Bust the Rust: 4 Ways to Prevent Corrosion in Your Commercial Property

Rust isn’t just a problem because it’s unsightly; it also damages equipment and causes structural integrity. Rust causes pieces of iron equipment to flake off, contaminating products and putting employees at risk. Luckily, rust and other forms of corrosion can be avoided with awareness and regular maintenance. Here are four ways to prevent corrosion in your commercial property.

Identify Metals that Can Rust 

Rust can only appear on objects made of iron or iron alloys, including steel. You can easily tell which parts of your building are made of iron by testing to see if they are magnetic. Other metals like copper can become corroded, but don’t necessarily pose the same inherent health risks as rust. Take the time to identify the rust-prone areas of your building and maintain them accordingly. 

Clean Wet Surfaces Immediately 

Corrosion is caused when metal is exposed to oxygen, which means all metal will corrode if given enough time. Water spills kick start this chemical reaction and let rust set in significantly sooner. In addition, any salt or other minerals within the water can dry onto the metal surface and allow corrosion to set in even deeper. The solution is to clean up any spills as soon as you notice them. If the water had salt content, scrub the area to make sure no residue is left. 

Watch for Signs of Concrete Cancer 

Concrete cancer occurs when the steel beam within a concrete fixture begins to rust. This corrosion causes the steel to expand, displacing and cracking the surrounding concrete. If you notice signs of concrete cancer, including cracks and rust stains, make sure you attend to them immediately. Simple concrete repairs can fix the problem if it’s caught early enough; but if it’s not, you might have to replace part of the foundation. 

Perform Regular Inspections 

Rust and other types of corrosion occur when metal surfaces are left unattended for lengthy periods of time. Conduct regular inspections on your property and make sure to pay careful attention to any iron fixtures. Other areas of concern include plumbing, drains, areas exposed to weather, and anywhere else that moisture might be present. If you perform regular maintenance, you can greatly increase the lifespan of your property. 

Corrosion is a common problem that can easily be avoided with proper inspections and maintenance. Keep moisture away from sensitive equipment, and perform regular checkups on any problem areas. If you do notice signs of rust, take action right away; the potential damage to your property’s structure far outweighs the cost of an immediate repair.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

3 Office Security Tips to Decline the Risk of an Electrical Fire

As a manager you have many responsibilities to many different parties. However, there is one responsibility that should come before everything else. This is ensuring that your employees have a safe work environment. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,147 fatal workplace accidents in 2017. Just because your employees work in an office doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safe either. Electrical fires, for example, can certainly be deadly. With that in mind, below are three tips to use to prevent office electrical fires from happening. 

Be Careful with Plugs and Outlets

One of the most common causes of electrical fires is the misuse of electrical plugs and outlets. This is the case both for residential and commercial fires. While in the office, make sure to routinely check plugs and cords before plugging them into an outlet. Old cords tend to get frayed and can present a fire hazard. Don’t overload an outlet with adapters either. One plug should go into one outlet as a default to prevent fire hazards. You should also consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters to increase your protection against electrical fires from overloaded circuits. 

Maintenance

People tend to falsely assume that once an electrical system has been installed into a building it can be forgotten about completely. This is simply not true. Like all the systems of a building, an electrical system also requires routine maintenance to keep it working properly. Routine maintenance can also allow an electrician to spot and correct problems before they actually manifest into serious issues like electrical fires in your office. 

Create a maintenance checklist and stick to it. A professional will probably have to perform a good deal of this maintenance. Your employees are probably not qualified to work with a custom hermetic cable harnesses for example. 

Surge Protectors

Something else that can help to protect your office is the use of surge protectors. These are devices that can be used to prevent power surges from overloading a circuit. They can prevent electrical fires. They can also help to protect appliances during a power surge. All significant pieces of equipment in an office like computers, printers and fax machines should be plugged into a surge protector instead of directly into an outlet. 

Providing a safe work environment is your number one priority as a manager. Workplace accidents are common, and they can be deadly. This is even the case in office workspaces. Removing the threat of electrical fires can certainly make your office much safer for your employees.

Guest author, Kara Masterson, is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.

7 Proven Strategies To Successfully Manage Your Investment Property

Properties have always been considered a safe and profitable investment. In most of the cases, these assumptions are true. However, there is one common belief the real estate newcomers are usually wrong about – troubles don’t go away once you find a hot property and sign the papers. They are just beginning.

Although it doesn’t seem that way, rental investments require a great deal of careful management, and their eventual success hangs on the investor’s ability to perform it. Let’s take a look at a couple of strategies that can make this job considerably easier.

Keep the reliable tenants happy

The properties that are not necessarily considered hot and have a history of sitting vacant for months before finding reliable residents can cause their owners huge financial problems with each turnover. That is why landlords have to go out of the way to make tenants happy. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Maintain open and friendly communication.
  • Be quick to respond to tenants’ requests.
  • Make strategic upgrades to accommodate tenants’ habits.
  • Do your best to keep neighbors under control.
  • Encourage longer leases even if that implies discounted rates.

Create a financial plan

Rental properties are not that different from any other business. As a result, if you want to make them profitable you need at least a rudimental business plan. This document should cover the property’s market value (as determined by size, location and amenities), expected revenue, monthly and annual expenses, and the list of upgrades intended to increase the property’s market value. This simple plan prevents rash decisions, excessive spending and gives landlords an excellent reference point for measuring their current progress.

Take care of the maintenance

Keeping up with property maintenance is one of the most important things you should do with your investment. This issue is so complex that some countries like Australia demand that strata managers and lot owners provide professionally made initial maintenance schedule that specifies obligations of maintaining the common property assets. These documents are a great roadmap for all future property interventions, so it is a good idea to hire trained professionals to make you one.

Study the law

Knowing the legal provisions regarding the landlord-tenant relations can be of tremendous help in handling potentially troublesome situations and streamlining the management process. Some of the most important topics you need to cover are the regulations regarding the security deposit, reasons for evicting the tenants out of the property, the very process of eviction and the circumstances in which tenants are allowed to legally withhold the rent.

Manage your property like a hospitality business

This plays out in two ways. On the one hand, you should treat your property with the same level of care and attention as you would if you were running a hotel. On the other hand, running the rental property like a hospitality business sets a great frame for establishing the relationship with the tenants. Yes, you should be pleasant and do your best to make them feel comfortable. But, at the same time you should maintain a professional distance and keep your doings within legally binding terms.

Market your properties

This is another topic where you could take notes from hospitality businesses. Waiting for the tenants to come to you instead of reaching out and marketing your properties to them is a horrible mistake. And remember this – listing your investments on Airbnb and similar websites is not marketing. Instead, your venture should follow all the steps other small businesses make and devise a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes branding, and actions across several different marketing channels.

Consider hiring a property manager

Managing several properties can be an overwhelming process. In such circumstances, hiring a professional whose sole job will be to manage your investments may be the only viable option. Managerial salary will make a cut into your profit, but your business will be set on solid ground, and you will have your hands free to explore other ventures. Alternatively, you may opt for businesses providing managerial services. This option practically outsources management outside your enterprise, but you do get a top-notch service for the price of a monthly subscription.

Managing a rental property is a task that requires a lot of patience and effort. And yet, a lot of landlords approach this duty like their job consists solely of picking up the rent and hiring contractors to perform annual maintenance. Such landlords don’t have staying power. Learn from their mistakes and use the seven strategies we gave you to turn your investment into a profitable business laid out on rock solid foundations.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a lifestyle and business blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and Divine Magazine. He also contributed to real estate and environmental blogs as well. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

Don’t Waste Space: Why Businesses Need to Invest in Their Outdoor Common Areas

In business, you are always trying to compete with everyone else in your market, and that means finding better ways to make use of the resources you have. That way, you can attract more investment, increase cash flow, and create more customer and employee happiness. One of the things that you need to have focus and attention on is your outdoor communal space. Letting it sit there can be more than just wasteful, it can be damaging to your company’s image and security. Leverage it in the following ways.

Create Common Space for Employee Morale 

An outdoor green space is a beautiful sight to see, especially when all you see every day is the cubicle walls of your office. Creating a common area with green lawns and decorative plants gives your employees the visual break they need to shake their cabin fever and stay productive. Commercial utility construction in Middlesex County, NJ and beyond is becoming more popular as people recognize that their employees want more beautiful spaces to enjoy in their break time. Not only does this increase productivity and maintain the mental and emotional health of your employees, but it will increase employee retention, as well. Investing in your employees’ wellbeing shows that you care, and it will make them more loyal to your company in turn. 

Landscaping Impresses Investors 

Your investors want to see you make the most of the assets you have. After all,their money is on the line, and a dirty lot outside of your building does not inspire confidence. If the company they invest in can’t even maintain their own property, what does that mean about their ability to maintain the company as a whole? In addition to pleasing your current investors, it also attracts new ones. A well-kept lot shows that your company is flourishing and that it takes great care in even the little details, both important aspects in any investment.

Sewer and Gas Control 

If you do landscaping, you have more control of the sewer, power, and gas lines below. Allowing others to control the land surrounding your company can lead to tree roots growing through your pipes, resulting in costly repairs. Professionals can be found on sites like icunj.us ,and they can help both with ensuring that your utility lines are protected with covers and guide you in your placement of landscaping installments to ensure that you don’t have flora or other contaminants attacking your utilities.

Pest Control 

Pests can pop out from anywhere. But if your common space is unkempt, you’ll be giving them the shelter they need to sneak into your building. Keep the bugs and rats at bay with beautiful, trimmed green spaces that reduce hiding places and make a hostile environment for them to build long-term habitats. If your land is well-maintained, the activity itself will discourage any pests from setting up shop, and keeping weeds and other sheltering plants away from the base of your building with landscaping will prevent invaders from getting too close.

When it comes to getting the most you can out of everything you’ve got, your outdoor common areas can be a key asset. However, if left unmaintained, they can act as a liability. Worse than use it or lose it, you need to take your outdoor spaces into deep consideration with the rest of your building maintenance if you want to prevent costly problems in the future. Take control of your property and make it work for you, rather than against you.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

Workplace Safety: Online and Physical

Managing safety in the workplace — both in the office as well as online — is becoming a more complicated task by the day. Whether the concern is about hackers coming for your intellectual property, or process ownership during building maintenance, the security of your people is nothing to take for granted. Here are five things any company leader can do to make a greater effort in the name of safety.

Make Sure Everybody Understands What’Be Prepared’ Means

The impression that the world is unsafe and violent has only been amplified by popular media. We have, regrettably, let ourselves fall victim to a false narrative where our collective security is concerned. Nevertheless: it’s clear that when unfortunate events do occur in the world, they can happen just about anyplace.

What does “being prepared” look like for your workplace?If you ask different employees, will they tell you different things? Does everybody have a planned way out of the building or off your campus? It might sound too theoretical to justify spending time on it, but your company should have detailed contingency plans already drawn up for a variety of possible events — be it natural, as in extreme weather events, or something regrettably more man-made.

Perform Intermittent Online Security Audits

Since we’re talking about online and offline security, let’s talk about how business leaders can know, one way or another, whether their employees are practicing good security “hygiene” at work. There are two things you should be doing:

  1. Consider having an outside security company perform penetration testing for your company’s networks. They should be able to help you find any weak points that would-be criminals could exploit purposefully, or undisciplined employees could trigger accidentally.
  2. And when it comes to employees, have your IT team or that same third-party consultant perform or schedule fake phishing attempts for all of your company email addresses. Done correctly, the email will look like a plea for personal information, a reply, or for the user to click a link. Knowing how, and whether, your employees are interacting with emails like these, even fake ones,will tell you something about how at-risk your organization is.

Take Another Look at Your Building and the State of Its Maintenance

With the exception of companies that get started in attics,basements, and garages, most business visionaries take great pride in their immediate surroundings, including their business locations, their employees’accommodations and any environment in which a customer or client might find themselves.

We’re talking about two different things here. The first is curb appeal and “atmosphere.” Your workplace should present itself as a harmonious, well-considered space with tasteful and comfortable furnishings.Someplace employees can feel at home, in other words — since we know (workplaces with objectively pleasing aesthetics) tend to encourage creative free-thought,lower levels of aggression and heightened productivity overall.

But the second part of taking stock of your location and its amenities is a little more serious. It concerns the environment within your building, including its temperature during highs and lows and the quality of air your people are breathing all day. The phrase might sound alarmist, but”Sick Building Syndrome” is very real — and it generally results from poor air circulation in an environment already compromised by end-of-life HVAC systems, dirty duct work and noxious chemicals in furniture and building materials.

Implement BYOD Policies Responsibly

In another return to online safety, so-called “BYOD culture” is worth a look at as another potential threat vector in the well-being of your company and its employees. If the work you perform is conducive to it, you’ve likely already implemented, or plan to explore, BYOD policies. The benefits to company morale and productivity can be significant.When employees can do their work on familiar platforms and using hardware they’re comfortable with, it makes sense that they’d get more done.

The thing is, even if your workflows aren’t necessarily conducive to BYOD culture, your employees and guests might be bringing in smartwatches and other devices that aren’t as obvious. You might even have deployed these and other IoT devices yourself, as part of an internal wellness program. This itself can be a great influence on your organization’s collective health, and consequently your safety and productivity.

You’ve likely heard something about the several recent high-profile data breaches, including several, like Wanna Cry and Petya, which preyed specifically on unsecured and unsiloed IoT devices. Objects like these can be a boon in the workplace for many reasons, but the least you can do,safety-wise, is create a separate internal network for any connected devices you can’t vouch for 100 percent, including for employee BYOD programs as well as guests to your campus who might just want to use some free Wi-Fi.

Know Who’s Accountable and Have a Reporting Process in Place

This final point is a reminder about accountability in the workplace. We’re not talking about pointing fingers — we’re talking about”process ownership” and the idea that anything significant that requires doing deserves a specific appointed person to oversee it. If you do business in a climate where employee or customer safety depends on contacting snow removal companies quickly, you need a chain of command to get this and any other mission-critical safety or productivity concerns taken care of.

And that’s not all, either. When something unexpected happens, whether it’s an accident, damage to company property or infrastructure, bad-faith bookkeeping, or workplace harassment of some kind, your employees deserve some kind of accommodating, anonymizing reporting process for elevating their concerns to their managers or impartial third parties. They shouldn’t be left guessing who to talk to, or what to do if they’ve just been through something upsetting.

You’re going to find that your employees are only too happy to help you keep your company and its work areas safe and sound. But they need to know what’s expected of them and they need to know they have your ear when they have concerns of their own. As usual, it’s about communication.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

4 Things to Check When Choosing Your New Business Location

You are getting ready to expand into a new business location. This is an exciting time for your company because it means you are finally entering the first major step in your company’s growth stage. Hopefully, if everything works out the way you planned, you will be pulling in twice the revenue and possibly more before the year is finished. However, there are a few things you still need to check out before choosing a new business location.

Traffic

When moving to a new location, the amount of traffic, both vehicles and foot traffic, is going to help determine how much business you will be doing. If the location you are looking at has low rates of traffic, this can become restrictive to your ability to generate sufficient revenue. By positioning yourself in a high traffic area, you will increase your opportunities for attracting customers to your new location.

Local Codes

Before you sign that lease, you need to know if something about how you do business will be in violation with local codes and city ordinances. Usually, you can obtain this information directly from the county building or government center for the county in which your business resides. This is important to check because you do not want any surprises sneaking up on you that could cause unnecessary financial strain on your business.

Building Maintenance and Repair

If you are buying the building you intend to expand into, then you should expect that there will be a few building maintenance and repair costs associated with moving into a new location. This is why you should be ready to work with an experienced company such as Drey Roofing who can manage any commercial building repairs, such as a new roof, for example, that may require a lot of work.

Your Parking Lot

In order to accommodate high enough customer or client volume, you will need to have adequate parking for employees and those frequenting your business. Not only should you make sure the parking lot is big enough, but it should be repainted too. Nothing gives a new location a fresh look like a parking lot that looks fantastic and has adequate parking.

Conclusion

You are about ready to open your new location. Since you did all your homework before making the big move, everything went smoothly as planned. Now it is time to open the doors for business and provide your company’s much-needed products and services to your local community.