Archive for the ‘Corporate Travel’ Category

Post-Vacay Blues: How to Get Your Office Groove Back

Monday, June 19th, 2017

back to workEven if you love your job as much as we love ours, getting back into the groove of things after a vacation can be quite challenging, especially if it was after an extended holiday. From the email backlog to nonstop “catch-up” meetings and events, sometimes your body is present at the office while your mind is still enjoying the sandy beaches and pina coladas! Everyone needs a break now and then to decompress and forget the duties and responsibilities of business, but the key to making the most of your stress-reducing vacation is knowing how to effectively get back in the swing of things after taking time off. Here are a few tips to ensure your return to work is smooth sailing:

1. Check out…but Check-In – A recent Harris poll of 2,071 US workers showed that 6 out of 10 people said checking their emails while on vacation made it easier for them to ease back into work. Staying in touch with the office, even if just to keep a watchful eye from afar, helps relieve that anxious feeling when its time to return.

2. Use that last day of vacation as a “rest and recovery” day – Take the last day off to rebound from your vacation. Relax and enjoy some quiet time. Turn in early and get a good night’s rest. Don’t wait to sleep on the plane or use the last few hours to down the remaining shots of tequila. Use the last day to transition back to the reality version of yourself so you’ll be prepared for the next day to work.

3. Keep your mood upbeat – If you just left the Mexican resort of your dreams, why not listen to the music that reminds you of all the fun you had while you’re on your way in to the office. Throw in a quick cardio workout to get the endorphins flowing and help you rebound from all the guacamole and margaritas. Start your day back to work in a great mood and hold on to it as long as possible.

4. Keep things simple and stick to a game plan – Not all 280 new emails need to be answered within the first hour of your arrival back. Prioritize by importance/urgency and don’t get overwhelmed. Follow up, in detail, with the people who have an immediate demand, and for those who don’t, send a quick email saying you will soon follow up.

5. Reassess your goals – Chances are, that tropical vacation and whatever took you out of your groove is probably still on your mind. Get your mind back to the present by writing out your goals for the upcoming week. Reassess what you want to accomplish now that you’re back in the swing of things, and you may even have a fresh perspective now that you’ve had a chance to clear your head.

Background Checks – Why You Should Be On Board

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Background checkThe use of tenant screening, more commonly referred to as “background checks,” is consistently growing in popularity throughout multi-family apartment leasing. These days just about every landlord and property manager utilize some sort of credit and rental history screening process for the financially-responsible party, but the additional integration of criminal background checks for residents is becoming just as commonplace. In the past 24 months, Preferred Corporate Housing has seen a significant increase in our partner communities requiring specific guest information for each occupant so that criminal background checks can be performed. While each property management company has it’s own criteria used to evaluate applicants, PCH has found that communities are relying on guidelines and recommendations from their local civil authorities. With many states, municipalities and federal agencies like Homeland Security integrating legislation requiring the tracking of criminal offenders and sexual predators, apartment communities may be required by local law to perform these tenant screenings.

“PCH provided our fully furnished apartments in all 50 U.S. states in 2016, and we’ve seen an uptick in background checks/tenant screening processes in every state we serviced,” said Anna Schoephoerster, Senior National Account Executive for Preferred Corporate Housing. “This is a welcome trend for our clients from our perspective because even though it may cause a bit more paperwork on the front-end, added criminal screenings is a way to improve safety across the board for our corporate clients,” said Schoephoerster.

Another reason multi-families are adding these types of criminal screenings to their leasing process is in effort to eliminate “negligent leasing.” This is a widely used term in the multi-family rental industry used to describe a rental situation go awry due to lack of due diligence and pre-screening on the part of the community management. Negligent leasing is a real concern today as properties can potentially avoid theft, violence and damages by simply running a criminal history check on guests before accepting them to their property. Fair Housing laws require that if any screening of this nature is performed on one potential resident, it must be applied to all potential residents across the board.

“We prefer to place our corporate clients at communities that require these type of criminal screenings for guests because it adds a bit more peace-of-mind about the neighborhood,” said Megan Margetusakis, Director of Operations for PCH. “Our clients have an expectation of safety when they stay with us, and while we can’t guarantee that crime won’t happen, we can do our due diligence to reduce the risk by placing them in communities with resident screening requirements.”

Although resident screening services can potentially weed out unwanted, potentially dangerous neighbors, many corporate clients have balked at the requirements to provide the personal information needed to complete these screenings for their corporate travelers. This hesitancy is not due to fear that their employees will not pass the screenings, but rather protection of their employees’ personally identifiable information. Drivers License numbers, date of birth, and even social security numbers are often required for these screenings. International travelers may even be asked to provide copies of their passports.

“The most important thing for corporate travel and mobility managers to understand when it comes to resident screening requirements is that we must abide by the community requirements when placing your employees in our furnished apartments,” said Margetusakis. “Because of Fair Housing and other local laws, we do not have the ability waive these requirements on a case by case basis for any guest or employee. What we can offer are secure ways to provide the required personal information that doesn’t violate the company’s PII policy and/or place the employee at risk for PII exposure.” said Margetusakis.

Tenant screening, background checks, criminal history review…they are all here to stay, and it is highly-likely that their inclusion in rental approval processes will continue to gain popularity throughout the country. Corporate Travel and Mobility Managers should be prepared to counsel their employees on this requirement and talk through best-practices and safe methods for providing the necessary personal information for these screenings.

Preferred Corporate Housing Honored at FEM Americas Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs)

Monday, May 15th, 2017

FEM Runner UPOn Thursday May 4 2017, the winners of this year’s FEM EMMAs were announced at a glittering gala dinner at the Denver City Center Marriott, Denver, CO.

The FEM EMMAs are the premier awards for the global mobility and HR industry and on Thursday night, following a highly successful two-day Summit key figures, leaders and companies gathered to celebrate the brightest and best in the Americas.

Preferred Corporate Housing was honored to be recognized as Runner Up for “Corporate Housing Provider of the Year,” a category with eight other shortlisted companies competing for the title. “This award has grown in popularity over recent years, and is highly competitive because of the high bar set by all entered nominees,” said Michelle Velasquez, Director of Client Services for Preferred Corporate Housing. “We are proud of our accomplishments over the past years that have led to awards and recognition such as this,” said Velasquez.

Earlier this year, Preferred Corporate Housing received the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award from the global relocation management company, MoveCenter. “Being recognized at such a high level by the Forum for Expatriate Management and the panel of Human Resource and Mobility Professionals is another testament to the dedication of our team,” said Jon Lanclos, PCH Founder. “The team’s commitment to exceptional service, along with their ability to personalize each transferee’s relocation experience are the keys that continue to drive Preferred Corporate Housing’s success,” said Lanclos.

About Preferred Corporate Housing: Preferred Corporate Housing recently celebrated its 20th year servicing temporary housing needs in more than 42,000 global destinations. PCH’s unique low-overhead model provides flexibility in location, budget and customization. With the ability to service remote locations along with the major cities, and dedication to creating the perfect solution for each unique need, PCH is the go-to choice of more than twenty-five relocation management companies and corporate-direct clients.

Company-Sponsored Intern Housing: Three Reasons to Include in Your Program

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Intern Program HousingAsk an intern what’s the most stressful part about accepting an out-of-town position and chances are you’ll hear: “Short term housing.” Ask an employer what’s the most stressful part of hiring interns from out of town and they will probably say the same thing.

Short term housing is one of the most crucial, yet challenging, intern program benefits to administer. The stresses of finding and securing a place to live for three months can result in anxiety for both you and your relocating intern, and if not done correctly, can lead to huge cost implications and failed assignments.

Some companies may offer a lump sum to help their interns, but this option may not eliminate as much stress as many Program Managers would hope. A lump sum requires the intern to research the housing market, find a suitable option on their own, and possibly still front the rental costs. Without direction and assistance from Program Managers, lump sum programs typically result in confusion and create additional risks to the overall success of intern assignments.

To attract top talent and ensure success for your Intern program, providing vetted short term housing options and paying some (or all) of the associated costs for short term housing has proven to be most-effective. Here are three reasons why.

1. Quality Control Assurance

Interns who are tasked to find their own housing for the summer are almost always going to look for the cheapest option. Because most interns are financially strapped college students, it’s not likely that they’ll be willing or able to drop several thousand dollars on a place to live for three months. The result could be disastrous for both you and your interns.

Many platforms targeted specifically for interns offer deals that are sometimes too good to be true, and they unfortunately prey on naïve victims. Asking interns to wire rent money or give up personally identifiable information can be “red flags” that your interns may not notice. Rental scams have become more common over the last few years and interns looking for the best deals can sometimes fall victim to these schemes. Interns who are not familiar with housing best-practices and quality control checkpoints may be at the most risk.

Another consideration is the quality of housing your interns will have if they look for the cheapest option.  While there’s nothing wrong with affordable housing, it’s important that your interns feel comfortable with the place where they will be living over the course of their internship. If your interns are living in area that’s unsafe or an apartment that’s unclean and poorly cared for, it could affect their performance at work and their attitude about the internship.

Providing short term housing options puts you in control of the housing experience your interns will receive. If you can work with your temporary housing partner to provide an approved list of housing options and are willing to subsidize some (or all) of the rent, you can ensure that your intern class isn’t going to be subjected to rental scams or choose housing based solely on price. A negative housing experience can negatively impact your intern’s overall impression of your program, but demonstrating that you care about the living conditions of your interns will contribute to a positive impression of the company and possibly affect the likelihood of them accepting a full-time offer

2. Timing is Everything

Did you know that some programs start securing their intern housing more than a year before the actual stay? Timing is everything in short-term housing. If interns start looking too early, the options they find may not still be available by the time they’re ready to sign a lease. If they start looking too late, they may miss out altogether.

Companies that offer sponsored lodging arrangements for their intern programs have the benefit of working with trusted, experienced temporary housing providers who can utilize their own buying power and industry relationships to create the best possible solutions for each intern. By utilizing the expert knowledge of a trusted temporary housing provider, you can ensure your interns will not be left in the lurch.

3. Reduces Intern Anxiety

Finding viable housing for their stay in addition to mentally preparing for their new role within your company creates an enormous amount of stress for new interns. Chances are, your interns have never done this before. They are used to college dorms or signing year-long apartment leases in student-friendly communities. The interns’ lack of experience with the nuances of short-term housing may create frustration and anxiety, causing them to begin their assignment with a negative impression of their new company.

Unfortunately, as many of us may know all too well, this stress related to intern housing won’t be restricted to just your interns. You’ll be feeling it too. One-off questions will be coming at you from various interns at various times throughout the process.

By investing the time and energy up front to create a relocation benefit for short-term housing, and working with a dedicated, experienced temporary housing provider, your company can continue to attract the top talent and ensure their focus remains on the job at hand.

PCH Team Member Joins Houston Relocation Professionals Board of Directors

Friday, December 16th, 2016

michelle-velasquez-highresPreferred Corporate Housing is proud to announce that our Director of Client Services, Michelle Velasquez, has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Houston Relocation Professionals organization.

Houston Relocation Professionals (HRP) was founded by a small group of global mobility professionals in the Houston area for the purpose of providing education and networking opportunities to the local relocation and human resource communities.  Today HRP has a membership of over 200 mobility professionals from within the Greater Houston area, as well as from many other locations throughout the United States. Michelle joins an elite group of current Board Members from all facets of the relocation industry.

“I’m excited for the knowledge-share, continued professional development and networking opportunities to come within the organization,” said Michelle. “Our goal is to increase the value that HRP provides for its members, and I can’t wait to do my part to help achieve that goal

Office Politics = Risky Business

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Office PoliticsThe world often feels like a crazy place these days! It seems like each day brings a new headline that grabs our attention and forces us to take sides and promote our opinions. While it is important for each of us to feel like we have a voice and say in what’s happening around us, it can also be counter-productive and distracting if those opinions creep into our workplaces. We came across this article posted by Derrick Perkins, and found it extremely valuable in light of the most-recent headlines and political banter. We’ve included the article below:

“Talking Politics at Work Poses Risk to Employers and Employees!” by Derrick Perkins

This election cycle seems to be sparking more office conflicts than previous campaigns, but talking politics at work is a risky proposition for employees and employers alike.

Strife from the divisive presidential campaign season is bleeding over into the workplace, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.

In a poll of 457 human resource professionals, 26 percent reported an increase in “perceived greater political volatility” in the office this election cycle. And the problems with talking politics at work may worsen as November approaches, said Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of survey research programs.

“Businesses need to be aware, even if they haven’t had any issues in the past, that this particular election cycle could be different,” Esen said.

For the purposes of SHRM’s survey, which was compiled in May, volatility means increased tension, hostility, or argumentation among coworkers directly related to the ongoing political battle for the White House, she said. SHRM released its findings at its annual convention earlier this month.

Of those surveyed, about 67 percent reported their organizations lacked a policy—written or otherwise—regulating political activities in the office. Esen believes that those that do likely adopted one after a workplace incident.

Regulating political speech is a tricky situation for employers, said Karen Glickstein, an attorney who specializes in employment law. She recently penned a column outlining tips and advice for supervisors after receiving a glut of inquiries—many related to on-the-job incidents—from clients.

Both employers and employees can take steps to protect themselves, Glickstein said. For supervisors, it can be as simple as reminding their staff about workplace harassment or discrimination policies. Employees, on the other hand, must recognize that the First Amendment does not always apply in the workplace, she said.

It’s a question that seems to come up with each election cycle, Glickstein said, though “I think it’s probably more this year than I can remember in past years.”

Where it gets trickier is during off hours, particularly with the rise of social media. Can action be taken against workers who list their employer on sites where they also espouse political views, like Twitter and Facebook? Not necessarily.

Though only four states explicitly protect workers engaging in political activity afterhours, Glickstein said the National Labor Relations Board increasingly has sided with employees disciplined for politicking outside of the office.

But “every situation is going to be different,” she said.

SHRM, which hasn’t before gauged the amount of workplace incidents stemming from political disagreements, plans to follow up in October. Esen said reaction from members has been positive so far, as many recognize that it could become an issue.

“Not a lot of organizations have policies, but this is something to consider and talk to employees about as well,” Esen said. “Even if they don’t have a formal policy, even if it’s kind of unwritten, encourage employees to be respectful of diversity. Really, this falls into the diversity of ideas and opinions and attitudes. Regardless of whether people agree with each other, they do need to respect one another.”

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

At last month’s Americas Mobility Conference sponsored by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC), PCH team member Michelle Velasquez, led an interactive discussion on the most recent trends impacting employee travel in relation to temporary housing. Several of the HR Managers in the attendance asked questions about Airbnb and wondered if this “home-sharing” hotel alternative is affecting extended business travel and lodging needs in conjunction with employee mobility.

It was noted that these types of lodging alternatives are spending millions in creative advertising targeting the younger traveler, and they are becoming more attractive to individual employees traveling with their own out-of-pocket expenses. But for company-sponsored assignments, Airbnb is still a risky alternative.

The discussion was focused around the unknowns involved with those Airbnb-type of bookings, and how those unknowns can potentially impact the success of an assignment. With little-to-no regulation or quality oversight, employees take a risk on each booking. Another concern involves “home-sharing” solutions like Airbnb and its competitors being heavily lobbied against by the Hotel Industry. This lobbying is creating legislation that involves restrictions, and in some cities, elimination of these types of alternatives altogether. If Airbnb suffered a big loss in a city (think of the Uber ban in Austin, TX) where a company’s employees were utilizing their services, it could distract from the goal of the assignment while the employees are scrambling for alternative lodging.

AirBNB Nightmare

AirBNB Nightmare – Vice.com

Another deterrent for employers who may be exploring Airbnb as a lodging alternative for its employees involves the negative press that spreads throughout social media when a “home-sharing” booking goes terribly wrong. Vice.com released an article this morning recounting some of the worst experiences ever reported with Airbnb experiences. If the stories of brothels, drug-dealing hosts and sardine-style sleeping arrangements don’t scare employers away, the images included in the article certainly will. We’ve included a few as a preview, but you can view the entire article by visiting https://www.vice.com/read/strangest-airbnb-experiences-stories-876

Preferred Corporate Housing clients count on us to provide a home-like experience that is move-in ready and free of stress. HR and Talent Managers understand that employees need a stable, comfortable living experience in order to be productive and successful in their new assignments. Our furnished apartment solutions in residential communities provide the standardization, quality oversight and 24-hour service that are necessary for successful mobile assignments. If you are exploring lodging alternatives for your employees in order to create successful and productive assignments, call Preferred Corporate Housing to learn more about our solutions in more than 42,000 North American destinations. (800) 960-0102. www.corporates.com

Most Affordable States for Job Seekers

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Graduation season is upon us! This means thousands of college graduates ready to enter the workforce with high hopes and unrealistic expectations. Although job creation is on the rise and many glamorous locations are beckoning college graduates to come and find work, often times these locations’ housing costs are way beyond the scope of what entry-level wages can afford. What a perfect time for Forbes Magazine to release its study on the most affordable states and rental rates for new job seekers. John Wasik, a Forbes Contributor, sums up which locations should be most attractive for entry-level workers:

“It’s tough to be a recent college graduate. You’re scrapping to find the highest-paying job and may be carrying loan debt. You must feel like you’re running uphill with a backpack of rocks.

If you’re looking to relocate, what’s the first economic decision you need to make? You need to know what prevailing rents are in the city you wish to relocate to relative to your income.

Let’s get the spoiler out of the way first: The largest, most glamorous cities are unaffordable unless you’re making way more than $20 an hour. You won’t be able to afford these places at all if your wages are around minimum wage.

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for most workers, that probably puts Hawaii, California, New York, Maryland and New Jersey out of reach for millions. Here’s what the report found:

“In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, a full-time worker in America today must earn $20.30 per hour—a figure that is almost $5 more than the average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. A full-time worker needs to earn $16.35 per hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.”

 One simple rule of thumb is that average rents (or overall housing costs) shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of your income. In glamor cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York, you’ll get soaked for housing costs, which could easily exceed half of your income.

That puts a huge burden on you. Remember that you need to pay for food, transportation and other necessities. You won’t be able to save money.”

To view this article in its entirety, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2016/05/27/most-affordable-rents-states-for-job-seekers/#306c5d293d90

PCH Short-Listed for EMMA Award by Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM)

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Preferred Corporate Housing has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management’s (FEM) annual EMMA award for “2016 Corporate Housing Provider of the Year.”

This is the second consecutive year for Preferred Corporate Housing to make the Shortlist of potential winners for an EMMA award. In 2015, Preferred Corporate Housing received “Highly Commended” recognition in this same category.

“We are honored to be included in this exclusive list of recognized temporary housing providers by one of the relocation industry’s leading organizations,” said Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing. “FEM is quickly becoming a go-to resource for knowledge-sharing, best practices and partnership within the global talent and mobility industry, and we are thrilled to be considered one of the best corporate housing providers in their eyes,” said Elliott.

The annual Americas Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs), “celebrate excellence in global mobility. With over 20 categories, these awards truly recognize leaders, business successes and rising stars,” as described on the FEM website.

“We believe we continue to achieve successes and honors such as this because our entire team is committed to innovation and excellence in the temporary housing services we provide,” said Krista Ripper, Director of Business Development for PCH. “We work each day to find new and exciting ways to improve the guest experience, and we never settle for doing things just because its the way they’ve always been done,” said Ripper.

“Our goal is clear,” said Elliott. “We want to be the best temporary housing provider with the best team, the best options, the best tools and the best prices. Being included in this prestigious list is proof that we are on the right track,” said Elliott.

The final award winners will be announced at the black tie gala event on May 5th at the Hilton City Avenue hotel in Philadelphia.

Preferred Corporate Housing is First Member Company to be Accredited by the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA)

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

AccreditedThe Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) is the professional trade association exclusively dedicated to supporting corporate housing professionals and expanding the corporate housing industry around the world. CHPA’s Company Accreditation Program was designed to recognize and elevate companies who have proven their legitimacy, professionalism and commitment to industry best practices and ethics when providing corporate housing services.

CHPA announced last week that Preferred Corporate Housing, a national corporate housing provider servicing more than 42,000 locations across North America, would be the first to achieve the ‘CHPA Accredited Company’ endorsement.

“This is a program we truly value and believe that our clients and supplier partners will value as well,” said Preferred Corporate Housing President, Samantha Elliott. “There are so many ‘fly-by-night’ companies out there that are causing damage to our industry’s reputation with their unethical business practices and fraudulent behavior. CHPA’s Company Accreditation Program is a first step in highlighting which providers are operating within the appropriate standards and best practices.” said Elliott.

In order to be eligible to receive the ‘CHPA Accredited Company’ endorsement, Preferred Corporate Housing had to submit financial history, operational documents relating to business continuity and data protection policies, proof of appropriate business insurance coverage, and letters of reference from peers, suppliers and current clients. Preferred Corporate Housing was also eligible for this endorsement due to its active involvement and leadership within CHPA over the past years, and because all Preferred Corporate Housing’s Senior Managers have earned and maintained the ‘Certified Corporate Housing Professional (CCHP)’ designation.

“We believe that any company that might be sourcing corporate housing services should only want to work with providers who have received CHPA’s Company Accredited endorsement,” said Jon Lanclos, PCH Founder. “This accreditation highlights those companies who have proven themselves to be the best examples of corporate housing industry leaders.”

About Preferred Corporate Housing:

Preferred Corporate Housing is the premier, North American temporary lodging provider for corporate/government relocation programs, extended travel assignments and other corporate travel needs. Since 1996, Preferred Corporate Housing has built a unique model for providing housing solutions in more than 42,000 locations across the US and Canada, specializing in remote destinations and third-tier cities. PCH takes pride in its ability to provide furnished lodging solutions exactly where clients need them, when they need them. Multiple options are available at every budgetary level, making PCH a great partner for any relocation program.

About CHPA:

The Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) is the only trade association dedicated to the corporate housing industry. As the industry continually evolves, members gain insight and resources on how to stay competitive through their involvement with CHPA. CHPA, as the voice of the corporate housing industry, offers networking, educational and informational opportunities to corporate housing providers around the world.