Posted on March 31, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
Wow, it’s amazing that a whole month has already flown by. It feels like only last week I was getting settled in to experience the executive suites at 500 N. Michigan Ave. During my time here, I have had the privilege of meeting several independent professionals who have embraced the value of working in a shared environment – networking with other professionals and experiencing the empowered feeling of having an established office, without having to deal with all of the hassles of a conventional office.
Since a month has passed, I wanted to write a summary of my experiences. I have decided to evaluate the experience through a table of pros and cons of officing in an executive suite. Note that these are my observations – I encourage professionals in the executive suite industry to provide additional insight or response to my observations.
|All telecommunications needs accounted for; no need to manage multiple service providers
||Space can get pricier than conventional offices when a business reaches 4+ people
|Space is furnished to your specifications
||Locked into building standard finishes
|Always room to effortlessly schedule large meetings or impromptu gatherings
||The space is not yours to do with as you please
|Turnkey VoIP and internet service available, so you’ve essentially got a dedicated IT department rolled into your rate
||You don’t get to choose who else occupies the other offices
|Easy to move in and get started
|Receptionist and answering services lend a professional quality to your office without substantial fees or management hassles
To be honest, it was hard for me to come up with a lot of cons, when considering a small business. Although office suites are not ideal for large teams or businesses, small businesses of 1-4 employees can get a professional image, quality space, and productive environment at an affordable rate without the hassles that come with conventional space.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office, Transaction Advisory | Tagged: avenue business center, HQ, Regus, Shared Office | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 10, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
Since I’ve begun my adventures in a shared office suite, I’ve learned to appreciate the value of setting up meetings on my “home turf”. I previously never understood when colleagues and business associates would persuade me to meet them in their office, but I was always happy to oblige. The alternative was often to meet at the corner coffee shop that rhymes with “Less Bucks”, where it was a foregone conclusion that we would be purchasing a couple cups of $4 coffee. Individually, this was no problem, but at an average of a meeting a day, this could add up to a substantial expense.
Now that I have the privilege of my own private office, with its own private door – in contrast to the cubicles and open workspaces I have had in the past, I fully appreciate the value of hosting meetings. Not only do I have my computer, my phone, my printer and all of my in-office accoutrements, but I also have a breakroom. Avenue Business Center has me taken care of, providing coffee (which I don’t drink), tea (which I definitely drink), and hot cocoa (of which I occasionally treat myself on these cold winter days). Having all of these options on hand sure makes it less appealing to brave the cold and make my way to a cafe.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office | Tagged: avenue business center, cocoa, coffee, Starbucks, tea | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 6, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
As I type this, I’m sitting in an office at Avenue Business Center, which occupies the entire third floor at 500 N. Michigan Ave. I mention the address because it is not only a feature but also a benefit of the space. Size of the office space, location in the city, proximity to clients or other businesses, quality of the space – these are all factors that get a lot of attention during a site selection process. One factor that frequently is overlooked when doing a space search is transit access. The location of the office where I am working demonstrates the value of convenience. I can walk half of a block from my home to pick up my choice of bus line that will run express down Lake Shore Drive and drop me off right in front of my building – total commute time: 20-25 minutes. In stark contrast is my roommate’s commute – living downtown, but working in the north suburbs, he takes a bus west to a train north to a shuttle that drops him at his office complex – total commute time: 60-75 minutes on a good day, plus 3 changes of transit type, which can add additional latency. My roommate is a very special exception to the rule; most of my peers in the late generation X/early generation Y (already in the work force) are not willing to accept the commutes that our parents have historically. We want immediate action and quality of life and office location can have a substantial impact on our employment decisions.
Now, that isn’t to say that no employers are taking transit into consideration when evaluating their space. The US Government “gets it”. Working on the GSA projects for the US Census Bureau, I was impressed that proximity to bus line was a question included on the market survey forms, to ensure that the employees at the Census Bureau would have access to transit to and from work. If you are in the market to evaluate your location and ways to improve your top line (i.e. the revenue from hiring the best, brightest and most productive), take into consideration where they live and how far they’re willing to travel. You may find that a small time investment up-front will yield substantial returns down the road.
Since I saved so much time on my commute, I was able to sleep in 15 more minutes and still have almost half an hour on each side of my work day to be more productive.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office, Site Selection, Transaction Advisory | Tagged: avenue business center, bus, Census, Chicago, commute, commuting, GSA, transit | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 3, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
Today is going to be quite the packed Monday. I ran to Office Depot this morning to pick up some essentials for a new creative venture: dry erase markers for notes on the large window in my office, new business card sheets for printing some custom business cards, and envelopes because, well, you can never have too many envelopes. Conveniently, it was a quick zip down the road on the #144 bus and a return trip on the #151 – no waiting for the bus and the stops for both Office Depot and Avenue Business Center are right outside the buildings.
My office space is starting to feel like my own. On Friday, I had the luck of desiring a cup of tea. When my friend Brian and I went to make tea, we found a discarded printer, “free to a good home”. It’s a nice little perk of working in a shared office environment… shared resources. The printer will need some TLC, mostly in the form of new cables, but I’m sure I’ll be able to get what I need at Office Depot.
Now that I’m settled in to the office for the day, I’ve got a couple of business development meetings, so I’m sure that we’ll be taking advantage of the tea and coffee service in the office. Then I’ll be heads-down in the afternoon, spreading the word about the GameTime Connections Professional Relationship event coming up on the evening of March 24.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office | Tagged: avenue business center, GameTime, Office Depot | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 29, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
This was a busy afternoon – once I confirmed that all of my computer files were still intact (long story… special thanks to Jon for his support), I met up with a college friend with whom I had worked on computer science projects back in the day. We were discussing ways to create a website experience that draws in users and keeps them engaged, and he also demonstrated a LEGO pin-hole camera that he built – did I mention he is very creative and good at building things? We got on the subject of games and he told me he was going to build a MAME cabinet, potentially with an integrated electronic projector – very cool.
After lunch at Potbelly’s, we went back to my office at Avenue Business Center, where we were met by Chris Rollyson and James Bergstrom to discuss how to engage today’s executives using social networking tools, both online and offline. Since I only have three chairs in the office and hadn’t expected a party of four, we made our way to one of the conference rooms. It was a perfect space for us to collaborate. I didn’t even need to make a reservation – Victoria and Kim directed me to available space and it was effortless. After grabbing cups of tea from the members’ break room, we adjourned to the conference room and spent the next hour and a half brainstorming, idea-sharing and discussing ways that we could all collaborate. In fact, the space was large enough that we could have comfortably accommodated another 4-6 people, all gathered together to share knowledge. If I wasn’t a participant, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall, listening to the talk of generational marketing, pain resolution and bringing trust and collaboration into a dysfunctional organization. We all walked away with new ways to approach our respective business targets, so it was definitely a successful meeting.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office | Tagged: 500 North Michigan, avenue business center, executive suite | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
Because I had a number of meetings around downtown, I didn’t spend much time in my office at 500 N. Michigan. However, I have some great news to report. My phone system is up and running – now, I just need to take the time to read the quick access sheet that Mike Everly was considerate enough to prepare for me. I find that his personal touch has made my experience very positive at Avenue Business Center, almost like I’m part of an extended family.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office | Tagged: 500 N. Michigan, avenue business center, Mike Everly | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 26, 2008 by Jacob Cynamon-Murphy
Today I’m actually doing double duty. I’ve been at my old office in the morning and will be working out of my office suite at Avenue Business Center. Although it is nice to see my colleagues in the real estate office, I am becoming more aware of the benefit of having my own space from which to work. Despite the moniker of “shared space”, having my own office changes my outlook on getting work done and also permits me more control over the environment in which I work. Not to mention the fact that I am exposed daily to a variety of other business professionals and their respective talents – essentially, Avenue Business Center is creating a melting pot of Chicago professionals and I have the privilege of being part of it.
Filed under: Chicago, Commercial Real Estate, Real Estate, Shared Office, Transaction Advisory | Tagged: avenue business center, Chicago, Equis, Shared Office | Leave a comment »