Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The Number One Workplace Complaint,
What Real Estate Agents Can and Cannot Share
With Home Buyers,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner,
Tips for Filling Your Gas Tank For Less,
Connect with Orion
The Number One Workplace Complaint
The number one workplace complaint isn’t what you think it is. The top things that come to mind like a nagging boss, noise levels, nasty bathrooms, and annoying colleagues don’t take the top spot. According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) the number one workplace complaint in regards to conditions is temperature.
According to the IFMA website, “IFMA is the world’s largest and most widely recognized international association for professional facility managers, supporting more than 19,000 members in 78 countries. IFMA certifies facility managers, conducts research, provides educational programs, recognizes facility management certificate programs and produces World Workplace, the world’s largest facility management conference and exposition.”
Each year, IFMA issues a survey to determine the number one workplace complaint. And each year temperature is either at the top of the list or in the top three. It is a struggle for facility managers to balance employee comfort level with cost and energy savings. Hot and cold complaints tend to be equal (hence the struggle for facility managers) with 94% complaining of cold and 91% complaining of it being too hot.
In order to change their environment, employees say they bring personal heaters or fans to work, block or redirect vents, and adjust the thermostat in order to make their environment more comfortable. Less than half (43%) of bosses relax the dress code in the summertime, so that employees can be more comfortable.
According to the IFMA, the purpose of this study “is to identify when most thermal complaints occur, the nature of the complaints, and what building actions and improvements are made to make workers comfortable and able to concentrate on their jobs.” It is a known fact that a comfortable work environment is directly linked to worker productivity. Therefore, studies like this can help facility managers determine the best way to help workers be more comfortable and thus improve worker productivity.
What Real Estate Agents Can and Cannot Share With Home Buyers
The Fair Housing Act was designed primarily to protect housing buyers and/or renters from any type of seller or property manager discrimination. It basically says that it is illegal to refuse to sell, rent to, or negotiate with any person because of that person’s inclusion in a protected class. This ensures that home purchase decisions are based on a property's fair market value and not other factors, such as race, religion, or ethnicity. This keeps agents from guiding clients away from a neighborhood because of these reasons.
Here are some topics real estate agents must steer away from:
1. Economic Class. If the buyer is wondering what the average income is in the neighborhood, an agent cannot discuss this or any topic related to economic class with a potential buyer. However, demographic information is easily accessible online.
2. Schools. A realtor can’t discuss the particulars about certain schools. However, they can steer you in the direction of obtaining that information. They may recommend websites like www.greatschools.com or www.publicschoolreview.com.
3. Religion. Religion is a big “no-no” for real estate agents. It is entirely up to the buyer to research the local houses of worship and determine if they are interested in that neighborhood based on the information they collect.
4. Crime Statistics. A person would think that crime stats should be something that a realtor can discuss with a potential buyer. But even aspects of this topic are off limits. Buyers should turn to local and state police websites to obtain crime information. Also, websites such as http://familywatchdog.us can help a buyer find crime stats online.
5. The Environment. Only if an environmental problem pertains to a specific home can an agent release the information. If the environmental issue isn’t related to the home itself, then they don’t have to disclose it. For this information a buyer should consult the Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov.
While it might seem like the buyer has to do all of the research, the reality is that an agent does a lot of work by finding homes for the buyer that meet the buyer’s specifications. They also guide the buyer through the purchase process from start to finish and help them negotiate the best deal with the seller.
Congratulations to This Month's Winner
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner
Tips for Filling Your Gas Tank For Less
According to an article on www.courierpress.com by the AP, “U.S. gasoline prices have jumped to the highest levels ever for the middle of February. The national average hit $3.127 per gallon on Friday (February 11th), about 50 cents above a year ago.” Gas prices, however, aren’t expected to rise to their highest level like they did in 2008. They will continue to rise, though, and are predicted to cap out in mid-spring ahead of the summer driving season.
With that in mind, what can drivers do to keep their monthly gas budget down? Some experts recommend the following:
1. Keep the tire pressure balanced. Keeping the correct psi (pounds per square inch) in your car's tires will give you better gas mileage. If your car is equipped with a tire pressure monitor system, pay attention to the warning lights and adjust the tire pressure accordingly. If you don’t know what the correct psi rating is for your car, refer to the owner’s manual. And, be sure not to go over the maximum.
2. Don’t let your car warm up before you drive it. First of all, it is a myth that your car won’t run as efficiently until it is warmed up. Most cars today are built to run at maximum efficiency from the time they start. Also, letting a car idle is just a waste of gas.
3. Slowing down can also help conserve gas. Driving at 65 mph gets better gas mileage than driving faster. Cars are designed that way, so lay off the “lead” foot.
4. Removing heavy equipment and extra junk from your car can really save on gas prices. The heavier your car, the more gas is used. So take the time to remove those extra things from your car.
5. Use the appropriate grade of gas. Some people believe that putting a higher octane gasoline in your car than recommended will improve your fuel economy. The fact is, it won’t. So basically, it isn’t worth the increased price per gallon. Use the octane gas recommended by the manufacturer for maximum fuel efficiency.
While gas prices are rising and will continue to do so until spring, there are ways to minimize gas usage. It might not seem like these things make a big difference, but doing them in combination really can help save cash at the pump.
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