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Even before it shipped to a single user, the Light Phone was one of the most compelling riddles in tech. The slender phone that only takes and receives calls has attracted a slew of attention and descriptors in the last year that simultaneously seemed to nail and slightly misunderstand its raison d'être. It's been called everything from the "anti-smartphone" to a "pro-human" phone, to just plain weird. Its slight appearance and even more enigmatic function has challenged users in a way that the current tech vanguard isn't exactly known for: Surfacing important philosophical questions, not just inventing a way for urbanites to lead slightly more convenient lives. It's a device that asks questions about necessity, freedom and relationships, and it does so with Ma-like concepts of non-use and "pauses" that are at once playful and dead serious. Co-founder Joe Hollier gives us a deeper look at how a phone designed to be used as little as possible can impact everyday life—including work life.
What does the award-winning video arm of some of the world's biggest brands look like? A lot like the offices of Visual Country. Billed as a video production house, Visual Country accomplishes a great deal with a relative little, thanks to a talented team of designers, animators, art directors, editors and just about every other creative function you can think of. You can see their work reflected in digital experiences for big names like Apple, Google and HBO.
This post was originially published to Entpreneur.com. The debate over the Open-Office trend reignited recently with the contention that it's destroying the workplace. In our own business, we actually find support for Open-Offices quite common from business owners and senior managers who want to feel connected to their companies' day-to-day operations. And of course, it doesn't hurt that open layouts are incredibly efficient, at least from a square footage per person standpoint. The criticisms of Open-Offices, however, pinpoint a lack of efficiency when it comes to workforce perfomance. Some research suggests that employees simply can't concentrate in these "collaborative" atmospheres, and that whatever the gains greater interactivity with your teammates offer, they pale in comparison to the productivity lost. The Open Office Trend Driving Demand for Flexible Work Hours? I mention all this because the Open-Office, regardless of your take on its effectiveness, is usually lofted as an example of evolved thinking when it comes to the workplace. At least companies are willing to challenge long-held notions of how an office is supposed to look and function, right? And this same willingness to rethink the workplace is usually credited with the shift toward remote work arrangements and more flexible hours. The old constraints of where and when you do your work are giving way to a more nuanced understanding of what fuels productivity. The difference between the Open-Office trend and the move toward flexible work arrangements, however, is that the former is an employer-driven trend (we cited, for example, the need for efficient space). The latter, as we discovered in a recent study, is employee-driven. That difference is important because it may indicate a divide between employers and employees on what makes for an effective workplace. Employers seem to think it's the Open-Office. A growing number of employees think it's someplace besides the office. We surveyed over 300 employees and 50 companies with Justworks to guage the level of importance they place on workplace flexibility. Unsurprisngly, we found that a majority (68 percent) think the availability of flexible work hours very important, while 70 percent think it has a positive impact on team performance. So much so, that nearly half (42 percent) of repsondents indicated a willingness to change jobs for 10 percent less pay if it meant getting flexible work hours. Again, it's interesting to relate the perceived impact of flexible work hours on performance, to the perceived impact of Open-Office space on performance found in other recent studies. They're inverse. Could it be that distracting Open-Office layouts are prompting people to seek asylum elsewhere, whether it be the comfort of their own homes, coworking or a nearby Starbucks? Employers, it seems, are getting the message. As you'll see in the infographic below, employers' policies are starting to closely match employee attitudes on the impact of flexibility in the workplace.
Somewhere between an office manager and onsite security is the Cobalt, an office robot that doesn't really look or behave like our preconceptions of robots. That is by design. The Cobalt is essentially a roaming monitor that reports when things in the office are out of place; that could be an unexpected visitor, a leak in the ceiling or a rat scurring the halls. The robot comes with software that personnel like the office manager can use to receive and act on alerts in real time, even if they're not in the office.
This feature originally appeared on Forbes.com. “Fail fast, fix fast, learn fast.” That’s Hutch CEO Beatrice Fischel-Bock’s mantra, and a quick tour through her history as an entrepreneur reveals she’s not kidding. Since 2015 Hutch, an app that helps you redesign a room with the snap of a picture, has undergone a few makeovers itself. CEO and co-founder Beatrice Fischer-Bock's first attempt, Zoom Interiors, featured on Shark Tank, and made enough of an impression that Barbara Corcoran bit (only to back out later). Corcoran wasn’t the only person to take notice though. Tinder CEO Sean Rad offered to invest as an angel and make some introductions. Shortly thereafter, Zoom gave way to the chat-based Homee, which raised a $5 million series A and appeared to have some momentum on the user-acquisition side. Yet Fischel-Bock wasn’t satisfied. Both Zoom and Homee were essentially consultation services for millennials, and the gap between consultation and a finished makeover can be substantial. Plus, Homee only made money when people bought furniture through the app. So in a way, the chat service was only getting in the way of what both users and Fischel-Bock wanted; a quicker way to buy new, designer-approved looks for a home. The future, Fischel-Bock believed, was in the more immediate payoff of visualizing how your new décor would play in the room. And then buying the items to pull it off. That future is now. Recently, Fischel-Bock launched Hutch. Like she says: Fail fast. Fix fast. Learn fast. 1. When did you first know you were going to be an entrepreneur? I didn’t know I was going to be an entrepreneur until my partners and I came up with our first business idea in college. We knew we were onto something but assumed someone else had already done it. As we dug deeper we realized no one had. This was a big learning moment in what entrepreneurship is. It’s realizing that there is still so much innovating to do and who's to say you’re not the person who should be doing the innovating? 2. What inspires you to succeed? Myself. Later, when I look back on my life, I want to know that I’ve left a mark in some way–either through the people I work with or the people who benefit from what I help create. 3. If you could hire your younger self, what job would it be for? I pretty much am my younger self. If I were not CEO, I would be in a COO or Chief of Staff type of position. I enjoy bringing the right people together and making things happen. I have a mantra at the company that I instill: Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast. I look for people who embody that way of thinking and working. Luckily, I think I have that personality type so I hope I’d hire me! 4. What’s the best part of coming to work every day? Collaborating with the team and knowing every day that we will be innovating and iterating on something that we feel so passionate about. It’s easy to take for granted that every day is completely different in the startup world–we touch every part of the business. I try to remind myself as much as possible how lucky I am to be excited about going to work every day. 5. What is the ideal workspace for you, personally? Open floor plan where I can shout out to someone from a different department. I love the energy of an office with lots of voices and open communication. Sometimes it’s business related, and other times it’s butting in on a conversation happening across the room. 6. What is the ideal form of relaxation for you? Since moving to LA I’ve gotten into hiking. I find its the perfect mix of all things relaxing–nature, sunshine, music, exercise, and dogs! I either zone out and use the time to truly unplug or use the time to do some clear thinking.
For early stage startups on the hunt for commercial space, the most appealing options on the market can look like a matryoshka doll; coworking, sublets, shared space and shared space within sublets. The flexiblity and savings these shorter term solutions can offer is alluring for young companies just finding their way. But for those ready to lease their own exclusive space from a landlord, a few New York City neighborhoods currently offer some value worth a look. Garment District A central locale and a well-known slowdown in manufacturing has made more space available in the district at favorable terms for tenants. If Garment District hadn't occured to you as an option for space, it may be time to rethink your options. Pros Affordability and accessibility. Avg. rents routinely reside in the $40-$50 per SQ FT range. Its proximity to Penn Station and Herald Square guarantees a low maintenance commute for most of your workforce, whether they're coming from New Jersey or Brooklyn. Cons Style. Or the lack thereof. The Garment District doesn't posses the culture or character of downtown neighborhoods. But what it misses in trendiness it more than compensates for in price and availability of commercial loft space.
This post originally appeared on Forbes.com. For many, 2016 was a year to forget. Not so for Shyp. The logistics company hired its first COO in the spring. It opened its doors to businesses in need of hassle-free logistics (what company isn't?). And it recently launched a comparison tool that positions the company in the realm of the Hipmunks and Kayaks of the world. Turns out those "Uber for shipping" labels were pretty short-sighted after all. We put CEO and Founder Kevin Gibbon on the hot seat to get a glimpse of his internal life at such an exciting point in the young company's history. 1. When did you first know you were going to be an entrepreneur? Most entrepreneurs are born with the urge to create, which was definitely something I did from a very early age, usually just on the side. My first business I created websites for friends and family. Next, I started importing cars from the US to Canada. With my third business, I was a seller on eBay, which was how the idea for Shyp came into being. Entrepreneurship was always something I’d wanted to do, primarily for the independence, and the ability to create something from nothing. I couldn’t stay away from that urge. I got an idea in my head and needed to see it through. I’m not the type of person who starts something and doesn’t finish it. I get really focused and very obsessive about the things I’m working on. So right now, I’m continuously focused on Shyp and how to make it better. 2. What inspires you to succeed? What most drives me is having a really big impact. I love seeing the impact that Shyp is having not only on me personally, but on the people around me. It seems that over the course of my life i just wanted to continue to have an increasingly large impact. I just continue to want to push myself forward and do bigger and better things. There are plenty of other entrepreneurs who I aspire to be like. Elon Musk is someone who thinks very, very large and doesn’t see barriers o innovation. He acts on that passion for innovation, rather than just lip service. People like him inspire me. There are a lot of entrepreneurs who are entrepreneurs for the sake of being entrepreneurs, usually just to make a bunch of money. The ones who want to see change want to have an impact and see the world from a different view are the kind of entrepreneurs I want to surround myself with. 3. If you could hire your younger self, what job would it be for? I would definitely want to hire myself for a role with some sort of autonomy—giving full control of a project. Earlier in my career, I was an engineer. I worked for some big companies, including Boeing, and was given the typical engineering workload. Had I known the ambition that I had, I’d try to give my younger self projects that would allow me to be more creative with and really take ownership. At that time in my career, I wasn’t able to see something through all the way. I was given some task that I was expected to complete, but it wasn’t something that fulfilled me. 4. What’s the best part of coming to work everyday? For me, it’s about problem solving, and solving really big problems with amazing people. The most enjoyment that I have is brainstorming—getting people in a room and trying to figure out some tough problem that has never really been solved before. I love working with high caliber individuals—those who are better than I am at everything in the business, which makes scaling very simple. You start with smart people, then you’re able to go and bring in even smarter people, and you’re able to learn a lot from those people and their experiences. Recently, a rewarding part of my job has been going out into the field and talking with customers and figuring out how Shyp has impacted their businesses, especially as we shift toward serving more small businesses. We’ve heard stories of Shyp customers who were able to quit their day jobs and start their business because we took such a huge component off their hands. Those stories are very, very rewarding.
Somewhere between agreeing to lease terms on your new office and actually moving into your space, a critical step occurs: Transforming the raw commercial space you fell in love with into a fully functioning office. That transformation is called the "build-out" in commercial real estate vernacular. As you can imagine, the build-out can be expensive. It's essentially a scaled-down construction/renovation project. In order to make the build-out more manageable, landlords will offer what is called a Tenant Improvement Allowance (TIA), or funds to help you finance renovations. How much, what it covers, and how it's allocated can be nuanced—but negotiable—territory. How the Tenant Improvement Allowance is Applied The landlord might offer the Tenant Improvement Allowance as a month or two of free rent (expressed in either dollars/sqft or a flat sum). You can then apply the savings from the free rent to the cost of the build-out and manage the project on your own, from hiring the contractor and designer, to deciding which materials should be upgraded or downgraded, according to your budget. In other the cases, the landlord might agree to pay the contractor(s) directly. Either way, you're responsible for any expenses above the TIA limit. To secure and utilize a TIA effectively, scope out the work that needs to be performed on the space. Consult a designer and/or architect. Come up with a detailed plan that presents all the required modifications to the landlord. In doing so, you can take a more informed approach to negotiating the TIA, what it should cover and how it's managed. For a closer look at how you can protect and use your TIA effectively, read here. The TIA in a Tenant's Market Depending on who you ask, 2017 is a great time to be a commercial tenant in line for a TIA. In short, there's more space on the market than tenants to fill it at the moment. Newly minted spaces at Hudson Yards and World Trade Center, combined with Midtown emigration and a competitve sublet market have contributed to rising vacancies for landlords. Coupled with the pressure to upgrade buliding stock in neighborhoods like Midtown East to compete with newer Class A spaces further south has coincided, tenants find themselves in position to demand more aggressive build-outs and amenities. Some landlords are obliging. Hence the Tenant Improvemnt Allowance. According to recent reports, TIA's soared 12 percent last year.
Perhaps an unheralded benefit of the open office's populartiy is conceptual. Call it the blank canvas effect. As companies have discovered more "open" ways of working, they've also embraced a newfound thoughtfulness in the design of their workspace. In 2017, interior design is introducing a set of new sensibilities to the office that reflect the modern workforce's desires. Office Space That Feels Residential The value of a comfortable office might seem obvious, but as defined as a more home-like environment... well this is something relatively new. "I think the next trend in office design is creating spaces that feel residential," says Brooklyn-based Homepolish designer Tina Rich. "We spend so much time at the office—especially New Yorkers—that our office spaces need to be comfortable and congenial." Deeper sofas, chandeliers, drapes. Private offices that feel more like studies. Subtle touches with potentially large gains in making the office a place people actually enjoy inhabiting.
This feature was originally published on Forbes. You'll recall on the show Inside the Actors Studio, host James Lipton would pose the same 10 questions to each guest at the conclusion of the segment, and it was arguably the best part of each show. The questions were disarmingly eccentric, which in turn produced disarming answers from the guests. Lipton's questionnaire was an adaptation of another questionnaire that Bernard Pivot, himself the host of a French television show named Apostrophes, would use on his guests. The questionnaire is sometimes called the "Pivot Questionnaire." And that questionnaire has its origins in the Proust Questionnaire, a personality test Marcel Proust may or may not have been taken with when he was a teen. All which is to say this type of personality questionnaire has a grand tradition, one we're attempting adopt for founders and CEOs with unique perspectives. Proust, Pivot, Lipton...Wasserstrum? I'll do my best impersonation. For this installment we have Michael Lastoria, CEO of social eatery concept &pizza.
Coworking as we know it is changing. In fact, it might have already changed. For a time, the practicality and efficiency of shared office space at a price lower than most commercial rent rates was the main selling point. Tacked onto the end of the pitch, almost as an afterthought, were notions of community and paeans to networking. But it seemed a little forced, a little heavy on wishful thinking. Was anyone really taking a coworking desk to make friends? Heading into 2017, the answer is yes, actually, community in coworking is extremely valuable. And not just to those enterprising individuals seizing the opportunity to connect. Coworking, at least the retooled version, could impact whole cities, whether they're asking for it or not. As a budding industry, coworking is entering a highly competitive phase. Shared space at lower rates is no longer enough to lure the cognoscenti. It's the extracurriculars that can make coworking more than the sum of its parts. The same promises of "community" are making the rounds—they're just backed with a little more proof now.
If you thought finding an apartment in New York was hard... Whether you're actively on the office space market or you're eager to get a head-start on your commercial leasing education, you may have noticed something: Convenient, digestable information on the basics of office leasing can be hard to come by. Sure, you can come across the odd blog post or two. But to complete a basic picture of what it takes to find and rent an office, you have to do a lot of Googling and a lot of reading. And even then it's not always immediately clear - Where to start looking for available space Who to contact in the event you find a great space What you'll really pay when renting an office Why pictures of commercial space can be so hard to come by. Among a host of other considerations. Not to worry. We've set out to clarify and simplify the office leasing process with what we're calling a Quick Start Guide to Finding Office Space. Download It Now Here's a preview of what you'll find in the guide.
Maybe you've heard: your desk chair is killing you. Here are the basic physics. Sitting in the standard desk chair for hours on end collapses the lumbar (lower) spine and causes the rest of your spine to curl into a sickly "C" shaped slouch that can cause chronic back problems, starting with poor posture. This fact helped propel the standing desk phenomenon that swept technology companies in particular off their feet a few short years ago. Until people realized that standing for eight hours a day was hard and opted to sit back down (this writer included). In its place, the workforce is exploring sedentary alternatives—including taking up residence on their office's couches or conference room chairs. Here are three representing the spectrum of affordability and advancement.
Finding Office Space: The Good News It's true, finding office space and then haggling for the best possible lease might be a bite-sized hell, but let’s be honest, it’s a good problem to have. If you’re looking for more space, it means your company is starting to scale, you’re bracing for a new era of growth, one that can greatly benefit from an office. Commercial real estate has a reputation for being tricky to navigate, a minefield of hidden costs and duplicitous landlords. While that might be hyperbole, enough potential pitfalls exist that even a wary, accomplished entrepreneur is bound to run afoul of a less than optimal deal simply because they don't know better. That's what makes enlisting the services of a commercial tenant broker worthwhile. Without one, you’re operating at a disadvantage. Here’s why.
We've all seen the stats and read the stories; when it comes to supporting diverse talent, Silicon Valley has a less than stellar track record. So what is it doing to address the issue? While much of the diversity debate in Silicon Alley is focused on hiring and retention at large companies, one marketing tech company is partnering with Girls in Tech to approach it from a different angle.
Though not accompanied by any official announcement, TheSquareFoot does in fact have an office pet. His name is Riz and he is a star-in-the-making. Look at that face.
Featured Comany: Hired Office Location: 425 Broadway, New York, NY The Space: A full floor loft in a boutique SoHo building Size: 3,200 sq ft The Team: 22 strong (in New York), 231 globally. As its name suggests, Hired isn't just a jobs board: it wants to make better matches between talent and employers and facilitate actual hires. Perhaps more than data and technology, Hired uses relationships and a local understanding of each local job market to do so. Which is why Hired has a dozen offices and counting around the world. On the latest episode of SquareFootage, we visit their SoHo office and learn how they're tackling the ultra-competitive job market that is New York City.
What makes a building green? Turns out, that's not always such an easy question to answer. How efficiently the building supplies and consumes energy, the sustainability of the materials used in its construction, the sustainability of the site its located on, the relationship between its design and its impact on the environment, and how energy efficient its occupants are all contribute to a building's green profile. While a number of standards exist to help answer this question, one of the most visible is the Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design (LEED) ratings system. With over 200,000 LEED certified buildings globally, momentum is growing, as is the pressure for real estate developers and landlords to get onboard. Still, progress is slow. In New York City, where one might expect an aggressive trend toward green buildings, progress has been gradual to say the least. Out of roughly 4,000 commercial buildings in Manhattan, 41 have a Core & Shell (like the buildings' exoskeleton) that is LEED certified or pending LEED certification. That's a scant one percent.
Call it "the other amenity." Next to no-hassle commutes and assorted lunch spots, having your pick of nearby gyms ranks high on the list of conveniences businesses consider when searching for office space. Makes sense. Other than a cup of coffee, the gym is one of few routine destinations people decamp to during the workday. If you're lucky, it's a gym you look forward to visiting. And if you work in Flatiron, you're doubly lucky. The Flatiron District, nestled between 14th and 23rd street along Manhattan's central corridors of Broadways and 5th Avenue, has over 50 gyms. Big chains and boutiques alike. Hence the nickname "Fitiron." It wasn't always this way. Before the real estate boom of the 80s, this stretch of Manhattan was known as the Toy District. Now it's a playground of a different sort. From SoulCycle to Sweaty Beaty, Flatiron is a fitness brand mall for thousands of working professionals.
This article was originally published to our Forbes column on October 6, 2016. We took our first big step as a startup when we moved TheSquareFoot from Houston to New York to participate in Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator. During this time, the accelerator program provided us with a place to work, and while it wasn’t our own office, it suited its purpose. We’d spend the next few months refining our business model and getting acclimated to an entirely new market. As our time in the accelerator neared its end, we wanted to achieve two milestones: (1) prove that our new model worked, and (2) find our company a home to grow in. This was a unique, two-in-one opportunity for us. Before our first deal, we became our very own guinea pig. The challenges we faced during our first search for an office proved pivotal in helping us develop a better product and service for our clients. Here’s what we learned:
We put business on the map. That's a claim Yext, the location management giant running 800,000 business addresses on its platform, makes on its website. Only fitting, then, that their choice of office space seeks to make a statement and signal the company's arrival. The kind of space that puts Yext on the map. That space is the fifth floor of One Madison Avenue, better known for its tenants in the financial industry, like Credit Suisse and Charles Schwab. On our latest episode of SquareFootage, we examine why it's exactly where Yext wants to be.
TheSquareFoot team recently hosted a Job Shadowing event for the Career Awareness Program (CAP) through the Fresh Air Fund, a year-round academic, leadership development and mentoring program for middle school and high school students from low-income communities in New York City. The aim of the program is to capture youth at a critical point in their development and encourage them to explore ideas about their future careers. Past Job Shadowing hosts have included: Google, Madison Square Garden, Seventeen Magazine, Young & Rubicam, Vogue and more. We had a group of 23 students, ranging in age from 12-15, who visited us in our office in the Flatiron District. We kicked off the event with pizza, soda, and a short presentation about who we are, what we do, and what kinds of roles we have on our team. We broke down our team into three main sectors: marketing, technology, and transactions to teach the students about potential careers they could have based on their interests.
Did you know September was National Self-Improvement Month? Probably not. And yet for many, autumn's commencement is a kind of self-improvement clarion anyway. The old back to school sensibility of reinvention still lingers, no matter how many years removed from a classroom you are. Dealing with a pressure-filled Q4 and changing daylight hours requires peak powers of operation. It's a time to reflect and recharge. Renew focus. Complete the work. The research tells us meditation is one of the best means to that end, a performance-enhancing tool for the ages. The irony is that, as an ancient practice, mediation wasn't designed as a business tool at all—or as a business, for that matter. Quite the opposite. Nonetheless, 22 percent of employers will have offered mindfulness training to employees this year, and the meditation industry is now estimated to be worth a billion dollars. Clearly, the tenets of mindfulness and wellness resonate with a workforce seriously overstretched and overburdened with digital detritus. If you haven't already invested in yours, here's a good place to begin helping your workforce.
Don't call it co-working. That's the advice New Lab's Communications Director Molly Erman gives to anyone visiting Brooklyn's new anchor in the so-called Tech Triangle. Since opening in June 2016, New Lab could be mistaken for co-working space, albeit on a grand scale. It offers desks and shared space to young companies and small operators. It offers community the way your standard WeWork might. But the crux of New Lab's place in the tech vanguard is the rash of growth-stage companies working in the applied sciences that have taken up residence. Companies with names like 10xBeta, Nanotronics (on whose board Peter Thiel sits), Honeybee Robotics, Graph Commons and Light. Personalizing your morning smoothie, these companies are not. Their work is in AI and bioengineering and 3D printing. They pursue complex global challenges like worker safety and smart cities. They share in common outsized ambitions and the need for workspace that enables design, engineering, construction, agriculture and lab work. You know, the typical startup demands. This is where they call home for the time being.
It's the ultimate question in today's workplace zeitgeist: What are you willing to give up for more time off? Amazon is eager to find out, with a pilot flex program offering employees 30-hour workweeks at 75% of normal salary (but all their full-time benefits). It's debatable how progressive Amazon's new program really is. After all, this is a company that has struggled with perception of its workplace culture in the recent past. And as Crowded.com's cofounder Joe Rubin points out, Amazon is merely offering people less pay for less work. Is that really so revolutionary? In today's workplace climate, where people feel stretched beyond their capacity, yes. Right alongside minimal wage growth, excessive work hours and an inflexible work schedule are among the top five reasons people quit their jobs, according to a recent Ernst and Young study. That same study found that among managers, a workweek in excess of 40 hours was the norm. Would you be willing to give up a little pay for a more flexible work schedule?
Like it or not, open offices are here to stay. Too much effiency and a lack of better alternatives have made it so. But that doesn't mean your team is stuck in a nosiy pool of borderless, unproductive space. In this post, we'll focusing on how to use partitions to alleviate some of the well-known problems with open office environments.
Welcome to Nancy Liang's dreamworld. The Syndey-based illustrator is coming off recent acclaim for her work on an interactive story about an 83 year-old Hiroshima survivor called Junko's Story. With her Old Spaces project, Liang has rendered a fictional world capturing the nightime magic of cities that never sleep - even as their residents do. Her animated illustrations include Atlantic City-like boardwalks, quiet suburbs and even remote parts in subtle, animated illustrations. Naturally, we were drawn to the more urban handiwork. Liang's work isn't pure ficiton, though. She uses old landmarks and references to inform her illustrations, like old neon Coca-Cola signs in King's Cross from the 1960s. “The scenes I depict are a collection of forgotten tales from urban landscapes and suburbia. I like to draw out the whimsy and unthought narratives in these spaces that are otherwise considered as the mundane everyday,” she tells It's Nice That.
"Get some plants!" is becoming a common cry for office culture warriors seeking ways to spruce up the workplace, and for data-backed reasons. The presence of plants has long been linked to a reduction in stress, noise and air toxins in the workplace. Doesn't hurt that they're aesthetically pleasing either. One has to wonder, though, how much tangible difference a few plants in the windows makes to an employee's day. Whether a stressful work environment or a tediously mundane one, furniture is furniture, and as they stand in most offices, plants are definitely furniture. Except you can't sit on them. Which is to say maximizing the holistic qualities plants offer probably requires more active participation. Enter garden clubs. Company Garden Clubs While residential garden clubs may be on the rise, they certainly don't spring overnight. In New York housing communities, for example, they usually require some support from a non-profit like GrowNYC and plenty of cooperation from development partners. You can imagine, then, the difficulty in running a garden club out of a commercial space. ⊥ Read: New York Buildings with Community Gardens And yet, the company garden isn't exactly a new idea. A few years ago, they, too, were reportedly on the rise. At the time, providing a corporte garden seemed like a concession driven largely by the recession, a perk intended as a balm for pay grade freezes and slowing business. They were also almost entirely exclusive to big companies with compounds and campuses. PepsiCo in Purchase, NY. Google and Yahoo in Silicon Alley. Kohl's headquarters in Milwaukee. You certainly weren't hearing about them in crammed urban centers with dense populations like New York City. Now it's 2016. Companies aren't just interested in offering perks for the sake of offsetting lower salaries. They're offering great perks because they know they help lure—and retain—talent. They're offering them because happiness is lucrative. And gardening brings happiness to a staggering number of people in the US. By last count, nearly 1 in 3 homes is growing some kind of food in the US, and the presence of community gardens has grown by at least 200 percent. ⊥ Read: The Rise of Company Gardens
The Flatiron Dirstrict, which some have been known to call Silicon Alley, has become a hub for tech startups in Manhattan. The increase in companies choosing to call the area home means that more employees are looking to take advantage of everything the Flatiron district has to offer. If that sounds like you, we've done the research already and have created a list of our Flatiron favorites for you to check out!
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