SCORECARD & MANAGEMENT NOTES
First Qtr 07 Home Sale Price
Increase - Top
20 Zip Code Areas
y||Ave Price||% Change
First Qtr 07 Highest Price Home Sale Price -
Top 20 Zip Code Areas
y||Ave Price||% Change
First Qtr 07 Most Home Sales - Top 20 Zip
y||Ave Price||# Sold|
Source: Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing
Why Office Design
Building the civilized
You want to concentrate and collaborate,
but how can you get the best of both worlds in your
current office set-up?
One factor that affects knowledge worker
performance that isn't well understood is the physical
work environment-the offices, cubicles, buildings,
and mobile workplaces in which knowledge workers
do their jobs. There is a good deal said about this
topic, but not much known about it. Even more
unfortunately, most decisions about the knowledge
work environment are made without seriously
considering their implications for performance.
In 2002 I and my then-colleagues at Accenture
Bob Thomas and Sue Cantrell undertook a study of
this issue. We interviewed forty-one companies that
had some initiative under way intended to improve the
performance of high-end knowledge workers, or those
with particularly high levels of expertise and
experience, who were critical to the organization's
mission. We were interested in all the factors that
affected knowledge work performance, but the topic
most commonly addressed by the companies was
the physical work environment (the other common
ones were information technology and management).
The introduction of a new workspace was most
often the catalyst for a broad redesign of the
knowledge work environment in our study. Because it
is so tangible, a new or alternative office can be both
the symbol and a key part of the reality of new ways of
working. For example, Pharmacia recently built a new
pharmaceutical research building outside of Chicago
that was intentionally designed to encourage more
interaction among its R&D staff. The new workspace
was intended not only to attract top research scientists
to the company, but also to promote a more
collaborative culture. Particular designs can
encourage certain types of behavior, although they will
never guarantee it. Of course, office space is also
expensive, and savings resulting from decreased or
alternative space often serves as a rationale for
Workspace design is a somewhat faddish
phenomenon, in part because no one knows exactly
what factors affect knowledge worker performance,
and how those factors interrelate. In the absence of
knowledge, vendors of office environments, architects,
and developers are free to make all kinds of claims
about what works. But we do know some things from
the limited amount of research on this topic, and in the
next section I'll provide a list of what is generally
agreed to be true with regard to the physical work
environment. Then I'll describe a framework that will
help managers think about the physical environments
for knowledge work in their own organizations.
What we know about the physical work
From either previous research, logic, or common
sense, there are a few things we know about the
relationship between physical work environments and
knowledge worker performance. They include:
Knowledge workers prefer closed offices, but
seem to communicate better in open ones.
course there is great variation among open and
closed office types, but the most extensive research in
the area (from Cornell professors Frank Becker and
William Sims) suggests that while most knowledge
workers prefer closed offices because they are better
able to concentrate, they communicate informally and
build trust and social capital more easily in more open
office environments (even high-walled cubicles, they
say, restrict interpersonal communications). They
note: "Our research, done with employees in job
functions ranging from software development to
marketing and business development, indicates that
the more open the 'open' plan office environment, the
more conducive it is to overall work effectiveness,
when communication and interaction are critical
elements of the work process." Becker and Sims are
undeniably experts on this topic, but I feel that, like
many corporate executives, they downplay the need for
concentration and quiet when knowledge work is
done in office environments.
Knowledge workers congregate in particular
This factor has been
made well-known by Carnegie-Mellon professor
Richard Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative
Class. He documents the fact that knowledge workers
(not synonymous with the "creative class," but closely
overlapping it) are drawn to, and are made more
productive by living in, cities and regions with
concentrations of other people like themselves.
Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin are prominent
examples of this phenomenon, at least for knowledge
workers oriented to information technology. The
connotation is that if you're a knowledge worker or a
business that needs to hire them, you need to find out
where the center of action in your industry is, and
locate yourself there. If you're a city manager or mayor
and you want these successful, taxpaying individuals
to live in your city, you need to make your city attractive
to them and to the businesses that hire them.
Particular designs can encourage certain
types of behavior, although they will never guarantee it.
Continued next week
Source: An excerpt from Thinking for a Living: How
to Get Better Performance and Results from
Knowledge Workers, by Thomas H. Davenport
Wasatch Front Home Sales
- Where are the hightest price increases?
- Where are the hightest prices?
- Where are the most sales?
- Top 15 Global Brands
- Why Office Design Matters
|Top 15 Global Brands by value:
- General Electric
- Bank of America
Source: Millward Brown Optimor, Financial Times
- International Business Confidence
- Global business sentiment dipped at the end of
April, but remains consistent with a global economy
that is expanding near its potential. Behind the dip
were weaker hiring intentions and investment in
equipment and software. Sentiment is strongest in
Asia and weakest in Europe. Financial services are
very upbeat, with confidence in the industry reaching a
new record high. Vehicle manufacturers remain the
most dour. The best news in the survey is solid
expectations regarding the six-month outlook,
suggesting sturdy economic growth later this year.
The worst news in the survey is a recent spurt higher
in pricing pressures, as higher energy and other
commodity prices may be finally showing up.
- The Conference Board Consumer
- The Conference Board index of consumer
confidence declined in April to 104 from an upwardly
revised 108.2 in March (previously 107.2). The decline
was led by the present situation component, although
expectations also weakened.
- Mass Layoffs
- The number of layoff events involving at least 50
workers from a single establishment in March was
slightly lower than expected. A total of 1,276 mass
layoff events took place, compared to 1,280 in
February. As such, they involved 130,700 workers,
compared to 144,000 in February. All numbers are
seasonally adjusted. This month's numbers will alter
our forecast. Expect mass layoff events to rise steadily
for the next few months.
- MBA Mortgage Applications Survey
- Mortgage demand increased 3.6% in the week
ending April 20. Purchase applications increased
3.7% and refinance applications increased 3.6%.
Existing home sales tanked in March, so suppliers
are cutting costs, as well as tighter lending standards
may have eased the risk premium. The result is nine
and ten basis point declines this week in contract
rates for fixed and adjustable mortgages, respectively.
- New Home Sales (C25)
- New home sales advanced in March, according to
expectations, but the gain was weaker than expected.
Sales increased to 858,000 annualized units in March,
a m/m gain of 3%. On a year-ago basis, sales remain
down by 24%. Census also revised downward
January and February numbers. The months of
inventory have improved slightly, declining to 7.8
months from 8.1 in February. The median sales price
is up by more than 6%.
- Existing Home Sales
- Housing markets remain weak. As expected,
existing home sales dropped in March, according to
the realtors' data. The decline, however, was far
worse than anticipated, with sales of existing homes
falling by 8% to 6.12 million units. House prices are
about flat from a year ago, and the months of inventory
stand at 7.3 months.
- Chain Store Sales
- Chain store sales fell 0.3% in the week ending
April 21, the second consecutive modest decline after
a string of five consecutive modest gains. Year-over-
year growth slipped to 2.1%, the weakest in six weeks.
Cooler than normal weather was mentioned as a drag
- Durable Goods (Advance)
- New orders for durable goods rose 3.4% in
March, a stronger than expected gain. After months of
weakness, core capital goods, a proxy for business
investment in equipment and software, finally
bounced back in March, posting a 4.7% gain. Still, first
quarter investment will be weak; core capital goods
fell 15.3% in the first quarter after a 4.2% decline in the
fourth quarter of last year.
- Oil and Gas Inventories
- Crude oil inventories rose by 2.1 million barrels
for the week ending April 20, according to the Energy
Information Administration, far exceeding expectations
of a 1.0 million barrel draw. Gasoline stocks fell by 2.8
million barrels, again trouncing expectations, which
called for a far more modest decline of 400,000
barrels. Refinery activity fell sharply by 2.6% to 87.8%
last week; refinery activity was expected to increase by
0.4 of a percentage point. Distillate inventories were
unchanged. The mixed report is predominantly
- Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
- Underground storage of natural gas increased by
18 billion cubic feet during the week ending April 20.
This was practically in line with expectations for an
injection of 15 Bcf. Inventories are now 17.5% above
the five-year average. This report is likely to have a
slightly bearish effect on prices.
- The Conference Board Help Wanted
- The index of newspaper help wanted advertising
again inched lower in March to a reading of 30 from an
unrevised reading of 31 in February. The reading is
consistent with a softening labor market where job
growth has likely passed its cyclical peak.
- Jobless Claims
- U.S. initial jobless claims decreased by more
than expected, falling 20,000 to 321,000.
|This Weeks Leads:
- Ruth's Chris Steak House
- Ruth's Chris Steak House, Inc. trades as Ruth's
Chris Steak House at 103 locations nationwide and
- The high-end steak and seafood
restaurants occupy spaces of 11,000 sq.ft. in
freestanding locations and mixed-use centers.
- Plans call for 20 openings in the existing markets
during the coming 18 months.
- Typical leases run
10 years with four, five-year options.
- A vanilla shell
and specific improvements are required.
- Preferred demographics include a population
earning an average household income of $90,000.
- A land area of two acres is required.
- For more
- Phil Demena,
Chris Steak House, Inc.,
- 5318 Northwest 77th
- Parkland, FL 33067;
- Web site:
- Batteries Plus
- Batteries Plus, LLC trades as Batteries Plus at
290 locations nationwide.
- The stores, which carry car, hearing aid and other
specialty batteries, occupy spaces of approximately
1,600 sq.ft. in outlots of strip centers.
- Plans call for
40 openings nationwide during the coming 18
- Typical leases run five years.
- Preferred cotenants are big-box
- Competition is cited as Interstate
Batteries. Preferred demographics include a
population of 100,000 within five miles earning
household incomes above the market median.
- The company is franchising.
- For more
- Nate Zelazoski,
- Batteries Plus, LLC,
- 925 Walnut Ridge Drive,
- Hartland, WI 53029;
- Fax 262-912-3100;
- Web site:
Bonneville Research is a Utah-based consulting
firm providing economic, financial, market and policy
research to public and private sector clients
throughout the intermountain west.
Our services include:
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- Project Area
- Strategy and Policy Analysis
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- Business License Fee Analysis
- Work Flow Improvement and Cost Analysis
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Bob in Japan
From April 27th through
May 12th, Bob and his wife Gwen will be in Matsumoto
Gwen will be representing Salt Lake City as part of
the 40 year anniversary of the Sister City relationship
Two of Bob & Gwen's children - Will (26) & Liza
have been living in Matsumoto this past year teaching
English as a second language.
Bob will be visiting with long time JC friends and
trying to stay out of trouble.
Matsumoto is in the Japanese Alps - close to the
of many of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
Jon will be available to handle any issues or
questions that may come up.
Masumoto-jo is one of the jewels in the crown of
Japan's four National Treasure samurai castles.
It dates back to the 16th century and is nicknamed
the "Crow Castle" due to its distinctive black coloring.