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Commercial Renters Insurance: Does Your Small Business Need It?

When you rent or lease a commercial office, you’re responsible for the property you use or store in that space. Most commercial lease agreements will also hold you responsible for any damage caused to the property you rent.

If you operate your small business in leased office space, you may want to invest in commercial renters insurance (also known as business renters insurance or business owners policy) to protect you and your business from circumstances beyond your control.

While some landlords and property owners mandate that their tenants purchase renters insurance, others leave it to their tenants to decide. From a liability standpoint, commercial renters insurance is a worthwhile business expense that provides invaluable peace of mind.

What is commercial renters insurance?

Commercial renters insurance covers three primary areas: casualty, liability, and property (see sidebar for common definitions). And according to an article posted to the American Express Open Forum, “small business owners who forego renters insurance are leaving themselves vulnerable to theft, natural disasters, and ultimately – the loss of everything in [their office].”

The type and amount of insurance your business needs (or landlord requires) will depend upon several factors, including the number of people you employ and the equipment or assets you store onsite. Policy prices will vary depending on your insurance carrier and the coverage needs of your small business. While the cost will vary by insurance company, you should be able to find good coverage for under $1,000 a year.

But where do you start?

Step 1: Talk to your landlord

Find out what your landlord’s insurance policy covers in your office space and how that policy affects your liability and business assets. A well-drafted lease agreement will clearly state the type of insurance your landlord has, how or if it covers your business, and insurance requirements for tenants. Don’t assume that your landlord’s insurance will completely cover your business and property. If you have questions or concerns, get them answered before you sign a lease so you can make sure your policy covers anything your landlord’s policy doesn’t.

Step 2: Do your research

You can get a sense for policy types and costs by conducting your own research online can check with your insurance carrier for rates, but. A quick Google search will net dozens of potential carriers offering standard packaged policies, as well as policies that can be tailored to meet your specific business needs.

Step 3: Buy. Carefully.

What policy is best? Only you and your agent can determine that. Show your agent a copy of your lease, as well as a list of your coverage questions and concerns. Your agent should be well qualified to recommend the right policy for you and your business—whether it entails property coverage, liability coverage, commercial auto coverage, or anything and everything in between.

You worked hard to build your business; your commercial renters insurance should work hard to protect it.


Have questions about commercial renters insurance for your leased office space? The Anderson Group can help. Contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.


Don’t let commercial insurance terms intimidate you. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular policy coverage.

  • Property and building coverage: Covers damage you, your guests or employees do to your business rental property. Also covers losses related to your belongings, land, and buildings and is often combined with casualty insurance.
  • General liability coverage: Protects your business if someone gets injured or experiences property damage in the course of doing business with you.
  • Casualty coverage: Protects you if someone gets injured on your business property and/or if there are crimes against your property.
  • Business asset and equipment coverage: Covers you if a piece of equipment you own causes damage to the business property you rent.
  • Loss of production coverage: Protects you in the event of a disaster that prohibits you from conducting business in your rental space, including equipment replacement/repair and relocation costs.
  • Crime and theft coverage: Protects you from damage or loss as a result of a break-in at your business.
  • “Valuable data” coverage: Covers data lost in fires, floods, or other disasters.

 

 

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Work Well With Others: Workplace Wellness Initiatives that Work

There’s a lot of buzz about workplace wellness initiatives and their ties to big-picture promises like “increased employee productivity,” “reduced healthcare costs,” and “lower employee absenteeism rates.” Is your company on board, or is it missing the boat?

workplace wellness

Do workplace wellness programs work?

What in the world is workplace wellness?

The term “workplace wellness” applies to any program or initiative implemented to improve your employees’ health, with the added benefit of reducing your company’s healthcare costs. Most programs and initiatives focus on preventive care (flu shots, blood pressure screenings and the like) and lifestyle modification (increasing movement and healthier eating). Encouraging healthy habits can prevent or lower the risk of serious health conditions or help those with existing health conditions manage them.

What’s in it for employers?

According to an article in Inc., employer motivators for implementing a wellness program or initiative include “improving employee productivity, reducing health-related absences, improving employee morale, and retaining employees.” The article also cites a study that shows “health and efficiency have a clear relationship—healthy employees take fewer sick days and are more productive at work.”

What can I do?

There are plenty of things businesses of any size can do to show employees that their health is important to the company. Here are just a few:

Promote preventive care

On the front end, consider offering (and subsidizing) an in-office flu vaccine clinic for employees to keep influenza at bay in your office. Or host a health fair, complete with confidential blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI) screenings. On the back end, discourage your employees from coming to work sick, and set a good example by doing so yourself. If you’re not providing enough paid sick time to your employees, you can expect them to come to work sick.

Simplify snack options

When you’re at work it can be easy—or necessary—to grab a quick bite from the vending machine or local fast-food chain. But these foods ultimately zap energy and inhibit productivity. Offer your employees healthy snack options that fuel performance and meet nutritional needs. Replace soda with juice or sparkling water, and stock snack machines with nuts and dried fruit instead of pastries and candy. You can even stock your break room with fresh fruit once a week.

Offer good health insurance

Yes, it will cost you money, but if you don’t provide your employees with comprehensive health insurance, your workplace wellness initiatives will fall flat. Good health insurance includes good preventative care, which may mean less employee absenteeism and more productive employees.

Send smoke signals

According to the CDC, men and women who smoke incur an average of $17,000 more in lifetime medical expenses and are absent from work two to four days more per year than their coworkers who don’t smoke. Offer insurance benefits that cover smoking cessation programs and nicotine replacement medication. You can also promote tobacco quit lines and meetings or workshops held by local chapters of the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association. Refrain from providing ashtrays outside your building, and establish a company policy that prohibits tobacco use on your property.

Get up and move

Office workers spend much of their time sitting down, which isn’t good for physical or mental health. When you encourage your employees to stand up and move, you might find an increase in their energy levels, creativity, and willingness to collaborate. Locate your copiers and printers—even your break room and restroom—in a far corner of the office to make employees get up and walk throughout the day. You can even map out local routes and distances and organize a walking group for those who feel like getting a little exercise after lunch.

Identify extracurricular activities

Organize a company team for a local 5k or walk-a-thon, or reimburse your employees for race fees (say $50 per year). Contract with a local fitness expert or gym to conduct free lunchtime workshops or trial memberships. Some companies even purchase fitness trackers and sell them to their employees at a discount. Others host Weight Watchers meetings after hours. There’s something about a group mindset (and healthy competition) when it comes to setting fitness goals, tracking metrics, and sharing results with co-workers.

Practice what you preach

You can’t expect to instill healthy habits at work if your meetings and corporate lunches include doughnuts, chips, and cookies. Make sure you offer employees free, filtered water and use catering companies that offer fresh, healthy options.

Ready to start a wellness program?

You don’t have to launch a costly, full-fledged wellness program right out of the gate to make a big difference. Ideas that don’t cost a thing, like a walking club, can get the ball rolling. Start by conducting an employee survey, outlining potential wellness initiatives and asking employees to rank them in terms of interest (and add ideas of their own). But you must make sure that your wellness program is a continual effort that goes beyond handing out informational pamphlets. And don’t neglect the follow-up. Poll your employees to find out what’s working and what isn’t. It’s ok to adjust your program as you go so it remains effective, up-to-date and continues to keep employees interested and motivated.


The Anderson Group: Expertise that helps your office succeed. Questions? Contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

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5 Ways to Turn Fellow Executive Office Suite Tenants Into Business Leads

executive office suiteFor some, moving from a “free” home-based office to a leased executive office suite feels like risky business. But working among other start-ups, small businesses and sole proprietors can pay big dividends—and the rent.

If you’re considering a move to an “official” office, executive office suites can be the ideal first move. In addition to reaping the benefits of shared conference rooms, technology, and other amenities (housekeeping, landscaping, and building maintenance, to name a few), you’ll be working next door/down the hall/upstairs from other businesses who may just need what your business has to offer. And vice versa.

Need a nudge? We’ve compiled a few ideas for getting to know your business neighbors—and their business needs:

  1. Walk the walk. Take a stroll around your office building and introduce yourself to other tenants. Some eye contact, a firm handshake, and a business card can open the door to future conversations.  You might even provide a free sample of your product or a discount on your services for those occupying your building.
  1. Talk the talk. You never know what kinds of teaming opportunities lay right outside your doorstep. Engineers and builders. Publishers and graphic designers. Marketing consultants and tech startups. Attorneys and accountants. The pairings are endless. And so are the chances to promote—and use—one another’s businesses.
  1. Get social. Subscribe to the news and Twitter feeds, business Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profiles of other tenants in your building (and ask them to return the favor). It’s a great—and easy—way to network with your neighbors—and their networks. These small strategies can add up.
  1. Network. Work with your landlord or property management company to organize a building networking luncheon in a shared conference room or kitchen area. Or organize a more casual outing for after-hours drinks at a nearby establishment to learn about your peers in a more informal setting.
  1. Be prepared. When you work in an executive suite building, you’ll get foot traffic throughout the day. Be prepared. With a professional-looking office. An elevator speech. Business cards. Handouts that succinctly detail your business. Whether the passersby are other tenants or clients of other tenants, a quick pop in is a distinct possibility.

We’re not suggesting you adopt a game-show host persona and harass your fellow tenants. But done correctly, intra-office networking can be a powerful tool in your business development arsenal. And it can lead to lasting, fruitful connections and friendships.

Many executive office suite buildings offer and promote a collaborative business environment that invites networking and socialization. Some building owners even offer tenant promotion through their intranet, website, community bulletin boards, newsletters, and social sites. When visiting potential office buildings, ask if free tenant promotion is available. And above all, be sure the building you choose feels right for you, your goals, and your company’s brand.

To learn more about leasing an executive office suite—or to see The Anderson Group’s full range of commercial properties throughout the Capital Region—contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

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Is Solar Energy Office Space Smart for Business?

Using solar energy is good for business – your business.

Spring has finally arrived in the Capital Region, and with it, more daytime hours. This is a double dose of good news for businesses that benefit from solar energy. When your business, property management company or commercial landlord invests in solar, you reap the benefits of reducing electrical usage, heating and cooling costs, and your carbon footprint. How? Solar power offsets a portion of the electricity you or your building owner purchases from the utility and, ultimately, offsets your electric bill.

We know firsthand. In 2014, The Anderson Group contracted with Rhinebeck-based Hudson Solar to install 189 solar panels on our executive suites building at 125 Wolf Road, Albany NY. The installation is projected to yield savings of $190,000 over 25 years – savings that don’t just improve our bottom line but benefit our tenants, as well. Our investment in solar is part of The Anderson Group’s multi-million dollar building upgrade program and reflects our commitment to energy efficiency.

The Anderson Group is not alone. Studies show that commercial solar installations increased by 487% in the past five years alone, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that “major U.S. corporations, including Walmart, IKEA and Macy’s, are going solar at an incredible rate.”

How does our “going solar” benefit your business? There are two big advantages.

Going Green Saves Green

Buildings that take advantage of solar energy typically achieve 15 to 25 percent in after-tax returns, equating to thousands of dollars in savings each year. And because solar panels are most effective during the day, they offset power from the grid when the utility is charging the most. As property managers utilizing solar power, we can sell the surplus electricity generated by our solar panels to the utility company, reducing our – and our tenants’ – monthly electricity bill. Use of solar power also lowers our Common Area Maintenance (CAM) costs – savings that get passed along to our tenants.

Green Will Look Good on You

Going solar makes a powerful statement to customers and current and prospective employees alike that your company cares about our community and the environment. When your business benefits from use of solar power, you send the message that you’re using clean, sustainable, cost-efficient energy to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and pollution. It can be a great public relations tool. After all, an environmentally responsible image is good for business and community relations.

solar energy office space

125 Wolf Road Executive Suites installed solar panels to save energy and cost.


To learn more about The Anderson Group’s investment in solar energy, or to inquire about available space in our solar-enhanced executive suite building at 125 Wolf Road, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

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Learn the Benefits of Leasing Executive Suites

The Anderson Group Answers Questions about the Value of Leasing Executive Suites.

Are you running a home-based or small business and looking for a more professional presence? Or are you searching for a regional office to call home on a temporary basis? An executive suite may be your answer.

What are executive suites?

Executive suites (also referred to as temporary or short-term offices) provide small and rapidly growing businesses with flexible leasing arrangements on office space ranging from 100 to 1,500 square feet. They also come with services most conventional office space lacks. You’ll get a private office or suite to call your own and share common areas, like the lobby, conference rooms, restrooms, and break rooms. Look for buildings that offer shared, value-added amenities, such as receptionist and voicemail services, housekeeping, administrative support, mail drop, copy and fax machines, and high-end conference room technology. An executive suite allows you to have a manageable and efficient corporate atmosphere without the large up-front capital investment.

Who uses executive suites?

Executive suites are designed to allow business owners to start small and grow. Their flexibility, value-added services, and value make them a cost-effective long- or short-term solution for a wide range of businesses, including start-ups, small businesses, sole proprietors and large companies establishing satellite offices. As your business grows, flexible leasing arrangements make it possible for you to increase the amount of space you lease. The best commercial realtors are business partners, providing services like free space planning to help you determine optimal office-space solutions – now, and as you grow – as well as short-term leases to accommodate your changing business needs.

Are executive suites the same as virtual offices?

No. Executive suites are physical office space you’ll lease and occupy. A virtual office provides many of the same amenities as an executive suite – such as a corporate mailing address, phone answering services and meeting room access – but it doesn’t include private, leased office space. Virtual offices are a good solution for small and home-based businesses looking to increase their profile. In fact, as their businesses grow and change, many virtual office “tenants” go on to lease executive suites.

What are the cost advantages of leasing executive suites?

In addition to benefiting from furnished and equipped office space that can be ready for immediate occupancy, you’ll benefit from a number of other advantages:

  • You’ll save money. When you lease an executive suite, you benefit from low monthly rent costs due to services you share with other building tenants. You also save money and time on “busy work” like sorting mail, making copies and answering calls. Those savings reflect money you can invest in your business.
  • You’ll get flexible lease terms. Many office suites can be leased for as few as 90 days. Before you sign a lease, make sure that the size of your suite can easily be increased or reduced based on your changing business needs.
  • You’ll increase networking opportunities. Leasing in an executive suite building means you’ll have opportunities to network with other business owners at your location and make a few friends in the process. You never know who might walk through your door and become a customer.
  • You’ll promote a professional image. Most executive suite buildings are located in prominent business corridors. An address and physical location in these areas – not to mention a receptionist and well-equipped meeting rooms – goes a long way toward making a good impression on your clients.
  • You’ll reduce distractions. Many business owners find working from home distracting. It’s a lot easier to be productive when you’re not looking at piles of laundry, being interrupted by the dog, or being lured by the television and refrigerator.

The Anderson Group offers a variety of office space for lease including state-of-the-art, full service, updated suites at 125 Wolf Road. For more information about executive suites or to view available executive suites with The Anderson Group, contact Susan Anderson Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

When you lease an executive suite from The Anderson Group, you will get:

Executive Suites

Executive Office Suites Available Now at 125 Wolf Road, Albany NY. From The Anderson Group.

  • On-site property management services
  • Receptionist services
  • Personalized phone answering
  • Voicemail service
  • Administrative support
  • Fax and copy machines
  • Mail drop and FedEx drop off/pick up
  • Conference room with flat screen television, computer and Internet
  • On-site food and beverage/catering
  • Full-service, on-site banking
  • Ample free parking

 

 

 

 

 

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