How to set up a workable home office (in your serviced apartment)

While staying in a serviced apartment, there are plenty of things to do. The great thing about serviced apartments is that you have the freedom to turn the apartment into your perfect workspace. Use these tips to maximize your productivity while staying in the serviced apartments. 

Privacy

Ideally, your office should be in a quiet area with some privacy. This is especially important if you share the house with your partner or roommates. You may find that a spare room with a door can reduce noise from the rest of the house if you'll be on the phone frequently.

Rules

To boost your productivity, you should always try to make some basic rules with other people in the apartment (if you don’t live alone). For example, set up specific working hours, so that you can work undisturbed.

However, since you are staying in a serviced apartment, the first two tips won’t be applicable to you if you’re staying by yourself. Because you already have your privacy and you won’t need to lay ground rules for others. 

But what if you’re stuck in your serviced apartment during a pandemic? What if you’re required to work from you’re serviced apartment? Or what if you just have an agreement that you work a few days from your temporary home? How do you set up a workable home office from your serviced apartment? 

Well, obviously your serviced apartment is not your permanent home, so you don’t have the usual home comforts and space. Serviced apartments are bigger than your average hotel room, but usually not as big as your own house. So we have to work with what we got. So what are the things that you need to take into account when setting up your (temporary) home office?

Natural lighting

When entering your new serviced apartment and you want to know where to set up your office, it is best to choose a place near the windows. Even though windows can distract you because of the view, it is best to work in natural lighting, especially when you work many hours straight. 

Tools

There are many things that will optimize your productivity while being on a business trip. Always make sure to pack your essentials that will increase your productivity and efficiency. For instance, always pack your mouse, mouse pad and laptop stand. And make sure to always your necessities, that you brought with you, at hand in your temporary home office, such as your pens, notebooks, tablets, etc. Have them within reach to avoid distractions. 

Ergonomics

The most important thing about working from home is the ergonomic balance of the chair-desk combination. If you know you’re going to be staying at a serviced apartment beforehand, we suggest you check with the agency or provider for what type of chair they have or if it is possible to have an office chair. If they have regular dining chairs, a pillow for back support should go a long way.  Three other tips and tricks to avoid fatigue and discomfort are: 

  1. Keep the correct distance between the screen and your face

Depending on the size of the monitor, you should be approximately 50 to 60 centimetres away from your monitor. The larger the screen, the further away you need to be.

  1. Set the correct viewing height to the screen

The screen should be directly in front of you at an angle of up to 45 degrees from the bottom. Do you work on a laptop without a laptop stand, your head is probably turned down to view the screen. The idea is to look straight ahead and see the screen. Therefore, use a laptop stand! Here’s a list of some portable laptop stands perfect for travelling. Also, since you’ll be using a laptop stand, take into account that you’ll also need a keyboard. 

  1. Maintain a 90-degree angle for arms and legs

When working behind a laptop, this means that the chair must be at a height so that your legs are at 90 degrees angle and the desk must ensure that the arms can operate the keyboard from this same angle.

 

And last but not least, all the serviced apartments have an optimal wifi-signal, so that your work will not suffer from a slow connection. It is important to always work as efficiently as possible and Short Stay Citizens are happy to help you with choosing the optimal serviced apartment for you to be able to work from your temporary home. Give us a call or click here.

 

By Marc Bakker


Serviced apartments: The safest accommodation during a pandemic

As the COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe and countries continue to tighten their travel restrictions, the question of whether and how to travel has become more and more complicated.

The State Department raised its global advisory to a level 4, recommending United States citizens not to travel to any other country, because of the global effects of the outbreak. Flying in or out America is not possible anymore. Also, many countries in Europe and all over the world have been closing its borders as well. Travel in Europe itself is still possible in some countries.

Short Stay Citizens encourages all travellers to stay safe and follow guidelines from the CDC website. However, if you have to travel for work or family reasons, we have listed a number of important points on why professionally managed serviced apartments are the most appropriate accommodations to stay during this pandemic, instead of staying at other accommodations like Airbnb, hotels or friends.

Secured quality

Unlike your average Airbnb or other privately owned short term rentals, professionally managed serviced apartments always have higher standards. Airbnb properties are usually rooms in someone else’s apartments or even villa’s, which means it’s difficult to know what to expect. Privately owned short term rentals are usually rented by individual persons and not companies.

Airbnb is a review based system, so you are counting on the honesty of previous guests to help you make your choice. Neither Airbnb properties nor hosts are checked or regulated by staff, this is the same for privately owned apartments. Both of these choices are basically a stab in the dark. We can imagine that is the last thing you would want during these circumstances.

Privacy

Serviced apartments provide privacy. Shared accommodations don’t. Staying in shared accommodations means that there are other people, hosts,  strangers, around you. Your hygienic routine may not be the same as someone else’s. Due to the pandemic, now is not the best time to be sharing accommodations.

While you have your privacy in privately owned short term rentals, you cannot be sure in what state you will find the apartment nor if it has been thoroughly cleaned or what type of neighbourhood the accommodation is.

With professionally managed serviced apartments you can rest assured of your privacy and safe surroundings.

Accountability

Professionally managed serviced apartments and travel agencies are represented by not for profit trade associations. In the UK, for example, most, if not all, professionally managed serviced apartments are represented by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, also known as ASAP in this industry. In Short Stay Citizens’ case, we are represented by IATA.org and all of our professionally managed serviced apartment providers are represented by other not for profit trade associations. These trade associations are aware of COVID-19’s effect on the industry and have taken the appropriate measures to make sure that all stakeholders comply with the new regulations.  Because of these not for profit trade associations, professionally managed serviced apartments are held accountable and are expected to comply with the measures to keep travellers safe during this pandemic. 

Space

Everywhere you go now, you hear and see the words “social distancing”. Most serviced apartments are big enough for you and your partner. If you must travel with family, there are 2+ bedroom apartments available. Therefore, there is space for you to be together but still keeping a social distance. This is hard to do in hotels or Airbnb and shared accommodations.

Besides social distance, you should refrain from leaving your accommodations as much as you can. The fully equipped kitchens provided by serviced apartments enable you to do your shopping weekly, instead of going to crowded spaces and supermarkets daily. The spacious serviced apartments also have work desks or space for you to work remotely if needed.

  

Short Stay Citizens encourages everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines provided by your local government. However, if you still must travel for work, family or other pressing matters, we encourage all travellers to make use of professionally managed serviced apartments since these are more appropriate during this pandemic. Contact us to find out why.

 

By Marc Bakker

 

Sources:

Nu.nl, March 2020

Travel.state.gov, March 2020

PSNothingham.com, 2018

Business Insider, March 2020


Booking a serviced apartment

You are looking for a place to stay for work or an extended holiday and online there are a lot of options! That can be overwhelming! We understand. Since you're looking for an extended-stay accommodation, the comfort of a home is of utmost importance and hotel rooms can’t provide that. 

Therefore, you decide to stay in a serviced accommodation, because why would you not? Serviced apartments are fully furnished, and most have a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer available in the apartment or in a laundry room. And depending on the accommodation, weekly housekeeping, private parking, and gyms are also provided. Naturally, it’s obvious you would want to stay in a serviced apartment. 

After this decision, you start looking for serviced apartment providers or serviced apartments OTA’s (online travel agents) specialised in offering multiple serviced apartments from all over the world. And you realise that booking a serviced accommodation is not the same as booking a hotel room, especially if you’re looking for an extended-stay accommodation. Sounds familiar? Not to worry! In this blog, we explain the process of booking a serviced apartment.

Choosing a platform

You’re on Google, you know in which city you are going to stay and are looking for a provider and overwhelmed by all the options. The first advice we give you is to look at the platforms, check out their services and choose the one that suits you and/or your company best. Some are willing to go the extra mile for you, some are not. Choose wisely!

Then, you’re on your chosen online platform that provides many serviced apartments, you know in which city you need a serviced accommodation and you see that there are different types of serviced apartments on the website. Don’t know the difference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check this blog out to see the different types of serviced apartments.

Pricing

One of the first things you will realise is that, depending on the platform, not all realtime prices are listed as opposed to hotel rooms. One of the reasons for this is that prices vary depending on the duration of stay. The longer you stay the more the nightly rate may reduce. These prices are determined mostly by the accommodation providers/owners and not by the platform. 

Inquiring

If you’re looking for an extended-stay accommodation or the nightly rate isn’t listed, you will have to make an inquiry with the dates and your wishes. Some platforms even have extra services or go the extra mile for you, for example arranging to park or getting picked up from the airport, at additional costs of course. 

Availability

What will happen next is a bit of back-and-forth emailing discussing the budget and any extra wishes you may need. The OTA will check for availability with the provider and send you the offer. 

And if there isn’t availability, there are some platforms that go the extra mile and look for some alternatives for you and send you some offers. Awesome, right? However, this is only with OTA’s and other relocation services. Serviced apartment suppliers or owners only have access to there own properties, while OTA’s have an array of options from multiple suppliers. 

 

Offer

These platforms are able to provide you with a list of a few properties that you could choose from based on your wishes as not all properties available are always online. Also booking properties via OTA’s is often less expensive than via other booking platforms that already have listed a price on the website or directly from the property owner. And if you don’t know in which accommodation you would like to stay, but you do know near which address you need to be, you can inquiry to a serviced apartment OTA, and they will search for you and send you some offers, even though they don’t have them listed. That’s the extra mile you need!

Payment

After selecting the offer you want, payment is usually done in advanced and goes via bank transfers. The reason for this is because companies and clients are not comfortable paying thousands of money just online. 

 

If you’re having trouble finding the right platform for you, then look no further!

 

Short Stay Citizens is a booking platform for serviced apartments that go the extra mile for you. Short Stay Citizens has a portfolio with over 50.000 serviced apartments available worldwide from professionally managed providers. However, you won’t be able to find all of them online. One of the reasons is that we encourage people to send an enquiry with their specific needs and wishes. Because we like to be able to provide that personal touch, that we like to think that is what distinguishes us from the rest. 

In order to book an apartment, you could send a request for an apartment that is on the website. You will get the availability, price and more details back within a working day. 

The other option is requesting an apartment that is not on the website but could be in the portfolio. If you don’t know what and where you would like to stay you can send a request stating the city and country, date, your wishes and extra services that you might need. Or ask for any serviced apartment in the vicinity of your work address. Short Stay Citizens will go on the hunt for you and get back to you within a maximum of two working days with at least 2 to 5 options that are catered to your needs. You can choose one of those options or request more options. You could also ask for help finding a rental car, taxi, restaurants etcetera.

For more information on Short Stay Citizens and booking a serviced apartment check out the website and other blogs

By Naziha Bentouhami

 


The rise of sustainability in the serviced apartment sector

The rise of sustainability in the serviced apartment sector and what it means for apartment providers

Like most sectors, tourism and hospitality are also taking note of the impacts climate change has and will on our lives in the future. Companies, in general, have incorporated sustainability in their strategic objectives and accommodating their employees in a sustainable serviced apartment would naturally become part of their corporate social responsibility.

This blog will focus on what serviced apartment stakeholders can do to diminish their share of waste creation and what you can do to contribute as an individual or company. The wrong way to go about thinking in terms of bringing a change would be by drowning in hopelessness because you think the issue is too big for one person to handle or maybe even become indifferent towards the subject.

Before diving deeper, it should be said that serviced apartments are already a more sustainable choice than conventional hotels who need more to keep everything running 24/7 and have more facilities such as pools and 24-hour service. The most important issue would be for serviced apartments to become more sustainable and maintain their profitability as well as providing an added value to their customers.

Amount of waste generated in the tourism sector

The amount of waste generated by tourism amounts to 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even though a large chunk of this (90%) is caused by transportation the stay itself has a significant impact as well along with logistical activities surrounding the serviced apartment itself.

Stakeholders

There are several stakeholders involved in the serviced apartment sector which are engaged in implementing sustainable practices and the following play a significant role:

Serviced apartment owners: Providers of serviced apartments are also responsible for the waste management and materials used. This makes them an important driver in both providing alternatives to conventional hospitality providers and also providing customers with an added value in the form of an environmentally friendly stay. Serviced apartments are usually operated by a small group which makes it challenging to implement something on a large scale, this could mean that cooperation between serviced apartments could enable a shift towards more sustainable practices.

Customers: The customers (leisure, business travellers and companies) are the ones that play a role in demanding more sustainable apartments from providers. Furthermore, B2B serviced apartment customers can also incorporate sustainable stays into their strategic objectives considering CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Regulators: Regulators can both become enablers as well as cause obstacles with regards to implementing sustainable practices in general. In the tourism industry on both the national as well as an international level, such as the European Union, there are regulatory and policy changes being made to incentivize sustainable tourism.

(Online) Travel agents: (Online) travel agents are the ones presenting the profiles of serviced apartment providers on their platform or company and fulfil the role of connecting the customer with the serviced apartment provider. There is a minimal role reserved for them as the stakeholder with the least control with regards to implementation. What they can do however is actively search and promote sustainable apartments in order to appeal to customers and provide them with an added value.

What can serviced apartment providers do?

With all the earlier mentioned stakeholders it’s important to synergize sustainable practices in order to provide a completely sustainable apartment or come as close to it as possible. Sustainability in the serviced apartment sector can be divided into two types, one of them is conventional apartment providers who strive to become more sustainable at a later stage and the second type is serviced apartments that are already built with sustainability in mind. Some of the things that serviced apartments can do is choosing the right suppliers and is essential for a sustainable serviced apartment. What has to be taken into account are their ethical values as a supplier and if their products are sustainably produced. By reducing energy and water consumption for unnecessary use, it's possible to save on scarce resources.

So, all in all, we can say that in general, the tourism industry has a long way to go to fully implement sustainable practices but there is progress being made towards reaching it.

Are you curious about how large your carbon footprint is? The WWF provides a useful tool to calculate how much CO2 you are emitting per year. If you would like to house your employees in a sustainable apartment feel free to contact us so we can help you out.

 

By Selcuk Salman

 

Sources:

Oceaneering.com

TheWorldCounts.com

Cbss.org

Unep.fr


How to make your serviced apartment feel more like home

Although serviced apartments feel more homely than the usual hotel rooms, there is no place like your home…. If you're someone who is constantly on the road, whether for lifestyle or work, coming home to a serviced apartment that feels like your home, will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed. This, in turn, will benefit you the next day to feel more energised to go about your day. These tips will help make your serviced apartment feel more like your home. With these tips, you can create a nice environment in your serviced apartment whether you’re staying for a couple of weeks or months on end.

Scent

The scent is very important and can make you feel right at home. If you use specific scented candles at home, try finding them in a smaller size and bring it along with you. Preferably tea light candles for their lightweight and size. For some nice scented candles click here. If you use incense sticks, it is even less of a hassle to bring them along with you as they weigh practically nothing. However, be aware that wax candles are allowed to be stored in a checked suitcase or overhead luggage, but gel candles are only allowed in checked suitcases.

Photo by Stéfano Girardelli on Unsplash

If you use laundry washing powder at home for your clothes you can put some in a Ziploc bag. Hang it up in the closet so you can be greeted by the smell every time you open the closet. If you use a liquid, bring some in a travel size bottle spray mixed with water. Even if you use laundry service you can spray your clothes and sheets with it for that familiar freshly washed clothes scent. 

Unpack

A common trait business travellers tend to do is living out of their suitcases. Our tip: hang up your clothes, it is nicer and feels more like you are at home than living out of a suitcase. Yes, it takes time to unpack and pack again, however, you will waste less time looking for your items in your suitcase and you will have a good overview of your clothes. 

The same applies to your toiletries. Getting ready and every time grabbing everything out of your toiletry bag is less efficient. Take your time, unpack your toiletries and make the bathroom your own sanctuary. After that, put your toiletry bag in your suitcase and store both at a place you don’t see. Seeing them will remind you every time that you are not home and that it’s temporary.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Coffee or Tea

There is nothing like waking up in the morning and having your favourite cup of coffee or tea. So pack your own coffee or tea! Depending on how long your stay is, if you have a short stay, don’t bring the whole package, that will only take up space. Put some of the tea in a ziplock bag. For coffee, use two ziplock bags so the rest of your items in your suitcase don’t smell like it.

Snacks

Buy some snacks that you eat back at home or bring some from home. If your taste in snacks is more general, go to a supermarket near your serviced apartment and get some of your favourites. A simple thing as enjoying a snack can make you feel at home.

Photo by Craig Adderly from Pexels

Sleep comfort 

If you are not travelling to a tropical destination, bring your own blanket, a small one will do for the cold days or to cover up with at night. If you cannot afford the space, try packing it in an airtight plastic bag. Still, don’t have enough space? Then at least bring your own pillowcase. 

Pictures

Bring pictures of your loved ones. No frame is needed, just print the pictures and put them between your documents or clothes while travelling. They will arrive at your destination without a crease. Put them close to the door so you will be greeted by them when you enter your serviced apartment after a long day at work. 

Alexa or Google home

Love Alexa or your Google home? Bring them along. There are smaller sizes available and if you are used to waking up with them telling you the local news etc. then why not bring them as your travel companion?

Photo by BENCE BOROS on Unsplash

Greenery

Depending on the length of your stay. If you are used to a green environment in your home, buy yourself some flowers or plants. Not only do they look and smell good, but they also purify the air for you. 

Photo by Chitokan from Pexels

This blog has shown you how you can make your serviced apartment, smell, feel and even taste like your home with your favourite snacks and a cup of coffee. We at Short Stay Citizens always want our clients to feel right at home at their serviced apartment. We hope that these tips will help you settle down in your home away from home. If not, feel free to contact us and we will see what we can do to fulfil your needs.

By Leticia Cardoso

Sources: 

Mentalfloss.com, 2019

Amber C. Snider, Culture trip, 2018

 


Types of Serviced Accommodations

Whether it’s for a short period before finding a permanent home in a new country, a shorter stay for a project or for even an extended stay for a long-term work assignment, business travellers need at least some of the comfort that a home provides for their stay abroad.

Serviced accommodations are integral for business professionals and the companies that employ them.  Companies prefer to accommodate their employees in serviced accommodations to keep their employees comfortable and happy. This can improve work quality and productivity. In other words, serviced apartments aid in having an improved work-life balance.

An increasing amount of companies and professionals are opting for serviced accommodations as opposed to hotels with a growth of about 7% in comparison, and an expected increase of 23,000 serviced apartments by the year 2022 in Europe alone. According to ones’ demands and needs, there is a wide range of different types of serviced accommodations available, especially in the past decade a significant increase has been parallel to the rising amount of global nomads that need a place to stay abroad.

But what type of serviced accommodations are offered by providers? 

The range of accommodations provided have a minimum requirement that fit the demands of professionals abroad. Basic serviced accommodations come with furniture, an equipped kitchen, bathroom and toilets. Along with that, there are certain amenities provided similar to that of a hotel such as towels, toiletries, housekeeping services and a reception.

The three types of serviced accommodations being offered are aparthotel rooms, serviced apartments and corporate housing.

  • Aparthotels, are the most identical to a regular hotel. Aparthotels are literally what the name implies: A combination of an apartment and a hotel. This type of serviced accommodation has almost the same services as a hotel and are in designated buildings. An aparthotel provider of Short Stay Citizens, Citadines, offer services such as a 24-hour-reception, housekeeping, room service, meeting rooms, laundry and dry-cleaning, babysitting and more. Depending on the location and provider, some aparthotels might offer more or fewer services. The biggest difference is that the rooms are a bit bigger than the regular hotel rooms but smaller than your average one-bedroom or studio serviced apartment. Aparthotels typically include kitchenettes with limited kitchenware. This type of serviced accommodation, usually, does not have minimum stay requirements such as other types of serviced apartment or corporate housing.

  • Serviced apartments are typically in residential buildings however there are some in designated buildings. For instance, The Ascott Residence in Beijing, also offered by Short Stay Citizens, has buildings around the world offering serviced apartments. Some have a front desk, room service, fitness centre, a business centre, swimming pools, babysitting and more.

  • Serviced apartments in residential buildings, such as Stayci in The Hague, have fewer services but most of them do have housekeeping services and have a washer and dryer in the apartments or in the building. These types of serviced apartments don’t have a reception on site: Guests need to check-in at a designated office for check-in, or the concierge will meet the guests at the apartment to hand over the keys, or self-service check-in is also possible. These serviced apartments are bigger than aparthotel rooms, fully furnished and fully equipped. Most providers have a minimum stay requirement of 7 or 14 days. However, depending on availability, some serviced apartment providers might also provide short stays of less than a week.

  • Corporate housing is an apartment or a house that is fully furnished and equipped. Corporate housing is also sometimes referred to as serviced apartments. Although very similar to serviced apartments, they do not have the same amenities. For example, some only have cleaning services and high-speed internet. It also, usually, has the largest living space compared to aparthotels and serviced apartments. This type of housing has the least similarities with a hotel. For instance, they do not have a front desk, room service, gym, car hiring service, etc. Most corporate housing also has a minimum stay of 14 days or one month. Companies that send their employees frequently abroad to the same location, or for an extended period of time, generally prefer corporate housing.

Corporate housing and serviced apartments can be privately owned or professionally managed.  Privately owned apartments are owned by people who want to rent it out. These types of apartments can be rented for a longer period of time than professionally managed apartments and are often cheaper than other serviced accommodations. However, they offer fewer services and the quality are often not guaranteed. The professionally managed serviced accommodations include more services similar to a hotel and quality is guaranteed. Serviced accommodations are generally less expensive than hotels depending on the length of stay. However, some serviced accommodations might be more expensive due to their location. However, the living spaces are bigger and it has better amenities, therefore, making the stay worth every penny.

For more information check our blog about “The difference between professionally managed serviced apartments, privately owned apartments and hotel rooms”.

Every individual has its own housing preference depending on their needs, wants and budget. Contact Short Stay Citizens to find the serviced accommodation that is best for you!

By Sahar Tahib

 

Sources:

Dwellworks Blog, 2017

Globetrender, 2018

Buying Business Travel, 2019

Gethppy, 2019

National Corporate Housing