Well-Managed Properties are Profitable

The Newsletter

REAL ESTATE
Well-Managed Properties Are Profitable Properties
All the details and moving parts of the commercial real estate industry need good systems to ensure consistent results. The problem is, many in the industry have general or nonexistent systems and it’s everyone for themselves, which results in wasted resources and miscommunications.

You invest a lot time crunching the numbers on existing and potential assets. But after a purchase or sale, you still need to manage your investment. Profitable properties are well-managed properties. Systems simplify that process and maximize your resources. Following are just a few of the benefits of creating systems.

Improved productivity: To focus on quality and consistency, everyone needs to know what they’re trying to accomplish. Systems ensure everyone knows exactly what needs to get done on either a short- or a long-term basis.

Fewer duplicate efforts: Systems ensure that you, your team members, your vendors, and even your tenants are always on the same page therefore reducing redundancies.

Improved morale: Without transparency or clear responsibilities, your team becomes frustrated and uncooperative. Systems create clear channels for communication and roles.

Fewer expenses: Redundancies and the resulting low employee morale aren’t just frustrating; they’re a waste of resources. Systems keep your bottom line in the black. They also ensure you stay up to date with maintenance and billing, thus avoiding expensive late fees and repairs.

So, how do you know where and when to create a system? Quite simply, wherever and whenever repetition exists.


HOT BIZ TRENDS
“Watercooler” Moments Are Actually Good for Business
Watercooler

You work. You play. You live in two separate worlds that seldom collide.

This was the way it was for previous generations. Today’s workforce, however, is introducing a new dynamic; the lines between work and home are blurring.

At the heart of this change is the development of close work friendships. Socializing with coworkers is now more than polite conversations during meetings. Millennials, in particular, are sharing their lives with fellow employees, discussing home as well as work with coworkers as they bike together on weekends.

Why should we care? A recent study, conducted by the O.C. Tanner consulting firm, revealed work friendships can actually be good for business. More than 70 percent of those who reported having best friends at work are happy with their jobs, and three-quarters of those with work besties said they feel confident tackling work challenges. Employees without close friends at work said they are far less likely to feel this way.

To take advantage of the blurring line between work and home lives, businesses may want to create more opportunities for employees to develop at-work relationships. This will look different for each company, but fostering an environment of socialization is the goal. Make meetings shorter and break times longer. Invest in team-building exercises. Create fun spaces in the office where employees are encouraged to gather and bounce ideas off one another.

By creating an environment that naturally cultivates more “watercooler” moments, organizations encourage employees to forge inside/outside relationships. And according to the Tanner study, these friendships will pay off in spades.


WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Seeking Balance? Dump the To-Do List for a “Break” List
Work Life Balance

If work-life balance is so important, why is it so much work to find that balance?

Most of us struggle with balance, and in an effort to achieve it, we use a strategy we think will work called the to-do list.

It seems that everyone has that one list of things that must be accomplished in a specified time frame. Perhaps these are activities we choose. Or maybe they’re chores foisted upon us by work or family responsibilities. Whatever the case, taming the to-do list is a must-do for most of us. And yet, we don’t.

“It turns out that only 41 percent of items on to-do lists ever get done,” notes Travis Bradberry, who writes for Entrepreneur and some online magazines, and who also recently coauthored a book titled Emotional Intelligence 2.0. What’s more, to-do lists wind up defeating their purpose, says Bradberry: “All those undone items lead to stress and insomnia…Uncompleted tasks will stay on your mind until you finish them.”

Swap your to-do list for a “break” list

If it’s balance you crave, it’s time to schedule downtime. In a recent Lifehacker post, Adam Dachis tells us you can accomplish much more if you “swap your to-do list for a ‘break list.'”

Jen Uscher, writing for WebMD, is on the same page. In her article “Five Tips for Better Work-Life Balance,” she points out, “Beat burnout by making more time for the activities and people that matter most to you.”

Adds Uscher, “Build downtime into your schedule.” In other words, put your downtime on your to-do list.


REAL ESTATE
Great Signage Can Set Your Property Apart
Property owners and investors are always on the lookout for opportunities to stem the cash outflow that comes with maintaining a property. Unfortunately for them, signage often ends up on the chopping block (or ignored when it’s time for renovations).

But signage plays a vital role, and not just for reasons of safety or code requirements.

Attractive, useful signage increases your property’s curb appeal and user experience. Both are value-adds for tenants eager to impress existing and prospective customers and employees. And increased value enables you to ask higher prices for your property.

Good signage also brands a property, enabling prospective tenants to easily identify your company’s role in the marketplace (as well as potentially increasing its value).

The following are a few guidelines to follow before investing in expensive signage.

Talk to professionals

The easiest way to assess your signage situation is to consult a professional architectural signage company. These professionals can do a walkthrough of your property (or review blueprints, if it’s still under construction) and provide you with a list of required and recommended signs. They can also offer guidance on the materials and designs most appropriate for your building and your budget.

Remember that code is just the beginning

While code requirements are a great starting point (they let you know what signage you absolutely need), always consider your property’s end users such as tenants, visitors, even vendors. While new codes may not apply to older buildings, applicable signs will improve users’ experience.

Never assume the previous owner kept your property up to date on signage requirements, and check to see if there are any new ordinances you should follow. Also note that many inspectors tack on their own requirements, even if they’re not code-required.

Think in the long term

Signage isn’t forever, but it can last a long time, so plan (and design) accordingly. Remember that trendy designs and materials can date a building. Opt for streamlined designs and materials, and avoid noisy color combinations. Well-chosen signage should last through multiple carpet and paint updates.

Go with quality

Signage, especially exterior signage, will quickly show signs of wear if you choose low-quality materials. While interior signage doesn’t need to stand up to the elements, you want it to stand up to time. Save yourself time and money by investing in quality materials for all signage.

Quality design is equally important. The more complicated your signage (think moving parts, electricity, and fancy materials that aren’t durable), the more likely it is that you’ll need to order repairs and replacement parts.

Ask yourself whether you would get lost

If you’ve ever been lost, you know signage can make the difference between instant relief and frustration. Don’t let your property frustrate tenants and visitors. Take a look at it through visitors’ eyes.

Assess whether your current signage is properly sized and visible. Also, does it accurately represent your company? Does it provide the clear directions necessary in case of emergency? If not, it’s time to rethink your signage and increase the value of your property.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Worth Reading
“Surprisingly Simple Ways You Can Trick Your Brain into Focusing”
By Gwen Moran
Fast Company

Multitasking and information overload suppress visionary thinking. Moran’s article highlights research by Sandra Bond Chapman, founder of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas. Chapman and her team developed a brain training program designed to improve focus, memory, and cognitive function. Mimic the training by reading deeply, taking brain breaks, and being selective about the information you allow in.

“The Value of Grey Thinking”

Farnam Street (blog)

This wise blog tackles the issue of “grey thinking.” People tend to view things – issues, ideas, solutions, other people – in black or white. But, this post suggests, reality usually lies somewhere in between.

“The End of Reflection”
By Teddy Wayne

The New York Times

Neuroscientific studies suggest that our device-focused society is hindering our capacity to reflect. Wayne points out that we have retrained ourselves to seek out immediate gratification from our smartphones and tablets rather than actually thinking. The Internet typically rewards speed, a quality at odds with deliberative thought. When faced with the lack of external stimulation, we panic; we’ve lost the ability to ruminate, contemplate, and consider the possibilities. Introspect now!


LINKS YOU CAN USE
This Month: Walking the Work-Life Tightrope
“How do I balance life and work?” Today’s employees face new workplace structures and technology that put increased demands on our time. These links may help you find that healthy balance.

The secret to work-life balance: Give it your all when you work. Give it your all when you rest.
5 Essential Tips for Finding a Work-Life Balance

Get the scoop on how to achieve a healthy psychological balance directly from psychologists who struggle with this issue themselves.
Practitioners Tips on Finding Work-Life Balance

Did you already fall off the tightrope? When things have gotten out of hand, here’s how to climb back on the rope.
5 Ways to Reset Your Work-Life Balance

While women entrepreneurs aren’t alone in struggling for balance, they often have unique problems in achieving it.
Our Small-Biz “Get a Life” Panel

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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