Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

January 8th, 2018

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

What’s the Verdict on Urban vs. Suburban CRE Investment?
“In the past, urban assets have outperformed suburban asset returns in both office and multifamily sectors. From 1996 to 2016, suburban multifamily fell behind its urban counterpart by 80 basis points, while the suburban office sector underperformed urban by 110 basis points.

The present spread between urban and suburban multifamily is consistent with its long-term average at 81 basis points, meaning there is currently no worthwhile advantage to investing in suburban assets when considering the long term.” www.nrei.com

San Francisco’s Skyline, Now Inescapably Transformed by Tech
“SAN FRANCISCO — The skyscraper came late to this city, a shipping and manufacturing hub for much of its existence. The wealthy roosted on the hills and the masses toiled on the flats and the docks. Everyone lived close to the ground in a setting renowned for its natural beauty.

Now the things being shipped are virtual, and vast amounts of office space are needed to design, build and market them. Salesforce, a company that did not exist 20 years ago, will take up residence on Jan. 8 in the new Salesforce Tower, which at 1,070 feet is the tallest office building west of the Mississippi.” www.nytimes.com

Piedmont CEO Says Supply, Demand in Equilibrium Across Office Sector
“From a balance sheet perspective, Piedmont is “probably in the best position we’ve ever been,” according to Miller. The company expects to close on the sale of 14 assets in early January, which should reduce Piedmont’s leverage to its lowest level to date, he noted.

As for individual market performance, Miller noted that the Sun Belt region is probably the strongest right now. Chicago and Minneapolis are performing “quite well,” while Houston is probably the weakest market, he said. Washington, D.C. continues to be “a little bit of a drag on us,” Miller added.” www.reit.com

The Future Of Home Business Technology
The idea of a physical workplace is being replaced by the idea of conducting businesses from your own home. It’s easier now — we can create a virtual office and marketplace through the internet. You can take care of all aspects of the business from home and find the right balance between personal and professional life. 

Not only do home business owners save time and energy, but they are putting technology to the right use.” www.inc.com

Not Driving to Work Is the Hot New High-End Job Perk
“The percentage is down a little for lower- and middle-income workers since 2005, although it’s hard to detect much of a trend in either direction since the last recession. Among those making $75,000 or more, though, there’s been a significant decline since 2005, and it is continuing. Just as a reality check for Bloomberg’s many well-remunerated readers: Only 18.4 percent of U.S. workers made $75,000 or more in 2016, according to the ACS; the median was $35,815. (These numbers are all for individuals; median household incomes, also released last week, are higher.)

So while a big majority of higher-income workers still drives to work, that percentage is shrinking in a way that it isn’t for lower-income workers. How are those higher-income workers getting there instead? Well, public transportation…..” www.bloomberg.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Office Party? Atlanta Market 2018 Forecast

It’s been a might fine year for Atlanta office real estate in 2017. Macro events such as tax law changes, a roaring stock markets, very healthy corporate profits and strong employment numbers helped corporate America have a pep in its collective step.

What is up for 2018?

Thanks Dow Jones Industrials! You Rock!

Capital Markets
In 2018, we anticipate cap rates will remain steady for suburban product. In the suburbs, there were misalligned expectations between sellers and buyers. Sellers forecasted continued rental rate increases, but buyers didn’t agree.  One can anticipate further cap rate compression in high rise urban and “cool” infill product – where she stops, nobody knows.

Development
On the development side, infill development will continue to thrive. Buildings will continue to strive to look “authentic,” like Hines’ T3 development which will consist of a 200,000 heavy timber frame and wood building planned at Atlantic Station. Authentic design can be achieved using the right materials or by retrofitting an older building – the organic approach to real estate.

The Emergence of the City Center
Seven city center projects are proposed or under construction around metro Atlanta including the Braves Stadium know as the Battery, Avalon in Alpharetta, City Springs in the City of Sandy Springs,  Assembly in Doraville and others. People like working in a dense environment, but want to enjoy the cheaper housing and larger yards of the suburbs. Some have said the city center concept is the 21st century mall..

Rental Rates
Next year, rental rates will stop climbing as fast as they did in 2017 and concessions start to return in certain markets like Central Perimeter. I also believe there will be an uptick of subleases as growing companies are forced to move their operations in order to expand. There’s been an increase towards the end of this year and we believe there will be even more of this activity next year.

Office Product Types
As always, the market will continue to be a tale of the haves and the have nots. The haves will remain the most popular among tenants that can afford them and investors who pine for the latest and greatest. Take Three Alliance for example. The building experienced a rapid lease-up and is now set to trade for an historic price. Class B product with inefficient floorplates and lack of support amenities won’t experience near the rental rates of trophy Class A. Expect to see a trophy tower launch in an urban market with much more infill urban development/redevelopment. Finally, if any industrial product remains in urban areas, it will soon be extinct as those building are all but converted to creative office.

Tenant Demand
Last year, corporate America was catching its breath and approaching with caution because of uncertainty around administration, tax policy and the general business environment. However, with the Dow up 5,000 points in one year, which has never happened in history,* the business economy is, and will remain, robust. I believe there will be continued organic growth and M&A activity in 2018. In board meetings and planning meetings, which are taking place right now, I believe businesses are planning for expansion in 2018. In 2017, many companies were a question mark, and that has turned into an exclamation point for 2018.

Technology
Next year will also be the year that the “internet of things” (IOT) begins to have a real impact on commercial real estate. It will rapidly improve the operating efficiency of commercial real estate, and it will be interesting to see what sort of role it will play for building owners and managers, as well as tenants. Building systems will let us know when they need service and save on labor cost. Maybe they’ll bring you coffee at 2 in the afternoon, too.

Let’s hope Santa is in a good mood all year next year. Let’s keep this ball rolling, shall we?

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

December 18th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Tax Overhaul Could Be Big Win for U.S. Real Estate Investors
“Owners and developers of commercial real estate stand to gain from a new tax break for “pass-through” entities, which don’t pay corporate tax but instead pass income through to their owners’ individual tax returns, according to the report, by Cushman & Wakefield Inc. The House and Senate have reached a tentative agreement to create a 20 percent deduction for pass-throughs, which the report notes are responsible for 61 percent of investment in U.S. commercial real estate.” www.forbes.com

If You Aspire to Be a Great Leader, Be Present
“..he came to understand that, even though he was in the same room with someone, he wasn’t always fully present. He let himself become preoccupied with other activities or let his mind drift to other things. And, most of all, he’d listen to his inner voice when someone was talking. Because of his lack of presence, people felt unheard and frustrated.

Our inner voices are the commentaries we lend to our experiences. They often say things like, “I wish he would stop talking.” Or, “I know what she’s going to say next.” Or, “I’ve heard this all before.” Or, “I wonder if Joe has responded to my text.”

To truly engage other human beings and create meaningful connections, we need to silence our inner voices and be fully present — and being more mindful can help.” www.hbr.com

The End of the Office? How Working From Anywhere Is Changing Everything
“When I tell people that I work from wherever I want, whether it be home or a friend’s office, I am generally met with a bit of scorn or a response that points out how “lucky” I am. Actually, I’m just getting to experience what millions of people are already living: the mobile office.

Office space has undergone marked changes in the past few decades, with wooden desks being replaced by customizable cubicle walls and desks, then shifting to many of the new open-office designs we see now. This evolution is continuing as businesses realize that mobile technology is keeping workers away from the office more than ever. Here are some of the ways we are seeing the change.” www.inc.com

The Future Of Home Business Technology
The idea of a physical workplace is being replaced by the idea of conducting businesses from your own home. It’s easier now — we can create a virtual office and marketplace through the internet. You can take care of all aspects of the business from home and find the right balance between personal and professional life. 

Not only do home business owners save time and energy, but they are putting technology to the right use.” www.inc.com

Not Driving to Work Is the Hot New High-End Job Perk
“The percentage is down a little for lower- and middle-income workers since 2005, although it’s hard to detect much of a trend in either direction since the last recession. Among those making $75,000 or more, though, there’s been a significant decline since 2005, and it is continuing. Just as a reality check for Bloomberg’s many well-remunerated readers: Only 18.4 percent of U.S. workers made $75,000 or more in 2016, according to the ACS; the median was $35,815. (These numbers are all for individuals; median household incomes, also released last week, are higher.)

So while a big majority of higher-income workers still drives to work, that percentage is shrinking in a way that it isn’t for lower-income workers. How are those higher-income workers getting there instead? Well, public transportation…..” www.bloomberg.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

December 11th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

How Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Made One of the Toughest Decisions of His Career
“I went to my boss and said to him, ‘You know, I’m going to go do this crazy thing and I’m going to start this company selling books online.’ This was something that I had already been talking to him about in a sort of more general context, but then he said, ‘Let’s go on a walk,'” Bezos relates.

After two hours strolling Central Park and talking, Bezos’s boss impressed upon him that, even though his business idea was solid, he had a lot to lose. “He convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision,” Bezos reports. “So, I went away and was trying to find the right framework in which to make that kind of big decision.”

His wife said she was happy to support him either way, so she couldn’t be the deciding factor. What could be? Bezos settled on the idea of “regret minimization.” www.inc.com

The Technological Race to Find You a Place to Park
“Technology has already started to solve the problem of squeezing into a space, with automatic parking features taking the pain out of parallel parking. Now it is trying to solve the other headache: finding a spot in the first place.

A slew of apps can predict where on- and off-street spaces will be available, direct you to them, reserve a space and let you pay for the spot through your smartphone. And manufacturers are beginning to add those capabilities to their vehicles’ navigation screens. BMW, one of the first to do so, is making the functionality of the Parkmobile app available through the navigation system on many of its 2018 models.” www.nytimes.com

Why Do We Still Commute?
“It’s true that, since the rise of the Internet, we report we are working from home more than we did before. But computers and smartphones didn’t replace the office—they’ve just kept us tethered to it when we’re not there. The vast majority of us still travel to work most days: only about 2.8 percent of the total workforce says they work from home “at least half the time.” It’s a reality reflected in commuting data: Since 1980, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting data on this issue, the average daily commute of Americans has increased roughly 20 percent, with the typical worker now commuting over 26 minutes each way.” www.citylab.com

Six Workplace Trends For 2018
“Technology has significantly impacted business models in nearly every sector,” Said Alan Stukalsky, chief digital officer, Randstad North America. “The growing STEM skill shortage, AI both disrupting and creating jobs and talent driving a shift toward agile work arrangements is a lot for employers to keep up with. It requires progressive thinking to find talent and meet short and long-term needs. We’re still in the Infancy of most of this, but digitization will advance the pace of change in the labor market and workforce in 2018.” www.facilityexecutive.com

Demand for New Jersey Warehouse Space Skyrockets
“The online-shopping craze that is tying up package delivery-systems around the U.S. is sparking a frenzy in New Jersey’s commercial real-estate market. Despite a feverish pace of construction in recent years, tight inventories and surging demand are driving rents for New Jersey warehouse space to new highs, according to a report.” www.wsj.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

November 27th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Grand Buildings Help Keep Macy’s Afloat
What Macy’s does have going for it is real estate — a vast network of more than 600 stores across the country. Macy’s real estate, with an estimated value of $16 billion, is worth more than the company’s market value of $6.4 billion, according to an analysis by Cowen, the investment management and banking firm. Many of its oldest stores are a developer’s dream — soaring spaces with ornate exteriors in the heart of major American cities.” www.nytimes.com

Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.
“…a growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them. It’s not much of a leap to expect that electronics also undermine learning in high school classrooms or that they hurt productivity in meetings in all kinds of workplaces.” www.nytimes.com

Amazon’s Landlord: How The E-Commerce Boom Is Propelling Warehouse King Prologis To New Heights
“Because if you believe in e-commerce, you believe in Prologis. While internet shopping has devastated demand for traditional retail spaces, it has had the opposite effect on industrial real estate. Amazon is Prologis’ largest tenant, occupying 16 million square feet. (Prologis is also Amazon’s largest landlord, accounting for 13% of the warehouse space it operates.) Why? Getting a book to you in less than 48 hours (Amazon Prime’s promise) means already having it–and several thousand other items–nearby when you order.” www.forbes.com

Why Do We Still Commute?
“It’s true that, since the rise of the Internet, we report working from home more than we did before. But computers and smartphones didn’t replace the office—they’ve just kept us tethered to it when we’re not there. The vast majority of us still travel to work most days: only about 2.8 percent of the total workforce says they work from home “at least half the time.” It’s a reality reflected in commuting data: Since 1980, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting data on this issue, the average daily commute of Americans has increased roughly 20 percent, with the typical worker now commuting over 26 minutes each way.” www.citylab.com

The Future Of Retail In The Age Of Amazon
“But here’s the thing about the Mall of America: It’s fighting back. “I hear all this doom and gloom in the industry,” says the mall’s SVP of business development, Jill Renslow, with an upbeat, Midwestern delivery. “I’m like, ‘Folks! Keep your chin up! There’s so much opportunity!’ ” The mall completed a $325 million expansion in 2015, says Renslow, who started working there as an intern in the mid-1990s and has seen it endure recessions and upheaval before. A new 342-room JW Marriott has opened upstairs, and retailers like Zara and Anthropologie are being lured to the space. The mall is experimenting with new leasing models to attract pop-ups and younger players like Untuckit and Toms Shoes.” www.fastcompany.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

November 13th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Preview of the First Mass Timber High-Rise in the United States
“Images of the Framework building, the first high-rise building in the U.S. constructed out of mass timber materials, provided by Lever Architecture and KPFF Consulting Engineers.” www.nreionline.com

Great Storytelling Connects Employees to Their Work
“Connection happens when you see past the details of a task to its human consequences. When you feel connected to the moral purpose of your work, you behave differently. Now “moral purpose” might sound lofty but it needn’t mean saving a puppy or curing cancer; it can involve any kind of human service. And at the end of the day, all business is about service.” www.hbr.com

Ten Things Never, Ever To Say About Yourself
“We have been taught to brag about ourselves in our professional branding, but that’s terrible advice.

The more illustrious a person is, the less likely they are to praise themselves. When someone is truly a guru, other people say “That person is a guru!” but the guru doesn’t say it about themselves. It would be beneath them to boast. They don’t have to, and they don’t want to.

The people who brag about their credentials on LinkedIn or anywhere else are afraid that if they don’t trumpet their accomplishments, no one will respect them.” www.forbes.com

Is Your Agile Workspace Legible?
“In this age of ubiquitous wi-fi and long commute times, a lot of space planning focuses on providing that choice. In question would be where, when or how a person works. For sake of this discussion, we could consider this the ‘degree of agility’. There are several reasons to consider agility. Among them are employee satisfaction, real estate efficiency, granting people choice, and providing employees with a sense of control.” www.linkedin.com

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn
“We are in the Wild West phase of autonomous vehicles, where companies are looking for the state with the least amount of sheriffing going on,” said Henry Jasny, senior vice president at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a nonprofit based in Washington.

The payoff for Arizona has been a tech boom, with dozens of autonomous vehicle companies flocking here to set up operations. Every day, Waymo, the driverless car business owned by Google’s corporate parent Alphabet, as well as Uber, Lyft, General Motors and Intel now deploy hundreds of cars that drive themselves on the streets of Phoenix, a sprawling metropolis of 1.4 million people.” www.nytimes.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Blurred Lines

Robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace. GenX wants and needs. CoWorking. What impact will self driving cars have on office buildings? Is my industrial conversion office space “authentic” and true to my company’s brand? Oh, and I want privacy on demand.

Largest number of attendees in history – over 3,000.

Learning pavilions spread thought out the convention floor with short 15-20 minute sessions. Think TED Talks for CRE.

Those are just some of the topics discussed at the annual confab of all things corporate real estate which is hosted by the trade organization CoreNet Global. The meeting was held in Seattle, Washington which is fitting given that we were collectively at the feet of the mighty Amazon. As the entire world knows, AMZN is in the market with one of the largest space needs in modern corporate real estate history known as #hq2. I was looking around for Alexa everywhere….

Real estate executives said the “lines” created by office walls and geographic boundaries are starting to come down – or become blurred lines. With the softening comes even more challenges to CRE’s (corporate real estate executives): information and security risk, highly empowered workers with big demands and the need for space to adapt very quickly. The modern workplace must be flexible as to location and then inside the physical space flexible as to different types of work.

Here are the things I heard on some of the very hottest topics:

Robots and AI

  • Robots and facility automation will continue to rapidly evolve and relieve humans of low payback activities
  • Estimates are $90,000 per year to operate a robot who can operate 24/7 and replace a human security guard.
  • We will continue to see the evolution of the building as much more than sticks and bricks. Will seen the emergence of the space as a service provider. In fact, the building itself becomes a machine – automatically changing around furniture, lighting, provide comfort and productivity of every kind and deal with weather.

    The famous Pike Market on a chilly Seattle day.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), which is really code to support machines will become smarter and smarter and specific to corporate real estate. Think of a corporate version of Alexa or Siri.
  • High tech drives the need for high touch as people. Rise of the robots means people need to spend more time together
  • Robots in the future will be digital “sherpas” so that we don’t have to carry digital tools like laptops
  • Digital twins in 5 years that are far smarter that Siri will talk to other digital twins for meeting coordination and low level task production
  • Some wondered with all this automation, and the simultaneous happening of the gig economy how does corporate America inculcate culture and values?

Gen Z: Influencing the Real Estate Footprint

Some observations from a panel of Gen X’ers:
  • Industrial spaces converted to office is a solution, but what you are really talking about is an input into the process. Its less about the generation and more about where people are in their life’s journey. Millenials are just younger baby boomers. As people get older, there are consistencies with what they want. For example, young children are a great equalizer in terms of what people want.
  • More face to face interaction helps Gen X with knowledge transfer.

    Yes, I did catch the fish. Yes, I did wash my hands. No I didn’t eat sushi after that point.

  • What do people DO when they are at work? That tells me as a Gen Z a lot about the company?As a Gen X, culture is a lot more important to me than the physical layout.
  • Culture is driven by the people in the space, not the design of the space
  • People are most happy when they go to work (as in a place) every day if they have a friend at work.
  • What has not worked? – You can try too hard. If being hip and cool is not consistent with your corporate culture then it won’t ring true. When someone comes into our offices do they get a sense of how they work from the people and the space? If so, that is
  • Watch cutting vs. bleeding edge. Make sure your risk tolerance  is consistent with technological risk.
  • Brand is more than paint on the wall, carpet and color – its the actually embodiment of the mission. Failure: “I saw this really cool thing somewhere else, but didn’t stress test in their own organization” before we installed in our office.
  • How are you signaling to your people that (1) the work you do is important and (2) we care about you.

    Fruit at the Pike Street Market

  • We are talking less about efficiencies now and more about experience. More expensive to have brain drain than savings from densification. Leading a move discussion about efficiencies only is likely to fail. I don’t care if my company is saving a dollar on my back. I want to work someplace warm and front. Space needs to serve people through the entire arc of the day.
  • We are catering way to much to then new generation (GenZ). We (as corporate America) should be planning for people that are already there. Keep hearing that Gen Z wants what baby boomers want…pengilum will swing. Most important thing is to be in the workplace listen to senior folks on the phone. If I could sit there for 2 hours a day and listen it would be great.

Automation in Cars

  • Using fleet car services will fundamentally change the arrival and departure experience in office building. Currently, 90% of arrivals enter through a garage. The new experience feels much more like a hotel motor court.
  • Will the Roof become the new lobby with flying cars?
  • We heard that developers are starting to plan building with higher garage clear heights so they can be adaptively reused when personal cars are no longer a “thing.”

 CoWorking

  • Why do we in corporate America care if employees like coworking? War for talent – 73% of organizational leaders are concerned about the availability of skilled labor
  • Coworker is not just the struggling entrepreneur – average age is 38
  • Cushman & Wakefield client party at the Museum of Pop Culture. It’s an amazing space.

    First place is the office, second place is the home, third place is Starbucks, place 3.5 is the car in the Starbucks parking lot for conference calls, and fourth place is coworking.

  • Targets by coworking providers are no longer as much individuals – chasing corporate America
  • New term: a “Jelly” – organic group or people who glom on to each other and hang out – like in a Starbucks or other quick service restaurants.
  • Todays employees want choice, community and flexibility
  • 77% of facilities are in an urban location and 62% looking to expand and move to larger locations.
  • Several years ago, question was is this a fad? with 62% of centers looking to expand, this is not a fad. Will disrupt the industry
  • Average number of member is 75 members
  • Seeing the emergence of the “big box” retailer – A solution that is focused on targeting corporations to provide space.
  • WeWork is the largest tenant in New York City and one of the largest consumers or real estate in the world.

Privacy and Productivity

  • One of the biggest complaints in open workplaces is privacy and the ability to have quiet and private phone calls.

    Tower of Guitars at the Museum of Pop Culture

  • Young people stated the need for “real time privacy.”
  • Ripping out all private spaces and forcing collaborations totally ignores introverts. Millennials complain amongst themselves about being in a open environment.
  • Open Plan, Friend or Foe? An open plan can be really bad. So can an office. All not created equal. Like saying all automobiles are the same.
  • A new trend is “activity based” planning. Developing new ways to connect in open plan design based on what you are doing. Design is in a progression and is progressing.
  • Wellness is fundamental to productivity. A sick workforce is no workforce.

In sum, the energy is high and the feeling is optimistic. Most directors of corporate real estate have a pep in their step, but are drowning in emails and assignments to expand.

I surmise from the conference that most everyone is growing quickly and thinking about how to keep the workforce engaged, happy and healthy. Improving the quality of work-life balance and overall work experience are what sought after employees are seeking in companies – current and future.

All is well with the CRE world in 2017. The good times will continue in 2018 as well and beyond.

Whistle while you work – wherever that might be. And step right over those blurry lines!

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

 November 6th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Are You Suited for a Start-Up?
“Start-ups have no clear hierarchies or paths to advancement. But from their embryonic stages through more-mature ones, they need good managers to create and effectively run departments such as marketing, product development, and sales. And one can accrue numerous personal and professional rewards working for these young organizations. In nearly every interview I’ve conducted with start-up joiners, they have emphasized how much they value the autonomy, creativity, and growth they experience in their jobs—all elements critical to fulfillment.” www.hbr.org

The Top Reasons Startups Fail
Oh Snap! | “More often than not, however, startups tend to fail brutally. According to CB Insights, 70 percent of upstart tech companies fail, usually about 20 months after first raising financing. The failure rate is even worse for consumer hardware startups with 97 percent of seed crowdfunded companies failing or turning into “zombies.” www.forbes.com

Six Myths About Choosing a College Major
“Students get plenty of advice about picking a major. It turns out, though, that most of it is from family and friends, according to a September Gallup survey. Only 11 percent had sought guidance from a high school counselor, and 28 percent from a college adviser. And most didn’t think that the advice was especially helpful. Maybe it’s because much of the conventional thinking about majors is wrong.” www.nytimes.com

We’re in the Worst Talent Shortage Since 2007. Employers Are Using This Strategy to Stand Out
“Organizations are facing one of the largest talent shortages since 2007. In fact, a ManpowerGroup report indicated that 40 percent of the more than 42,000 employers surveyed indicated they were having a difficult time filling positions.

When Manpower dug a little deeper, it found the top reasons driving the frustration included:

  • A lack of available applicants
  • A lack of experience
  • A lack of hard skills
  • Seeking more pay than is offered
  • A lack of soft skills  www.inc.com

Ten Things Never, Ever To Wear To Work
“There is no dress code policy — or any other policy, for that matter — that will eliminate the need for conversation.

One of the signs of a healthy workplace is that people are always discussing and debating questions like “What’s okay to wear to work around here?”

It is pointless to try and write HR policies in such a way that no conversation is needed. That’s an impossible standard to reach and in any case, conversation is essential! It’s through conversation that relationships are built. It’s how trust is established.” www.forbes.com

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

October 30th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

As Amazon Moves In, Demand for Warehouse Space Climbs
“For the modest warehouse, this is a golden age.

Boxy, unadorned and often overlooked, these properties are suddenly in hot demand in many parts of the country, thanks in part to a rise in e-commerce as consumer shopping habits move online. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are snapping up space once reserved for makers of office furniture and home flooring.

For years now, consumers have been purchasing more products online. In the second quarter, e-commerce sales topped more than $111 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, or 8.9 percent of all retail sales, according to the Census Bureau. Industry forecasters expect e-commerce sales to continue growing.

Warehouses often reveal little about what goes on within their walls, but the buildings make possible the rapid delivery that consumers now expect from online retailers. They serve as storage and distribution points for products ranging from auto parts to pharmaceuticals. And warehouse jobs have grown rapidly since 2010, forming a critical part of the employment base in communities across the country.

As developers try to catch up, they are considering some unusual solutions, like constructing multistory warehouses and demolishing struggling malls to make way for sprawling industrial properties..” www.nytimes.com

All Management Is Change Management
“Leaders should view change not as an occasional disruptor but as the very essence of the management job. Setting tough goals, establishing processes to reach them, carrying out those processes and carefully learning from them — these steps should characterize the unending daily life of the organization at every level. More companies need to describe their work in terms of where they are trying to go in the next month or next quarter or next year.” www.hbr.org

Retail Apocalypse? The Sky Isn’t Falling — The Sector Is Just Evolving
“The reality is that stores close – it’s a part of this business. Consumer’s tastes have always fluctuated, but with the rise of the internet and social media, the rate of change has been expedited. As a result, brands and categories fall-out of favor much faster, which initiates the open/closure cycle more rapidly. There is no doubt that e-commerce penetration, especially in certain categories, has also contributed to this exacerbated pace of change – it’s just not the great “disruptor” that many would have you believe.” www.forbes.com

How Retailers Use Personalized Prices to Test What You’re Willing to Pay
“Whether personalized pricing catches on with web retailers is now up to consumers. Will shoppers be comfortable knowing that the prices they are offered may be higher than those presented to others? Will buyers relish “electronically bargaining” to outwit sellers? Retailers first “negotiate” with each customer by personalizing prices based on their profile. In response, savvy shoppers will “bargain” by checking prices on different devices, clearing caches, using the app, conducting multiple searches, asking friends in different cities to see what price they’re quoted, and so on. Or will they become fed up and steer clear of web retailers that price profile? Amazon is on the record as stating that all of its customers see the same prices — will other retailers be so clear-cut?

As the fate of electronic price profiling shakes out, one issue is clear: It is truly a caveat emptor environment for shoppers who use the web.” www.hbr.org

Why You Can Focus in a Coffee Shop but Not in Your Open Office
“So why do so many of us hate our open offices? The quiet chatter of colleagues and the gentle thrum of the HVAC should help us focus. The problem may be that, in our offices, we can’t stop ourselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while we’re trying to focus. Indeed, the EEG researchers found that face-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions negatively affect the creative process. By contrast, a coworking space or a coffee shop provides a certain level of ambient noise while also providing freedom from interruptions.

Taken together, the lesson here is that the ideal space for focused work is not about freedom from noise, but about freedom from interruption. Finding a space you can hide away in, regardless of how noisy it is, may be the best strategy for making sure you get the important work done.” www.hbr.org

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!

Ken

 

8 Days Without Email

“Is email still a thing?”

That’s what a friendly and oh so innocent Millennial asked me recently. “Dude, you have no idea how much a thing it still is,” I said. “It’s the lifeblood of corporate America.” You can Tweet, Snap and Post your heart out, but until your boss retires and you take over the world, you’ll need to send her an email for most communication needs. “Bummer,” he muttered as he ambled off.

In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email as a test in his Cambridge, Mass lab. My, how things have changed in the 46 years since. According to a Radicati Group study, executives can expect an average of 126 messages sent and received per business user per day by the end of 2019, with a total of over 2.9 billion people on planet earth using the email tool to communicate and set meetings.

I conducted an informal poll over lunch the past 6 months or so and found that most executives report receiving over 200 messages per day. So if we ditch the weekends, which no one does, then my friends are getting 50,000 messages a year over 50 working weeks. If it takes us an average of 1 minute per message, then we are spending 833 hours a year, or almost 40% of our working hours managing this beast.

It’s getting a little ridiculous out there. Despite barrels of digital ink being spilled on how to manage, keep up with and prune email, the stuff just keeps growing like electronic Kudzu.

Just Make It Stop!

A fishing village in the Cinque Terre portion of the Italy coast. The village is 1,000 years old. A few years before email was invented….

So, I did make it stop, for a brief respite anyway.

You see, Karen and I planned a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Italy, so I began to dream about unplugging from email. The last time I stopped the digital river of information was in 2012 when I took a backpacking trip in New Mexico with my son. I wrote about it in one of my most popular blogs called West Bound and Down | 12 Days without an iPhone. Given the clicks, I wasn’t the only person thinking about this issue.

But here’s the thing: if you know you are coming back to a huge backlog of messages, how do you relax? And maybe you will be tempted to peek early in the morning. I’ve heard stories of people getting up in the middle of the night on vacation or slipping off to the bathroom to have an illicit session of checking email. Ugh.

The Duomo in Florence taken from top of the bell tower

So I made a tough call. I was not going to ever read a single email sent to me while I was traveling on my vacation. All of them were going to hit the trash can with a punch of a few keys in a mass delete action. Bam!

I’m Really Out of the Office And On Vacation. For Real.

I penned my out of office with a guilty grin. Here it is:

“Thanks for your email. I am currently out of the country on vacation. Karen and I are in Italy celebrating 25 years of marriage, 4 kids and 1 very lazy dog. The kids and the dog are at home. We wish them luck.

I return to the office and real life on <date>. My plan is to mass delete all emails while I’m away, so kindly email me again after my return and I will return your message with a big smile on my face. I appreciate your  understanding and patience during this much needed downtime. So does Karen.

Pisa needed construction management!

If you need help now, then contact my teammate <name> who can get you taken care of.”

That’s it. And you know what, it worked!

Hey Karen, watch out for the wave behind you!

We spent 8 glorious days refreshing our relationship and exploring the big world out there. I got around 1,800 messages during my time away and I gleefully hit delete. There were about 4 issues that needed my immediate attention when I got back, but I missed all the emails on all the meetings, issues and problems that I couldn’t attend or attend to.

I clearly remember the relief of allowing myself to be present on our vacation AND not having to worry about digging out when I returned.

Vinyards near the ancient village of San Gimignano

Do I have a great team to back stop me and allow for this break to occur? Absolutely! Do I have understanding and cool clients? You bet! Am I so important that I need to be continuously connected and available at all times? Nope, not at all.

And unless you are in charge of national security for the United States or some other ridiculously high stress gig, you aren’t either. Heck, even firefighters and cops have days off from emergencies.

I Dare You

Today I attended the  funeral of a good friend, Scott Selig. Scott passed away at age 47 from an aggressive form of cancer. The loss of my friend has given me needed perspective and even more resolve on the email issue. As Scott himself said in a moving speech before he died, “put down the phone and enjoy life”.

I dare you to put up appropriate boundaries around your personal time.

Another view of the Cinque Terre. This village was founded by pirates 997 years ago. Ahoy matey!

I dare you to talk to your clients, colleagues and friends and explain that you need downtime too.

I dare you to confront your own addiction to this world of hyper responsiveness and over communication in which we live.

Be bold on this issue and your spouse, your family and ultimately your circle of friends and business colleagues will thank you. They will notice your new found focus and crisp response to issues because you have allowed yourself permission to rest.

Ray Tomlinson passed away a few years ago, but if he were still with us today, I bet you he’d give 2 thumbs up to email breaks. As Steven Covey said, even the best lumberjack has to sharpen his saw to be effective.

Time away is what intelligent executives use to freshen up, relax and reflect. In the times when you are getting away, email is toxic and will defeat the purpose. Be courageous and self confident in stopping the digital intrusion.

Do it. You won’t regret the digital break, I promise.