What’s the future for office space rental agencies?

As an office space rental agency, it’s necessary to constantly rethink our business to understand market innovations and society’s demands regarding the workplace. We had the opportunity to talk with Dror Poleg, a real estate specialist that works with the world’s leading developers, operators, and technologists to bring to market products that will reshape the industry. His analysis and various talks have been seen and read by more than 20,000 executives from companies such as Blackstone, WeWork, British Land, Cushman & Wakefield, AirBnB, and Sequoia Capital.

With more than two decades of experience as an executive in a large estate development firm, a CEO of a technology startup, and a partner in a digital design agency, he shares with us his views on tomorrow’s real estate.

1. Do you think office space is changing due to the fact millennials are now a great percentage of the working force?

I tend to think it is less about millennials and more about the way technology changes the way we work, interact, and access different on-demand services. Millennials were “born” into this world so it is more natural to them, but it affects employees of different age groups as well.

2. How can coworking spaces affect the infrastructure and design of other places? For example, do you think residential buildings might change their layout or distribution thanks to the benefits coworking spaces have had?

Flexible spaces are becoming more common in large residential projects, as well as within office projects. Some retailers and hotel companies are also integrating flexible workspaces into their products. Landlords keep thinking about new ways to differentiate their projects, and including flexible workspaces or multipurpose lounges that can be used for work during certain hours, is currently a popular approach. It’s important to note, however, that in some markets this is already becoming a standard (like a gym) — something that is expected and is not considered a differentiator.

3. How do you imagine offices in the future?

While everyone talks about technology, I think the outcome of all the “soul-searching” that developers are currently going through might result in a return to basics: Increased natural light, improved air quality, super fast internet access, ample bathrooms, better tools for noise control and fewer distractions. The differentiators might be less about what happens inside the office (which will always vary between companies) and more about what happens around the office: childcare facilities, showers, space to walk and “tune out”, and easy mobility for those who walk, run, or cycle.

4. Do you think office space is now being considered a significant issue regarding “emotional salary”?

I think it has more impact in the negative sense: Some companies offer an environment that hurts their ability to attract and retain talent. On the other hand, having an amazing space will not be enough to captivate the best and brightest. Nevertheless, it DOES make a difference as a complement to other considerations.

5. In your opinion, do you think companies will tend to rent office space or buy office space? Why do you think so?

I expect shared and furnished office space, provided as-a-service, to grow substantially over the next decade. This will happen through a combination of several trends: The rise of large operators such as WeWork and Knotel; the explosion of smaller spaces offered by traditional landlords, and traditional renters who start managing their own space in a flexible way directly or through sale-and-leaseback arrangements with third parties.

6. There are places and services we once thought were never going to be part of a rental portfolio (hot desk, virtual office). Can you imagine any other places or services that will be rented in the future?

Technology makes it possible to break time and space into smaller and smaller pieces — by the minute, based on a specific use — and for everything to be priced in a dynamic way. It’s hard to predict where this radical reduction in transaction costs will lead, but it is guaranteed to drive more innovation.

7. What advice do you have for rental agencies?

Don’t think you can escape disruption by running upmarket and focusing on your largest and most profitable customers. You have to start doing the things that look unsustainable today — dealing with smaller clients, for shorter-term leases, and providing more comprehensive solutions beyond just an introduction to space. The biggest threat is not from direct competition, but from the fact that operators are developing their own distribution channels that reach tenants directly.

Office space design can boost a winning culture

Office Space Design

“Innovation can literally be something you do every day, such as a having a different perspective and mindset. How about trying to replace the word innovation with inspiration?” Paul Manno, Design Principal at Gensler.

If you’ve gone to any furniture shop it’s probably you’ve identified the bride happily selecting what she wants to receive for her marriage or the middle age couple finally making the investment they dreamed of. However, have you noticed the guy who’s been looking at the same desk lamp for more than 20 minutes? Maybe that’s the next superstar entrepreneur trying to figure out what’s the best option for his employees to feel comfortable in the workplace.

For some, office space design might be just the last activity on their to-do list, a perfect task to delegate or just the fastest shopping experience they’ll have. Nevertheless, office interior design is an important factor for business success. Workplace strategist, Stephanie Heiple says, “It is thoughtful to consider the physical real estate as a silent communicator for organizational culture. If you want to create the right environment for a winning culture, you need to consider your physical space”.

In fact, office space should reflect and represent what the business does in order to have a better brand awareness, improved customer recognition, higher retention rates and employee satisfaction, as well as increased productivity. A branded workplace is also a way for employees and clients to live a theatrical experience that will make them feel the business’ essence.

Additionally, similar to how supermarkets or big retailers like to design their stores to encourage consumers to spend as much money as possible in them, office design should embrace this concept. This will show the company provides quality services, care about employees’ wellbeing and have a strong organizational culture.

Despite how a planned office design can trigger many positive aspects, a company culture research found that only 53% of companies said their physical space reflects their brand.

Remember a well-designed office space is not just about ergonomic furniture, it’s all about the specific needs the organization requires. For example, to provide visibility to others to encourage an open culture, enhance collaboration and optimize real estate.

Tips:

-Funky office furniture can help employees stay motivated.
-Lots of offices choose furniture in bright colors because they help to lift a person’s mood.
-Many organizations create zones that cater for activity-based working, collaboration, relaxation and fun.
-Curved arrangements are seen more pleasant and inviting.
-Office environments with rounded furniture and more curvilinear furniture arrangements trigger more activity in the brain than offices with straight edges.

Benefits of starting your business in a large city

business in big cityShould I open my business in a large city or small town? This is a question most entrepreneurs face when planning their startup, and we definitely understand why. Just imagine opening your dreamed hair salon in your native town, where the population is mostly elderly people; and inaugurating the same salon in the corner of a metropolitan city where foot traffic is almost five times as more. That would probably make a great difference, right?

That’s when, after analyzing both markets, we discovered that opening your business in a big city is the best choice. Here are some of the main benefits:

Workforce: A large city has more people than a small city, therefore more workers as well. Finding employees for your business should not be hard, having in mind the diverse skills as well.

Transportation: Big cities have a well-established transportation system, meaning it’s easier for employees to get to work. If you’re constantly flying to other cities for meetings with clients, a large city will have an airport with direct flights to most of your destinations.

Entertainment: If clients are visiting the city, you can be a great host and show them the multiple options for enjoying a night out as well.

Networking: When running a company, you’ll need help from third parties for complementing your business or giving users a better experience. A big city has a greater number and diversity of services to choose from. Giving you the possibility to determine which adjust to your budget and brand personality.

Financing Options: Startups need capital in order to get going, and entrepreneurs need to take into consideration financial options such as debt, venture capital, and private investors. A big city is more likely to have more choices of any of these options.

Foot Traffic: If you establish your company in a busy area, there will be a significant amount of foot traffic, which increases the number of people that enter your store and your brand awareness. This also gives the possibility to have free advertisement. For example, any time you have pricing specials, you can put a sign in the window and grab the attention of people walking by.

Education: Large cities have strong educational institutions, where a deep sense of entrepreneurial culture is set. This makes it the perfect place for new ventures and benefiting from government investment in business training.

Less Zoning Restrictions: Big cities will usually provide greater commercial zoning density. This factor will help entrepreneurs save money in the cost of zoning permit applications and meetings with zoning boards.


Now that you know the benefits, you may be wondering which are the best big cities for starting your business. This is the top five according to the latest report from WalletHub.

  1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  2. Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  5. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Coworking space design: Behind cameras

Coworking space designDuring different chats at work, I heard about coworking spaces, its colorful walls with inspirational quotes for workers, meetings with beers, fun common areas and unlimited coffee! However, it was not until I went to one when I realized how everything from the puffs to the phone cabins was all very well thought. That is when I started investigating some of the basic design requirements coworking spaces have in mind in order to create that amazing environment.

Definitely one of the most important factors is to break up the usual monotony that characterizes a common office space to inspire creativity. That’s when interior designers come to action and surprise us with open-plan workspaces for people to participate in the “sharing economy”, desks grouped into islands to encourage human contact and demystify hierarchy and lots of greenery.

Additionally, designers create a place with constant visual and physical fluidity that make people feel there´s something new to discover every time they walk, without neglecting control over noise levels that can be scattered by sound-absorbing carpets, curved surfaces, and plants including wisteria, croton, and philodendron.

Dr. Alan Lewis, a lecturer in architecture at Manchester University explains how “visible light helps to stimulate the body’s production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can reduce the symptoms of depression”; one of the factors architects have in mind when constructing coworking spaces.

A great kitchen, games room and common areas are also a must. As Northspace CEO Noam Hazan tells, “coworking by definition exemplifies community and collaboration,and the design needs to facilitate this”. This also includes having different workplace areas for people to “mix it up” because as studies reflect, people work more efficiently and are happier under different environments.

Our office is where we spent most of our time, and coworking spaces take this into consideration by providing familiar spaces for workers to feel at home. One of the design tips Noam Hazan explains in his article “The Essential Guide to Designing a Coworking Space”, is to “allocate a common space for coworkers to share personal photos, stories or tips, to encourage interaction, and the opportunity to form a stronger bond with space”.

Next time you go to your coworking office, you will know how that vibrant and contagious space was all thought from the beginning. What a plan right?

Is productivity at work linked to natural sceneries?

Building with natural scenery

“Real freedom lies in the wilderness, not in civilization”. Charles Lindbergh

When planning our vacations or a weekend getaway we usually imagine ourselves reading our favorite book in the shadow of that big, old tree; or contemplating the cotton candy sunset with the background sound of waves crashing. Romantic right? However, why don’t we think about having that same relaxed feeling when being in our office?

Some may think that computers, stuffed papers, chaos and constant phone rings belong to offices; and that comforting breeze on the face and scented flowers only to those few instants we’re lucky to have. However, we should consider bringing nature into our office. This doesn’t mean planting a palm tree beside our desk or constructing a fake waterfall in the walls. It means finding the way to make environments comfortable.

“People spend a lot of time at work and their environment definitely affects them. So if pleasant scenery makes people feel better, there’s a good case that the scenics of their working environment will have a similar effect”,  argues Chanuki Seresinhe.

Similarly, The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) shows positive effects when integrating nature into one’s own routine. Participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment; suggesting that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

Although some offices may have great views, all kinds of wild flowers in their gardens or even fresh aromas all around; for some companies, natural scenarios are going to be a struggle. However, we must always remember that “when it comes to green space, the issue is quality, not quantity, as Seresinhe argues.

Companies can try sky porches, bulb species, green roofs or even virtual nature. Sue Thomas, author of the book “Technobiophilia”, explores the online prevalence of nature-derived metaphors and imagery. Another thing to do is to try an active pause with wildlife via live streaming. Wildearth.tv, for example, has lots of different live cameras across the world showing different wildlife activity.

Let’s bring nature to our office!

3 Factors to Consider When Renting Office Space

Renting Office Space

With almost 28 million small businesses in this country, it’s easy to catch the entrepreneurial spirit. When it comes to starting a business, there are hundreds of responsibilities that need to be taken care of. The task is daunting but finding an office space to rent or lease doesn’t have to be. When looking for the perfect space to help your business grow, keep these three things in mind:

Less is more: The average cost of a start-up is $30,000, according to the Kauffmann Foundation. This number may seem astronomical but it can be even higher if money in the budget is wasted on unnecessary luxuries. When it comes time for you to lease office space, try to keep utilities and space to a minimum. You’ll thank yourself down the road when all the other expenses start flowing in.

Fear of commitment is a good thing: When it comes to renting or leasing space, it’s best not to rush into anything long-term. While you may have plenty of confidence that your start-up will succeed, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re able to find temporary office space without a long-term lease, you’re better off. The business world is constantly changing and you never know where it will take you. But keep in mind that you can always extend your lease if you find yourself in a great financial position down the line.

What will it look like furnished? While it may seem trivial, how the office is laid out is incredibly important. A study conducted internationally found that office design has a direct correlation with employee productivity. The five factors measured were spacial arrangements, furniture, noise, light, and temperature. Considering how much time employees are going to be spending in the office, it’s ideal for the space to be welcoming and warm. Keep this in mind while perusing office space rentals.

New Jersey Cities Getting NYC Rub for Office Space Rentals

New York CityIn the United States, there are currently over 4,000 business centers, many of which can be found in New York City. A recent report from Knight Frank’s Skyscraper Index found that, unsurprisingly, New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world as far as office space rentals go. New York, in fact, is number two in the world at $153 per square foot for office space, second to only the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong at a whopping $255.50, according to Forbes.

Continue reading New Jersey Cities Getting NYC Rub for Office Space Rentals

Need to Rent Office Space In One of These Major Cities? Consider Temporary Options Instead

Temporary office spaceBusiness owners, corporations, and fledgling entrepreneurs looking to rent office space in some of the world’s biggest cities might end up channeling their inner Jimmy McMillan, specifically when the former New York City mayoral and gubernatorial candidate uttered his now famous line, “the rent is too damn high!” New data from the Knight Frank’s Skyscraper Index found the cities with the highest average cost of professional office space to rent and the amounts are quite exorbitant, according to Forbes.

Far and away the leader in the clubhouse is Hong Kong, which currently offers prime executive office space for rent at an average price of $255.50 per square foot. Comparatively, in order to rent office space in New York City, which placed second highest on the list, you’ll end up spending about $100 less per square foot at $153.

Rounding out the top five were: Tokyo at $125 per square foot, London ($122), and San Francisco ($105) respectively. Also making the list for the U.S. was Boston at number nine ($75), Los Angeles at ten ($73), and Chicago ($68) at number 12.

Even though Hong Kong and NYC had the most expensive rates, they only grew by about 2%. Meanwhile, London jumped by 11% in the same time period.

These prices presumably reflect the operational and lease costs, as that’s what 80% of the cost to rent office space is. Unfortunately, this kind of terms prices out a majority of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. as they simply don’t have the means to cover such expensive overhead.

It’s these exact reasons that are helping to spur the burgeoning virtual and temporary office space rental industry. Unlike traditional lease terms, these types of offices are extremely flexible with their lease terms making them more affordable for smaller companies. Instead of committing long-term they can be rented by the hour, day, week, month, or year.

If you need to rent office space in one of these, or any city, consider more flexible and affordable temporary office space and invest the money you’ll save back into your business.

With Rents Rising, Businesses Should Look for Flexible Office Spaces for Rent

Flexible office spacesA recent report from the commercial real estate brokerage JLL found that the average asking price for office space rentals in the third fiscal quarter in Orange County rose by about 12% to $28.59 a square foot. That’s the highest rate in six years.

More and more businesses might be forced to turn to alternative leasing options like temporary office space or non-traditional office space for lease if they need to expand or are an outside company trying to move into the area. There just isn’t enough available space at the moment. These types of situations can be great as they offer flexible terms so you can sign for a day, week, year, or 10 years.

In the past year, alone Orange County landlords filled 1.3 million net square feet of space. This surge really began in 2011 as the real estate economy began to rebound. Since that time about 7 million square feet of space has been rented in the county. According to JLL, this marks the first time all the vacated office spaces for rent during the Great Recession have been filled again.

“While the sustained positive demand has pushed down vacancy rates throughout the market, it has also created a shortage of available large blocks of space,” JLL wrote in the report. “Large office tenants are finding it difficult to locate suitable space for their operations as space options dwindle, particularly in the airport area submarket.”

At even more of a disadvantage are small businesses looking to break into the market. There are almost 28 million in the U.S. today and with startups popping up every day, that number keeps rising. Many of these small companies don’t have the necessary funds to afford these rising prices and will have to look for more affordable office spaces for rent, perhaps in a less permanent environment.