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Going up? Why elevator maintenance is important in your office building.

You’re in a hurry, and the elevator is slow. So you do what any normal person in a rush would do: You punch the up button repeatedly, hoping it will speed up the process. In your heart of hearts, you know it does nothing. But it sure feels good.

In the big scheme of first-world work problems, slow or out-of-order elevators rank pretty high. After all, time is money, and for better or for worse, today’s workforce expects instant gratification.elevator maintenance

So what’s a tenant to expect, and what’s a building owner to do? Routine maintenance and constant assessment.

“A healthy elevator system is critical to the safety and productivity of a building’s tenants, whether it’s a commercial building or a residential building,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “We are vigilant about checking elevator function in our office buildings, and we know that sometimes the only option is full replacement of a system. It’s a big investment, but well worth it in terms of safety, efficiency, and peace of mind.”

The Anatomy of an Elevator

Like the human body, an elevator has hundreds of parts that must be maintained to prevent excessive wear and breakdown. Failure to do so can negatively impact everything from elevator response time and door operation to lighting, alarms and intercoms.

Although only properly trained and licensed elevator technicians should perform maintenance and tests on elevator equipment, good property managers and owners should periodically ride building elevators and compare their functions with manufacturer’s specifications to evaluate their performance. This is important not only to ensure tenant safety and satisfaction, but also because an elevator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in a building—at initial purchase and throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Elevator Care and Maintenance

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you own or lease a building with elevators:

  1. Plan ahead. Elevator maintenance is governed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which requires facilities to have a written maintenance control program for its elevator systems. The point? To help ensure that building owners and managers create a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it to avoid preventable accidents. Check with your building owner and make sure he or she has a plan in place. If you own a building, be sure to get your plan in place before you need it.
  1. Be proactive. When you inspect and service your elevators on an ongoing basis, you run less risk of breakdowns and tenant complaints. Moving into an office building with elevators? Ask your property manager or landlord how old your elevators are and how often they are inspected. If you can, ask other building tenants how they’d rate the building’s elevator service and maintenance. Out-of-service elevators inconvenience tenants. Proactive maintenance can increase tenant satisfaction and extend the lifespan of your investment.
  1. Hire qualified contractors. Elevator repair is among the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry. Make sure that anyone and everyone servicing your elevators is educated and licensed in elevator repair. Having trouble finding certified elevator technicians in your area? The National Association of Elevator Contractors can help you find reliable elevator contractors in your area.
  1. Know the signs. Many building owners and managers don’t know or recognize the symptoms of an aging or malfunctioning elevator system early enough to avoid disruptive and expensive issues. Some issues are obvious, such as elevator downtime, increased service calls, and slow operation chief among them. Other issues, such as inefficient/high energy use, inconsistent power quality, and overheating, aren’t so obvious. And remember: Even well maintained elevators eventually need to be updated or replaced.
  1. Listen to your tenants. If you own or manage a building with an elevator, there’s one foolproof way to know if something is wrong with it: Your tenants will complain. And then their customers will complain. And when a poorly maintained elevator impacts their bottom line, it will impact yours, as well. Take tenant complaints seriously, and contact your contractor if you see, hear, or feel anything suspicious outside of your regular maintenance schedule. A service call is always cheaper than an accident.

Extending Your Elevator’s Useful Life

Elevators are standard in nearly every office building in the United States, and unless they’re malfunctioning, the millions of people who use them every day don’t give them a thought. Building owners and managers can help keep it that way—and save the headache and expense of repeat service calls or accidents—by establishing and executing a care and maintenance plan that doesn’t just address problems as they happen, but keeps things running smoothly between checkups.


The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

Posted in Albany NY Business, Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space, Commercial Property Management, Office Housekeeping Services, Office Space Efficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Office Temperature Check: Keeping your office cool when it’s hot outside.

office temperatureHere in upstate New York, temperatures and humidity levels can fluctuate wildly from one day to the next. This summer has already been a case in point—a heat wave one week and temps in the 60s the next.

Office temperatures have a powerful impact on employee productivity and performance. Researchers from Cornell University found that employees committed 44% more errors when office temperatures were cold than when they were warm

So what’s the best way to keep cool—or at least stay comfortable—those 8+ hours a day you’re at work? Start knowing this: You can’t please everyone. While one employee fans herself with a piece of paper, another is reaching for a sweater. Here are five quick and easy tips for keeping your employees happy and your office comfortable when temperatures flare.

  1. Layer up.

Hot? Cold? Be prepared either way by wearing layers. If you’re a business owner, consider implementing a casual dress code during the summer months so employees can leave the suits and ties at home in favor of lighter options.

  1. Stay hydrated.

“The rule of thumb is, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” says Dr. Irvin Sulapas, sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor University. When you’re dehydrated, you can become sleepy, irritable and confused. Dehydration can even lead to headaches and dizziness. Provide an office water cooler and encourage employees to use it by giving them company water bottles.

  1. Tune up and turn on.

Open windows and air conditioning don’t mix. In fact, it’s a combo that can wreak havoc on your employee comfort and your energy bill. Keep the cool air inside and the hot air outside by properly maintaining your air conditioning unit from coil to filter. This small measure helps ensure your AC unit runs efficiently and effectively throughout the summer months.

  1. Switch off and cool down.

We can sum this one up in one word: unplug. Unused and obsolete office machinery not only increases your energy bill, but also increases your office temperature. Unplug unused equipment and ask employees to turn off computers when they leave for the night. (Sleep mode still uses energy and contributes to office warming.)

  1. Use high-efficiency lighting.

Incandescent bulbs radiate heat and add to your bottom line during peak energy usage months. When you switch to high-efficiency lighting, such as LEDs, you’ll use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent. In addition, high-efficiency lights last as much as 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.

As summer kicks into high gear, you might also consider getting an office energy audit—an expert assessment of how much energy your office consumes and measures you can take to make it more energy efficient.

“An energy audit is a good first step in making your office more comfortable, not just in the summer months, but all year long,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager for The Anderson Group. “When employers implement audit recommendations, they often see lower utility bills and more comfortable and productive employees during months with extreme temperatures in either direction.”

 


 

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about energy efficiency or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

Posted in Albany NY Business, Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space, Commercial Property Management, Managing Your Business, Office Productivity, Small Business Articles | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

What does your landscaping say about your business?

what does your landscpaing say about your business

Poor landscaping reflects on your business.

We’ve all heard the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” but that’s not entirely true. When you pull up to a business with an overgrown lawn, damaged pavement or unruly shrubs strewn with litter, you’ve judged…and you’ve likely judged correctly.

When you own or run a business, first impressions go far beyond a friendly receptionist and professional décor. They start the minute your customers drive up to your building and get out of their cars—or the minute potential customers drive past and notice your building. What does your building say to visitors and passers-by? If you’re on top of your commercial landscaping, it says “professional,” “doing well,” and “proud.” If landscaping and property maintenance aren’t on your radar, you might be telling customers all the wrong things.

“Your customers’ first impression of your business can also be their last,” says Dave Eck, maintenance manager at The Anderson Group. “Nice landscaping and clean grounds can be an indirect statement about your company’s attention to detail,” says Eck.

External Affairs

Property maintenance is more than running a vacuum and repairing a leaky roof. It’s also taking care of your property on the outside…year round. It can be a full-time job, as each season brings its own challenges. In the winter, you need to be sure your walkways and parking lots are clear of ice and snow. In the spring, you’ll be cleaning up sticks, leaves and other debris, as well as weeding, planting, and mulching. Summer brings endless outdoor responsibilities, from fertilization and irrigation, to weeding, pruning and insect and disease control. And fall? That means cutting back perennials, raking and preparing your landscaping for winter.

An attractive landscape plan doesn’t need to involve a truckload of gardeners and a bottomless bank account, but it will be a labor of love well worth the time and investment. A neat landscape not only beautifies your business, but it can also contribute to employee and visitor safety when it comes to nicely paved surfaces and proper lighting.

Think Outside the Box

Own your own building? If you have the time to install and maintain your commercial landscaping yourself, great! Many landscaping professionals do, however, recommend investing in a professional plan to ensure that the selected plants, shrubs, trees and flowers work with your soil type and sun/shade ratio. A professional plan can also help you figure out which plant types and colors complement your building, signage, and desired maintenance schedule.

Don’t have time to handle landscaping plans and maintenance yourself? Source qualified landscapers with commercial landscaping experience from local nurseries and garden centers. Most offer weekly, bi-weekly or monthly maintenance plans as well as landscape planning and installation.

Last but not least, if you rent or lease space in a commercial building, talk to your landlord or property management company if your building’s landscaping isn’t up to par. but also attract more tenants to their buildings.

“Good property management companies and building owners recognize that first impressions make for happy tenants, not only in terms of tenant morale, but also in terms of attracting customers to their businesses,” Eck says. “Those first impressions also attract new tenants to the building. Attractive and well-maintained landscaping is a win for everyone involved.”

 


 

The Anderson Group helps keep your small business in great shape. For information about available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

Posted in Albany NY Business, Albany Pine Bush Properties, Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space, Commercial Property Management, Managing Your Business, Small Business Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

What Are People Saying About Your Company’s Restroom?

Maintaining Your Company’s Restroom.

It’s everyone’s business.

Let’s say your family is expecting company. You’ve probably cleaned the living room and kitchen. Maybe you’ve even asked the kids to tidy their bedrooms. But there’s no doubt you spent a lot of time scrubbing the bathroom—from floor-to-nearly-ceiling. After all, the state of your bathroom leaves a lasting impression on your guests and, like it or not, says a lot about you as a person.

But many business owners don’t pay attention to their company’s restrooms. They fuss over the reception area, the office layout, and the artwork on the walls. But the restroom doesn’t hit their radar unless, well, unless they’re in it.

Here’s the thing: The state of your corporate bathroom leaves a lasting impression on your customers and says a lot about you as a company.

The Problem

Had a bad experience in a public restroom? You’re not alone. According to this year’s Healthy Hand Washing
Survey, conducted by Bradley Corporation, almost 70% of Americans say they’ve had “a particularly unpleasant experience in a public restroom due to the condition of the facilities.” Oft cited complaints included clogged toilets, bad ventilation, dirty and/or old appearance, and partition doors that don’t latch. The survey also confirmed what most of us already know: Consumers equate dirty restrooms with poor management.

The Solution

The good news is that better restrooms don’t have to be pipe dreams. A pleasant corporate restroom experience doesn’t have to be a luxury experience, and it doesn’t need to cost tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases, a good restroom experience comes down to simple things, like cleaning floors and surfaces, emptying wastebaskets, making sure hardware and fixtures are functioning, and restocking supplies on a daily basis. Adding small, inexpensive convenience features, such as full-length mirrors, hooks and shelves can also make a big difference.

Ty Woodard, who heads up The Anderson Group’s housekeeping department, says that continual maintenance of commercial restrooms isn’t just important for building aesthetics, but also for the health and wellbeing of tenants and their visitors.

“A routine restroom maintenance schedule is not just about germs, something we certainly try hard to eliminate as much as is possible, but keeping restrooms in good shape is also important to ensure that people don’t slip or get hurt in other ways,” Woodard says. “Well-maintained restrooms show that we care about our tenants and have the added benefit of helping make their businesses look as professional as possible.”

The Next Step

If your company owns the building and has authority to make changes to it, consider ramping up the quality of your restrooms. It will be well worth the investment. Don’t own your own building? Talk to your landlord or your building’s property management company about your concerns and wish list. Good landlords don’t let bad bathrooms happen to their tenants—or their tenants’ customers.

company's restroom
Infographic: Bradley Corporation
Posted in Albany NY Business, Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space, Managing Your Business, Office Housekeeping Services, Small Business Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Happy Earth Day! 5 Ways to Green Your Small Business

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, marking the 46th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. What used to be a day celebrated by a few fervent environmental groups and activists is now a worldwide call to action embraced by individuals and major corporations alike. Good environmental stewardship benefits us all.

How can your business do its part? We’ll give you five business-centric ways to green your workspace and protect our planet at the same time.

1. LEED by Example

The U.S. Green Building Council says the average person spends 90% of his/her time indoors. That means the air we breathe and the light we’re exposed to should keep us healthy, happy and productive. You might think LEED only applies to building construction, but LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) helps businesses that don’t have control over building construction or operations (office building tenants, for example) develop healthier and greener workplaces. Learn more.

2. Increase Your Efficiency

Your company can realize big returns on investment when you reduce your energy usage—not only in terms of cost savings, but also greater comfort for and productivity of the people who work for you. Look for office buildings that have an energy efficiency program in place. These programs often reduce tenant occupancy costs and provide a high-functioning workspace—a win-win. Energy efficiency programs often include energy-efficient roofing systems, LED lighting, and HVAC, as well as in-house expertise capable of monitoring and maintaining NYSERDA’s energy-efficiency standards. To learn how your office can make simple changes that add up to big savings, sign up for a free Smart Office Audit.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

It’s an old—but relevant—reminder, and it means more than recycling paper in the bin next to the copy machine. Ask employees to bring reusable mugs and water bottles to the office and do away with the disposable ones. Ask employees to think before they print, and buy recycled-content products for your office (on average, they cost approximately 5% more, but help reduce waste and pollution. From recycled paper and refillable ink cartridges to cell phones and computers, almost everything in your office can be recycled for future reuse.

4. Buy second-hand office furniture

When shopping for furniture and furnishings for your office space, consider buying used or remanufactured furniture. You can find deals on used office furniture on eBay and Craigslist, and you can find like-new remanufactured furniture (often restored to the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications but at a fraction of the cost of new office furniture) through your local office furniture dealers and remanufacturers. A quick Google search in your area should lead you to a number of resources for both. You can also choose to donate your old office furniture to save it from the landfill. Check the donation rules and regulations for your local Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to give your old furniture a second life.

5. Soak up the sun.

Green power takes many forms, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, but all come from renewable energy sources and not fossil fuels. If you’re looking for new office space, look for buildings that have invested in renewable energy. The savings, in terms of reduced electricity usage and heating and cooling costs, indirectly and positively impact your bottom line by offsetting a portion of the electricity your building owner purchases from the utility. In addition, when your business benefits from renewable energy, you’re telling your customers that clean, sustainable, cost-efficient energy is important to you—a powerful message in this day and age.


 

To learn how to make your office space more energy efficient and reduce your carbon footprint, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com

 

Posted in Albany NY Business, Ask The Expert, Energy Efficiency, Managing Your Business, Office Productivity, Office Space Efficiency, Small Business Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed