Browse Tag: Business Services

Preparing your Property for an Emergency- Assembling a Response Team

The following is an excerpt from “Before and After Disaster Strikes,” by Debbie and Dave Mistick.   This publication will be available from the IREM bookstore shortly. 

Assembling an emergency management team is critical to emergency planning, as the emergency management team will be called upon to carry out your property’s emergency procedures plan.

When putting together your team, follow these steps:

Establish duties team members

Each team member should be assigned and trained on specific duties, which should be explained in the property’s emergency procedures manual. Remember that not all team members will be available when an emergency arises, so each person should understand the entire emergency plan.

A team leader should be identified.  The team leader will direct the actions of the entire team and will need to know what actions to take for each type of emergency, including what tasks need to be assigned to various team members. During an emergency, all communications should flow from the leader.

Train the team

After the emergency procedures for the property have been written and the team has been assembled, train the team to carry out the plan.

Firstly, take your team on a property tour.  While touring, focus on the following features prominent in emergencies:

• Overall layout of the property

• Configuration of individual floors

• Location of stairwells, entrances and exits

• Roof and basement access

• Mechanical equipment

• Emergency equipment

• Stored chemicals and hazardous waste which are listed on the material safety data sheet (MSDS)

• Location of essential keys

• Telephones and other communications equipment

• Life-safety equipment

Invite representatives of the fire and police departments to participate. Training should also be provided on specific emergency procedures—that is, how some procedures, including evacuation, may differ because of the type of emergency.

Conduct Practice Drills

Scheduling practice drills enables the team members to instinctively respond to emergencies and builds confidence within the emergency management team and among the building’s occupants. To start, practice drills should be announced in advance. Later, the leader can schedule surprise drills to evaluate the team’s performance—separate drills can be scheduled for building occupants and the emergency management team.

Review Drill Performance

Immediately after an emergency drill, the emergency management team should review the team’s performance. Consider the following questions:

• Do members of the emergency management team understand their respective responsibilities?

• Have new team members been adequately trained?

• Are there problem areas and resource shortfalls? If so, they must be identified and addressed.

• Is the plan reflecting structural changes in the facility (including the leased premises)?

• Are photographs, blueprints of the property and other records and documents up to date?

• Are the names, telephone numbers and responsibilities of the team members up to date?

• Does the plan consider ongoing changes in the occupant profile?

Encourage everyone to speak freely. If parts of the plan did not work effectively, the plan should be revised and the staff should be retrained accordingly.

Learn more about emergency preparedness and meet the Misticks at the Global Business Practices Forum on Wednesday, October 17 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm at the IREM Fall Leadership Conference.

Finding And Renting Shared Office Space: Monitoring The Trends In A Growing Market

Cover of "Office Space (Special Edition w...
Cover via Amazon

When Patricia Lynne, CCIM addressed a commercial audience at NAR’s annual conference in 2011, she talked of a radically shifting office space marketplace.  She saw the common cubicle-farm concept of office space rapidly falling out of favor with the youngest office workers.  The millennial generation are used to high mobility, high connectivity and knowledge work, and the cube farms across the country just weren’t set up with these things in mind.

Further, a wave of venture capital is crossing the country, funding startups in technology and related fields, trying to springboard the next Groupon or Amazon.  The shared office model being second nature to the generation of workers  that will power these startups means that the office real estate practitioner who ignores this new pattern of economic development is likely missing out on a big chunk of the future.

While the predictions suggest a growth in alternative office occupancy models, a look around the web confirms it.  Indeed, shared office space, incubator-style arrangements idealized for startups and membership-based rental models are on the rise in primary and secondary markets.  Traditional office building listings websites and services are generally a poor fit for this market, so let’s take a look at some of its key sites that define the online marketplace in shared office space.

Craig’s List – Due to its information simplicity, CL remains hospitable to the shared office listing alongside the listings for more traditional listings for buildings, floors, blocks and the like.  Due to Craigslist’s history and cultural positioning with the technology industry, it will probably always be a stop for the prospective technology startup on the hunt for affordable, flexible and appropriate digs.

SuiteMatch – Powered in part by Zillow listings, this site provides listings in over twenty major cities.  Searches for spaces in Chicago came up with bupkus, so I got an impression of thin offerings, although listings did show up in markets highly identified with tech startups such as San Francisco. Just not as many as I expected.

Regus – Using Google AdSense aggressively and an effective landing page strategy to market shared spaces and suites, Regus is a player in this market that displays full understanding of search marketing . – This “national office sharing directory that solely focuses on unused space for rent that is available within an established business location” boasts”hundreds” of listings and focuses on 10 major markets.  Kudos for being upfront about the amount of listings, but I wished I could find more. – Neat design, map support and information-rich listings make this worth a look when considering a marketing plan for shared office space.

Overall, I saw all the hallmarks of a major marketplace in its early stages – plenty of room to grow.  What are some sites catering to shared office space that you’ve seen?


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