Dwellworks HQ Passes Business Continuity Test with Flying Colors

RNC CLE sign 2016As the City of Cleveland took center stage during the Republican National Convention, our local employees worked within the confines of home, to avoid possible safety and traffic concerns and any business continuity challenges that may have arisen that week. Several employees also took the opportunity to work with their teammates in our Detroit office. Over several months leading up to the convention, the Dwellworks leadership team took proactive measures in developing and testing a solid business continuity plan.
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Seattle City Council Passes New Housing Law

On August 8th, the Seattle City Council approved a groundbreaking change to how landlords approve potential rental applicants. The policy will require landlords in the city of Seattle to rent their available units to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. In the past, landlords were permitted to screen multiple applicants and select the one they liked the most. The City Council felt this action allowed landlords to use their own biases to potentially limit or discriminate against certain applicants.

The policy also bans landlords from applying discounts or other related benefits to preferred companies in the area. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights began investigating these rental benefits for preferred tech companies to see if they violated fair-housing guidelines. The Office for Civil Rights noted: “Data has shown workforce gaps exist in the tech sector, for example, based on gender and race, which negatively impact groups who are currently underrepresented in the tech workforce. Given Seattle’s high rents and increasing unaffordability, incentives and opportunities for certain groups over others may perpetuate existing racial, gender, and other social inequities.”

SeattleThis new law will now be placed in front of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and if signed, the law would have the following requirements:

  • Landlord would need to provide the renter with their minimum screening criteria
  • Landlord required to note the date and time when receiving a completed application
  • Landlord must screen multiple applications in order of receipt
  • Landlord required to offer the unit to the first applicant who meets the landlord’s criteria

The law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2017.

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Severe Flooding in Louisiana to Impact Housing Availability

This month we have seen extreme flooding in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. In the week between August 8th and the 14th, more than 6 trillion gallons of water fell on the area with 40,000 homes damaged or destroyed, displacing at least 100,000 residents. Per the Red Cross, it is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the damage that was caused, Louisiana’s topography is very flat and it will take several weeks for the water levels to go down. Recovery in the area will be a very slow as cleanup, repairs, and rebuilding are still to follow.

The impact this disaster has on the mobility industry will be felt when it comes to available rental properties. For those being relocated to Baton Rouge and Lafayette – areas already with limited housing inventory prior to the flooding – there will be almost no available rentals, including apartments and houses, for several months to come. Any existing inventory is expected to be quickly snapped up by displaced residents.

An occurrence of these inflated market conditions was last seen during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where rentals in the area were secured oftentimes sight-unseen and rent price amounts grew substantially higher than normal market rates. It is anticipated that the area will experience similar increases to rental prices, as demand overwhelming exceeds supply. Dwellworks, and its local Destination Services Consultants, will continue to monitor the situation and provide feedback as new information is gathered.

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Top Ten Rio Olympics Culture Tips

Brazil is a country with a driven, yet laid back culture known for its friendly, welcoming, and ethnically diverse people. Despite their hospitality, however, there are still certain cultural faux pas which can cause some uncomfortable interactions if you’re not careful. Here are 10 tips to help guide you through the national and regional do’s and don’ts of travel to this year’s Olympic host city of Rio de Janeiro…

10. NEVER make the thumb-to-forefinger “OK” sign/hand gesture… it’s not OK in Brazil!
9. Cariocas are people from the time-flexible, cultural capital of Rio de Janeiro; Paulistanos are people from the time-sensitive work capital, Sao Paulo. They don’t appreciate being confused with one another!people
8. NEVER wear a combination of green and yellow-colored clothes in Brazil… UNLESS you are going to a soccer game, or an Olympic event!
7. The “figa” hand gesture (“I got your nose!”) means Good Luck in Brazil – Use it!
6. Friends greet each other with 2 or 3 “air kisses” in Brazil. Be sure to reciprocate in kind!
5. A red streetlight is merely a suggestion: pedestrians beware! Brazilians often drive with their headlights on during the day, and off at night.
4. Caipirinha – the national cocktail – is made of cachaça, sugar, fruit, and ice. Caution: it goes down easy… and so will you!
3. Most Rio samba music clubs are small, intimate venues, not like the massive street parties of Carnival.
2. There are usually three shakers on the table in Rio: salt, pepper, and manioca (a shredded root, added to thicken and flavor sauces.)
1. Missed Carnival? Missed the Olympics? You’ve still got time to get to Rio this year for its BIGGEST annual event: New Year’s Eve and the Festival of Iemanja, goddess of the sea, right on the beach!

If you follow these tips you’ll avoid an unfortunate misunderstanding and have a wonderful time in Rio. Enjoy your trip – or as the cariocas would say – Aproveite a viagem!

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Successful Leaders: Go for the Gold!

I always enjoy watching the Olympics. I love the pageantry of the event, the stories of the athletes, and the incredible competition. In that vein, I ran across an Inc. article by Jeff Haden about US Swimmer Katie Ledecky. In the article, Haden talks about the lengths she goes to in order to be the best in her sport and dominate the competition. Her hard work, the extra time, her dedication, her charting her own path and her laser focus have made her an Olympic Champion; however, they can all be applied to being a business leader as well.

Obviously it all starts with hard work. Intelligence, luck, and timing play a role in our success as a leader; but, hard work is the main ingredient… the building block for any accomplished career. Luckily we don’t have to swim thousands of yards a day like an Olympic swimmer, but we are going to have to put some extra hours, take on that extra workload, and expend the extra energy to be a success. As Haden says, “There are no shortcuts.” Another hallmark of a successful swimmer or a successful business leader is the ability to be fully committed to the cause. He said of Ledecky, “isn’t a person who swims. She’s a swimmer.” That is the approach you need as a business professional. Don’t be a worker running a project or someone in charge of a team. Be a leader.

My challenge this week is for you to go for the gold. We don’t all have the opportunity to win an Olympic medal, but the work ethic, focus, and dedication are the same traits that create successful business leaders. Go out there and get it!

Onward and Upward

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EU-US Privacy Shield Launched August 1

After a ruling by the EU Court of Justice – the highest court in the EU – declared the US/EU Safe Harbour Framework invalid, leaving more than 4,000 US companies with uncertainty as to the best way of transferring personal data between the EU and US, both parties have since been vigorously working toward a new version.

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US Economic Snapshot: August 2016

Q2 Economic Indicators

The US unemployment rate hovered between 4.7%-5.0% in Q2, and the July rate stood at 4.9%. This rate remains in the “normal” range of unemployment, indicating workers are leaving jobs for new ones, as well as new workers entering the workforce, with others leaving completely. Oil prices are still much lower than they were last year, and analysts are predicting they will stay lower for the remainder of 2016, before leveling off in the medium to long term.

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Intern Insights: Week 11

What’s your biggest take-away from the internship? And how will you use it in the future?
By: Matt Botek | Cleveland, OH
I am writing this blog post at a reflective time. Today I finished my summer-long Intern Group Project by presenting to a few dozen Dwellworks employees, thus ending weeks of work that went into it. With that project-hangover feeling of freedom (which I can only compare to the feeling of finishing a book series and not being sure what to do next), I have spent the back half of my day catching up on day-to-day work and thinking back on my summer at Dwellworks. These past 12 weeks have absolutely flown by and I am not sure where they went. I can however be sure of the value I have soaked up during my time here at Dwellworks.

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Incremental Actions Can Influence Larger Initiatives

Part of my responsibilities include the leadership of our Project Management team. As the team manages large scale projects, we continue to be focused on the deadlines of key deliverables and establishing and meeting project due dates. We often remind each other to be focused on “X-by-Y”. When we say “X-by-Y” it is in the context of getting our projects done by the date that was established. Having a critical “X-by-Y” discussion with our project teams is fairly simple and straight forward, but it is important to realize for large projects, providing great customer service or being a part of team isn’t just one “X-by-Y”. It is made of up hundreds of “X-by-Y” exchanges we are a part of on a daily basis.Daily Work

That request to return a phone call or email from a client, the agreement to run a report for a teammate, or efforts to meet an individual, monthly revenue/order/closing target are all examples of “X-by-Y” interactions we encounter on a daily basis. Each of these alone are not major milestones and may not seem critical in the grand scheme, but it is the cumulative effect of all these “X-by-Y” interactions that determines how you succeed professionally, how your team helps to contribute to the company, and how the organization as a whole continues to grow.

My challenge to you this time is to stay focused on your “X-by-Y” exchanges. If you ask a teammate, supplier, or client for some information, set a mutually agreed upon date for that to be completed. If someone requests something from you, make sure you establish a due date and meet it. Understand every request, no matter how small, is a part of a larger initiative.

Onward and Upward

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Intern Insights: Week 10

Tell us something new you learned from Cultural Training.
By: Andrew Spettel | Cleveland, OH
This week, all of the interns participated in a cultural training led by Dean Foster. The course focused on looking at different personalities and ways of thinking, and finding a way to get my own personality to cohesively work with these personalities. Dean taught that relocating abroad generally follows a roller coaster of emotions. Generally, people experience a honeymoon period when they first arrive, however, quickly face homesickness after that. This was an important thing to focus on because of the investment that a company makes when they relocate a customer abroad. Dean taught us the importance of having a global perspective. This allows an individual to better conduct business and thrive overseas.

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