The terrible weather this winter made it very challenging to get around NYC. Weather aside, maneuvering New York City takes patience, skill and grit – even on a perfect day. If you are moving by foot, train or bike, the City is trying to make improvements to help us all get around a little quicker.
Here are the latest transportation updates that could impact you.
Bus Tracking Now Available in Brooklyn and Queens
Starting this month, The Bus Time program rolls into Brooklyn and Queens. Commuters will be able to use an app that will send riders information regarding the next available bus via text message or through a mobile app. The service is already available in the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan. As a result of this latest expansion, 9,000 stations and 164 routes are now part of the program.
Citi Bikes Pedaling Along
Despite the slushy streets and cold temperatures, Citi Bikes are becoming a popular transportation option. Since the service debuted last May, there have been 6.5 million users who have logged more than 12 million miles. Even during the winter months usage was impressive – cyclists said they could avoid subway delays or traffic jams by hopping on a bike. Love them or hate them, looks like the bikes will be around for a while.
Penn Station Expansion
Plans to extend Penn Station into the Farley post office on Eighth Avenue have been renewed. New York State officials are looking for a broker to sell 1.5 million square feet of unused development rights. The space would serve as a waiting room for Amtrak passengers and improve the experience for everyone traveling through Penn Station.
According to data compiled by Cisco, there were more mobile devices on earth than people at the close of 2013. That is an astounding statement on the insatiable appetite for and reliance on mobile devices. The consumption of these devices will only increase as Cisco predicts there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per person by 2017.
And, with nine out of 10 Americans using cellphones or smartphones, it’s safe to say the mobile revolution has occurred. But what does this mean for SMEs? Is your business’ mobile strategy outdated? Well, if you haven’t changed anything over the past few years, the answer is probably, yes.
Businesses need to make sure their mobile presence is engaging. More than one third of people accessing websites do so using their smartphones. Organizations that fail to optimize their websites for mobile are self-destructing. If customers can’t easily read your content from their smartphone, chances are they won’t become customers. It’s estimated small businesses are losing $1 trillion in sales due to a weak mobile presence.
Companies need to use technology to be more transactional. With the wide range of options available for accepting mobile payments, no one should have to travel back to the office to close a sale.
Lastly, more mobile devices produce more mobile workers. Transferring business intelligence to the cloud, allows for quicker decisions and people can be productive from anywhere on any device.
What has your business done to adapt to the mobile movement? Tell us about it.
New York City has one million buildings and they account for close to 75 percent of the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions. It takes a lot of energy to construct a building and an even a greater amount of energy is consumed in the daily running and maintenance of the structure.
Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city’s annual inventory of greenhouse-gas emissions dropped by 19 percent over the past seven years. New York is hoping to keep that trend going.
In addition to the Big Apple, nine other U.S. cities, have pledged to significantly increase energy efficiency in their buildings. Mayors from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City will be participating in the new City Energy Project.
Businesses of all sizes can take steps now to reduce their impact on the environment. The first step is to evaluate their own real estate needs. Many companies are still locked in to traditional real estate. A quick walk around the office and it becomes clear, on average, at least half of the space in unused because employees are traveling, at meetings or working in other locations. However, the space still needs to be lit, warmed or cooled – resulting in unnecessary energy consumption.
Shared workspace providers tend to be more efficient as the facilities typically have better workspace usage. Small changes in work habits can yield significant results over time. Switching to energy efficient lighting, turning off equipment and recycling are easy adjustments everyone can make.
What can your company do today that will have a positive impact on the environment?
As millennials continue to re-shape office dynamics, the generational divide among workers widens. Differing opinions on measurement, varying attitudes on remote working and the debate on the importance of corporate culture are clashing as mature workers who are set in their ways resist the inevitable change that’s happening. A group of young entrepreneurs recently offered up some advice to their more seasoned counterparts on how to best handle the new business landscape.
Flexibility seems to be the winning strategy for younger business leaders. A few of the points that resonated with us include:
Results-oriented work environments: Young entrepreneurs want to empower workers to develop a schedule that puts them in a position to thrive. They believe more autonomy will foster creativity, efficiency and loyalty. It’s an issue more mature executives grapple with, but it’s an arrangement younger workers are accustomed to.
The 9-5 work day is gone: Technology wiped out traditional work hours and they are never coming back. Work can be a 24/7 activity. Strking the right balance is the challenge.
Build the right team: Look for the best talent to do the job. That may mean working with someone outside your line of sight. Micromanaging is old school. Judge workers on output and results instead of how much time they spend in the office.
Does your workstyle match the qualities of today's young entrepreneurs? Or, are you more comfortable with the traditional model?
Facebook turns 10; millions of tweets soar each day and face-to-face networking is fading into the digital world. Social media has changed how we communicate with friends. And, for today's businesses, it has re-shaped how companies connect with its customers and partners.
More small businesses are turning to social media advertising this year, according to a new survey. Close to 80 percent of small businesses plan to spend the same or more advertising on social media networks, according to Ad-ology’s report. So what are some of the big things to look for in terms of building your social engagement with customers?
Purposeful connections: Don’t just put stuff out there for the sake of doing something. Make sure you are listening to your customers, mining the information and initiating timely contact with customers.
Track customers: Social media allows companies to gather information from a variety of sources. Consider investing in social media marketing software, which helps identify how your brand is resonating with your key audiences.
Creative content: Work hard to be a great storyteller. Quality content will improve your chances of connecting with your customers. Draw them in and make them come back for more.
Is your business stepping up their digital investments this year? What has been the ROI?
We all know or have worked with a workaholic. Heck, you may consider yourself a workaholic. Excessive hours working; cancelled plans with family and friends and the inability to disconnect are all characteristics of a workaholic. However, there is a subset of people who make workaholics look like slackers – Binge workers.
This is an escalating trend with deadly consequences. Stories are surfacing from around the world in which workers put in a ridiculous amount of hours and literally collapse.
Data collected on US workers shows a consistent increase in the amount of hours Americans dedicate to their job. People now work eight-and-a-half hours more a week today than they did back in 1979. And, 35 percent of Americans admit to working on weekends, according to government data.
Obviously, technology has played a major role in our failure to find a healthy work-life balance.
Ken Matos from the Families and Work Institute believes, “Fear can drive people to overwork. Fear shuts down open and honest communication, which is necessary to creating an innovative and responsive workplace. The unsettled economy has certainly instilled fear in many workers who believe more hours at work will prove their loyalty and hopefully keep their job secure.”
Are you an extreme worker? Do they extra hours at work really make a difference?
You wouldn’t think a big Hollywood movie mogul would freeze on stage when speaking at an event during the Consumer Electronics Show. But that’s exactly what happened to director Michael Bay when his teleprompter failed. This latest public speaking blunder proves even the most seasoned professionals can stumble when everyone is looking and they are not fully prepared.
Luckily, Michael Bay will keep his day job. But what if you choked up during a new business presentation? The stakes for small business owners are much higher and there is little room to correct a bad first impression.
Public speaking can be frightening and many of us would like to avoid it at all costs. However, practice makes perfect and here are some tips to help you avoid a presentation meltdown:
- Rely on your brain, not technology: We’ve all panicked when we’ve lost a file or had our computer crash. At some point in our career, technology will let us down. Make sure you can deliver your presentation minus the technology.
- Practice your opening remarks: You have a few seconds to make a good and lasting impression on your audience. Deliver your opening remarks with conviction and authority. Rehearse, but don’t sound scripted.
- Remember you are the expert: Whether pitching to potential clients or speaking at a conference, you are speaking because you are an expert in your field. Draw on your experiences and knowledge to carry you through a mental lapse.
Afraid of public speaking? Tell us how you overcame it.
A generation Y worker is becoming the most coveted employee for businesses these days. With technology moving quicker than the workplace, these mobile young workers are having their voices heard with respect to office design.
Studies of this generation show they want more flexibility, more collaboration and less hierarchy at work. Management appears to be accommodating their demands as open office plans have popped up in approximately 70 percent of all offices. The research available on how this environment impacts performance should have employers rushing to put up cubicle walls all over again.
The common theme among a variety of studies suggests increased stress, lower productivity and less motivation for workers in an open office set up. Open workspaces have their purpose and can be utilized in a productive way for certain projects and informal gatherings. However, to use them as a primary workspace daily is counterproductive. While millennials have shown an appetite for these types of spaces the author of a recent piece in The New Yorker responds by saying, “Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of underperformance in their generation.”
It's all about balance. Finding the right space, for a specific project and bringing together the right people to tackle the project.
Do you agree? Let us know.
Office space rents in New York City have rebounded to pre-financial crisis levels. Fourth quarter numbers released by real estate research firm, Reis, came in at the highest levels since late 2008.
The amount of available space is also tightening up. For the fourth quarter, New York had a 9.9 percent office vacancy rate – the lowest among major U.S. cities. So what’s driving up rents?
As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, New York is actively pursuing technology firms to set up shop in the Big Apple and it appears to be working. There has been growth in the technology sector, which has resulted in new leasing activity and an uptick in office demand for the city.
Reis economist Ryan Severino noted, “New York is trying to become more a tech center and an incubator.”
Analysts expect 2014 office rates to increase across the U.S. as the economy continues to strengthen and office hiring improves. While landlords benefit, businesses will still be under pressure to reduce costs and real estate remains one of the top expenses facing companies. With rising rents, businesses should carefully evaluate their property needs and make sure they are not locked into an agreement that won't meet the needs of the business or its employees in the near future.
Companies of all sizes are finding their commitments to long-term leases that lack a mix of work environments are not beneficial to employees or the bottom line of employers.
A recent example of this comes from Toronto. One of Canada’s largest insurance firms, Manulife Financial Corp., is overhauling its offices to resemble a shared work environment. With the goal of saving money and improving collaboration among employees, the company will be creating smaller workstations, lounges and meeting rooms and will be doing away with typical offices. The company will also be shifting the way its staff works. By introducing a more flexible work schedule, staff will be allowed to work remotely or divide their time between multiple locations.
Many of the qualities Manulife is attempting to create are already present in shared workspaces. The movement to contain real estate costs through innovative workplace designs and programs is gaining momentum. However, co-working is not just about the space, it’s also about the people you connect with during the day.
The intangible benefits of being immersed with other like-minded professionals from different industries and different experiences provides great value to any business. The diverse collection of people in a shared environment can help any business succeed. On a daily basis, we’ve seen new partnerships formed, problems solved and workers inspired by their office peers.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of a shared work environment?