The UrbanBound Blog

Letting Your Employees Relocate For One Day

Posted by Mike Armstrong on Apr 16, 2014 1:44:41 PM

You know the feeling. You come into work and you just don’t have it. It’s one of those days, where everything you do seems a little less inspired, and you can’t quite seem to get it right. It’s ok, everyone gets run down from time to time, but how do you get over it? Sometimes all it takes is a temporary change of scenery. Just shake things up a bit.6962791_s

Allowing your employees to work from a remote location from time to time can actually result in a more productive day. There’s something about being in a new location, experiencing new things, that can cause people to sit down and focus a little more than they usually do. Your employees’ daily routine can cause them to start thinking inside the box. When every day is the same, work can sometimes feel monotonous. That isn’t the sign of a bad employee, that’s a inescapable truth of humanity. Not only can having a remote work day make that individual day more productive, but it can have a lasting effect. Employees return to work feeling refreshed.

There are tons of great locations that your employees can try working from. Libraries are awesome, quiet environments that are conducive to getting work done. There’s also the comfort of home to consider. Plenty of companies these days have telecommuting policies, and they can be great for your company depending on the circumstances, even if it’s just for one day.

Once a quarter, our marketing department does what we call Marketing Day Out. We find an offsite location, and we spend the day working there. We usually end up getting a lot done on these days. It gives our department a chance to point our focus on our goals. There are no distractions from other areas, it’s just us and our work. This also gives us a chance to collaborate and be loud without interfering with the rest of our office, and it’s a bonding experience. Department offsites are generally pretty terrific.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. If your employees aren’t disciplined enough, working remotely can just be a distraction. It’s important to stress that taking a day to work elsewhere isn’t a day off. Make sure that they know they’re expected to get as much done as they would in the office. As long as you’re clear about expectations and guidelines, there should be no issues.

Talk to your employees. Ask them if they think taking one day each quarter and working from a different location sounds like something they’d like to try. You might be surprised at the increase in productivity you see.

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A Response to: America's Biggest Cities Lose People to the Urban B-List

Posted by Aria Solar on Apr 14, 2014 10:33:00 AM

Look out New York City and Los Angeles - America's B-list cities are making a statement. In this article released last week, Businessweek makes it clear that "the flight to second-tier cities is thriving."

What's causing the population surge in these medium sized cities? Well, there are a few components to the explanation of this shift.

 

Cost

It is no surprise to anyone here that the most popular cities are also the most expensive to live in. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have extraordinarily high costs of living, which often drive people out. Unless residents are given the salary needed to support a comfortable lifestyle in these major cities, staying put for a long period of time is simply too difficult.

In her article, Weise states that only 14% of the homes for sale in San Francisco are financially attainable to the middle class. This means that a whopping 86% of homes sit on the market because they are too expensive to sell. In addition, only 23% of homes are attainable in Orange County, 24% in Los Angeles, and 25% in New York City. Given this data, the majority of people don't have a choice. They have to leave.

However, people that live in these major cities are there for a reason. They probably like the atmosphere provided in a big city or metropolitan area, so if they can no longer afford to live where they are, they are going to look for the next best thing and move to places that provide comparable environments. 

Enter: Second-tier citiesurban city

The main cities that are seeing a decrease in population are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Philadelphia (among others). 

On the other hand, a few of the cities that are booming are New Orleans, Denver, Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas-Fort Worth, Midland, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin.

Do you see a common thread there? You got it - for the most part, people are going south. Which leads us to the next reason why people are migrating to B-list cites. 

 

Oil Boom

The oil boom has people flooding into the cities down south, Texas especially. The development of oil fracking has been largely responsible for this population surge.

For those that may not be well-versed in the language of energy, Joe Amara of Harmer Energy International, Inc. explains that, "There has been a great migration of people moving to areas where an explosion of shale oil and gas production is creating a surplus of high paying jobs. This uptick in production can be largely attributed to hydraulic fracturing (otherwise known as 'fracking'). This process involves creating fractures in these shale formations by pumping water and sand at high pressures into these hydrocarbon reservoirs, thus releasing oil and gas." 

In short, this process of oil fracking has created a huge amount of jobs (lucrative jobs, at that), which has as a result sky-rocketed the population in oil-bearing states.  

People follow success. With all of the opportunity in Texas, people are bound to gravitate towards that area. With more economic potential, there is more opportunity for jobs, which is where people want to be. 

 

Relocating

With the shift in population moving towards B-list cities, your potential relocating employees are going to be taking this into consideration. No one wants to be transferred to a city on the decline - people want to move towards a thriving city with a lot of opportunity. As said explanations for the population boom in B-list cities further propels the economy in those places, population will only increase. It is up to others to adapt.

Take these points into consideration when moving your employees. If you are relocating them to a more expensive city with less available jobs, be prepared to compensate them. This is especially important if you are relocating people with families. You have to think about the transferee's spouse finding employment in their new city. Finding a job in a city with a booming economy won't be as big a struggle as finding one that is struggling with job creation. 

We aren't saying that everyone in A-list cities should pack up and move to Texas. However, there is something to be said for this shift in population, and it should be taken into consideration when relocating your employees. 

 

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Topics: Relocation

The Heartbleed Bug and UrbanBound

Posted by Mike Armstrong on Apr 10, 2014 11:24:00 AM

At UrbanBound we take our users' personal information very seriously. We take every measure we can to protect user data from being leaked, and when something happens we do everything we can to fix the issue. If you haven’t heard, a serious bug has been discovered in the OpenSSL framework, and it could cause certain information to be accessed from outside sources. This issue does not strictly affect UrbanBound, in fact, it affects roughly ⅔ of servers on the internet. We want our users to be informed and protected, so we want to provide everyone with information on the Heartbleed Bug, and some ways to avoid or minimize its effects.heartbleed

What Exactly is the Heartbleed Bug?

Simply put, the Heartbleed Bug is a major security vulnerability affecting a large portion of the internet. The bug makes it possible to eavesdrop on all secure communications between a web browser and a website. This bug can possibly allow anyone on the internet to access usernames, passwords, and other types of personal content, even from websites that are supposed to be secure. This is just a basic overview of the bug, but more detailed information can be found here.

What Should You Do About the Heartbleed Bug?

The most important step you should be taking to make sure you’re protected from the bug is changing the passwords to the websites you use. Start with the most important sites, like personal banking, and work your way through. We aren’t forcing UrbanBound users to change their passwords, but we Strongly Recommend that you do. If you want to check to see if a website you use has been affected by the Heartbleed Bug, you can test them here. We still recommend that you change passwords, even if a site passes this test. Where personal information is concerned, it’s best to take a “better safe than sorry” approach. The Atlantic posted an extremely helpful article about what you should do in response to the bug. Following the steps in that article is a great way combat the Heartbleed Bug.

What Are We Doing About The Bug?

UrbanBound is currently in the process of protecting our users and our site from the Heartbleed Bug. Yesterday, we fixed our software so that we’re not vulnerable to new Heartbleed attacks. That was the most important step, and it’s done. Today, we will essentially rekey the locks on our doors as an added precaution. Heartbleed is a very new bug. UrbanBound will monitor developments and continue to immediately take any additional precautions that are recommended.

We sincerely hope that all of you are minimally affected by the Heartbleed Bug. We will continue to do everything in our power to keep our user data secure and private. Thank you for using UrbanBound, and thank you for your patience and understanding.

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