No matter what industry your business is in, there is much to be gained by promoting fun in the work place. While it is important to maintain a sense of professionalism in your business, providing outlets for your employees to enjoy themselves and relieve stress can have numerous positive benefits. Happier employees work harder and collaborate with one another better (http://www.futurity.org/work-better-happy/). That is why many companies out there feel that it is worth it to be sure that they are making it possible for employees to have fun in the office (we know we do at Storitz!). Here are five fun ideas that different companies have instituted for the benefit of their work environment:
Ping-Pong is a fun and easy way to promote fun in the office. Having a Ping-Pong table in the office allows employees to have a little bit of fun during breaks. The game is simple enough that anyone can play, and can also be played in a short amount of time. There is also something to be said about the benefit that playing games together has on employees’ team building skills. Office sized tables are available and can be set up virtually anywhere in the office with enough space for a desk. Here’s an example of how easy it is to have office fun with even the smallest of Ping-Pong tables:
LINK: Office Ping-Pong
At PERQ Marketing in Indianapolis, they’ve found a way to make travelling around the office fun. PERQ offers scooters for pedaling down the wide hallways of their facility. Not only do the scooters seem like a blast to ride at work, but they’re also stylish too. I find this to be a great method of promoting a fun office environment. It’s also an efficient way to get around the campus, meaning employees can get more done by not wasting time in transit between different areas. Check out this video of the scooter’s in PERQ’s office:
LINK: PERQ Office Scooters
Whether you enjoy drinking socially or not, a bar in the office can have a tremendously positive effect on your office’s environment. Red Frog Events in Chicago buys into this idea, claiming that it has numerous benefits for their employees’ office relationships. As Joe Reynolds, the founder of Red Frog Events writes, “Red Froggers—what we call our employees—are definitely closer because of times spent tipping a few back together.” If your office is filled with responsible professionals, you do not need to worry about it being abused. Instead, it shows those trusted employees that you respect and care about them, which can make your company great.
Read more about Red Frog’s bar from Inc.com: http://www.inc.com/joe-reynolds/hold-your-meeting-at-your-office-bar.html
What can ease the stress of working for employees better than some yoga? Several companies use office yoga classes as a way to promote a positive office environment including Tumblr, Asana, and Eventbrite. Fitness classes like yoga have several benefits for your employees. Providing a way for employees relax assures them that their company values their health and well-being. It also can promote teamwork and a more integrated office environment by allowing employees to socialize in a non-work setting.
There are some really fun gadgets out there that I have seen people use to lighten the work atmosphere. The simplest little experiences during the day can put employees in a great mood and make working hard that much easier. My personal favorite is the desktop USB missile launcher, perfect for getting fellow employees attention (http://www.brookstone.com/dream-cheeky-358-ilaunch-usb-missile-launcher-for-iphone). Other ideas I have seen implemented include smartphone operated model cars, basketball hoops, and collaborative puzzles. In fact, Lego Denmark even has an employee toy room, where everyone from marketing staff to designers go to take a break and rejuvenate.
What can a self-storage unit do for you besides store your stuff? At first, it may not seem like a lot. A storage unit is not seemingly very exciting. It is simply an empty space in a simple shape with a door on one end. However, on second glance, a storage unit is a world of opportunity. It is the space to help you become whatever your imagination can come up with for yourself. Here are some ideas for ways you can reimagine a storage unit:
Imagine! You’re a master artist working on your next masterpiece in your studio. In the peace and serenity of your workspace, you can let your inspiration flow seamlessly from your mind into your project. Perhaps a storage unit could be an art studio. You need not worry about being constantly interrupted, as tenants of self-storage facilities do not frequent their units often.
Imagine! You are going through your yoga workout routine. You are alone with your thoughts and some relaxing music, with nothing to distract you but the thought of your next stretch. Perhaps a storage unit could be a yoga studio. If you can’t find the space or environment to do yoga at home, you could make your own serene environment in the peace of a personal studio. You would have to be sure to get a climate controlled or ventilated unit in order to be sure it did not get too hot in the unit (unless you are doing Bikram yoga!)
Model Train Room
Imagine! You’re the conductor of your own personal railroad super highway. With unending real estate, you have the space you need to lay out the perfect track configuration. You have at your fingertips, access to a whole world of model train building you never thought possible before. Perhaps a storage unit could be a model train room. It is quiet, spacious, and safe from any experimenting that unqualified family members and friends may feel the need to do were you to set-up your trains at home.
Plan a top-secret mission
Imagine! You’re a secret agent who is planning a highly confidential operation. You need a location that is inconspicuous and maintains the highly clandestine nature of your mission. Perhaps a storage unit could be a top-secret planning room. It would provide plenty of privacy and any amount of space necessary for any gadgets and supplies you might need for your mission.
There are lots of ways to use a storage unit, if you use your imagination. These are some of the wackiest ways we can think of. What about you? Comment below with your most imaginative use for a self-storage unit!
New Year’s resolutions are an incredibly interesting tradition. To many people, the idea of a new year feels like a fresh start. Many are empowered by this idea and use it as an opportunity to try to make changes to their life for the better.
I think this is great, especially since it is difficult to make resolutions normally during the year. Personally, I am often busy during other times of the year. I get comfortable in a routine and it is hard to find the time to stay committed to a change in a hardwired habit. At the holidays, I can find the time I need to commit to a resolution.
In honor of New Year’s resolutions, here are five common New Year’s resolutions that self-storage can make easy for you to follow through with:
1) Be Less Stressed
Clutter in your life causes stress. You have a million things to juggle and the last thing you need is to have to spend time looking for things. If you can make yourself more organized, you can easily reduce a lot of stress in your life. Rent a self-storage unit for things that you want to keep, but do not use everyday. You can keep the things you want without having to worry about them getting in the way.
2) Spend More Time with Family Friends
Everyone needs to spend time cleaning up and getting organized. Cleanup and store your things with your family and friends. Offer to exchange help with the process with one another. Spending time cleaning and moving is not difficult and allows you to spend time hanging out with those you love. Also, cleaning up may give you the confidence to have people over more often.
3) Help Others
While you are eliminating the clutter, figure out what you no longer use. While getting ready to store, gather things what you have to give away and take it to your nearest donation location. Giving to those less fortunate is a great way to accomplish a New Year’s resolution while making the holidays for someone else.
Make space and time in your life to exercise. With your excess clutter safely in storage, you can finally have space for the treadmill you were thinking about getting. Perhaps you make space to stretch out for a new yoga hobby. Or maybe you just want an open area to jam out alone to loud music in an effort to work out. You can make this happen by renting a self-storage unit.
5) Manage Time Better
There is no better way to help yourself manage your time more effectively than to become organized. It is impossible to plan sometimes for things throughout the day that make you late (like Los Angeles traffic…*shiver*). Eliminating the mess in your life will make you more efficient and keep you on schedule.
(The cast of Storage Wars, one of many popular storage auction television shows.)
If you have ever been channel surfing while watching television, it is hard to deny that storage auction programs have become incredibly popular. While the craze may have been started by the hit series Storage Wars in 2010, it has sparked an entire phenomenon surrounding storage auctions. This is great for the self-storage industry, as it has provided a platform for average Americans to familiarize themselves a bit with the world of self-storage.
The premise of these shows is based on the concept of legal storage auctions. Storage auctions occur as the result of tenants failing to pay rent for a given period of time. If rent is not received by the facility owner within this time period, it is within the facility’s right to auction off the contents of the unit in order to re-coup the rent owed to them by the former tenant as well as clear out their unit for new occupancy.
These shows capture my interest for a variety of reasons. Here are the major aspects of the shows that pique my interest:
You never know what you’re going to find inside of a self-storage unit. There are frequently all kinds of interesting stuff that people put away into storage and forget about. Many people write this idea off, believing that if something has been left away in storage for a long period of time, than it is probably worthless. That is not true! If someone was originally willing to invest the time and money involved in putting something away in self-storage, chances are there is something of value in whatever was stored. Whether it’s monetary or sentimental value, there is usually something uniquely interesting about the items that are found. Everyone has old tchotchke type items that are fun to uncover regardless of how much money they may end up being worth.
Competition makes entertainment. American viewers are always looking to distinguish a clear winner from a group of contestants. This idea is the same in many other successful forms of television entertainment including sports, American idol, and even coverage of political elections. These shows keep track of how much each auction hunter spends on the units they purchase as well as how much money they make selling the items inside. The winner is the team that turns the greatest profit off their units. The competition aspect of the show is a huge part of its entertainment value. Many people choose their favorite team and root for them to succeed. This makes the self storage industry, which is not as “exciting” for most as sports and entertainment, more fun and interesting for the average American viewer.
(Picture from Storage Auctions mobile app game.)
In my experience with watching storage auction shows, I have found that I am often inspired by some of the ideas that the bidders have for the items found within the units. It is truly amazing what some of the participants on storage auction shows are able to do with the items they uncover. There is a real art in finding someone else’s damaged possessions or junk and turning them into something of value. It also promotes the resourceful reuse of old items and junk. The ability to take something that may no longer be useful to someone and make it something new is a valuable one in this world, and a large part of why watching storage auction shows can be amazing.
If you have never seen any of these television shows, I highly recommend you give them a chance. I don’t want to play favorite with any particular program, so I recommend that you see what is out there and give a couple of them viewing opportunities. It is a great way to generally familiarize yourself with what the self-storage world looks like. There is also a tremendous amount of entertainment value to take advantage of. Just don’t get hooked, it can be easy to end up watching all day!
(A mix of fright and humor in this Halloween display. Photo credit: Halloween Sayings)
1. The Classic Witch-Broom-Crash Decoration
This is my personal favorite Halloween decoration that I see in yards every Halloween. The witch crashing her broom decoration is easily the best Halloween decoration, as it does not even try to use witches as a scare factor. Instead, this decoration is living proof that witches are no longer scary, they’re funny! I love seeing these witch decorations everywhere, so I encourage you to go get yours out of storage and put it up ASAP!
2. Your Hanging Skeletons
Skeletons are a classic part of any Halloween decoration display. They look scary, and the idea of a reanimated skeleton zombie is downright frightening. Make sure you get your skeleton decorations out of storage and hang them up for your display. You could even set them up to be dancing skeletons; just make sure you hang the skeletons from your storage unit and not the skeletons buried in your closet!
3. Scary (or Funny) Fake Gravestones
There is no scarier decoration for your display than a fake graveyard. Graveyards are the iconic site of all Halloween related horror. They also pose the threat of attack from lurking, flesh-eating zombies. Get your fake gravestone decorations from your storage unit, and put them up in your yard. One clever idea is to put names on the gravestones in order to enhance their effect. For example, I have seen tombstones for people like Jack the Ripper in order to make them scarier. In contrast, you could add an element of humor by making the gravestones for a pet named “Fluffy” or for something that no longer gets used like “Typewriters”.
4. Gigantic Inflatable Decorations
Ah yes, the inflatable lawn decorations that seem to exist in every shape, size, and holiday theme imaginable. How about your giant vampire display? Or your 8-foot tall jack-o-lantern? Pull those bad boys out of storage and get them set up on your lawn. The bigger the decoration, the scarier. Come on, everyone knows that.
5. Your Black Cat
Every good Halloween decoration display needs a black cat. Black cats are the ultimate symbol of the spooky atmosphere that makes Halloween what it is. Nothing sends a chill down young trick-or-treaters’ spines like an ominous black cat in their path. Talk about bad luck! However, I feel the need to include a disclaimer on this suggestion. When you put your black cat decoration back into storage, be sure it’s not your own cat!
(Soccer fans in Atlanta enjoying a game. Photo credit: PRWeb)
I am going to start this blog with a disclaimer: I am a major football fan. You will always find me somewhere on Sundays in the early fall, draped in a Cincinnati Bengals jersey and loudly broadcasting my opinion of the officiating. Watching both NCAA and NFL football are things that I look forward to doing all week. However, I have realized this weekend that there is a new trend developing for socializing and watching morning sports on the weekend. It’s the other “football”: Soccer.
I am a big fan of soccer and follow many of the international leagues around the world. From the Premier League to La Liga, I have always found soccer to be an incredibly fascinating sport. However, I had always assumed that I was alone in this regard, as I have grown up my whole life hearing dissenters with their usual complaints of, “This is boring.” and “Why don’t they score more goals?” Many Americans refuse to give soccer a chance. While I understand and can sympathize with many of these critiques, I had my mind instantly changed this weekend and I believe that even those who are sour on the sport would enjoy if they’d give it a chance.
I made my way with a few friends to a local pub at 9:00 am PDT on Saturday (aka, 2 hours before NCAA kickoff) to watch two of the more popular European teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid. Our usual local spot, we expected the pub to be a relaxing atmosphere to watch the game before getting ready to go wild over football. Instead, we found ourselves in a crowd standing shoulder to shoulder, chanting and singing in support of their teams. It was amazing to see so many passionate fans about soccer.
I ended up having a blast watching the game. What I also learned is that soccer in no way has to replace football on the weekend in order for me to take advantage of this awesome environment. The soccer fans are just like every other sports fanatic, knowledgeable and always enthusiastic about discussing how they feel about any game, player, or event. Everyone else at the pub was equally as excited for college football to get underway after the game as they were about the soccer match itself.
If you think you don’t like soccer, I urge you to give it a chance. It is a great way to just increase the amount of awesome sports action available on the weekend. Take a chance, and go down to a local spot for a game.
I continued my SSA conference tour last week at the Tri-State Conference in Laughlin, Nevada organized by the California, Nevada, and Arizona Self Storage Associations. Self-storage operators and vendors from the three states came together at the Golden Nugget Casino for a series of talks and networking events. I hopped in the car on Thursday morning with some coffee and a Game of Thrones book on tape to tackle the drive across the desert from Los Angeles.
Personally, it was my first trip to Laughlin and I was excited to check out a city that I had heard a lot about but had never seen for myself. I travelled down the Needles Freeway and was welcomed to Laughlin by the many billboards that advertised shows for country music stars Toby Keith and Tim McGraw. I can’t say I listen to much country music, but the billboards were the first among what would be many charming characteristics of the town. The spirit of the Southwest can be found all throughout Laughlin. The wide brimmed hats and cowboy boots were a distinct change from the apparel that I normally see people wearing on the streets of LA. I enjoyed it all greatly, as seeing new places and cultural trends is one of my favorite parts about traveling. Combining that with my love of the self-storage industry made the trip a dream come true.
This was the first edition of the tri-state get together and I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. I recognized many faces from other SSA events and was able to connect with many of them again. One truly fun part about repeatedly attending SSA events is that I become better friends with others in the industry at each event I go to. I also got a chance to listen to a variety of informative lectures ranging in topic from investment in self-storage to the organization of UPREITs.
There was also some time for recreation on the trip. The networking cocktail receptions put on for the event were a great time. The atmosphere was energetic and inviting, which made getting to know new people and having conversations seamless. It was also a great way to talk about business in a more casual, relaxed setting. If you’re new or unfamiliar with the people in self-storage, I find that they are generally outgoing, down-to-earth people who are happy to meet people. This was really an enjoyable way to engage in the conference. After the Friday reception, I got a chance to have some personal fun playing blackjack as well. Or at least, it was fun while I was making money (If only I had hit on that 16…) After a roller-coaster of emotions, I ended up making it out without losing too much money and had a fantastic time before heading back home.
All in all, the conference was a big success. It was a great opportunity to learn, meet people, and it provided exposure for both Storitz and myself personally. Hopefully the first Tri-State Conference isn’t the last one, and we can make it back to Laughlin next year. Can’t wait to see everybody there!
(Festival goers enjoying a delicious bier.)
October is one of my favorite months of the year. Aside from the start of the NBA season (the holiest of days), the month brings a special holiday that is near and dear to heart. Many might guess that it is Halloween. While I have nothing against Halloween, I am referring to holiday in which men and women wear much better costumes. I am talking, of course, about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is a festival that originated in Munich, Germany. It is held annually at the end of September and beginning of October. The festival is highlighted by parades, carnival attractions, and a delicious food market. Traditional Bavarian clothing, such as lederhosen and dirndls, are worn by many festival goers as a celebration of the region’s heritage. There is also live music and dance floors where people can go to have a good time in the way of the old country. However, there is one aspect of Oktoberfest that gives the holiday its legendary reputation around the world.
Beer. Or as the Germans call it…Bier. Oktoberfest beer is some of the finest crafted beer in the world. For the Munich Oktoberfest, only beer that is brewed according to traditional Munich beer standards is permitted to be served at the festival. Furthermore, all beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich. The result is an amazing selection of some of the finest quality beer in the world.
(Löwenbräu is famous for its Oktoberfestbier, which is among my favorites.)
Many cities today have their own Oktoberfest celebrations. I recently attended the Oktoberfest celebration in Montrose, a suburban neighborhood in northern Los Angeles. The spirit of Munich was alive and well, despite it being a hot southern California day. The festival atmosphere was infectious. I met people from all around the area who were as enthusiastic as I was about the prospect of music, games, and social drinking. The only hard part was getting up the next morning.
Though Oktoberfest has passed us by, I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t experienced the holiday to mark it on the calendar for next year. Find a celebration in your area, grab yourself a nice pair of lederhosen, and get ready to have a blast. Or, if you can’t wait for next year, get out there now and bring some late Oktoberfest spirit to the world.
6:45 am – Wake up. Ugh. Who schedules a trade show to start at 8 am?
7:15 am – Showered and dressed. Must go find coffee.
7:30 am – Coffee. Suddenly feeling like a human being and excited for the trade show.
7:45 am – Arrive at the Storitz booth, ready to rock and roll.
8:00 am – Attendees are invited to enter the tradeshow.
8:35 am – Attendees actually enter the tradeshow. From my conversation, seems I wasn’t the only one moving slow this morning.
9:00 am – Event presentations begin. The presentation hall shares a room with the trade show and stole all the foot traffic. Feeling lonely.
11:00 am – Back to presenting the booth to attendees. Lots of people come by the exhibit, interested in Storitz.
11:30 am – Too many people to handle at once. It beats being lonely. People definitely want to hear about Storitz.
12:30 pm – Lunch break. Delicious roast beef wrap sandwiches. Mmm, roast beef.
1:30 pm – Sit-in on presentation about most common legal mistakes a person can make in self storage. It was an informative lecture.
2:45 pm – Exhibits are opened up again. Traffic is much slower than in the morning. Take some time to meet exhibitors from the booths around me.
4:30 pm – The last of the attendee traffic dies down, and most other exhibits begin to be taken down early. The Storitz booth is seeing if it can be the last exhibit standing.
4:45 pm – Self Storage Association representatives will not allow me to leave the booth up any longer.
5:30 pm – Booth is packed up. Trade show is over for the day. Time for dinner and a big bet on red.
(Apple customers in line for the iPhone 6. Picture from Canada.com)
As was widely anticipated, the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus created quite a bit of excitement over this past week. And why wouldn’t it? It’s the new iPhone. Everyone must have it, and they must have it NOW.
When I say everyone, you can be sure I am including myself. I was among the hordes of people that felt it was necessary to go out and stand in line to get the new iPhone within the first week of its release. I could not have been more ready to trade in my old phone, a refurbished iPhone 4 that acted up more than an infant on a crowded airliner. Seriously, the only thing that dropped faster than the calls I tried to make on that phone was the battery life. Anytime I tried to use it, I constantly reminded myself of the words of Rodney Ruxin from the popular FX television show The League, “The app I want for my phone, is Phone.” With the release of the 6, I saw an opportunity to escape the title of “Obsolete” that so many of my friends and co-workers had bestowed upon me, and finally be a member of the “elite” cutting-edge technology crowd.
Reports in the news from today are recounting stories of thefts, fights, and riots at Apple stores all over the country that are resulting from the release of the iPhone 6 (From Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/fights-at-apple-stores-over-iphone-6-2014-9). I can’t say I saw anything exciting like this happen on my visit to the Pasadena Apple store. However, there were definitely a ton of people there who had the same idea that I did. Perhaps the controlled atmosphere was due to the fact that, rather than leaving it up to chance, two police officers had been posted at the entrance to the store starting the night before the release.
It is pretty incredible how wildly popular Apple’s products are. People are willing to go to outstanding lengths just to be among the first proud owners of a particular device. I understand waiting in line to get it. It was a fun, albeit tedious, experience that felt rewarding and ended with me finally feeling comfortable with my cell phone. However, I can’t imagine ever doing something like fighting someone over it. But it seems as though there are many people out there who are willing to that and more. I have not heard of anything like it since the stories of similar behavior surrounding the release of new Air Jordan brand sneakers (see picture below).
(From Instagram: Customers at a Foot Locker riot at an Air Jordan sneaker release)
Whatever it is about Apple’s products, they are certainly doing something right if they command this level of popularity. The weekend release was the largest phone release in history, with 10 million phones sales excluding the massive market in China where the phone will likely be released next year (From Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2014/09/22/iphone-6-breaks-record-with-10-million-sold-even-without-china).
When all is said and done though, I understand why both demand and sales are so high. I love my new iPhone 6, and it seems like many people around the world feel the same about the phone. What do you think about the popularity of products like Apple’s? Are they TOO popular?