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The Open-Office Trap
In 1973, my high school, Acton-Boxborough Regional, in Acton, Massachusetts, moved to a sprawling brick building at the foot of a hill. Inspired by architectural trends of the preceding decade, the classrooms in one of its wings didn’t have doors. The rooms opened up directly onto the hallway, and tidbits about the French Revolution, say, or Benjamin Franklin’s breakfast, would drift from one classroom to another. Distracting at best and frustrating at worst, wide-open classrooms went, for the most part, the way of other ill-considered architectural fads of the time, like concrete domes. (Following an eighty-million-dollar renovation and expansion, in 2005, none of the new wings at A.B.R.H.S. have open classrooms.) Yet the workplace counterpart of the open classroom, the open office, flourishes: some seventy per cent of all offices now have an open floor plan.
The open office was originally conceived by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the nineteen-fifties, to facilitate communication and idea flow. But a growing body of evidence suggests that the open office undermines the very things that it was designed to achieve. In June, 1997, a large oil and gas company in western Canada asked a group of psychologists at the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional office arrangement to an open one. The psychologists assessed the employees’ satisfaction with their surroundings, as well as their stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships before the transition, four weeks after the transition, and, finally, six months afterward. The employees suffered according to every measure: the new space was disruptive, stressful, and cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied, and resentful. Productivity fell.
In 2011, the organizational psychologist Matthew Davis reviewed more than a hundred studies about office environments. He found that, though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission , making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise , they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. Compared with standard offices, employees experienced more uncontrolled interactions, higher levels of stress, and lower levels of concentration and motivation. When David Craig surveyed some thirty-eight thousand workers, he found that interruptions by colleagues were detrimental to productivity, and that the more senior the employee, the worse she fared .
Psychologically, the repercussions of open offices are relatively straightforward. Physical barriers have been closely linked to psychological privacy, and a sense of privacy boosts job performance . Open offices also remove an element of control, which can lead to feelings of helplessness. In a 2005 study that looked at organizations ranging from a Midwest auto supplier to a Southwest telecom firm, researchers found that the ability to control the environment had a significant effect on team cohesion and satisfaction. When workers couldn’t change the way that things looked, adjust the lighting and temperature, or choose how to conduct meetings, spirits plummeted.
An open environment may even have a negative impact on our health. In a recent study of more than twenty-four hundred employees in Denmark, Jan Pejtersen and his colleagues found that as the number of people working in a single room went up, the number of employees who took sick leave increased apace. Workers in two-person offices took an average of fifty per cent more sick leave than those in single offices, while those who worked in fully open offices were out an average of sixty-two per cent more.
But the most problematic aspect of the open office may be physical rather than psychological: simple noise. In laboratory settings, noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance. The psychologist Nick Perham, who studies the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs workers’ ability to recall information, and even to do basic arithmetic. Listening to music to block out the office intrusion doesn’t help: even that, Perham found, impairs our mental acuity. Exposure to noise in an office may also take a toll on the health of employees. In a study by the Cornell University psychologists Gary Evans and Dana Johnson, clerical workers who were exposed to open-office noise for three hours had increased levels of epinephrine—a hormone that we often call adrenaline, associated with the so-called fight-or-flight response. What’s more, Evans and Johnson discovered that people in noisy environments made fewer ergonomic adjustments than they would in private, causing increased physical strain. The subjects subsequently attempted to solve fewer puzzles than they had after working in a quiet environment; in other words, they became less motivated and less creative.
Open offices may seem better suited to younger workers, many of whom have been multitasking for the majority of their short careers. When, in 2012 , Heidi Rasila and Peggie Rothe looked at how employees of a Finnish telecommunications company born after 1982 reacted to the negative effects of open-office plans, they noted that young employees found certain types of noises, such as conversations and laughter, just as distracting as their older counterparts did. The younger workers also disparaged their lack of privacy and an inability to control their environment. But they believed that the trade-offs were ultimately worth it, because the open space resulted in a sense of camaraderie; they valued the time spent socializing with coworkers, whom they often saw as friends.
That increased satisfaction, however, may merely mask the fact that younger workers also suffer in open offices. In a 2005 study , the psychologists Alena Maher and Courtney von Hippel found that the better you are at screening out distractions, the more effectively you work in an open office. Unfortunately, it seems that the more frantically you multitask, the worse you become at blocking out distractions. Moreover, according to the Stanford University cognitive neuroscientist Anthony Wagner, heavy multitaskers are not only “more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli” but also worse at switching between unrelated tasks. In other words, if habitual multitaskers are interrupted by a colleague, it takes them longer to settle back into what they were doing. Regardless of age, when we’re exposed to too many inputs at once—a computer screen, music, a colleague’s conversation, the ping of an instant message—our senses become overloaded, and it requires more work to achieve a given result .
Though multitasking millennials seem to be more open to distraction as a workplace norm, the wholehearted embrace of open offices may be ingraining a cycle of underperformance in their generation: they enjoy, build, and proselytize for open offices, but may also suffer the most from them in the long run.
Homepage, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, new business opportunities.#New #business #opportunities
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A snapshot of how the New Zealand science and innovation system is performing in key areas.
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The 2018 Endeavour Fund is now underway.
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Auckland restaurants to pay nearly $200,000 for employment breaches
2 November 2017
A Labour Inspectorate investigation has uncovered employment breaches in a series of connected Asian restaurants in Auckland, who now must pay nearly $200,000.
Chinese newspaper to pay more than $140,000 for employment breaches
2 November 2017
A prominent Chinese New Zealand newspaper must pay more than $140,000 for employment breaches following a Labour Inspectorate investigation.
174-184 MHz – Land Mobile Radio technical consultation
30 October 2017
The Minister for Communications decided new uses for the former analogue television Band III (174-230 MHz) in April 2017, following a review of options for allocating the frequencies in this band.
Tourism spending data for September 2017 released
26 October 2017
The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) today show that tourism expenditure grew in most regions over the year to September 2017.
Inspectorate warns businesses that poor assurances can endanger brands
25 October 2017
The Labour Inspectorate is calling for large brands and franchisors to take a stronger hand in ensuring those at the bottom of their supply chain receive what they’re owed.
Sign Your Approval for Section 179
We asked Congress to raise Section 179 to $500,000. They responded. Now we want to make sure they don’t ever forget us.
Jan 1, 2017 – Section 179 is still affected by the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015” (PATH Act) that was signed into law on 12/18/2015. This bill expanded the Section 179 deduction limit to $500,000, where it will remain for all of 2017. For those interested, you may read the summary from the Ways and Means committee here.
Section 179 Deduction: Until further notice, Section 179 will be permanent at the $500,000 level. Businesses exceeding a total of $2 million of purchases in qualifying equipment have the Section 179 deduction phase-out dollar-for-dollar and completely eliminated above $2.5 million. Additionally, the Section 179 cap will be indexed to inflation in $10,000 increments in future years. That means for taxable years beginning in 2017, the aggregate cost of any 179 property cannot exceed $510,000 and is reduced dollar-for-dollar if the cost of 179 property exceeds $2,030,000 (see RP 2016-55).
50% Bonus Depreciation will be extended through 2019. Businesses of all sizes will be able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and put in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. Then bonus depreciation will phase down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.
IMPORTANT THIS YEAR: Section 179 for Current 2017 Tax Year
Section 179 can provide you with significant tax relief for this 2017 tax year, but equipment and software must be financed and in place by midnight December 31, 2017. Use this 2017 Section 179 Calculator to see how much the Section 179 tax deduction can save your company.
The PATH ACT passed in December of 2015 affected 2016 and beyond, making the Section 179 deduction for 2016 $500,000. In addition, the 50% Bonus Depreciation was reinstated.
How Much Can I Save on My Taxes in 2017?
It depends on the amount of qualifying equipment and software that you purchase and put into use. See the handy Section 179 Calculator that’s fully updated for 2017, and includes any/all increases from any future legislation.
What Sort of Equipment Qualifies in 2017?
When Do I Have to Do This By?
Section 179 for 2017 expires midnight, 12/31/2017. If you wish to deduct the full price of your equipment from your 2017 taxes and take advantage of the new higher deduction limits, it must be purchased and put into service by then.
Many businesses are finding Section 179 Qualified Financing to be an attractive option in 2017, especially since the expected Federal Discount Rate increases don’t leave much time for action. Please apply today.
Welcome to Section179.Org, your definitive resource for all things Section 179. We’ve brought together a large amount of information regarding Section 179, and clearly and honestly discuss the various aspects of IRS 179 in plain language. This will allow you to make the best possible financial decisions for your company.
Section 179 can be extremely profitable to you, so it is to your benefit to learn as much as possible. To begin, you may have a lot of questions regarding Section 179 such as:
We ll answer all of these questions, and make certain that you come away with all of the knowledge you need to make smart business decisions in this 2017 tax year regarding equipment and/or software purchasing and Section 179.
Why? Because if you’ve been thinking about buying or leasing new equipment and/or software, it’s definitely to your advantage to use this excellent tax break.
Successful businesses take advantage of legal tax incentives to help lower their operating costs. The Section 179 Deduction is a tax incentive that is easy to use, and gives businesses an incentive to invest in themselves by adding capital equipment. In short, taking advantage of the Section 179 Deduction will help your business keep more capital, while also getting needed equipment, vehicles, and software.
Section 179 is really very simple. You buy, finance or lease qualifying equipment and/or software, and then take a full tax deduction on it this year (also, there are a few other things, which we ll go over, but in a nutshell, that s the idea). To give you an estimate of how much money you can save, here’s a Section 179 Deduction Calculator to make computing Section 179 deductions simple.
If you use the calculator, take note of the savings on your tax obligation. Many people find that, if they lease or finance their Section 179 qualified equipment, the tax savings actually exceed the first year’s payments on the equipment (making buying equipment profitable for the current tax year). This is perfectly legal, and a good example of the incentive that Section 179 provides small and medium businesses.
British Small Business Grants, Helping small businesses grow, new business grants.#New #business #grants
A monthly cash competition for the UK’s brightest small business stars
About the grant
As the leading advice website in the small business space, SmallBusiness.co.uk receives many requests every month from would-be entrepreneurs and existing company owners asking what financial assistance is available to help them, start, run, grow and succeed.
Whether you are running a cafe, operating a business from home, or perhaps managing a franchise, you will need funds to establish and grow your company. Depending on the type of business, this requirement may vary from a few hundred pounds to multiple thousands.
While some companies may be able to get away with minimal investment in equipment, staff and marketing, others will be faced with significant expenditures that are key to establishing their company.
The Small Business Grants initiative will help small businesses in this area, offering monthly financial assistance to maximise their chance of success.
Every month, one business deemed by our panel of judges to be the most deserving will benefit from a £5,000 financial grant, as well as being featured on SmallBusiness.co.uk as a monthly winner.
We look forward to receiving your applications for this exciting initiative. Good luck!
Government Grants, Learn How To Get Free Money From The Government, new business grants.#New
Welcome to GovernmentGrant.com
U.S. Federal Grant Data Provided by USASpending.gov
Every year the United States Government has been giving away Free Money in Government Grants to small businesses and individuals in need. In United States over $400 Billion Dollars in Government Grants have been given away to qualified US businesses, organizations, and people like you.
You may be entitled for government grants that you are not aware of! GovernmentGrant.com is the best source for federal grants, state grants, and municipal grants. Throughout the site, we will show you what grants are available in your area, how to pick one, and how to apply.
One of the great things about government grants is that you can apply to as many as like and best of all it is absolutely free to apply! Its free money just waiting for eligible applicants to come along and take it. With a bit of effort you can get yourself a government grant to fix up your aging home, help start a business or even a grant to help pay your bills!
Government Grant News
New Initiative Aims to End Child Hunger in Maine
The state of Maine has unveiled an ambitious campaign designed to combat child hunger. The campaign is called Full Plates, Full Potential, to highlight the fact that children cannot reach
Sam’s Club Awards Grants and Education to Small Business Owners
Oftentimes, small business owners are the very small fish in a large, overpopulated pond. One reason they struggle to get their business off and running is due to limited availability
Homeless Families Lose Housing After Federal Government Takes Grant Money Away From Charities
Though Polk and Hillsborough counties have mostly recovered from the housing market collapse, there are still hundreds of homeless families located within the central Florida area. Sadly, these unfortunate families
FedEx Launches Small Business Grant Contest
Small businesses can find securing funding difficult during a weak economy like the one we’re in now. A government grant program that was available in the past may no longer
A Start-Up Slump Is a Drag on the Economy, starting a new business.#Starting #a
The New York Times
Graphic | A Long Start-Up Slump
September 20, 2017
Unemployment has fallen, and the stock market has soared. So why has the economic expansion since the recession been so tame, with sluggish productivity and, at least until recently, anemic wage growth?
Economists say the answer, to some degree, can be found in a start-up slump — a decline in the creation of new businesses — and a growing understanding of what’s behind it.
A total of 414,000 businesses were formed in 2015, the latest year surveyed, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. It was a slight increase from the previous year, but well below the 558,000 companies given birth in 2006, the year before the recession set in.
“We’re still in a start-up funk,” said Robert Litan, an economist and antitrust lawyer who has studied the issue. “Obviously the recession had a lot to do with it, but then you’re left with the conundrum: Why hasn’t there been any recovery?”
Many economists say the answer could lie in the rising power of the biggest corporations, which they argue is stifling entrepreneurship by making it easier for incumbent businesses to swat away challengers — or else to swallow them before they become a serious threat.
“You’ve got rising market power,” said Marshall Steinbaum, an economist at the Roosevelt Institute, a liberal think tank. “In general, that makes it hard for new businesses to compete with incumbents. Market power is the story that explains everything.”
That argument comes at a potent political moment. Populists on both the left and right have responded to growing public unease about the corporate giants that increasingly dominate their online and offline lives. Polling data from Gallup and other organizations shows a long-running decline in confidence in banks and other big businesses — a concern not likely to abate after high-profile data breaches at Equifax and other companies.
The start-up slump has far-reaching implications. Small businesses in general are often cited as an exemplar of economic dynamism. But it is start-ups — and particularly the small subset of companies that grow quickly — that are key drivers of job creation and innovation, and have historically been a ladder into the middle class for less-educated workers and immigrants.
Perhaps most significant, start-ups play a critical role in making the economy as a whole more productive, as they invent new products and approaches, forcing existing businesses to compete or fall by the wayside.
“Across the decades, young companies are really the heavy hitters and the consistent hitters in terms of job creation,” said Arnobio Morelix, an economist at the Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit in Kansas City, Mo., that studies and promotes entrepreneurship.
The start-up decline might defy expectations in the age of Uber and “Shark Tank.” But however counterintuitive, the trend is backed by multiple data sources and numerous economic studies.
In 1980, according to the Census Bureau data, roughly one in eight companies had been founded in the past year; by 2015, that ratio had fallen to fewer than one in 12. The downward trend cuts across regions and industries and, at least since 2000, includes even the beating heart of American entrepreneurship, high tech.
Although the overall slump dates back more than 30 years, economists are most concerned about a more recent trend. In the 1980s and 1990s, the entrepreneurial slowdown was concentrated in sectors such as retail, where corner stores and regional brands were being subsumed by national chains. That trend, though often painful for local communities, wasn’t necessarily a drag on productivity more generally.
Since about 2000, however, the slowdown has spread to parts of the economy more often associated with high-growth entrepreneurship, including the technology sector. That decline has coincided with a period of weak productivity growth in the United States as a whole, a trend that has in turn been implicated in the patterns of fitful wage gains and sluggish economic growth since the recession. Recent research has suggested that the decline in entrepreneurship, and in other measures of business dynamism, is one cause of the prolonged stagnation in productivity.
“We’ve got lots of pieces now that say dynamism has gone down a lot since 2000,” said John Haltiwanger, a University of Maryland economist who has done much of the pioneering work in the field. “Start-ups have gone down a lot since 2000, especially in the high-tech sectors, and there are increasingly strong links to productivity.”
What is behind the decline in entrepreneurship is less clear. Economists and other experts have pointed to a range of possible explanations: The aging of the baby-boom generation has left fewer Americans in their prime business-starting years. The decline of community banks and the collapse of the market for home-equity loans may have made it harder for would-be entrepreneurs to get access to capital. Increased regulation, at both the state and federal levels, may be particularly burdensome for new businesses that lack well-staffed compliance departments. Those and other factors could well play a role, but none can fully explain the decline.
More recently, economists — especially but not exclusively on the left — have begun pointing the finger at big business, and in particular at the handful of companies that increasingly dominate many industries.
Graphic | Big Business, Getting Bigger The share of employees working at large, medium and small companies in the United States.
The evidence is largely circumstantial: The slump in entrepreneurship has coincided with a period of increasing concentration in nearly every major industry. Research from Mr. Haltiwanger and several co-authors has found that the most productive companies are growing more slowly than in the past, a hint that competitive pressures aren’t forcing companies to react as quickly to new innovations.
A recent working paper from economists at Princeton and University College London found that American companies are increasingly able to demand prices well above their costs — which according to standard economic theory would lead new companies to enter the market. Yet that isn’t happening.
“If we’re in an era of excessive profits, in competitive markets we would see record firm entry, but we see the opposite,” said Ian Hathaway, an economist who has studied the issue. That, Mr. Hathaway said, suggests that the market is not truly competitive — that existing companies have found ways to block competitors.
Experts also point to anecdotal examples that suggest that the rise of big businesses could be squelching competition. YouTube, Instagram and hundreds of lower-profile start-ups chose to sell out to industry heavyweights like Google and Facebook rather than try to take them on directly. The tech giants have likewise been accused of using the power of their platforms to favor their own offerings over those of competitors.
Most recently, Amazon openly called for a bidding war among cities for its second headquarters — hardly the kind of demand a new start-up could make. Mr. Morelix said the Amazon example was particularly striking.
“We’re saying that it’s O.K. that they shape how a city charges taxes?” Mr. Morelix said. “And what kind of regulations they have? That should be terrifying to anyone that wants a free market.”
In Washington, where for years politicians have praised small businesses while catering to big ones, issues of competition and entrepreneurship are increasingly drawing bipartisan attention. Several Republican presidential candidates referred to the start-up slump during last year’s primary campaign. Progressive Democrats such as Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have pushed for stricter enforcement of antitrust rules. In a speech in March, Ms. Klobuchar explicitly tied the struggles of entrepreneurs to rising corporate concentration.
In July, entrepreneurs achieved a mark of political relevance: their own advocacy group. The newly formed Center for American Entrepreneurship will conduct research on the importance of new businesses to the economy and push for policies aimed at improving the start-up rate. Its founding president, John Dearie, comes from big business — he was most recently the acting head of the Financial Services Forum, which represents big financial institutions.
“Everybody loves entrepreneurship, but they’re not aware it’s in trouble,” Mr. Dearie said. “If new businesses are the engine of net new job creation, and if new businesses are the engine of innovation, and new business creation is at 30-year lows, that’s a national emergency.”
Follow Ben Casselman on Twitter: @bencasselman
new business plan
I. Executive Summary
A high-level summary of the marketing plan.
II. The Challenge
Brief description of product to be marketed and associated goals, such as sales figures and strategic goals.
III. Situation Analysis
- Value drivers
- Decision process
- Concentration of customer base for particular products
- Subsidiaries, joint ventures, and distributors, etc.
- Political and legal environment
- Economic environment
- Social and cultural environment
- Technological environment
A SWOT analysis of the business environment can be performed by organizing the environmental factors as follows:
- The firm’s internal attributes can be classed as strengths and weaknesses.
- The external environment presents opportunities and threats.
IV. Market Segmentation
Present a description of the market segmentation as follows:
- Percent of sales
- What they want
- How they use product
- Support requirements
- How to reach them
- Price sensitivity
V. Alternative Marketing Strategies
List and discuss the alternatives that were considered before arriving at the recommended strategy. Alternatives might include discontinuing a product, re-branding, positioning as a premium or value product, etc.
VI. Selected Marketing Strategy
Discuss why the strategy was selected, then the marketing mix decisions (4 P’s) of product, price, place (distribution), and promotion.
The product decisions should consider the product’s advantages and how they will be leveraged. Product decisions should include:
Discuss pricing strategy, expected volume, and decisions for the following pricing variables:
- List price
- Payment terms and financing options
- Leasing options
Decision variables include:
- Distribution channels, such as direct, retail, distributors & intermediates
- Advertising, including how much and which media.
- Public relations
- Promotional programs
- Budget; determine break-even point for any additional spending
- Projected results of the promotional programs
VII. Short & Long-Term Projections
The selected strategy’s immediate effects, expected long-term results, and any special actions required to achieve them. This section may include forecasts of revenues and expenses as well as the results of a break-even analysis.
Summarize all of the above.
Calculations of market size, commissions, profit margins, break-even analyses, etc.
Bangs, Jr., David H. The Market Planning Guide: Creating a Plan to Successfully Market Your Business, Products, or Service
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