Posts Tagged ‘accommodations’

Don’t Fall Prey to the Summer Productivity Slump

Monday, July 21st, 2014

summer slackingAccording to a survey done by the Captivate Network, workplace productivity tumbles about 20% in the summertime. Of the 600 workers surveyed throughout various industries, most of us feel distracted, we take longer to complete projects, go on longer lunch breaks, and even have a drop in workplace attendance. You may be less productive because you’re distracted by summer activities or the fact that business has slowed. Maybe your managers and colleagues are on vacation so your normal hustle and bustle office environment is quieter than normal. Whatever the reason, Here are 5 things you can do to boost your productivity at work this summer.

Adjust the thermostat
I know it sounds silly, but research has proven that if the temperature inside your office is too high or too low, your productivity can suffer. Citing research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it states the optimal office temperature is between 70 and 72 degrees (Fahrenheit). For every degree over 77 degrees, productivity drops by 2%, and below 68%, error rates increase dramatically. They also found that 10% of employees also waste time arguing over the office temperature, so if everyone could just agree on 70 to 72 degrees, we would all be more productive.

If there’s no work, find some
If you’re not productive simply because things around the office are slow, use this time to get a jump start on upcoming projects or new initiatives that might take more time to launch. The longer you wait for things to pick back up, the longer it will take for things to pick back up.

Switch up your routine, or the scenery
If work is starting to feel a little stale, you may be able to kick-start simply by changing your routine or environment. Try getting outside more during the workday. Go for a walk or have meetings outside. Or if you tend to do the same things at work in a set order, consider switching things up. The summer is a great time to start a new task and challenge yourself.

Don’t fall prey to lowering your output
Managers most-likely won’t accept poor performance because it’s a slower time of year. As long as your are getting your paycheck, your boss is assuming you are working to the best of your ability, regardless if others are vacationing at the beach.

Don’t think showing up equates to productivity
Just keep in mind that achievements trump hours spent. Just because you are in the office for the required eight hours doesn’t mean you’ve done your job. The summer is not a ticket for slacking off, so don’t do it!

It’s a Woman’s World

Monday, July 21st, 2014

women managing womenI recently came across an article published by Inc. Magazine titled “Women Managing Women.” It was written by Nan Mooney in March of 2006. Since Preferred Corporate Housing is a certified woman-owned business, and females make up 91% of our team members, naturally this article piqued my interest.

With the exception of the now outdated Census Bureau statistics, I was pleasantly surprised at how relevant this article still is even though it was published more than 8 years ago. Women employees and leaders make up a large percentage of the corporate housing, relocation and multi-family apartment industries, and I know we can all benefit from advice on how to navigate through the often tough terrain of women managing women. Here is the article in its entirety.

Women Managing Women – by Nan Mooney
Just because a woman business owner hires other women doesn’t mean everyone will magically get along. Here are a few of the more common problems women encounter when managing other women, and how to avoid them.

The latest Census Bureau statistics reveal that women owned businesses are hotter than ever. Between 1997 and 2002 women started businesses at twice the national rate. Women-owned businesses with more than $1 million in revenue went up by 18% and those with more than 100 employees went up by 10%.

One upshot of all this growth is that now there are more women in leadership positions than ever. Whether they head their division or head the whole company, these women are in a position to do something they may have wanted to do for a long time. Hire other women.

Women like working with other smart, savvy women. There’s often less ego involved and more willingness to collaborate. As woman leaders, we can create a culture where success doesn’t have to mean trying to become “one of the guys.” But our idealistic visions of women working together do not always translate smoothly into practice. There’s no guarantee that just because we hire other women, everyone will magically get along. Here are a few of the more common problem areas we can encounter:

Boss or Buddy?
When Giselle became Editor-in-Chief of a new women’s magazine, she told her all female staff that they had a say in every editorial decision and that her door was always open no matter how small the concern or how late the hour. “I didn’t want them to see me as the big bad boss,” she explained. “I wanted them to like me.”

Instead, Giselle created an environment in which there was too little structure. Employees took her open door policy literally and dropped in to chat about personal problems or petty disagreements they should have been able to resolve on their own. Even worse, when Giselle made executive decisions her staff seemed to resent her adopting any authority.

Just because we’re in leadership positions doesn’t mean we stop wanting people to like us. Women are raised to always be nice and nurturing to other women and, like Giselle, we can be wary of coming across as too tough or power hungry. But part of your responsibility as a leader is to call the shots. If employees see you as their best buddy, it can be confusing when you start telling them what to do or calling them on their mistakes. Try envisioning yourself as a leader who is respected by her employees rather than seeking unconditional love.

Banning the Micromanager
Many women abandon the traditional corporate world because they’re sick of a macho work culture where they have to do twice as much to prove themselves while someone’s always looking over their shoulder waiting for them to screw up. But once on our own, it can be difficult to relax these hyper-vigilant standards. This can be especially true with your own business, where everything that goes out the door has your name attached. But you’re going to have to learn to let go.

We’ll assume you’ve hired competent, innovative women to work under you. If you insist on supervising every last detail, you’re sending the message that you don’t trust them to handle anything on their own. That’s a sure way to breed apathy, or even worse, resentment. Because women are often more attuned to relationships and more sensitive to feedback, they can be especially prone to interpreting your micromanaging as criticism. It’s worth the risk to give them some autonomy and even allow them to make the occasional mistake. They’ll work harder if they feel like their input matters.

Work-Family Issues
It would be nice if all things were equal on the work-family front — if men took on just as many domestic responsibilities and were just as eager for maternity leave and flexible working schedules. But we all know this isn’t true. Women are still the primary care givers and they expect female bosses and employers to be more sensitive towards this struggle to balance work and family lives.

Before you institute policies, talk to your employees about what they need and be clear in your own head about what is possible from a financial standpoint. Be as generous and as creative as you can. Women with less personal stress make happier and more productive employees. But also be realistic about what the business can support. One of the worst things you can do in this department is make promises you can’t keep.

Above all, women leaders owe it to their female employees to practice what they preach. A charismatic, well-adjusted woman at the top goes a long ways towards creating a healthy office atmosphere. When powerful and highly visible women are seen helping other women by implementing women-friendly policies, acting as mentors and role models, or simply honoring their word, they set a standard for everyone else to come.

Corporate Housing Rate Increase Offsets Slight Declines

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Supply and DemandThe Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) released the annual 2014 Corporate Housing Industry Report, highlighting the industry’s key performance indicators for North America, along with market-specific information in fifty US metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and five Canadian markets. Overall, the corporate housing industry remains steady despite a challenging business climate. Despite an increase in units owned by corporate housing providers, the supply of US corporate housing units declined in 2013 compared to 2012.

“Corporate housing providers again had difficulty finding inventory in 2013,” remarks CHPA Chairman Pam Wade, CCHP, of Gables Corporate Accommodations. “For the second successive year, residential apartment demand growth exceeded the change in supply, lowering vacancy and making it difficult for corporate housing providers to get units with acceptable rental terms.”

The US corporate housing occupancy fell slightly in 2013 as average rate increased in line with rate gains for the overall hotel industry. Overall, rate growth almost offset the declines in unit numbers and occupancy. US corporate housing room revenues were $2.48 billion in 2013, less than a 0.5% decrease from 2012.

“This is a critical report for corporate housing providers and related industries. It allows companies to make informed decisions based on real data and be more successful,” says CHPA CEO, Mary Ann Passi, CAE. “The data provides a concise reference document for boards, investors, banking officials and others to validate the industry.”

For the third successive year, relocation was the largest reason for using corporate housing in the US and the second highest reason in Canada. Technology and professional services are the largest generators of corporate housing demand by industry. The biggest difference between demand generators in 2013 and 2012 was the decrease in government/military usage which has been significantly impacted by travel cutbacks.

Overall, the corporate housing industry remains stable. Highlights include:

US corporate housing revenues were $2.48 billion in 2013, down slightly from 2012’s $2.49 billion.

Per survey respondents, US corporate housing inventory is estimated at over 56,000 rental units, with the Canadian market at approximately 7,600 rental units.

Occupancy in the United States was down slightly to 88.1%, while Canadian providers saw occupancy decline to 81.7%.

Relocation continues to be the main reason for client stays in the United States, with project/training the major reason Canadian clients stay in units. Relocation is a close second in Canada.

Average Daily Rate increased approximately $5 in the US and decreased almost $8 in Canada.

Posted on May 14, 2014 to www.chpaonline.org by Amanda Cook

Preferred Corporate Housing Director wins Tower of Excellence Award at Corporate Housing Provider’s Association Annual Conference

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Michelle Velasquez, CCHP
Director of Client Services – Preferred Corporate Housing

The Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), the professional trade association exclusively dedicated to supporting corporate housing professionals around the world, held its annual Tower of Excellence Awards luncheon in conjunction with its National Conference in New Orleans last week. The Tower of Excellence Awards recognize success and achievement from within the corporate housing industry, and members from around the world come together to honor their peers and industry leaders.

Preferred Corporate Housing’s Director of Client Services, Michelle Velasquez, CCHP, was honored to receive the Tower of Excellence Award for ‘Volunteer of the Year.’ This award recognizes outstanding members who lend themselves to service and expansion of CHPA and the corporate housing industry, and it acknowledges diligence and service dedication. Velasquez’s active involvement with the National and Regional Conference Planning Committees, Program Task Force and NextGen Task Force led to her win for Volunteer of the Year.

“CHPA is a great organization with such amazing people. It is so easy to get involved, and it is very fulfilling to see the work we all put in result in industry-wide success,” said Velasquez. “I am very honored to win this award, and I am grateful to work for a company like Preferred Corporate Housing that allows me to get involved with organizations like CHPA.”

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.

Tips to Overcome the Mid-Winter Work ‘Blahs’

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

winter work bluesThese tips were taken from a Forbes.com post written by Lisa Quast.

“I’m beginning to wonder if this grey winter weather is ever going to end,” remarked the woman in front of me as we waited in line at the coffee shop. “I just feel so blah. I don’t think I could make it through the work day without coffee,” she added.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, the feelings that come from a prolonged lack of sun during the winter can get especially terrible, causing many people to lose steam at work. Need a pick-me-up to take you from ho-hum to energized at the office? Try these six simple tips:

Get moving. Let’s face it – most Americans don’t get enough exercise, so skip the elevator and use the stairs, park further away from the office and ask a co-worker to go for a walk during lunch (bundle up first). Get moving to increase energy and creativity.

Seek the sun. Winters mean short days and not a lot of sunlight, which can lead to a lack of vitamin D. It turns out 41.6% of U.S. adults are deficient in vitamin D, which is important in everything from regulating the immune system to keeping the brain functioning well. Talk to your doctor about checking your levels to see if you should add a supplement to your daily routine.

Laugh more. “Although we can’t yet say that a certain number of laughs every day will keep the doctor away, studies show that people who say they laugh a lot also tend to be in good health and generally feel well,” states Madeline Vann, MPH. Go ahead! Laugh with co-workers and share those funny stories before or after meetings (just keep them “G” rated).

Get more zzzs. Feel like napping at 2 p.m. each day? Studies reveal that nearly 20% of Americans get less than six hours of sleep per night. To improve your energy, health and immune system, sleep expert Dr. Ranit Mishori recommends seven to nine hours of sleep every night for adults.

Set a challenging goal. University professors Edwin Locke and Gary Latham studied 35 years of goal-setting and task-motivation research and found “that the highest or most difficult goals produced the highest levels of effort and performance.” To get motivated… challenge yourself.

Express gratitude. Being grateful increases happiness and motivation. Take some time each day to write down things that make you thankful. After following this process for a few weeks, people generally “feel better about themselves, have more energy and feel more alert,” says Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher at the University of California at Davis.

2014 – PCH New Year’s Resolutions

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Coming off such a successful 2013 year, it would be easy for us to just continue doing exactly what we’ve been doing and probably be okay. But at PCH, we don’t strive for “okay.” We want excellence, we want to be the best! So in order to ensure our success and commit to being ‘Your Permanent Solution for Temporary Housing Nationwide,’ we’ve made a few New Year’s Resolutions as a company to make 2014 even better than 2013.

Resolution #1: Treat our Clients more like guests in our home
We offer our fully furnished apartments as a more home-like alternative to cramped hotel stays. We include all the furnishings, housewares, and services that make up a corporate apartment, but in 2014, we are resolving to do a better job making each guest feel more at home when they arrive. By offering concierge services, customized local area information, and spending more time getting to know each client we hope each person who stays in a PCH apartment feels like our special guest

Resolution #2: Learn more about what our clients want
At PCH, we know that the most important thing you can do to have a mutually beneficial relationship with your clients is to consistently ask them what they want, and how we can be better. Too many companies think they know what their clients need but really don’t know because they never ask them. We resolve to ask more often, and more importantly, LISTEN to their answers.

Resolution #3: Make it easy for clients to offer feedback
Client feedback is the most important resource we have. It lets us know how we are doing on a day-to-day basis. We know that our clients are extremely busy and don’t want to spend too much time completing mindless surveys, so we resolve to make it easy and convenient for our clients to reach out to us with their feedback and suggestions for improvement. We will let them reach out to us when, where and how they want to. We will develop as many ways to open the lines of communication as possible.

Resolution #4: Have fun
If you’ve met us in person or ever worked closely with our team, you know that we love to have fun as a company. We work hard together and we love one another like family! We know that companies, like ours, that enjoy tremendous client loyalty offer their clients something they can’t get anywhere else: FUN! We resolve to provide our clients and guests an unexpected, positive experience; to have fun with them! We will continue to find ways to bring fun and joy into our work, and we will bring our clients along for the ride!

Overall, we resolve to learn from the past 12 months and look forward to the next 12. We will continuously strive to offer the best service at the lowest price, and hope that as we keep our 2014 New Year’s Resolutions you will continue to think of Preferred Corporate Housing as “Your Permanent Solution for Temporary Housing Nationwide!”

Top 5 Places to Ring in the New Year

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Preferred Corporate Housing has some exciting things planned for 2014, so we want to be sure to start this year off with a bang! We’ve put together a list of our favorite places to party on New Year’s Eve, so get out the party hats, champaign and noise-makers and head to one of these top 5 places to welcome 2014 and ring in a new year!

5. Key West, FL – Duval Street:key west If the bone-chilling cold of Times Square’s ball drop has you shivering, you can head south to the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar to watch a gigantic conch shell work its way down at midnight! There is no place better than Key West to ring the new year in! Duval Street is closed to traffic which allows the tens of thousands of party goers to celebrate and the weather is warm and dry!

4. Las Vegas, NV – The Strip:Vegas NYE Being one of the wildest party places on earth on any given weekend, it only makes sense that Vegas should have a rocking New Year’s Eve celebration as well. The Strip fills with revelers. Fireworks light up the sky. The casinos are body-to-body, the showrooms filled with A-list entertainers and Vegas is more gloriously alive than you’ve ever seen it. New Year’s Eve in Vegas is a world-class celebration.

3. Boston, MA – Downtown:boston This is a celebration for the whole family at Boston’s ‘First Night’ attraction. The event has grown to more than 250 exhibitions and performances by artists from across the globe. Stand with the city as chants of ‘Boston Strong’ resound through the streets! The party starts at 1pm on NYE and lasts till next year!

2. New Orleans, LA – Bourbon Street:bourbon street This popular party spot has earned its reputation from the annual Mardi Gras celebration that takes place here in February. For New Year’s Eve revelers can enjoy drinks and merriment up and down the street all night long. Enjoy live music and great food, then head down to Jackson Square for the official countdown.

1. New York, NY – Times Square:new york This New Year’s Eve location may be a bit cliche, but its so festive that it must be experienced at lease once in a lifetime. From the iconic ball drop at One Times Square to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, it is a New Year’s celebration you won’t soon forget. Get there early to claim a spot and dress warm!

No matter where you decide to celebrate the start of 2014, Preferred Corporate Housing wants to remind everyone to be safe and drink responsibly. PCH wishes everyone joyous celebrations and a prosperous New Year!!

7 Tips for Safe and Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Everyone knows that winter and holiday travel can be extremely stressful, and like most, I tend to forget basic common sense when I am in extremely stressful situations. The team at Preferred Corporate Housing want everyone to enjoy their holiday trips, so we’ve compiled a list of tips for those of you who will be leaving home during this time of hustle and bustle.

1. If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, consider hiring a home-sitter. If you have trusted neighbors who will be home for the holidays, enlist their help in keeping an eye on your place while you are gone. If you live in an apartment, contact your PCH Account Manager to let them know when you will be away, and also speak to the onsite office staff as well. Many communities offer complimentary plant watering and dog walking services, so check in with them before you leave.

2. Lock up – This seems so obvious, but hey…we’ve all got a lot on our minds during this season of hustle and bustle. Locking your home makes it less attractive to opportunistic burglars. If you don’t make it easy, there’s a better chance that when you get home, your house will be in the same condition as when you left it.

3. Be cautious with your social media posts – Don’t broadcast your whereabouts on Facebook or Twitter at every stop you make. Although we would like to think that our connections on social media are friends and acquaintances, we don’t need everyone to know that we are away from our home.

4. If you are traveling by plane, plan to leave your home at least an hour earlier than usual. Winter weather, holiday shopping traffic and forgetting to pack Aunt Mildred’s gift can all result in delays to your schedule. If you start out with extra time, you are less likely to turn into a super stress ball when something unexpected pops up.

5. Stay hydrated for your journey – Another one of those tips that seems so simple, but is often overlooked. Even slight dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased alertness which sounds like a recipe for disaster on your holiday trip. Remember to drink plenty of water as often as you can.

6. If you are driving to your holiday destination – pack a winter car safety kit. Cell phone, car charger, ice scraper, tow rope, jumper cables, cat littler (helps to provide traction in the snow), blankets, crank-powered flashlights, matches, emergency candles, first aid kit, portable radio, granola bars or other snacks and a good book in case you do get stuck. Recent unexpected snow storms in Dallas caused people to be stuck in their cars on the freeway for 30+ hours. Make sure you are prepared if something like that were to happen to you.

7. Don’t forget to pack a smile! This is one of those rainbows and flowers type tips, but it really does help. If you start your trip with a smile and try very hard to keep it there, you are more likely to enjoy yourself. Don’t sweat the small stuff, find humor in every situation and enjoy the journey!

From all of us at Preferred Corporate Housing, we wish you safe travels and Happy Holidays!

A Season of Giving from Preferred Corporate Housing

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Preferred Corporate Housing donates $21.5K to national and local charities in partnership with clients participating in its ‘Preferred Charity Helpers’ program.

Third quarter participation in Preferred Corporate Housing’s ‘Preferred Charity Helpers’ program exceeded all previous quarters, and resulted in a donation total of $21,421.70. This industry-leading initiative began as a way to get Preferred’s national clients involved in community and philanthropic endeavors in partnership with PCH. The program’s success has allowed PCH to donate a total of $52.5K in 2013 to national and local charities.

Through the “Preferred Charity Helpers’ Program, PCH donates a portion of each new furnished apartment lease to their clients’ chosen charity organization. “Our clients have really jumped on board with this opportunity to support their favorite causes,” said Michelle Velasquez, Director of Client Services for PCH. “Some clients have elected to donate to national charities like Habitat for Humanity, St. Judes Childrens Cancer Research Hospital, and the ASPCA, while others have allowed us to make donations on their behalf to their local charity organizations like food pantries and shelters. We give our clients the option to select whichever charity they prefer to support through this program,” said Velasquez.

“We have been pleasantly surprised at the initial responses we’ve received from our clients who are invited to participate in this program,” said Samantha Elliott, President of PCH. “I really the opportunity to give back on our clients’ behalf, especially to those charity organizations that mean so much to them.”

As we wind down 2013, we will make our final Preferred Charity Helpers donation. Though final tallies have not been made, we anticipate the fourth quarter donation to bring our 2013 total to more than $65,000 with the support and partnership of our national clients.

About PCH:
Preferred Corporate Housing is the premier, nationwide extended-stay lodging partner for relocating employees, temporary assignments, recurring projects, and corporate training programs. Corporations, government agencies and travel managers turn to Preferred Corporate Housing to take advantage of cost-efficient, fully furnished apartments accompanied by online inventory management tools, dedicated personal account teams and service to more than 42,000 locations. PCH is your permanent solution for temporary housing nationwide! (800) 960-0102, www.corporates.com

Celebrate Veteran’s Day with Preferred Corporate Housing

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Every year, Preferred Corporate Housing tries to find some way to thank our Veteran’s for their service to our country. Veterans make up a large percentage of our clients, so it is extremely important for us to let them know how grateful we are for their sacrifice and dedication. This year, we are inviting veterans who are current guests in any of our fully furnished apartments around the country to call our office at (800) 960-0102 to redeem a small token of thanks from the staff at Preferred Corporate Housing. Please ask for Michelle Velasquez.

We also want to invite everyone out there to take part in a Veteran’s Day celebration as well, so we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to honor our brave service men and women on November 11.

-Attend a Veteran’s Day program/parade in your community. Many communities have organized activities that are sponsored by the local VFW as well as student-led school programs that are often open to the public.

-Take part in a flag-raising ceremony. If your office or apartment building has a flag pole, organize a gathering of co-workers/neighbors to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem together.

-Participate in a moment of silence in remembrance of those who have given their lives for their country. Invite your family, coworkers, neighbors, and friends to observe a moment of silence as well. A national moment of silence is usually observed at 11:00am (EST).

-Take your children to visit a Veteran’s hospital, or encourage them to send a letter of thanks to a Veteran.

On November 11th, we hope you will take a few moments out of your day to get involved in a celebration of Veteran’s Day in your area. The servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much for our country deserve our gratitude.