clock

CEO

Today’s workplace is going through a generational changing of the guard, as Baby Boomers retire and millennials, those born between 1981 – 2000, have increased to 36 percent of the work force, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I’m a member of the Gen X tribe and, like many other CEOs, am working to understand how to:

  • Use the talents and attitudes of millennials;
  • Blend those with the expectations and styles of different generations;
  • Keep my business productive competitive all the while.

Given that research conducted by Future Workplace has shown that 90 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years, it’s especially urgent to learn what motivates this generation so I and my fellow CEOs can attract and retain them .As any business owner knows, staff turnover is costly both in terms of financial and professional investment in the employee. Keeping a talented associate is, hence, paramount. The following suggestions are based on my observations and real-world practices when working with millennials

The Need for Speed

Millennials put a premium on speed and instant feedback. Whereas previous generations grew up on meetings and face-to-face interaction, millennials may see these as an unnecessary or frustrating delay. They expect instantaneous communication. At Spector Group, we balance those different communication styles and needs. We have meetings, but we’ve also incorporated a quick, responsive text or phone call to provide the immediate feedback that millennials want. The process has also streamlined our communication system and we’ve become more efficient as a result.

The Workplace Redefined

As the children of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, millennials witnessed layoffs and eroding pay and benefits first-hand. One result is they’re not motivated solely by money or focused solely on work. This translates into a desire for an informal, flexible environment. We have incorporated this at my office. For example, we started holding early morning staff get-togethers for coffee and discussion before the workday starts, which has been very well-received by the staff. We have wine tastings and other after hours get-togethers. And in the summer, we have lunchtime barbecues. The staff has a say in these “extracurricular” activities and the camaraderie and rapport that is being built is invaluable.

How so? Since we have been doing this, I’m finding at Spector’s that our staff productivity has gone up the last few years as we’ve focused on creating a more relaxed workspace.

As an architect, I’m very aware how crucial the workspace itself is in creating a relaxed atmosphere. Companies can appeal to millennials by creating communal areas, such as gaming areas, dining areas that feel like cafes or lounges, and large, multi-functional kitchens. In addition, furniture such as rolling desks that allow people to sit in different areas is increasingly popular, as are standing desks that facilitate staying active in the workday.

Guidance is Key

Informal and relaxed have their limits, of course. We’ve all heard the stories of millennials wearing flip-flops to interviews or presentations, or spending the day updating their Facebook page. Clearly, some coaching and mentoring is necessary. In keeping with the millennials’ desire for instant feedback, coaching and mentoring should be immediate and ongoing. A bi-annual review is as out of date as the horse-and-buggy. Informal lunches and get-togethers can be the perfect occasions for discussing the basics of business strategy, protocol, and acceptable work attire.

In coaching and mentoring, I’m careful not to diminish millennials. The aim is not to eliminate reasonable desires but to re-direct and help young professionals find a productive path.

Cause Attraction

Finally, CEOs should realize that millennials are motivated by philanthropic concerns. They want to make the world a better place. They like to participate in humane endeavors and they want to work in places that are “green and clean.” Employers who want to retain this age group should look at emphasizing sustainability and good corporate citizenship as part of the company mission.

With millennials now a third of the workforce – and growing –  these practices are necessary for businesses to remain competitive.  It’s working at the Spector Group and the change has been beneficial to both our staff and our company.

For full story, click here CEO Magazine!

clock

Former Retail Bank to Be Converted Into Multi-Tenant Office Building With Focus on Legal Cannabis-Related Businesses

DENVER, CO–(Marketwired – Dec 19, 2014) – Advanced Cannabis Solutions (OTC: CANN), a service provider to businesses in the regulated cannabis industry, announced today that it has signed a Master Services Agreement with New York based Spector Group, one of the nation’s leading architecture, interior design and master planning firms, for the build out of its multi-tenant office building in Denver, to be known as “The Greenhouse.” The Greenhouse will focus on securing tenants engaged in business related to the legal cannabis industry and will ACS believes that its15,000 square foot facility will create a hub of intellectual capital.

Robert Frichtel, Chief Executive Officer of ACS, commented, “We are very glad to have Spector Group come on board with this project. As an established and highly experienced firm, we are confident that Spector will bring our vision of The Greenhouse to life quickly and with a minimum of difficulty.”

Marc B. Spector, AIA, NCARB, of Spector Group said, “We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with ACS to convert the retail bank space they have acquired into a multi-tenant office space. We are very familiar with the needs of such an ‘incubator’ facility, and to our knowledge, this is the first such facility for the legal cannabis trade. We are quite pleased to be making a little history here, and we are confident that Spector Group will give ACS exactly what it wants with its Greenhouse.”

Michael Feinsod, Chairman of ACS, stated, “The Greenhouse is a key component for the development of ACS. As I have said before, it is a solution missing from the legal cannabis industry in Colorado — one-stop shopping for office space, support services, access to capital and intellectual expertise that is industry specific. It will bring together in one place a diverse number of businesses all of whom serve the same industry in different ways.

“For ACS, The Greenhouse will become both our headquarters and a way to generate new business opportunities. Our initial tenants are likely to be in finance, insurance, legal, real estate, internet, print and other businesses that serve the cannabis industry. ACS may acquire equity interests in The Greenhouse tenants, when the situation warrants, in addition to simply renting them space.”

pot-image-1 (3)

 

About Advanced Cannabis Solutions

Cannabis Solutions, Inc. provides services to the regulated cannabis industry throughout the United States. We lease growing space and related facilities (commercial real estate and equipment) to licensed marijuana business operators for their production needs.

We are pursuing ancillary business products and services including customized finance, capital formation, banking, regulatory compliance consulting and advanced logistical support for grow operations.

ACS does not grow, harvest, distribute or sell cannabis or any substances regulated under United States law such as the Controlled Substances Act, nor does it intend to do so in the future.

 

clock

Culture

 

Our firm has toured many, many offices over the years. One of the first things we assess when we walk through the door is the overall environment. Does it foster employee satisfaction and productivity? Is there ample natural light? Are the acoustics good? Is the design modern and welcoming? These are some of our top concerns.

However, that’s only the foundation. A happy, positive workplace is more than just a beautiful, light-filled space, though that is a great start; there needs to be a culture in place that nurtures it. Statistics are out there to support our focus. In fact, a recent Jobvite survey of 1,855 recruiters and HR professionals noted that the top thing recruiters do to attract employees—a whopping 73 percent—is highlight the company culture, followed by touting better benefits (51 percent).

Just as we educate clients about how to design a better office, we also learn plenty from them about what it takes to make that space a wonderful place to work. When we see great ideas, we take them back with us and implement them in-house. For instance, we recently created an unlimited snack bar, stocked with a blend of healthy and indulgent treats to help get through the workday. The idea was inspired by what we saw at several of the media and technology companies we work with. Similarly, many years ago, we were at Brookfield Properties’ offices and loved the branded mints they had placed in urns for both workers and visitors to enjoy. We now provide them to our architects and pass them out at meetings and presentations. It’s these little touches that make a big difference.

One of the other things we do to foster company culture is our signature “Bagel Mondays,” where employees bond over a bagel and schmear before starting the work week.

We also provide breakfast on Fridays; host impromptu happy hours; coordinate company-wide potlucks; and hold an in-office Thanksgiving feast. However, it’s not just about food and drink. We also have promotional ventures to foster team spirit and share with our clients, such as T-shirts, umbrellas and even branded micro cleaning pads for mobile devices. (Tremor Video turned us on to the pads!) Want to work for us yet?

Sometimes the ways we show appreciation are less tangible. It can be as simple as leaving the World Cup games on in the conference room (something we did in 2014) so that our resident soccer fans could catch a glimpse in between projects or take in the game at lunchtime. We also highlight the Spector spirit on our social media accounts so that others can see what we’re doing in the office—and what a great time we’re having while we do it. It’s those kinds of gestures that foster a warm company culture and build camaraderie.

As we start planning celebrations for our 50th anniversary, including get-togethers and group charitable initiatives throughout 2015, you can be sure they will be centered around our people. After all, they are the ones that have helped our company get to where it is today and the ones who will help us, literally, build a better tomorrow. For that, we are most appreciative.

clock

NEW YORK (MainStreet)  |  Kathryn Toggle

The_Pit

 

Companies that want to attract and retain top talent are finding that a “millennial-friendly” culture and open office design are putting them ahead of the competition. Workplaces with collaboration spaces, gaming areas and communal kitchens are becoming more common as businesses look to cater to the needs of a digital generation that places a premium on work/life balance. With millennials projected to make up 46% of the workforce by 2020, companies know they’ve got to redesign or get left behind. If you’re ready to remodel, here’s a look at five of the most important changes you’ll need to consider.

Open, collaborative spaces with wipe boards

Millennials are discerning in how they select employment, says Neil Grimmer, CEO and co-founder of Plum Organics, an organic baby food company with 100 employees, half of whom are millennials. Today, Grimmer says his office environment is a direct reflection of company culture.

“Everyone wants a more open office plan these days, with collaborative space for impromptu, flexible jam sessions,” Grimmer says. “When you have big open spaces with wipe boards, it allows the thinking to come out of people’s heads and onto the walls. Visualizing your work is powerful because you can see the evolution of an idea and add to it.”

Communal kitchens

It’s not just hip tech firms and media startups with communal dining areas these days, says Scott Spector, principal at architecture and interior design firm Spector Group. Law firms, accounting firms, financial services and hedge funds are embracing the need for a company cafe and casual meeting area.

“We’re starting to see it take hold everywhere — even in companies where people have to wear suits to work every day,” he says. “Millennials want work/life balance. They don’t get in at 9 and leave at 5, and not every conversation they have needs to be held in a formal meeting room or office. They want a cafe or lounge that feels more homey.”

Click here for full story

clock

filingOver the past few weeks, at every single programming meeting I’ve attended, the same topic has come up: file storage. No, the companies weren’t looking to add that into the plan; they were looking for ways to embrace technology and reduce, or even eliminate, the need for physical space for documents.

Music to my ears!

The file cabinet, that big, bulky monstrosity that sits in the corner eating up valuable floor space, is a relic and we shouldn’t be hesitant to relieve ourselves of it as fast as possible.

 
For 10-plus years, I’ve been advocating that firms scan documents and files rather than physically bringing them along as they move or expand. After all, real estate is a valuable commodity and tenants today need to maximize every inch of square footage to keep costs in check and make the work environment modern and welcoming.

It’s pretty simple: One five-foot-tall cabinet versus a one-inch-tall zip drive containing the same amount of material and information? A child could tell you which is more practical.

While change is never easy, cloud technology has made it simpler than ever to take the leap. Social media and tech firms were the early adopters of this trend and have paved the way for others to follow suit. Virtual storage is now the domain of more traditional end users. Those meetings I just mentioned? They were with an advertising firm, two financial services entities, a private equity company and two law firms.

So, what are tenants doing with this newfound space? They are increasing density by adding more employees into workspaces, creating “town square” gathering areas and meeting rooms and even putting in game rooms. All of these ideas are far more interesting than papers gathering dust.

For those firms that do still need to keep documents for several years, whether for legal compliance or due to the nature of their business, smarter storage options exist. Off-site storage centers can house essential papers and the rest can be digitally archived. This practice is great for trees and great for cost savings.

By letting go of what worked in the past, companies can open up new design possibilities and look toward the future. Here’s to a more environmentally friendly, well-designed workplace!

clock

The building is owned by East End Capital, an investment firm that targets office, retail and residential properties in major markets on the east coast of the U.S.

Prominently located near the new Fulton Center in the Financial District, 123 William is a 27-story, 550,000 s/f building.

“The challenge was to give this significant location an exceptionally powerful architectural entry way, making it the new face of East End Capital’s monumental building renovation,” said Spector Group principal Marc Spector, AIA, NCARB.

“We looked at multiple ways to enhance the scale and visualization of the building’s portal, using innovative materials that are both scintillating and timeless.”

For full story, click here REW!

smaller123William_16

 

Smaller_123William_10

 

Smaller123William_08

clock

_L2T0012

 

I didn’t always know that I was going to be an architect. As a matter of fact, driven by my love of athletics and the thrill of the game, I dreamed of a career in sports medicine. I headed into my freshman year of college thinking I had it all figured out. That is, until I took organic chemistry and started to second guess my calling, turning my attention to another vocation: architecture.

There were three influencing factors in this decision:

1. I grew up around architecture, so it made perfect sense for me to consider taking up the family business.

2. Physics is key for a degree in architecture and that came way more naturally to me than chemistry.

3. Making the switch would allow me to play more sports. (Yes, that was really a consideration!)

Do I regret my choice? Not for a minute. As a profession, architecture combines the best of several different worlds. I get to put my business savvy to good use, engage my creative side and work alongside a number of exciting professionals. Designing spaces for a wide variety of tenants and landlords means I spend a good deal of time with lawyers, financial services experts, investment bankers, new media executives, retail shop owners and more. My day is never boring!

It’s fascinating to see a design that you and your team conceptualized come to life. Since the actual structure that you put up often remains in place for some time, you can revisit the building facade or office space you helped to create over and over again. Sometimes that design stays put for 40, 50 or even 100 years, becoming a part of history.

Even when the design lasts just a few years, rather than decades, there is joy in the constant change and reinvention that architecture can bring. Five or 10 years later, we can help a tenant or landlord refresh their space or update their image. It’s a great feeling to be trusted to help design something a client will enjoy and that we can be proud of.

Finally, architecture is full of choices. You can take up building design, interiors, furniture, residential or commercial work. The specialty options are endless.

However, that’s not to say that it’s an “easy profession.” The hours are long and the demands are high. Plus, a new architect does not come out of school with a focus on salary; the pay scale is commensurate with what the market can bear. Over time, the career does pay dividends, both financially and emotionally, and is an excellent alternative to a traditional desk job. Architects are fortunate enough to have steady client and vendor interaction, including being face-to-face with those we assist. We tour spaces, touch products and work at computers, though not all day long. Every day can be a source of inspiration, whether on vacation or as we make our way from one meeting to another. You never know what will make its way into your next design.

As Spector Group gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year — and all of the incredible projects we’ve worked on during that time — I beam with pride. I can honestly say that I couldn’t be happier about where I’ve landed.

Click for full story