Vancouver Business Networking Where You Work

June 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Robson Square lit up at night during the 2010 Olympics.

Getting involved in your local Business Improvement Association is a bit like joining a board of trade on the street where you work. You get to know the local banker, barista and nail bar owner on a first-name basis. They provide a great opportunity for Vancouver business networking.

Based on a long and successful history in the United States, the Business Improvement Association represents all businesses within a neighbourhood bringing together local merchants, entrepreneurs and professionals.

In Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, there are 35 individual Business Improvement Associations. Downtown Vancouver itself has seven BIAs including Robson Street, Gastown, the West End, Yaletown, Chinatown and Strathcona.

Unlike other business organizations and associations which charge a fee at the door for everyone who attends, participating in BIA events, meetings and committees are free. All business owners within the zone contribute financially through an annual levy against property taxes.

Whether you own a business or work for one, attending meetings and joining committees provides an inroad to developing local clientele as well as networking among those who run businesses or work near you. It also provides free access to marketing surveys, neighbourhood profiles, special studies and reports for the area.

Most Business Improvement Associations are run by a volunteer board of property owners and business community members. Apart from regular meetings, the BIA holds special events, business networking events and forms committees to promote community awareness, marketing and street beautification /image enhancement as well as safety. Marketing committees get involved in everything from developing advertising and media campaigns to orchestrating street festivals and community events.

If you are a professional, getting involved in your BIA will bring you in touch with neighbourhood lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, and medical and dental practitioners. The opportunities for business networking and making new contacts with other Vancouver professionals and business owners are excellent.

If you are a newcomer, the first step is to get to know your BIA’s executive director or president. This individual is your personal welcome wagon host to the local business community – in many cases, on a first name basis with business owners and bankers alike.

Vancouver Business Networking at the Local B.I.A.:

To find out more about the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, go to http://www.downtownvancouver.net

For more details on business associations within Vancouver, visit http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/cityplans/bia/index.htm

Finding The Optimal Work-Life Balance in Vancouver

June 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Vancouver is the ideal place to find the perfect work life balance (Image Credit: JMV)

Find Your Right Work-Life Balance

Once upon a time, working meant clocking 40 hours each week, Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm unless you worked at a bank, or held a shift position. These days, the boundary between working and non-working hours has blurred thanks to flex-time, working from home, and the technology that we use in our work and personal lives.

Whether you work for yourself or have an employer, it’s important to set up boundaries that define the hours you work. Carve out business days and hours for yourself – making it clear where weekends and evenings fit into the picture. Let your clients, subcontractors, suppliers and business partners know when they should not expect to reach you on your cell phone, Blackberry or mobile device.

Is technology making work invade your personal life? Are PDAs, cell phones, laptops and other electronics intruding into your family time, your evenings and weekends? Turning your cell phone off and stopping from checking your email are two steps that can help restore a balance and protect your private time.

Freelance writer Anne Troy tells agents and clients alike that they should not expect her to answer her phone or reply to email during evenings and weekends. By repeating that message clearly and consistently (as well as not picking up her cell or home business phone after 6pm and on weekends), Anne got her point across.

Separate Work From Your Private, Family Life

While it`s tempting to bring work home, the experts agree that separating work from your private and family life can help to achieve a work-life balance. If you work from home, you may be more effective locating work tasks in a separate space such as a library, quiet internet cafe, virtual office or furnished office space.

Achieving a work-life balance means a state of equilibrium between the activities, roles and responsibilities in your life. Know your limits. Keep track of how much time and attention you devote to each. Are there blocks that get in your way to attain a balance?

Committed parents love spending time with their children, but with today’s pressures of work and other priorities, work life balance can be difficult to achieve. Book time with your children and family as though they were your most important clients.

It`s important to sort out what saps your time and energy versus revitalizes you, and to say `no` to low priorities. Are there involvements and activities that you can shelve, temporarily stop, or delegate to someone else? Allow yourself to rely on others around you while you focus on top priorities. Tag-team with your associates and coworkers for carpooling as well as attending after-hours functions and handling tasks that encroach on your private or personal time.

Play time can be as important to allow you to recharge and improve your effectiveness. You don’t need to join organized groups or spend money on equipment. Lunch hour escapes can be as simple as taking your lunch into the park or sitting beside a water fountain to read a magazine. One of the easiest and simplest ways to meditate is to watch flowing water such as a river or fountain.

Vancouver Is An Ideal City For Work-Life Balance

Greater Vancouver is surrounded by almost 20 kilometers of beaches with specially-designated quiet beaches where loud music is banned. Whether you like to skimboard, spike a volleyball or stretch out on a blanket, Vancouver has a beach for you. Sunset Beach, no more than 30 minutes from the downtown core, is a quiet zone where there is nothing but sand dunes and spectacular views of Kitsilano and the Pacific Ocean to gaze at. If green space is more your scene, Vancouver offers more than 200 parks to choose from including woodlands and ravines, display gardens and small urban parks.

If you work alone in an office or home office, it can be challenging to find social interaction but it`s important to get away from the solo setting to find balance. Make lunch arrangements with former colleagues, meet up with friends after work or connect with peers through a professional association.

Ultimately, consider the important – and neglected – aspects of your own life and make a date with the opportunities to optimize them.

How To Make Your Office Space More Green

April 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Plants help to make your office environment more green. (Credit: MsCaprikell / cc)

Whether you’re leasing or buying an office space you should consider going “Green.” Making your office more environmentally friendly can actually save you money and reduce your company’s ecological footprint.

Let’s take a look at some office-greening opportunities.

1. Heating and Cooling

  • If you have access to your office thermostat, heat your office to a maximum temp of 21°C when occupied; when you are not around turn it down to 16°C. Use automatic setback thermostats to adjust the temperature for weekends and evenings.
  • Use weather stripping and caulking to minimize heat loss from possible cracks near windows or doors.
  • Consider solar shading to reduce the amount of heat from the sun that penetrates your office building
  • Try to remember to keep the blinds closed to conserve heat in winter and keep it out during summer.
  • Think about outside air economizers that use outside air to cool down buildings when the air outside is cooler than the air inside.

2. Go Green with Your Printer

  • Try to buy and use recycled paper.
  • Use eco-mode on your printer if it has one.
  • Save paper by printing on both sides whenever possible.
  • Recycle your used ink and toner cartridges.
  • When buying a printer, choose one that is Energy Star compliant.
  • Do not set your printer to come on when you turn your computer on. Only turn it on when necessary.
  • Check out Soy-Based Ink. Not only is soybean ink better for the environment but it has many other benefits. Soy Ink’s prices are comparable to petroleum-based ink, but less soy ink is needed. It produces brighter, sharper colors because of the innate clearness of the soybean oil. And, it emits less harmful toxins.

3. Lighting

  • Turn off the lights in the room when not in use.
  • Do not leave your office lights on overnight.
  • Use light wall colors. The lighter your paint colors the more daylight they will reflect meaning you will need less overhead lighting.
  • Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps wherever you can. They use 75 percent less energy while producing the same light output.

4. Office Supplies

  • Recycle used office supplies whenever possible
  • Purchase products that are made from post-consumer content such as paper and plastic products.
  • Eliminate your use of products that there are no green alternatives for, such as rubber bands.
  • Turn of machines when you leave for the night and activate sleep modes for printers, copiers and fax machines.
  • Consider consolidating these machines by purchasing a machine that performs multiple functions in one product.

5. General Ideas for a Greener-Office Space

  • Place recycling boxes or centers in a prominent location so that you and employees remember to recycle.
  • Encourage re-usable mugs, glasses and dishes rather than disposables.
  • Have at least one large plant in your office. They not only are great for decoration but they recycle the air.
  • E-mail instead of Faxing whenever possible
  • Use organic products for cleaning of washrooms and offices.
  • Get and use a battery charger. Re-usable batteries will save time and money and reduce the amount of toxic materials sent to landfills.

All of these ideas are simple and inexpensive ways of making your office space more environmentally friendly. Going green is something that can save you money and you can feel good about.

Our Contribution:

Some of the things we have been doing at Elite Business Centres to reduce our environmental impact:

  • We recycle paper, glass, plastic and are working toward a paperless office.
  • All money collected from bottles and recyclable containers is donated to a different charity at the end of each year.
  • Recently, we added sensors so that if an office has not been occupied for 40 minutes, the lights automatically go off.
  • We are participating in a “turn your monitor off” campaign to encourage everyone to turn off their monitors at the end of the day, rather than rely on energy-consuming screen savers.

Virtual Offices: The Future of the Workplace?

April 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Virtual offices are quickly becoming the new go-to working environment for business professionals, law firms, accountants, and start-up entrepreneurs. The virtual office combines off-site live communication and office services so that people can work remotely, but still easily access business amenities.

Virtual offices are gaining popularity, especially with the shift toward self-employment caused by the recent economic downturn. People can now work remotely or from home, but still be able to communicate with their clients and co-workers. Small businesses no longer have to concern themselves with renting office space, and can instead pay for virtual office services which are much less costly.

Virtual offices first gained prominence by way of global businesses that required the use of a temporary or shared office space when traveling on business. The clientele for these virtual offices now seems to be changing, however, with more companies simply seeking a space that will provide them with a business address, telephone number, and temporary meeting space. Not only are virtual offices cheaper for big conglomerates, they also allow small business owners to access services like remote receptionists and remote assistants.

The benefits of virtual offices enable businesses to work remotely with all the required amenities and services within easy reach. Office services such as reception, boardrooms, telephone lines, mail services, executive suites, temporary meeting spaces and support staff are available within virtual offices. This kind of office space can be personalized and tailored for individual businesses by providing them with their own business address, telephone number, voicemail service, and administrative office staff.

Virtual offices are quickly becoming the solution for finding support services that allow companies to focus directly on their own clients and work. Clients of virtual offices are largely comprised of law firms, accountants, real estate workers, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, people working in finance, and remote workers. Virtual office facilities can be utilized by any kind of business in an economical way that allows them to access office space and communication services on an as-needed basis. Businesses can trim costs by eliminating the expense of having a personal receptionist and paying monthly rent, for example.

Rent is often the second highest expense for smaller businesses. This has led business professionals to work remotely from home, at coffee shops, or other public locations. Virtual offices are providing such individuals with access to a professional working space equipped with the technology and support services to benefit their overall efficiency. Business professionals can access virtual offices to check in on their messages, mail, and get administrative support while still working remotely.

Virtual offices pride themselves in providing exceptional customer services for business clients. They work hard to maintain the professional image of individual businesses utilizing their office services. Virtual offices offer businesses all of the comforts of a full-time office without all of the costs. Perhaps the biggest draw towards virtual offices is the reassurance of administrative support services while being able to focus on what matters most to a business: their clients, their products, and providing their services to others.


Technology is changing the workplace. Watch this video from ABC to see how companies are adapting to new workplace trends:

We have over 25 years in the executive office industry, please visit our Vancouver Virtual Offices page for more information on our services.