnkey Office Space, a nationwide office space search service that specializes in commercial office space in major metropolitan areas, released a comment today following a new research report by CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerage.

The report, published in Bloomberg titled “San Francisco Office Rents Seen Topping Manhattan in 2015” by Dan Levy (August 14, 2014), found that the average monthly rental charge for commercial office space on the West Coast, particularly in San Francisco, is expected to rise by the end of 2015. While San Francisco office rates are currently on average at $31.50 a square foot, they could rise as high as $69.71 a square foot by the end of next year, according to CBRE.

San Francisco has grown into a major technology hub, with currently under three-quarters of the rented commercial space occupied by technology firms and start-ups. If the rental rate increase occurs as projected, this would be the first time office space in a city on the West Coast has exceeded the cost of office space in New York City since the dot-com bubble in 2000.

According to the team at Turnkey Office Space, the commercial office space in San Francisco’s financial district is already on average pricier than downtown New York City. Nevertheless, the company has experienced increased interest in the San Francisco Bay area by current and potential clients.

The popularity of West Coast office space comes during a time when Manhattan office space construction is on pace to hit a 25 year high. Experts at Turnkey Office Space believe this could result in newly constructed office space for more affordable prices in New York City to compete with their West Coast counterpart.

For companies currently located in California, and specifically San Francisco, Jonathan Bachrach, Managing Director of Turnkey Office Space, believes the increased rental rates are driving some companies out of San Francisco. Many companies are currently searching for spaces a mere 11 miles westward in the city of Oakland, CA, where more affordable options are available.

“We, as a company, have noticed a marked increase in demand for office space in the Oakland area, where commercial office space rent is overall a cheaper investment for start-up companies,” said Bachrach. “As the city of San Francisco becomes home to the most expensive real estate in the country, we expect more small businesses to set-up shop in cities like Oakland and Berkeley. But, to be honest, I would not be surprised if we see those rental rates climb as well in the next year due to their proximity.”

About Turnkey Office Space: Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting services for companies seeking office space. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and co-working spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their websitehttps://www.turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

Avoiding The Commuting Plague in Chicago

“My commute is killing me!” Words we have uttered far too often.

For the vast population of people who live in the suburbs and drive to the city, there is only one adjective to describe sitting in traffic: misery. According to Robert Putnam, Harvard political scientist and author of Bowling Alone, over the last 20 years the average commuting trip grew 37% longer. He also noted that each additional ten minutes spent in daily commuting interferes with family and social activity by 10%, you know, the sort of things that make us happy. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that 40% of workers who spend 90 or more minutes commuting one-way “experienced worry for much of the previous day,” compared to the 28% who commute less than 10 minutes one-way.

The epidemic of the commute has especially affected residents of Chicago suburbs who work in the city. According to the Census Bureau, 14% of Chicago’s workers have an hour-long commute, the highest rate in the Midwest. Texas A&M Transportation Institute ranked Chicago as having “one of the nation’s most unpredictable commutes.”

So, what’s a Chicago-area suburbanite to do? Chicago is still one of the most affordable major cities in the country to both live and work. Workers with families are attracted to the picket-fence life for obvious reasons. A big house with a driveway, guest room and fireplace provide a kind of comfort that no apartment can. A sprawling living room is a great place for family gatherings and nothing beats a backyard BBQ, yet the question begs, are these surplus amenities worth it? Economists at the University of Zurich reported in their study “Stress That Doesn’t Pay: The Commuting Paradox” that “for an extra hour of commuting time, you would need to be compensated with a massive 40 percent increase in salary to make it worthwhile.”

Making things easier is the fact there is an abundance of office spaces dedicated to small and medium-sized businesses available in the surrounding Chicago suburbs. In South Barrington, there are co-working spaces that start as low as $350 per month. In Lincolnshire, executive suites come with full amenities such as secretarial support, internet, and conferences rooms and start at $750 per month. There’s ample availability at the Orrington Plaza Business Center in Evanston. In Schaumburg, there is a wide variety of office space on East Golf Road that starts at $600 per month and includes internet, conference rooms and a full kitchen.

Turnkey Office Space Releases Statement on High Growth Industries in 2014

As a leading countrywide online search service for businesses in need of office space, Turnkey Office Space recently released a statement commenting on the supply and demand of office space for High Growth Industries in New York City.

Turnkey Office Space, an office space search service, recently released a statement commenting on the need for open-plan, collaborative, Class B and C office spaces in New York City for High Growth Industries (HGIs). Company executives believe that due to a booming first quarter economy in New York City, the predicted growth of HGIs will indeed occur.

According to a May 28, 2014 Staten Island Live article titled, “New York City economy thriving, city comptroller says,” by Maura Grunlund, the highest number of New Yorkers are currently employed since 2000, leading to a “booming commercial real estate market.”
Co-founder Jonathan Bachrach believes that this recently reported growth is moving at a much faster pace than expected. “When the
‘Commercial Real Estate Competitiveness Study’ was released by late last year there was a prediction of business growth but, we never expected to see growth like this. With New York City’s economy growing faster economically than the nation’s, there is real concern for the HGI commercial real estate space.”

Bachrach, who is referencing a past December 2013 study titled, “Commercial Real Estate Competitiveness Study”, prepared by Alvarez & Marsal Real Estate Advisory Services and JRT Realty Group, Inc. for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, believes HGIs will represent the majority of growth for office space in major cities such as New York over the next 10 years. With the first quarter reports, he sees the results of this study being significantly accelerated.

According to the study, HGIs are broken up into 7 sectors: Healthcare, Education, Technology, Advertising, Business Services, Consulting, Non-Profit, and R&D. These sectors are projected to account for 60% of growth in total office space demand between 2013 and 2025.

Bachrach believes that with this recently reported first quarter growth, the demand for Class B and C office space will increase quicker than expected. “A lot of High Growth and tech firms are still in the early stages of their growth and are thus preferring class B and C spaces as opposed to higher end office space typically used by the Finance, Legal Services and Accounting sectors,” exclaimed Bachrach. “A company in a growing industry is not going to plunge straight into the best building in the area. Think about tech start-up companies; they are actively growing, but still have a certain level of risk.”

The study also found that New York City could experience a demand-supply gap in the future as real estate developers may decide to build more residential buildings over commercial buildings due to more favorable returns. While the industry has not yet reported this after first quarter, Bachrach believes that this, along with the financial status of most HGIs, will lead to a shift in what the traditional office space looks like.

To compete for top millennial talent, companies are also changing their mindset on what the office looks like, according to a November 10, 2013 article by the New York Times titled, “Embracing the Millennials’ Mind-Set at Work.” HGIs are meeting the demands of millennial workers by building out these class B and C workspaces to offer more collaboration.

“Open-plan, collaborative build-outs are increasingly becoming the norm for high growth startups and tech firms,” said Bachrach. “Since these industries are projected to represent the majority of growth in demand for office space in the future, the tendency toward the collaborative, co-working-type build-out is likely to continue.”

About Turnkey Office Space: Turnkey Office Space is a countrywide search and consulting services for companies seeking office space. They specialize in office suites, virtual offices, and co-working spaces. Turnkey can be reached via their websitehttps://www.turnkeyofficespace.com and by phone at 1-888-282-8555.

Best Underdog Cities For Your New Office

Is the high cost of living getting you or your business down?

Dreaming about relocating but not sure of where to? The US is abundant with cities and towns that’ll welcome your blossoming business with open arms. We at Turnkey Office Space have the low-down on what under-dog cities will serve your venture best, check ‘em out!

Austin is a fun, eclectic gem of a city. Rent is cheap, and office space is even cheaper. In a city whose former mascot was a middle-aged cross-dresser, options for entrepreneurship are endless. The annual South by Southwest Festival brings every corner of the media industry together, and it’s the perfect place to promote your budding startup. From 2008 to 2013, employment grew a whopping 13.7%. Since Austin is relatively small and land-locked, competition isn’t crazy either. All inclusive, single person office suites in Austin start around $450 per month.

San Diego. Recently Forbes declared San Diego the top city to start a small business. San Diego is home to only 2 Fortune 500 companies and its small business population makes up most of its total business. San Diego isn’t the place to climb the corporate ladder to launch a global venture capital firm, hence this is why small to medium-sized cities thrive in The City of Motion. All inclusive, single person office suites start in San Diego around $650 per month.

Denver. The most popular industries in Denver are aviation, broadcasting, health care and energy, and each contain realms of possibilities for your new business to thrive and connect. According to Adam Sloss, executive director of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, Denver is always excited to welcome new business, “When you show up here, there’s always open arms with the new folks. So when a young entrepreneur comes here, we give them a support network and say, ‘we really want you to be successful,’ and that’s something that’s really rare.” All inclusive, single person office suites in Denver start around $650 per month.

Oklahoma City. CNN calls Oklahoma City “a haven for entrepreneurial risk takers”. The Cinderella City has the second lowest median rent in the country! Many local entrepreneurs were former oil and gas workers who are very eager to bring new industry into the city. Today, Oklahoma City is one of the top destinations for biomedical research and science startups. All inclusive, single person office suites in Oklahoma City start around $550 per month. Virtual offices start around $150.

Workers Move Into Their Office and Love It

Menlo Park, CA—Last week data quantifying company, Energtech unveiled its new headquarters on Middlefield St.

The business took over the the entire building of the old children’s hospital which closed in 1991 and had been empty until now. The building is fourteen stories high and 80,000 square feet. Energtech’s staff is just over 250 and actual office space only occupies the first four floors. “Working at Energtech is more of a way of life than a career,” said CEO Joseph Mulligan. The tech group’s new office features a gym with a half-Olympic sized pool, meditation center, three cafeterias, a greenhouse, a performance stage, seven kitchens, a brewery and a holistic health center on floors 5 through 10. Floors 11 through 14 have been turned into “bungalow suites”, which are dormitory-style living quarters. “We are empowering employees by supplying them with every necessity possible. To ensure prime productivity, we’ve provided free on-location housing,” said Mulligan. The dorms are divided into 50 semi-private rooms, each include two bunk beds with queen size mattresses and a small bathroom with shower. The design of the bungalow suites mimics the open-floor plan of the office space on the lower levels. The short cubicle-like partitions divide the rooms and a fly-strip is in place of a traditional hallway.

The average Energtech employee is between the ages of 22 and 31, 92% are single, 73% are paying back student loans, 67% embody a treacherous fear of living alone, and 84% feel there’s not a lot going on in Menlo Park anyway so, don’t think they’re missing out on much by never leaving the building. The vast majority of employees work fifteen-hour days, seven days a week. “Working long hours as Energtech doesn’t seem as big of a deal as it would working long hours at any other company,” said 24 year-old software engineer, Sam Cortez, who hasn’t left the building in over a month. “The commute is just thirty-seconds in the elevator, the perks are awesome and it’s the kind of atmosphere where you can sense people are really thriving by working round-the-clock and taking no breaks.”

Mulligan wants to see how this All Work and No Play style of office culture fares at the Menlo Park campus before expanding the concept to Energtech’s Chicago, Dublin, and Mumbai offices. However, Mulligan is excited about the new building, “My staff is literally living the dream here. I hope that we’re providing the new model for future corporate and tech work-life.”

Are You Capitalizing on the New Workspace Culture?

Offices are evolving.

Urban workspaces are now cultural temples – murals adorning lobbies, gourmet kitchens, over-sized playgrounds, and stages equipped with fog machines. Yet, it’s not just the interiors that are transforming – it’s everyday work culture that’s going through a serious revolution.

Companies are drifting away from the standard lunch breaks and HR planned happy hours. Many start-ups and other businesses are abandoning the monotonous 9 to 5 and encouraging its employees to follow schedules that are more conducive to every individual’s unique productivity methods.

A happier workforce and more socialization and creativity increases productivity: it’s a philosophy that many Bay Area companies are embracing. According to a case study, 84% of executives and 88% of employees believe that a business’s success is determined by its workplace culture. Companies are spearheading community gardens on rooftops, catering in-house yoga classes, and taking their teams on agricultural retreats and wine tours. As crazy and costly as these extracurriculars might sound they’re actually showing benefits. Companies with a strong and generous work culture have higher financial success, happier employees, and lower turnover than related businesses. Author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, researched the emotional well-being of thousands of fortune 500 companies and discovered that on average, a happy work team with a strong workplace culture raises sales by 37% and productivity by 31%.

Whisk, a San Francisco-based start-up is capitalizing on the workplace culture movement. Their mission is to help businesses facilitate different cultural activities. They’re the people you want to call if you’re at a loss trying to figure out how to create some workplace fun. They believe in celebrating employees, and that camaraderie is the key to business success. They’ll cater your breakfast, start your work morning with a Gangam-style dance class, or just take you on an old fashioned field trip to a goat farm. They’ve helped companies like Square take part in neighborhood clean-up sessions. They’ve connected companies with designers, chefs, and artists that help reorganize and revamp stale work environments. It’s these small but crucial steps that help make a work place less horrible, and so far – it’s working.

The Ups and Downs of U.S. Commercial Real Estate

The office space market typically tracks growth in the labor force, and strong commercial real estate markets can often be an indication of positive economic growth for a city.

On a whole, overall demand for office space throughout the country has remained steady. There have, however, been some outliers. Houston, Northern California, and New York have experienced above average demand growth – particularly because of their fast-expanding technology and energy sectors. San Francisco is another “tech-fueled” city that actually topped the list in 2012 in terms of demand for office space growth with tech companies like Salesforce.com and SquareTrade Inc growing exponentially. These companies have been known to take up multiple floors in office buildings.

On the other side of the spectrum are cities where the housing market has yet to recover. Office rents in cities such as Las Vegas and Tucson have actually declined in 2013. When the bottom fell out of the housing market, North Las Vegas became home to the zip code with the highest foreclosure rate in the entire country, and bouncing back has taken a while. The over-abundant supply of office space in these cities has resulted in monthly rents that are well below the national average, and, ironically, a great place for startups.

According to Forbes, a number of America’s fastest growing cities in 2012 were in Texas, as low taxes and cheap real estate help to draw in jobs. Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are all cities that Forbes lists as not only growing, but also creating opportunities. Other cities among Forbes’s list are San Jose, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Atlanta.

For more information about commercial real estate in the US, contact Turnkey Office Space at info@turnkeyoffice.com. We’ll be happy to talk you through some of the latest trends and expectations of businesses in the 21st century.