Can your company benefit from an agile workplace?

Agile WorkplaceEverything is evolving, fast paced and on the go. We are now in a generation that everything has changed, from “how” we work and even physical places “where” we work. One factor that affects staff’s productivity is the workplace. Development in technologies are helping and creating more smarter and more flexible techniques for workspaces. So, you think you might want to change your traditional office into an  agile workplace but have no idea how or where to begin.

First, let’s define Agile workplace, the concept is activity-based working space and making the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces.

According to Allwork.space, an online news publication about trends, tips and insights from the flexible workspace industry; agile working makes sure to combine efficient use of the space with collaborative working and the need to recognise concentration and contemplation, through agile working principles, it shows  how to create and allocate space and furniture according to the tasks to be performed rather than status or rank. They also mentioned that there are five main components to an effective agile office:

  1. An open floor plan. This physical openness allows for easy collaboration between employees, increases the amount of natural light to enter the workspace, and is an extremely efficient use of space. However, the cons of an open floor plan include the potential for an extremely loud environment, distractions from deep work, or difficulty with private conversations.
  2. Breakout areas. These are spaces that can be used for many purposes and are intended to foster creativity beyond the confines of a typical conference room. They allow space to eat,  relax, and create areas for employees to have ad-hoc brainstorm sessions. Again, potential negatives could be difficulty with confidential conversations or noise if clear guidelines of use are not put into place from the start. Areas like these could consist of tables, booths, couches, collaborative desks, etc.
  3. Quiet zones. These are also known as hot spots for focused projects, on-demand concentration, or confidential conversations. Quiet zones require careful oversight so that they are respected by all members of the team. These areas should have some kind of boundaries, like cubicle walls.
  4. Touchdown areas. These are spots for overflow workers to utilize, especially if they’re only in the office periodically. They can be used for short tasks, like answering email or knocking out quick assignments. These touchdown areas could consist of bar stools along a counter or a shared couch., Keep in mind that these workstations are not ideal for long periods of sustained work and are not designed for that purpose.
  5. Easy access to resources. Employees should have easy access to essential resources like physical documentation, equipment, supplies, printers, and copiers when needed. However, be cognizant of where these resources are stored; in an agile workspac,e it’s important to eliminate as much noise intrusion as possible. Ideally these won’t be set up too close to work areas.

How will Agile Workplace benefit your business.

Space Utilization.

Big chunks of the business’ money go to the space – spaces that are under occupied. Practicing agile workspaces are resulting to significantly cheaper expenses in terms of fit-out and occupational costs. It can free up space for other work purposes.

Increase in productivity and efficiency.

It providing an activity-based working environment that allows your staff to work from any arrangement they choose and creates combination of focused, collaborative, creative work that leads to more productivity. Your business will have the ability to work when, where and how employees find the most suitable and comfortable. It will also help reduce absenteeism, by enhancing your workplace, you are also improving staff motivation and enjoyment at work, it lessens burn out and boredom at work. It makes them more energized and excited. By giving your staff the freedom to choose and to be flexible with their expertise, tools and specially workplace, it will allow them to make good decisions that lead to improvement of their performances.

Getting and retaining best talents.

Great examples are companies like Google and Unilever, they have the outstanding reputation as employers. They achieved this by inspiring a workplace and how they value their workers, in return they get loyal employees and performers.

Improved Employee Performance.

The foundation of a successful workplace is its well-designed environment. Strategically designed workplace will help your team to be more dynamic through allowing members to choose the best place and time to perform their duties and tasks. It also impacts Employee Engagement. It boosts the flexibility in communication and staff engagement.

It can adhere to your changing workforce.

Whether business expansion or contraction, your business is very well prepared with all of fluctuation because of its flexibility.

How will you transition your traditional office to an agile office?

From the experience of businesses that have successfully performed the transition, we’ve collected some steps that will help you.

Do Your Research.

Research on the Internet net and learn about the types of companies that have make successful transitions. Look for ways where your business is similar and ways in which it is different. Do a study on your office over the period of a week or more and assess the actual occupancy. If you find your company office space has 20% or more vacant on average, then this may be a good alternative for you. The higher the normal vacancy rate, the better suited to office hoteling. If you find you run 50% or more vacancy, it only makes good sense to implement office hoteling.

Identify Employees Not Suited to Office Hoteling

Look at your skill mix. Few companies have 100% of their employees away from their traditional workspace the majority of the time. Your receptionist, office manager, some executives and management are in the office on a 90% or greater basis. The traditional office is where they perform their jobs. Those workers should be included in the office hoteling plan as permanent on-site and should remain with their traditional assigned workspace. Choose employees available for agile working is the key to making work more efficient for the hoteling workers once the transition is made.

Determine the Maximum Employee Density on an Average Day

Having looked at average occupancy vacancy rates previously, you should be able to translate that study into a highest average occupancy rate. The lower the occupancy, the more money you can save, but you need to be careful to provide enough hoteling workspaces. If not, you could find unhappy employees standing around waiting for workspaces. It is far better to set up an extra workspace or two to be on the safe side. Office hoteling workspaces don’t have to be large or take up a lot of square footage. Better too many than too few.
Choose an Easy to Use Office Hoteling Reservation Software

When employees choose to come in to utilize a workspace or conference, they will need to log into a control system; the office space hoteling reservation system. By entering a unique identifier, they can pick any available workspace to use for their time in office. They can reserve a meeting room if a client gathering is their purpose, even reserving those spaces several days before the meeting. When the employee has finished using the space they reserved, they simply log out of the office hoteling reservation system, or in the case of a meeting room, might close out their meeting room use and select a workspace to make calls or type up minutes of the meeting. A good office hoteling reservation system will even know which workspace they are using and allow the receptionist to route their calls to where they are at work. Here are the different types of tools that are very helpful to achieve an agile workspace.

•    Room booking tools: Bookings can be done in a common system or terminal or through an internet portal. It automates the task of booking meeting rooms, displaying the status of rooms at all times.
•    Desk booking tools:  same with room booking tool, automation can also be applied to the task of assigning shared desk resources. Staff can book a desk remotely and can secure a space when they arrive. Usually, digital displays on desks can also automatically indicate its availability.
•    Digital Sinage: there are installed digital signages in the office that assists employees working from different offices and locations find their way to departments, meeting rooms and other facilities. The signs can be changed easily when needed.
•    Occupancy sensors: providing a real-time data on spare capacity levels, it can also help the monitor activity level and can help capacity planning.

The most commonly used software being used by larger organizations is the Microsoft Outlook. Internal IT Team can help to set up by adding rooms as “resources” in outlook calendar. It’s very user-friendly, in your own calendar, you can easily check if a room or a workstation is in use, blocked or available.

There is Help

Office Hoteling is not a new field and there is help available. There are consultants who specialize in this field and can help you with the transition. it is not necessarily inexpensive to implement an office hoteling system, but it results in savings on average of 30% – 40% of your office rental costs. It is well worth the effort.

IF you need help finding office space where you can create and agile workplace, we are here to help.

Big Mistakes to Avoid When Leasing Office Space

leasing office space Mistakes OopsDeciding to lease office space is an exciting step for your business. The way you choose and decide which office space to lease is important to ensure you avoid making big mistakes when leasing office space. You need to make sure that your office is productive for your team, to you and most of especially to your clients. You also need to make sure that the office you choose it will make you and your business grow and flourish.

Considering these factors in leasing office space will affect your business productivity and overall success. Below are some of the bigger mistakes to avoid in leasing an office space.

NOT ENGAGING A TENANT REPRESENTATIVE

You might think we are being self serving on this, but we have seen the mistakes businesses make that do not use a tenant rep. Considering that there is no cost to you, it does not make sense to not have one. The biggest mistake made by tenants in leasing office space is not engaging the services of a tenant representative; thinking it will cost them money. It doesn’t.  A good tenant representative, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, is invaluable in making sure you find the right alternative, negotiate the best possible deal and avoid costly mistakes. They do this every day and only get paid when you get what you want. And you don’t even have to pay them. It costs you nothing. Most Landlords hire listing agents and the tenant rep will share in that fee.  If there is no tenant rep, the listing agent keeps the entire fee and you are on your own. Tenant rep services will save you money by making sure you do it right with solid information and advice.

 RUSHING

The second biggest mistake made by tenants looking for office space is not allowing enough time for the process.  Far too often tenants will not get started early enough and have to settle for less than they could have had otherwise. This applies to tenants who are looking for conventional space and not executive suite, virtual office space, or co-working space. Typically, a tenant can be in these spaces as soon as the next day or at least within the month. Tenants looking for conventional office space under 5,000 should get started 6 to 9 months prior to their move in date. Larger businesses should start at least 1 year in advance. This will allow enough time to find some good alternatives, negotiate the best deal and have any tenant improvements completed for an on time move-in. This is true even in a soft market. In fact, even more so since there will be many more possibilities to investigate.

Make sure you don’t rush into a decision, remember that this is a big step for your business. If the deals and negotiations did not match your plans, move on and try to look for other alternatives. There will always be a property that will perfectly suit your requirements. Sometimes, DIY is okay, but note that it is very time consuming and may take a lot of your time, time that you’d rather spend it to your daily operation and development of your business. Experts or tenant representatives are the best people to help you. They know the markets inside out and can assist you throughout the process, especially when it comes to negotiations. Viewing, choosing and negotiating when leasing office space can be a long process and time consuming. If you are unsure of what you are doing, your mistakes can get very expensive.

LACK OF COMMITMENT

Keep in mind that leasing an office space is a commitment. there will be a legal contract that will hold an agreement for given length of time. Leasing is a big responsibility, make sure that you study your business and you are “ready” to take new obligation to step up for this new stage of your business. Otherwise, it will just you may end up losing a lot of money on space you don’t need.

NOT UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS

There are more costs involved in leasing office space than just the rent.  Many of these costs are quoted in different fashions so it can all get quite complicated when comparing alternatives. It becomes difficult to compare proposals on an apple-to-apples basis. In fact, it can even become difficult for an inexperienced tenant representative to decipher the various costs involved in comparing different office space alternatives.  Moreover, be prepared for these: Monthly cost, service charges, maintenance costs, insurance and daily operating costs.

Don’t settle to an office that is going to empty your banks and put your business into debt and that will hinder its growth. Make sure you know all of the costs involved.

UNEVALUATED LOCATION

Evaluate all aspects of the office space you are interested in leasing. These will include geographical location, space layout and type of the building to insure a perfect fit for your business. Don’t forget to evaluate for safety, too. There are other factors to consider in deciding about the location. One of the important factors is it good for your employees; make sure it is close enough for employees to commute, near public transportation, restaurants and cafés are conveniently accessible for your team’s lunch break or a simple coffee breaks. Or if you don’t have a team yet, choose a location that has a good population for your potential resources. Evaluate the size of the space that will commit, it is always to good to have exact number of employees to get a large enough space for your team members and an extra meeting or receiving area for clients/visitors.

Another important aspect to consider are your clients. Remember, your office gives a first impression to your clients and it sends messages to them about your business. If you’re in a building that is falling apart, your client may interpret that your business is struggling. Other way, if you are spending extravagantly for your office, clients may think that you are just charging them too much and money just goes to a lavish office space. Safety of the building is also a big factor, make sure that your building has measures being followed for times of emergencies such as fires or earthquakes. Check if the building is guarded for the safety of everyone as well as your physical assets. Not considering these factors may just bring damage to your business rather than growth.

UNCLEAR LEASE TERMS

Make sure that provisions are clearly stated out in the lease. You don’t want to be surprised with the hidden charges, one example is that sometimes landlord will say that utilities are not included with what you have paid and you will need to pay extra for it since it was not officially specified in your lease. Take note that every office is lease is different, but frequently written in favour of the landlord. Think what office lease terms are best for you as a tenant, study the entire lease including rental rates, renewal options, rules and regulations, break clauses, etc. Know what you can customize it before signing a contract. Make sure to check what you’re allowed to do to the space without getting charged for damages.

We hope these tips could finding a great space for your business. Of course, there is a lot more to consider and a good tenant rep, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, will help make sure you don’t make any big mistakes. Please contact us if we can be of assitance.

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT OFFICEFINDER

We’d also want to share actual feedbacks and experiences of businesses who have taken advantage of using an OfficeFinder Tenant Representatives

“Our OfficeFinder rep did more than I ever thought that this free service would. I hope that this man gets a Raise. He really went above and beyond the call of duty. I thank him very much.”

-Elizabeth P – Phoenix, Az

“The amount of information I received and the professionalism of our OfficeFinder rep was astounding.  His knowledge and understanding of what I needed was overwhelming. He will always have my business, and I have no need to recommend anyone else.”

-Chris V – Level 7 Productions – Los Angeles, Ca

“I have never rated anyone at this high of a level but Jeff, our OfficeFinder Rep is exceptional.  I don’t know how he could exceed the level of service he has provided for us. I will not only recommend him to others, I will look for opportunities to recommend him.”

-Michael S – New Life Outpatient Center – Davenport, Ia

“Thanks for your follow up.  Our OfficeFinder rep has been extremely helpful in assisting us to find the proper offices over the last several months.  We are now in our new location and I frankly don’t know how we would have done it without him.”

-Jenny M- Xinify Technologies, Inc – San Ramon, Ca

Office Space Rental, Productivity and Small Business Success

Helpful tips for an office space rentalChoosing the right office space rental for your business or organization means more than just choosing a physical location.  If you have customers visiting your property, then you want to make a good impression. You want to make sure it is somewhere that you employees will be happy and productive. Depending on your organization’s identity, you might need to appear trendy, modern, or traditional, and your physical location can help customers decide if you are the right place for them to take their business or not.  When choosing commercial real estate, the following tips are a few considerations that can help you find the location that is just right for you and your company.

Appearances are important.  Take a very close look at the property, standing in the parking lot, or on the sidewalk in front of the building.  If the building looks dingy and dirty to you, it will probably look that way to your customers and employees as well.  Unless you do not get any customer visits, make sure the location is somewhere that you would visit as a customer. Don’t forget your employees. Is this somewhere your employees would be proud to work?

Consider accessibility and convenience.  Many customers will simply not visit your location if it is difficult for them to park, maneuver a wheelchair through, or find the elevator or stairs.  While some inexpensive improvements may be feasible and advantageous, you do not want to invest more money into making your building accessible than you spend on the property itself.  Make sure the elevators and stairs are in good condition, ensure that the location is handicap accessible, and consider the ease of entering and exiting the parking garage or lot for your customers.

Check with the local City Hall to ensure that the property is zoned for your business.  If you have an unusual business, rezoning can take months or even years, and is a costly process that requires legal consultation and assistance.  Checking out the zoning ordinances for the property before you sign the contract is always the easiest way to avoid headaches and extra cost.

Current and Future Space Needs. Taking into account what your future ofice space rental needs may be is very important when signing a multi year lease that will lock you into a defined area. Whether you are a large or small company the basic needs are the same. You need to consider your office space efficiency, cost effectiveness, room for expansion, and strength of location. If your company is currently housed in an inefficient space the multi-step processes necessary to keep everyone ‘in the loop’ can create redundancy and confusion. While a move can be costly, if done correctly it can reduce future costs significantly. Would moving from your current location disrupt client service? Or are you able to make a move without affecting the product or service you provide?  Lots of questions to be answered before deciding to make a move.

Before Signing an Agreement for an Office Space Rental for Lease

Renting office space can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. In some of those anxious moments, it can easy to get caught up in all the excitement and sign a lease agreement that has unfavorable terms.  Since the success of your business largely depends on the right rental terms, you’ll want to check out a few important details whenever you are considering an office space rental.

The type of lease that’s being offered can make or break your business, as some could result in your paying large additional charges you weren’t prepared for. The common types of office leases are:

  • Net lease that includes base rent and a nominal charge for taxes and insurance
  • Double net lease that requires you to pay rent in addition to the entire cost of taxes and insurance
  • Triple net lease which mandates that you pay rent, taxes, insurance and maintenance fees
  • Fully serviced lease or gross lease in which the landlord pays for additional expenses and then passes them on as a “load factor and increased from a base year.”

When choosing a fully serviced lease, it’s important to understand what the load factor and base year means. It is essentially a way to calculate the total monthly rent when a tenant has usable square footage in addition to common areas. For example, a business could occupy space in a building where stairways, restrooms and entryways are common space. In this instance, the load factor covers the expense associated with maintaining these areas, spreading them evenly among all who use them. The base year is the year in which you must pay for any excess expenses over the amount for that lease year. You have to be careful that the base year is current or in the future when signing a lease.

Although you may be offered a deal for signing an extended office space rental or lease, if you’re a startup or growing business, you should be leery about doing so. That’s because you just might find the needs of your business change a great deal over the first couple of years. For this reason, you should consider a short-term lease that’s between one and two years if you are a brand new company.

It’s also a good idea to ask about initial improvement allowances, remodeling or redecorating when signing a lease. Most long term leases will include a tenant improvement allowance. Make sure you know if that is on a rentable or useable square footage bases. It can make a difference of 15% or more. You may choose to build cubicles, add new carpeting or paint the walls once you settle in, so you need to know if this is something that’s allowed. Many times, minor modifications are allowed as long as the structural integrity of the building is not altered in any way.

Consult an expert.   The perfect office space rental can be competitive and hard to find, so consulting an expert is your best bet.  An experienced tenant rep can help you locate inspectors, engineers, architects, or anyone else that you may need to get your business off and running in a new improved location. The cost of a tenant rep are paid by the landlord. There is no cost to you for their services, yet they represent you and don’t get paid until you are happy and sign a lease. You have nothing to lose. Just make sure and find an experienced one who will not only help you shortlist potential locations, but negotiate a great deal for you. They understand to nuances of leases and can help you avoid costly mistakes and save you money.

How to Make Your Office Space Reflect Your Business

office spaceMany people who have office jobs spend most of their day working and socializing in their office space.  It’s important a company to provide a work environment that promotes a creative and productive atmosphere.  With some effort an existing office space can be made comfortable and unique. Here are a few ideas that can help make your office space reflect your business.

Color Selection

When choosing office space many people are careful in choosing the color scheme.  Research has shown that different colors can create different moods. As an example, various types of blues are believed to have a more relaxing effect and makes workers more productive.  Green has shown to be easier on the eyes and make people feel healthier.

Layout

Today many companies are utilizing a more open office layout.  One of the most popular ideas is to have a few desks or tables located in the center of the office.  This can be used as a place for employees to sit and work when they need a change from their regular space.  Open floor plans seem to increase teamwork but can become distractions for some workers.

Standing Opportunity

People who work in offices can often feel the effects of sitting all day.  Many medical experts feel this is actually unhealthy. Many offices today are providing opportunities to work while standing.  Adjustable desks that can accommodate workers different heights are popular. Some have even provided table in break rooms where people can stand and have their coffee.

Art

It is important that any artwork put in an office be chosen carefully.  Many offices have success with featuring pictures of company events. Also, pictures of nearby landmarks or places of notoriety are also effective.  In some cases, many companies have benefited utilizing the services of an art consultant.

Floor Coverings

Many companies carefully choose floor coverings to increase the look of their office.  This is cost effective and can have a positive effect on the work environment. Many companies like to get as many employees as possible involved with the floor covering choices.

When does all of this happen? During space planning. Space planning is the analysis and documentation of a business’s current and/or proposed facility. So, it is important that you have a space planner that understands your business and your office space goals. Space planning can happen both with a new office and an existing one.

The best way to make sure you get your office needs met is to engage the services of a local office tenant representative, like the ones at OfficeFinder, to make sure you consider all the factors you need to in your market. Every market has slight nuances that need to be considered. They are also very familiar with good space planners to assist you  making your office space reflect your business.

Are you looking for office space you can have to represent your company?  Contact us today so we can show you how we can help.

Creating A Great Workplace For A Multigenerational Workforce

Helpful tips for a great workplaceToday’s office workplace is rapidly changing. Work is becoming more of what we do and less of where we are. What can you do to create a great workplace for your company? Here are several ideas that can help you.

First off, one of the tools being used in this change is that of office hoteling. It is where those who do not need a full time desk space simply login and reserve a space when needed, resulting in savings of up to 40% in real office space costs.

As the office space workplace goes more and more mobile, with employees working wherever is convenient, it becomes necessary to recruit and retain the most motivated employees. If workers are not self-motivated, the system can easily be abused. Today’s younger workforce, however, is used to and prefers the idea of being mobile. When pay is tied to performance, they can and will perform for your business and be happier while do it. They are also more focused on the work-life balance where this type of Officing strategy fits in well.

Once great part of the changing workplace is that, depending on the type of business you operate, hours can be flexible to accommodate the life-work balance necessary to keep the best employees happy. Many areas of business, for example office space, often lend themselves to hours outside the traditional 9-5 pattern. The flexible worker can maintain balance by planning errands such as auto service or simply relaxing over a long breakfast by simply notifying their employer that their day will have altered hours. That two hours spent in the evening doing revenue-generating work can be taken off during the day instead of being considered overtime.

Employees today move from job to job rapidly, each time moving up in salary and position. In order to keep the very best on your staff, you must be flexible with them as well as expecting them to be flexible with your needs. The increased work-life balance priority is related to shifts in workplace priorities since many workers will spend as much as 95% of their time away from the traditional office space.

Values sought by today’s worker in terms of work-life balance include respect and trust from the employer. Family concerns being respected by the boss is critical. They want some hours they can telework from home when needed or when desired and more control over their work schedule. Unless a company is willing to institute flexible work policies and programs, the brightest and best will move on to a company that better understands their wants and needs.

Assess what flexibility makes sense for your organization. Would an office hoteling reservation system allow you to reduce real estate footprint and help workers feel more empowered? Would accommodating telework from home when a child is sick or another emergency fit into your business? What other flexible options could you institute to keep your best employees happy and offer them a balance between family and life needs and employment requirements?

A properly planned office hoteling reservation system can save money and increase productivity. Contact us so we can get you started finding out how Office Hoteling might work for your company.

How Work Space Evolution Enhances Employee Performance

No matter what market your business serves, you know that profits are earned because of good, talented, employees working hard. Without these valued employees you would not have a thriving enterprise. And the better the team members perform the more your business will thrive.

So much of business performance today is knowledge-based work. People who have that knowledge and creativity are sought after by many companies and today’s workforce feel comfortable changing jobs several times in their career. This is so unlike our parents and grandparents where a person secured a job and stuck with that employer until they earned the gold watch at retirement.

Clearly, this means that those companies that are able to keep the talented knowledge employees happy will retain the talent longer than companies where employees do not feel valued, love their work and their work environments. When an organization can evolve to provide their team with practical options regarding where and sometimes even when work is performed, employees can choose work styles that best fit their personal needs.

One employee may work best in complete silence with no hustle and bustle around. That person may prefer to work from home, if the home office is quiet, several days per week and especially when performing more tedious tasks, coming into the office only as needed. This type of employee must be a self-starter who works well with little direction.

Another employee may thrive on the networking and sense of competition that the traditional office provides and prefer to come to the main office most days. These tend to be people who require a little more direction. While this employee will likely readily accept and implement technological advancements, they may be a bit hesitant when first making changes in processes to improve them.

Yet another type of employee may work best while on the move, working in third spaces such as cafes and internet hotspots while between meetings with clients. This type of working tends to be a real self-starter who has a strong dislike for the hassles of involved with reporting to a traditional office just for the sake of being seen. It is likely that this person will fully utilize each new technological development that makes their work faster and easier and embrace positive changes. This work style may involve some days spent at the office, some days where a few necessary minutes are spent at the office, and other days where all the day is spent working with clients or spots near the next client’s office.

An employer who can accommodate each of these types of employee will find it easier to retain talent and a high degree of production. When employees find they can work in whatever style suits them best for each specific goal or task, they are happier and feel empowered. Happy, empowered employees product more and stay with your company longer.

Six Factors That Can Help Turn Your Office Space Into a Great Workplace

Everyone wants a workplace that is wonderful but why is one workplace great while another is lacking? Is it the leased office space that makes a particular firm productive and profitable? Could it be the specific office furniture or location? None of these things alone make any workplace truly great.

A great workplace is not about the brand of computers, the prestige of the building’s address. Here are six factors that can work together to allow business owners to create an organization that excites employees, resulting in the reputation of being a great workplace.

  1. Replace Policies with Company Mission: Hiring, motivating and retaining top notch employees if not about policies; those are simply rules. Create a company mission and vision that the team believes in and supports. With passion for a mission based on the CEO’s vision, rather than a bunch of policy statements, cultivates a real team capable of leaping forward with ideas and innovations as well as loyalty and hard work.
  2. Nurture Collaboration: Never stifle team members’ desires to work together, carrying ideas from one area of the business into others. Create a workplace where each group or department is allowed to freely convey ideas to other organizational groups. The pay-off in productivity, amazing leaps forward and trained staff retention is incredible.
  3. Cultivate Agile Workspaces: Today’s office space is not the traditional cubicle or corner office. An office hoteling software application allows easy utilization of much smaller workspaces and allows each member of an organization to work in the style that is best for them. Technology allows the telecommuting or third place team members to only be physically in-office as needed. Work areas that provide desks or standing work counters allow team members to avoid the strain of sitting at a computer immobile for hours at a time. Staying in close contact does not have to mean being in the same conference room any longer. The office space of today is any area where business can conveniently and productively be conducted.
  4. Replace Ownership with Membership: Everyone employee is accountable to their customers and managers but in the past processes were “owned” by an employee, generating office stress and politics as power plays were often used to try to win the ownership role. Instead, remove the territorial nature of office spaces and encourage the concept of being privileged to be a member of a team or teams that create revenue and find ways for the company to save money. It becomes everyone’s process and fosters a sense of belonging and identity in the work environment.
  5. Create a Quality Experience for Employees: It is little surprise that employee retention is low in those workspaces that are dull and uninspiring. Create an office space that team members what to enter into and do work. Strive for a vibrant, magnetic space that draws people in during their in-office work time. This engages employees and they will look forward to the connected, exhilarated feeling obtained when they need to hotel an office space for an hour or a day.
  6. Stay on the Cutting Edge: Today’s fast paced, constantly changing economy allows those companies built on flexible office spaces with strong company values and loyalty to survive when others around them fall. As work methods, technological capabilities and mobile computing power speed along, use best practices to stay on the cutting edge. Remember that it’s the people who create value in a knowledge based company; an office is just a space that houses technology where people can come perform productive tasks.

These are some of the keys that can turn your office space into a great workplace for your employees, making them happier and more productive at the same time.

Four Generation Workplaces:
Why Different Management Styles are Necessary

For the first time in history, managers are faced with the requirements to effectively manage four different generations in the workplace. The future will likely continue to contain four generations even as those generations move along the timeline of life and business.

What Generations are Working Today?

According to the Age and Sex Composition, the generational breakdown of employees and managers today fall into these categories:

  1. Veterans born prior to 1946: This group makes up 2 percent of the workforce at the time of the census data collection and reporting in 2017.
  2. Baby Boomers born in the post-World War II years: This group is defined in the reports as those being born between 1946 and 1964 and make up 25  percent of the workforce.
  3. Generation X members, aka Gen Xers: are considered to be the segment born between 1965 and 1980 and make up 33 percent of the total workforce today and
  4. Millennial or Generation Y is the workforce members born after 1981 through present and total 40 percent of the total.

As time passes and the older generation disappear an additional, a younger generation will come of age so business will find it necessary to remain in touch with the remaining worker generations and develop ways to effectively work with the newer generations. Each generation has its own work style and lifestyle.  Managers need to understand what they need to do to encourage employee productivity. In the future and right now it is critical to learn to deal with the workers currently in the business world. This is crucial to producing profit and growth in any form of business.

Managing The High Maintenance Generation Y (Millennials)

The youngest group of employees in the workplace today is comprised of those born after 1981 and generally considered to be from before 2005s. This group is known as Generation Y or Millennials and they make up 40  percent of the total workforce according to Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The American Society of Training and Development reported that during the next 20 years, 76 million workers will retire while only 46 million workers will enter the workforce to replace them. Most of these 46 million workers will be Millennial generation workers. Just as the three older generations in today’s workforce, Gen Y workers have unique desires and needs that they expect from their manager and the business for which they work.

Generation Y employees will be crucial to business enterprises. They will certainly change the way business is conducted in many ways. But, in currently and in the immediate future these employees offer great challenges to management to ensure these workers integrate with the existing workforce with as little conflict as possible.

Among the positive traits brought to the workforce, one of the major benefits that Millennials bring t the workplace is their high degree of technological skills. These employees were practically born with a computer in front of them and are intrigues by each and every development in the work of Information Technology.

Millennials grew up with digital global communication capability at their fingertips. Information of all kinds is expected to be immediatly available on demand. They understand using virtual teams to solve problems and are extremely team oriented.

Millennials view the business work as a global workplace, viewing the entire world as potential sources of information, clients, and community. Millennials seek fast-track career positions, frequent positive feedback, the latest technology and challenging training opportunities. Their outspokenness brings them to challenge long outdated work policies and conventions, offering businesses to perform a check on the hypocrisies and shortcomings of today’s workplace. Ultimately, Gen Yers may well drive change for the better.

Much has been said and published about the negative points of Millennials. They tend to have a sense of entitlement and are outspoken. This group of workers does not take constructive criticism well and require more direction and feedback from superiors than previous generations. Fortune magazine stated in its May 28, 2007 edition that this group are “the most high-maintenance, yet potentially most high-performing generation in history because its members are entering the workplace with more information, greater technological skill and higher expectations of themselves and others than prior generations.”  Additionally, Time’s July 16, 2007 edition stated that members of Generation Y want the kind of life balance where every minute has meaning; they don’t want to be slaves to their jobs as they feel their Baby Boomer parents were and often still are. Millennials also want employers to be socially responsible causes and allow for volunteer commitments through the use of flex-time or compensation time. Flexibility in work hours is important to this group of workers.

Yes, this generation requires a great deal of management, but it is well worth the effort to recruit them into your business They are smart and have the drive and creative thinking to make a real different in the business world and in a company’s profitability.

It is clear that recruiting Generation Y members and adjusting to their wants and needs will prepare industry for the entry of the next generation, people that are expected to be even more technology oriented. While this generation does not even yet have a “name”, it won’t be long before they begin entering the workforce and seeking employment in your company.

By understanding the four major groups into today’s workforce and providing for each group’s needs, effective employees can find their jobs satisfying and are more likely to remain with your business. Each group brings many positive aspects, all of which can be used effectively to gain greater efficiency and streamline operations to ensure profitability.

Managing the Baby Boomer Generation

Baby Boomers are those born in the post World War II years, from 1946 through 1964. This group makes up 25 percent of the current workforce per the Age and Sex Composition. These workers bring unique work styles into the work environment and require different management styles on the part of superiors. Currently they hold the majority of leadership positions in the workplace.

Like the veterans born before 1946, this group did not group up with technology as part of their childhood. Even during most of their higher education, computers were huge things that read punched cards or difficult to program units that could do less than our phones do today. Baby Boomers are, however, excited by technology and find adapting easier than the older generation. Most Boomers reach out for training to incorporate the newest techniques into their skills.

Baby Boomers value respect for their long service, skills, knowledge and managers will find recognition for Boomer’s wisdom is a key to successful integration of these workers and managers into the profitable organization. Managers of Boomers should honor the history and memories brought into the work environment because past experiences can bring understanding to current situations, providing positive outcomes. When policies are placed in a historical perspective, employees can often understand and accept more easily.

Baby Boomers find recognition extremely important. Whether recognized personally or publically, motivate Boomers through recognizing their accomplishment and clearly expecting superior outcomes from their efforts will help ensure happy Boomers. Embrace their best ideas and implement those into processes and methods.

Boomers tend to have conflict between their desire to compete on an individual basis and their desire to be part of a team. Encourage these workers to focus on the team in the short-term as an effective means to bring personal recognition and success for themselves in the long term.

Boomers also find conflict with the generation born before 1946 because the older generation tends to feel entitlement to perks on the job. Boomers often have the false feeling that those employees have not paid the dues they have to gain their positions. They also tend to find conflict with the younger generations coming into the workplace with high levels of technical expertise and feel they are unfairly competing with this generation that they view as “coddled”. By placing Boomers in mentoring positions, managers can often mitigate these negative feelings and generate feelings of teamwork and workplace “families”.

Managing the Veteran Generation

There are two groups in the workforce today who were born before 1946. Veterans of the Second World War make up about 2% of the employees, including managers, comprising the current workforce. This workforce group, sometimes called the Silent Generation, Greatest Generation, or Paper Agers, requires special management considerations.

The workers in this group were largely not exposed to technology and computers until these methods became a necessary part of the employment. Often they feel that due to their impending retirement they should not be required to move into the computer age. Because the work methods used early in their career were low-tech yet workable, they want to continue to use printed paper trails and other more familiar methods that they are comfortable with. Yet, the work environment has moved into high-tech and these workers are forced to adapt. Technology is the major hurdle for the generation of workers born prior to 1946. This can cause conflict between the Silent Generation and those born into the age where technology was part of their lives from childhood onward.

Paper Agers often feel that any information not presented in hard copy has little meaning. They find it difficult to conform to the paperless workplace. Their strong work ethics and “get it done” attitudes can add strength to teams and tasks assigned to be worked alone. This group of workers has no room for failure and drive toward success. They strive to please superiors in all their efforts and they do fine ways to adjust to technology when presented with training opportunities.

Often, veterans born prior 1946 find themselves in management positions because they are long-term employees and tend to be upwardly mobile in the organization chart. Their structured backgrounds lead them to have strong respect for hierarchy.  They build strong relationships based on loyalty, structure and time. They work well in management positions because they have been long exposed to experiences where information was provided on a “need to know” basis. This makes them able to keep information to themselves where necessary and provide information to the right parties when necessary. Their frugal natures make them capable of adhering to both budget and schedule.

It can be very difficult at times for younger managers to relate to the workers from this era. Frustration arises when the high-tech manager has to deal with their lack of native technical expertise, but they can excel in technical positions when provided necessary training. The younger manager may have grown up with high-tech and resents the cost and time required to train these workers in technology. Yet, the long-term work experience and lessons learned gained from these workers can lead to creative ideas that generate greater profit for the organization. Therefore, younger managers should be trained to value these workers and utilize their skills while providing growth opportunities through technical training.

Final Words

As you can see, there are many factors involved in creating a great workplace. Hopefully we have given you some ideas you can work with to enhance your business.

If you are looking for the right office space to create your great workplace, we’d love to help. It is what we do on a daily basis through out the US and Canada. Give us a try. No cost and no obligation. Let us know what you are looking for and we will get right on it.

Green Office Space Tips and Tricks

Going Green Office SpaceAre you willing to pay more for green office space? According to many surveys many companies are. Roughly 48% said they would pay as much as 10 percent more for sustainable (green) space, and 2% said they would expect to pay even more.

Owners on the other hand showed that 57% would expect payback of the investment with savings over a 1 – 3 year period and only 9% would consider a period of over 5 years acceptable.

In actuality, you can go green without having to breaking the bank. You save your money and you save mother earth! Nothing to lose.

Here are some of the tips and tricks to go green. Always remember, apply the 3Rs;

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Office Supplies.

  • The key here is to keep all office supplies organized. Keep all office supplies in one storage. Have someone in charge in tracking and supervising the usage of the supplies, in this way employees will be less careless or wasteful of supplies.
  • Use reusable items, one example is a reusable or refillable pen rather than the disposable ones. Reuse old or used papers blank page at the back and turn them memo pads, be careful with confidential documents though! Place a box in a common area where employees can put their scrap papers to recycle.

Go Paperless.

In larger or global organizations, papers are really out. Most of the conventional companies are still using papers to send around memos to departments or employees, emails are way too better, faster and cheaper.

  • Limit the access to the printers, most of the employees will just go trigger happy with printing if not being supervised.
  • Invest in HR Software tools, it is more environment friendly and more cost efficient in the long run. Getting signatures or approvals can be done online. You will not need to print papers to get approvals for your vacation leaves, pay slips, performance reviews and all other employee related documents. Can you imagine how many papers will be used per employee, per type of document, it will be tons. We have not talked about the space that these papers will occupy, can you imagine that? Use the “cloud” to store them!
  • Online billing is also an alternative for your clients (if applicable). Push your clients or customers for paperless by convincing them what this can do for our environment. Giving them rewards and discounts is a best way to convince them to go paperless billing.
  • If printing is necessary, make sure you use environment friendly papers. Look for chlorine-free paper or go with the papers that has recycled materials. Make use of the both sides the papers, use smaller fonts can save a lot of papers too.

The Bathroom and Kitchen.

  • Use hand dryers rather than paper towels in both bathroom and kitchen.
  • Reduce water consumption. Reduce the amount of water for flushing toilets, ask your office or building engineers about putting brick tank or low-flush models. There are systems too that you can recycle water used in washing hands, reuse it for flushing the toilets.  Again, this could be an investment, but you’ll benefit later.
  • In your pantry, do not supply disposable cups, coffee stirrers spoon and fork for your employees. Have them bring their own utensils and tumblers. Buy in bulk, less plastic consumption rather than buying individually wrapped coffee, creamer and sugar. Use bigger jars or dispensers that everyone can use, make sure it is being cleaned and maintained.
  • Drive BYO Lunch. Healthier but lesser plastic wastes from the fast food packaging.

Office Equipment, Maintenance and the Facility.

  • Buy Energy-friendly items
  • Use LED lamps, it uses less power.  Replace inefficient and high energy light bulbs with lower wattage.
  • Use multi-purpose machines, smaller and lesser machines you buy, the smaller footprint will be. One example, printer that can also be used for photocopying, faxing and scanning.
  • Consider buying second hand. It is understandable that sometimes you have to keep an attractive and great appearance for your clients. But if you consider getting a second hand, your company will be a great help in reducing wastes and you’ll save almost 50% of your money.
  • Control and maintain comfortable temperature in the office. Most of the employees keep sweater and extra clothing inside the office as temperature in the office is colder than outside. You can implement a business-casual clothing policy as they can wear comfortable clothes they want than getting suit up.
  • Use environment friendly cleaning products. You can also recycle some items to eliminate odors, like used coffee grounds in your pantry. It’s sets up the mood of your employees plus it more environment friendly than using the chemically produced one.
  • Get indoor plants, they absorb pollutants and clean air, some are also can naturally repel insects. It’s will also make the office’s ambiance relaxed.
  • Put up reminders in every wall, bulletin boards or even at the back of the toilet’s door. Make it creative to appear more interesting for the employees to read, put quotes, trivia and info graphics about saving mother earth at work.
  • Segregate Trash. Put a separate trash bins for biodegradable, for pet bottles and tin cans and all other non-biodegradable. This way, it will be much easier to recycle. Partner with a non-profit organization/community that uses recycled materials to make money out of it, donate your recyclable waste products (such as tin cans, pet bottles, newspapers, plastic wrappers) to them regularly. you help mother earth, you helped the community.

Power Savings.

  • Set a power down time, for example during lunch breaks, turn off some lights, lamps and computer monitors for one hour every day.
  • Procure motion-detecting switch for lights in the meeting rooms or bathrooms. Sometimes, employees tend to forget the number one rule in energy saving even at home – TURN OFF LIGHTS IF NOT IN USE.
  • Set up your computers and do not allow screensavers, it consumes a lot of energy even not in use.
  • Carpool or commute going to office every day, it is a big help to lessen the carbon emission. Saves your pocket too with parking fee and gasoline. Consider biking going to the office that will give health benefits too.

Raise Awareness.

Organize a team or a committee that will drive programs for eco-friendlier environment in the office.

  • This is the most important part, you need people to explain to your employees the objectives and goals of this. It will also project that your company is serious about going green.
  • Have this committee to put up rules and policy to implement.
  • This team can also make fun events with “Go Green” themes such a fashion show contest where they will be judged according to the recycled materials they used. Give good prizes, everyone will be excited and will have fun. Make fun events where the employees get to enjoy while you deliver the message to go green and love mother earth.

Here are a few more questions to ask and things to consider if you want to think green when seeking office space.

  • Is there any active or passive solar built into the construction of the building? Active solar would be solar collectors for generating electricity or heating water. Passive solar is building construction that takes into account the building’s orientation, so that the sun’s effects (such as heat and light) are minimized in summer and maximized in winter. Buildings that have a central atrium built into them also make a big difference for bringing light into the entire building, thus lessening your portion of the cost to light common areas in the building.
  • If you are looking at a newer building, ask if it is LEED certified. According to the US Green Building Council, LEED buildings lower operating costs, reduce construction waste, conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in cities around the country. LEED certification also is better and safer for tenants, because of healthier indoor environments.
  • Find out if your prospective office building is paying attention to their use of water. Do they have low flow toilets and faucets? Do they have reclaimed or grey water systems? These will take water from sinks and filter it for use in toilets and landscaping.
  • Ask if they are doing anything less common in the area of green building, such as a vegetative roof, which increases insulation and helps filter pollution. (If there is one, find out if tenants can eat their sack lunches on the roof!)

From an article published by The University of Berkley, they discovered that the development of an active environmental policy actually has a positive impact on a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace.

How can you benefit from this green office space trend when it comes to finding the perfect office rental for your company?

Green Construction Cuts Down on Operating Costs

The cost savings associated with already installed active solar collectors are not negligible. They greatly decrease the amount of money your company spends on daily electricity. When your targeted office building also falls into the passive solar collection category, you know that its positioning will greatly decrease the need for daytime artificial light usage and winter heating expenditures. A central atrium is a big plus when you look for an office that receives natural light from all sides.

Green Landscaping Reduces Water Costs

When you rent office space, the overall operating costs of the property are built into the square footage price Choose a green building that has environmentally friendly features, which extend to the choice of landscaping. While a nicely manicured landscape provides excellent curb appeal and increases the suitability of the building as an office address, the choice of exotic flora can greatly increase the water costs. Pick an office building that uses native plants in its landscape, which cuts down on the watering cost significantly.

Green Office Space Reduces Employee Absenteeism

Whether you have 10 employees or 100, the absence of even just one worker creates a drain on your company’s productivity. A study by the City of Seattle proves that a decrease of indoor pollutants has made it possible for one company to reduce its absenteeism rate by 40 percent. In addition, productivity went up by 5 percent. When you combine the use of green building technology with the choice of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and companies, it is clear that this is a result your company could imitate.

Going green is easy. Be passionate about green office space and be true about your care for our environment. We do not need to spend so much to achieve this environment-friendly office goals. A few small steps and actions by each of your employees will create a green office space for your company, if we all try this together, it will create big impact for the environment. Whether you have a large, small or even home office, let’s love mother earth for our future.

If you need help finding green office space, contact us. It is what we do.

What You Need to Know in Hiring Virtual Assistants

virtual assistantsAs a business owner, your prime objective is to make money. As the old adage goes, time is money, especially in business. Did you know that by attempting to perform every task related to the operation of your business yourself, it may be costing you up to 40% in lost revenue?

According to statistics by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average small business owner spends up to 40% of his or her time on routine administrative tasks. Also, business experts say, approximately 80% of your time should be focused exclusively on performing activities that create the most value and profits. The more time you can spend planning, strategizing, marketing, networking, and creating and delivering your revenue-producing products or services, the greater your business will grow and profit.

The demand for services from Virtual Assistants has seen a steady increase in recent years as business owners seek ways to run and grow their businesses using support services that are flexible and cost effective. Virtual Assistants can offer many benefits, but it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate those that are reputable from those that have set up to make easy money without the relevant experience, skills, or systems to do the job effectively.

In this article, you will learn about all the things you need in hiring virtual assistants:

  • What is a “Virtual Assistant” and what they can do and scopes of jobs they can deliver.
  • Legit platforms where you can hire virtual assistants
  • Screening the right VA for you.
  • Salaries and Fees

What is a Virtual Assistant?

According to Wikipedia, A virtual assistant or VA is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Virtual assistants are in demand by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need support but don’t require or want to have their staff physically present in their work locations or offices.

What can they offer?

You might be wondering, what can a VA offer if they are miles away from you or from your business. With the technology that we have right now, nothing is impossible to get things done (except shred the paper).  Virtual Assistants works are not limited to administrative or clerical work, or as your Executive Assistant doing your admirative project from scheduling meetings, taking calls. There are a lot of VAs provide marketing, web design and IT support, social media management, project management and can even provide Customer Service or support for your customers via phones or email.  There are VAs too that can help you to manage finances, help you with Taxes, accounting or bookkeeping.

However, take note that just like the other normal employees in an office based set up, VAs has specific skill sets too. For example, a marketing or PR virtual assistant only does marketing or PR work, same goes with web developer and other fields. Other Virtual Assistants do a variety of duties but within a specific industry. On the other hand, there are Virtual Assistants that are flexible and can perform general administrative tasks to make your life easier, delegate tasks so to free up your time that will allow you to focus on the work that will make money.

How and where do we get a good one

First, you need to know what the tasks are you want to outsource.

The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to make a list of the tasks you want to outsource. Make a complete list, prioritizing the activities you want to delegate first.  For example, if managing email takes up too much of time and tedious, put it at the top of your list. Or, maybe assisting your customers with their concerns is also important for your business, hiring an experienced customer service representative will be really a great help for you. You are spending too much time for your technical issues, search for someone who is an expert in IT or website management.

Next step is to determine who to hire. There are many ways to hire a Virtual Assistant. You can connect with an agency or a company that hires and trains and profiles them according to your requirements.  Going through an agency will save up time in sourcing, interviewing and screening your VA, agencies will also cover the works for the compensation for the VA. However, getting a VA via agencies might a little expensive than going through a freelance service.

Here are some of the top platforms in hiring freelance Virtual Assistants:

  1. Upwork

One of the largest marketplaces for projects. You can see all expertise, projects and you can see freelancers related to it. It has now 12 M registered freelancers and 5M registered clients. Can offer shorter/longer-term projects, from entry up to expert level.  Upwork has a tool to monitor the work and time spent by your VA then you will pay your VA through them.

  1. Onlinejobs.ph

One of the largest job board in the Philippines, with more than 250,000 members. Onlinejobs.ph is a subscription-based pricing model, where you will be subject for a fee to be able to contact the workers. You can do all the filtering and searching you want, but you can’t communicate with the workers until you pay. Here, you can arrange payment directly with your VA .

  1. PeoplePerHour

It offers all-around freelancers and outsourcing marketplace with a wide range of categories like Web Design, Video, Audio, Web Development, Sales & Marketing, Support, Writing, Translation, Social media, Software Development, Mobile Development.

  1. Guru

Another marketplace for finding VAs, they have a simple hiring process. Marketplace is smaller than the mentioned platforms though making it less competitive.

  1.  Freelancer.com

This could be possibly second best to Upwork.  According to their homepage, they have millions of businesses use them.

Rates and Fees

Virtual Assistants’ rates varies from $5 USD to $25 USD plus per hour. There are also factors that decide rates of freelance virtual assistant.

First is the location, hiring VA based is significantly higher than other part of the region.

Secondly is the experience, experienced VAs frequently charges more money than the beginner ones. That is why it is really important that you identify what task that you are going to offload, weather is a simple task that can be done by a fresh graduate or complicated one that needs someone who has an experience.

Another factor is the type of service or technical expertise, Virtual assistants with technical expertise in any software or application, such as programming, digital marketing are relatively charging hugely.

Use these as a guide when you are evaluating a Virtual Assistant. Determine if the rates are worth, probe they length of their experiences, seek testimonials from previous clients, or proof of their good work from past projects. Do you need who complete pro or maybe newbie that can perform the simple tasks. On a brighter side, you can always negotiate with reasonable rate, of course. Always ask nicely, they are doing these jobs for a living, so it is always within their right to say no. Come up with an arrangement that will work for both sides. If this doesn’t work and not a good fit, move on and jump to the next applicant.

To sum up, here are the Pros and Cons of having a Virtual Assistant.

PROS:

  • Makes your life easier. How great it is to know that you always have a helping hand.
  • Saves time (resulting to a healthy work-life balance)
  • Decreases stress level, beating deadlines or dealing with hard customers, pass it on!
  • Saves Money, significantly more cost efficient than hiring an in-house assistant.
  • Provides flexibility, VAs have flexible working hours, you can also work on a contract month-by-month basis, replace someone who’s not performing in just little amount of time.
  • Makes you focus on developing your business. You will have more time to plan and strategize sales (more profits) while your precious VA is continuing the day to day administrative operation.
  • Bonuses/rewards are flexible. Since you are not mandated by the government and VAs are independent contractors.

 CONS:

  • Language barrier. Since you hire someone from different region, there will always be cultural differences. Always us simple English.
  • Work monitoring is difficult. You can’t watch your assistant’s screen and monitor how they actually work.
  • Trust and Confidentiality. VAs will be exposed with you and your client’s information. Observe and know your VAs very well before exposing them to confidential information.
  • Connectivity can be an issue. Internet/Technical issues are beyond our control. It can cause big problem in case there are urgent tasks. Ask your VAs to have a backup connection or plan and always communicate in times like this.
  • Unable to meet face-to-face. Tech tools such as Skype or Facetime are available, but meetings and conversations are always better face-to-face….. also… you cannot treat your assistant for lunch.

So, maybe youare wondering why a company who helps business get into office space would be promoting remote workers. The reason is we want to see business thrive and if it means you take a few square feet less, so be it. Even if you use a virtual assistant or two, you will still need some office space for your local staff. That is where we come in. Our local reps are pros at helping make sure you get the right office space for your business. There is no cost to their services. The landlord pays them to represent you. We do a lot more than just find offices that could work for you. We make sure you get the right space at the best possible price. Give us a try.

Paying For Office Space With Cryptocurrencies

BitcoinSome office space landlords in Canada have jumped on the cryptocurrency craze by allowing tenants to pay their monthly rent for office space with digital funds. Apart from Bitcoin, office space landlords in Calgary are now accepting Ethereum and Litecoin as payment instead of cash.

According to Global News, some office space owners have started to accept digital funds because they foresee cryptocurrencies as the future of financial transactions. When it comes to the volatility of digital funds, the owners assert that it’s a risk that they’re willing to accept.

“There’s going to be a little volatility, and both parties have to accept that,” said the President of Real Equity Centre Greg Habstritt. “We believe that forward-thinking companies in Calgary, especially tech related companies, are going to be able to deal with that volatility.”

In the past year, Bitcoin has grown to become a viable form of finance, with multiple companies and financial institutions accepting it as a form of payment. Nadex in their article on trading Bitcoin, detail how the cryptocurrency has moved past its early skepticism that it wasn’t a legitimate investment to becoming an asset that investors want in their portfolios. Medium has an article on how much money investors are putting into Bitcoin today. In general, investors put 5% of their capital in cryptocurrencies for diversification purposes. Since investors have now acknowledged cryptocurrencies as an attractive financial asset, it is becoming more widely used in business transactions.

Using cryptocurrency to pay for office space is not just isolated to Canada. This business model is being followed in many places across the globe.

Barcelona Cahoot, Spain

Barcelona Cahoot is an office space in Spain that announced its support for cryptocurrencies in 2017. Alongside Bitcoin, it also accepts Ethereum as payment for leases. Like other office space owners, Barcelona Cahoot believes that the growing confidence in cryptocurrencies is a good enough reason for merchants to accept digital funds as payment. Barcelona was one of the first few office spaces in Europe to accept more than one type of digital fund.

The Yard, New York

The Yard is one of the biggest office space providers in New York. It operates multiple co-working office spaces not only in New York, but also New England. The Yard began to accept cryptocurrency for lease payments as early as 2013.

Rentadesk, London

Rentadesk is a co-working office establishment that aims to provide a comfortable space for students, freelancers, and independent professionals who live near Russell Square. Like The Yard, it started to accept Bitcoin as payments as early as 2013.

TechHub, Swansea

TechHub Swansea is the first venue in Wales that hosted a Satoshi Point event in 2015. Since then, the café and co-working space located within the venue have both accepted Bitcoin as payment for goods and office space rental.

Office and co-working spaces that have accepted Bitcoin as early as 2013 are now probably holding digital funds that are worth millions. Bitcoin was only priced at around $40 in the first quarter of 2013. Now, a Bitcoin costs around $6,700. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are also gaining traction, which means that office space owners that also accepted other forms of digital funds will soon get more out of their long-term investments. As the cryptocurrency becomes more widely accepted, more companies will see the benefit of using the digital currency to pay for office space.

Office Space Alternative Choices for Smaller Businesses

office space alternativesIdentifying your priorities is a key to finding the right office space and determining an office space alternative for your company whether it is large or small. A full needs analysis is critical in the beginning of the process to make sure you are looking for what you need. Studies have shown that what matters most when selecting office space for rent is pretty consistent.

Here is where the priorities stand in importance:

  • Location 50%
  • Value 35%
  • Image 10%

If you want to go into more depth in analyzing your needs, we provide an Office Space Planning Checklist on our site so that you can make sure to consider all the major considerations when starting the process of finding you office space. In addition to the checklist we also offer an Office Space Calculator that allows you to determine the amount of office space you will need.

Operating a small business can be both exciting and lucrative. More and more people are leaving the traditional workplace to open their own ventures and becoming quite successful. Freelancing is becoming more and more popular. Many startups begin with only the owner working in the business which makes leasing or renting office space the largest overhead expense. There are practical ways to cut this big overhead item by thinking creatively. There’s no reason that every business needs a walk-up storefront in order to succeed.

Other than trying to find a small conventional office space for lease, here are some of the office space alternative choices available for smaller businesses:

Share an Office

If you have friends or colleagues who are also starting businesses that don’t require storefronts, consider leasing a spacious one or two room office and split the expenses equally. This reduces the costs for electricity, internet, janitorial, and other equipment leases. Instead of each office partner procuring a copier, fax, and other equipment that both parties use, only one item is needed, significantly cutting the cost. Compatible services work well in shared office spaces. One example that has proven to work great in shared spaces might be a software development company and a computer technology company. There are many other compatible combinations; just be sure there won’t be a conflict of interest or direct competition. Instead, seek an office mate that will be synergistic to your business, so you can help each other grow and thrive.

Executive Suite

These are shared office with services run by a management company. They provide not only office space but furniture, phones, Internet, office equipment and administrative service. They are typically a full floor of a prestigious office building and you will have lots of other small businesses around for networking.

Selecting the right serviced office is an important step in ensuring the success of your business. The reason for this nomenclature is that the office comes with all of the most common services already in place. This type of office is often called a “turn-key” office or an executive suite.

If you need a venue to hold meetings with clients, sign contracts, negotiate, and do some paperwork, this office solution might be just what you should lease. By renting this type of business space, you’ll have a furnished private office with computer equipment but share common needs such as reception area, meeting room(s), and other resources used by the entire group housed in the overall space. You’ll be able to use certain equipment and services on a “pay per use” basis.

Here are tips and caveats you should be aware of when selecting a serviced office for your business needs:

  • Location: Choose a location which is convenient for you, but also convenient for your clients. Is there parking available either on-site or nearby? What about handicapped parking? Is the building easy to spot or well-known? You want your clients to be able to find you easily and get to your door without walking blocks in the wind, rain, heat, or cold.
  • Appearance: Does the building entrance, lobby, and office interior make the statement about you and your business that you want and need? You need furnishings which are attractive and elegant yet not pretentious. Making the right statement about your operation is critical. Is the meeting room comfortable enough for a two- or three-hour meeting if those are occasionally part of your business lifestyle?
  • Equipment: Learn what equipment is provided in the turnkey office lease. You will likely find a desktop computer included but check to make certain it is powerful enough to meet your needs. Learn what the restrictions are regarding bringing in your own laptop or other equipment if needed. Realize that equipment you own may not be covered by the insurance covering other equipment, so keep this in mind and learn if the services provided by any specialized equipment are available nearby for a fee. Also, learn what speed internet connection is provided and ensure the speed meets your needs. If wifi is important to you, find out if it is in place.
  • Receptionist: Listen to the receptionist answer a phone call or call in yourself to see how the phone is service. Your messages will be taken by this staff person and your clients will have contact with him or her, so you want to ensure the job is done well.
  • Pay Per Use: Speaking of fees, you want to make sure exactly what the fees are for every pay-as-you-go service. These services will almost certainly include use of the copier and fax machine but may include other services such as large paper printers, binders, or other less common equipment. Ascertain that the costs are reasonable. Compare prices with nearby providers for services you use in massive quantities; it may well be less expensive to have the local Kinko’s or similar store produce large copying jobs. Ensure you don’t get “nickeled and dimed.”
  • Lease Provisions: Carefully read all the provisions in the rental agreement. Unlike renting vacant office space which you staff, there will be extensive details about what your private area will contain and what can or can’t be done with it, who must maintain what items, and other matters which deserve your attention.

Provider: Find a reputable executive office suite provider to help you locate the perfect serviced office. You can find great brokers online, Like OfficeFinder.com, who have sound knowledge of this type of office and are waiting to help you.

Coworking

Much like office sharing, co-working is a office space alternative concept originated in 1999 where entrepreneurs and small business owners who share the same values ban together to form a community of business people. Coworking usually begins when networking partners find they enjoy the social aspects of working in the same space and may often help either other’s business in various ways. The partners then lease an office space, sharing all expenses. Each of the co-working partners conducts their own business in their own workspace in the shared office and the co-workers may share support staff such as receptionists or clerical staff in order to keep overhead costs low while providing everyone effective support for their small businesses. This concept is growing into a great solution for hundreds of like-minded small business owners.

Coworking is a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically, it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space.

Some coworking spaces were developed by nomadic internet entrepreneurs seeking an alternative to working in coffeeshops and cafes, or to isolation in independent or home offices. Surveys show that many employees worry about feeling isolated and losing human interaction if they were to work remotely. Roughly a third of both private and public-sector workers also reported that they didn’t want to stay at home during work. Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home.

Business accelerators, business incubators and executive suites do not seem to fit into the coworking model, because they often miss the social, collaborative, and informal aspects of the process, with management practices closer to that of a Cooperative, including a focus on community rather than profit.

Coworking is not only about the physical space but mostly about establishing the Coworking community where businesses can work together creating a synergy.

The benefits of Coworking can already be experienced outside of Coworking spaces and it is recommended to start with building a Coworking community first before considering opening a Coworking space. However, some Coworking Spaces don’t build a community, they just get a part of an existing one by combining their opening with an event which attracts their target group.

A lot of Coworking communities have been formed by organizing Casual Coworking events that can take place in people’s living room or in public places such as suitable cafes, galleries or multi-functional spaces. During these events Coworkers can experience the benefits of Coworking and get to know each other which lowers the barriers to join a Coworking space later.

Virtual Office

Today, you really don’t need a specific location for an office with walls. With mobile wireless internet services, hotspots available in most metro locations and even urban areas, multiple personal data devices, and smartphones that do almost everything a computer does, it is possible to work anywhere at anytime. You can operate your business from your living room sofa, poolside, in your vehicle (please stop your vehicle in a safe location before texting or computing for safety), in a coffee shop, at McDonald’s, and right at your client’s desk. By using online services such as GoogleDocs, your information can be safely stored online for presenting to your client easily. With outsourcing of many tasks, you can take your laptop and smartphone and conduct business in any location you desire. If you do have a need for an office, Executive Suites also offer a virtual office service as a office space alternative that allows you to use an office or conference room on an as needed basis.

Lease a Desk in a Business that Buys Your Services

Often, a small business begins because on business requires the services that will be offered. For example, an insurance company may regularly require the services of a licenses investigator. If your small business is complementary to a local business, check into leasing a desk in an unused area of the office. In tough economic times, many offices are willing to lease a desk space to a small business that is not in conflict with their own business.

Home Office

The vast majority of small business startups begin in a home office. This type of office space alternative allows the entrepreneur to begin conducting business without making a huge commitment to overhead expenses. Also, many owners of small startups begin their venture while working a traditional career, making certain their business will succeed before giving up the regular paycheck. Some of these small businesses never move out of the home office, even after hiring an employee or two. Of course, if the operation grows large enough or requires a great deal of inventory, the time will come to move from the home, but many virtual service businesses never leave the home office.

More and more entrepreneurs today are operating small but profitable businesses from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Most home-based businesses start small and provide a second income to a person that works in a traditional workplace. As the business grows and thrives, many are choosing to grow their home businesses and give up the traditional job.

There are some very clear advantages to being able to work from a home office; there are also some drawbacks to consider. Here are a few of the points to consider if a home-based business is in your future:

Pros:

Freedom: When working from home, you can often set the hours you want to work. You can maintain better flexibility when time is needed for children, doctors appointments, and other things you’ve longed to be able to fit into your schedule. This can be a huge advantage for self-motivated people. Lots of productive work can be accomplished after the kids are in bed or very early in the morning.

No Commuting Hassles: No one really enjoys commuting to work, whether they drive, carpool, or take mass transit. Commuting eats into your free time when working in a traditional office. With a home-based business, your commute is only the distance from your bedroom to the room you have set aside for your workspace.

Time Savings: Without the commute, you will save many hours a week that you would be normally in your car.

Tax Benefits: Home businesses often qualify for business dedications when income tax times rolls around. Of course, you’ll need to speak with your tax professional but you’ll likely be surprised at how much you can deducted for your home office and operating expenses, significantly reducing your tax burden.

Low Startup and Operating Costs: There is little overhead with an office space in your home. After all, the room was already there, you just hadn’t defined it as your office previously. You may need to update your computer or add an extra phone line for faxing, but the costs of start-up will be minimal compared with a traditional office. Also, there’s no rental or lease to worry about. You don’t have to own nearly as large a collection of professional clothing when working from home.

Cons:

Discipline: Working from home requires a great deal of self-discipline. It’s very easy to become motivated at first, but over time it is also easy to allow yourself to see all sorts of things that need done around the home and begin procrastinating about business tasks.

Business and Family Overlaps: It’s also very easy to allow your family to interrupt your business time. Just as easy, many people end up spending time working that should have been quality family time. Making a set of clear boundaries is necessary but difficult.

Boundary Issues: It is very easy to “go to work” since it is just around the corner, but it can lead to family problems of another kind.  There is no boundary between home and work and it can become a problem, or a very delicate balance, for the very highly motivated entrepreneur.

Stagnation: Lack of social contact is an issue for some outgoing people who decide to try working from home. It’s also very easy to lose contact with your professional network. This makes it much more difficult to remain on the cutting edge of progress.

Pressure and Stress: While working from home is flexible, it is also easy to work yourself into stressful, pressured situations. You want to please all your clients and generate constant leads. Many people become overwhelmed by trying to do too much. Some set unrealistic goals. They attempt to achieve them while others simply take on too many clients or fail to outsource when necessary.

Image: Depending on your client and customer contact, your company’s image could come into question. Setting up a client meeting at home or Starbuck’s can be less than impressive. There are alternatives such as a virtual office. They are pay-as-you-go subscriptions for office space. You have an official business address with an executive suite operator. You can use their facilities on a “as needed” basis.

Warehouse Rental

Storage warehouses of various sizes are zoned commercial and in most areas can be used as a business location. These warehouse locations are great for the small startup business that manufactures a product, purchases and adds quality to an existing product before sale, and service companies that provide auto repair, computer repair, and similar services.

If your business is the type that does not really benefit from a “flashy” storefront, this can be a great solution for keeping your startup costs very low. Traditionally, people seeking auto repair, auto body work, auto paint, motorcycle accessories or repairs, and similar services tend to believe that if the storefront is too fancy, they will be overcharged. These types of business can actually benefit from the casual office space offered by leasing a storage warehouse. Just make sure the type of business you are starting meets the zoning regulations and the landlord’s lease restrictions.

We’d be happy to help you with finding the right office space alternative. Let us know a little about what you need and we can get to work identifying some options for you. There is no cosst for this service. Give us a try!

 

Do You Have a Great Workplace for Employees?

How good is your workplace?Everyone wants a workplace that is wonderful but why is one workplace great while another is lacking? Is it the leased office space that makes a particular firm productive and profitable? Could it be the specific office furniture or location? None of these things alone make any workplace truly great.

A great workplace is not about the brand of computers, the prestige of the building’s address. Here are six attributes that can work together to allow business owners to create an organization that excites employees, resulting in the reputation of being a great workplace.

6 Attributes of a Great Workplace

  1. Replace Policies with Company Mission: Hiring, motivating and retaining top notch employees if not about policies; those are simply rules. Create a company mission and vision that the team believes in and supports. With passion for a mission based on the CEO’s vision, rather than a bunch of policy statements, cultivates a real team capable of leaping forward with ideas and innovations as well as loyalty and hard work.
  2. Nurture Collaboration: Never stifle team members’ desires to work together, carrying ideas from one area of the business into others. Create a workplace where each group or department is allowed to freely convey ideas to other organizational groups. The pay-off in productivity, amazing leaps forward and trained staff retention is incredible.
  3. Cultivate an Agile Workplace: Today’s office space is not the traditional cubicle or corner office. An office hoteling software application allows easy utilization of much smaller workspaces and allows each member of an organization to work in the style that is best for them. Technology allows the telecommuting or third place team members to only be physically in-office as needed. Work areas that provide desks or standing work counters allow team members to avoid the strain of sitting at a computer immobile for hours at a time. Staying in close contact does not have to mean being in the same conference room any longer. The office space of today is any area where business can conveniently and productively be conducted.
  4. Replace Ownership with Membership: Everyone employee is accountable to their customers and managers but in the past processes were “owned” by an employee, generating office stress and politics as power plays were often used to try to win the ownership role. Instead, remove the territorial nature of office spaces and encourage the concept of being privileged to be a member of a team or teams that create revenue and find ways for the company to save money. It becomes everyone’s process and fosters a sense of belonging and identity in the work environment.
  5. Create a Quality Experience for Employees: It is little surprise that employee retention is low in those workplaces that are dull and uninspiring. Create an office space that team members what to enter into and do work. Strive for a vibrant, magnetic space that draws people in during their in-office work time. This engages employees and they will look forward to the connected, exhilarated feeling obtained when they need to hotel an office space for an hour or a day.
  6. Stay on the Cutting Edge: Today’s fast paced, constantly changing economy allows those companies built on flexible office spaces with strong company values and loyalty to survive,  while others around them fail. As work methods, technological capabilities and mobile computing power speed along, use best practices to stay on the cutting edge. Remember that it’s the people who create value in a knowledge based company; an office is just a space that houses technology where people can come perform productive tasks. .

These are some of the attributes that will help turn your office space into a great workplace for your employees; making them both happier and more productive at the same time.

Furthermore, INC.com reviewed the best in office amenities and policies that were covered in Inc. and on Inc.com.

Here are 10 Tips for Making Employees Love Their Workplace:

  1.        Stay Organized
  2.        Make it Comfortable
  3.        Give Everyone a Say
  4.        Consider Openness
  5.        Make the Workplace a Community
  6.        Focus on Utility
  7.        Make the Office Optional
  8.        Make Education a Priority
  9.        Consider Mixing Uses in a Great Space
  10.        Add Some Perks

Some interesting opinions that we found in Workplace Experience Group on LinkedIn.

One of the keys to a productive workforce is happy employees and a positive workplace not only helps productivity, but also reduces the number of employees leaving.

“Organizations of all types, large and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, from across the U.S. and Canada, are implementing programs and policies that foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance.”

http://www.phwa.org/ – American Psychological Association – Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

“We have been listening to employees and evaluating employers since 1980 in order to understand what makes a workplace great. We know that the foundation of every great workplace is trust between employees and management. Our employee survey, culture assessment tools, research, and advisory services have made us leaders in helping organizations build high-trust workplaces. “

http://www.greatplacetowork.com/ – Great Place To Work Institute

If you need help finding a great workplace for your business, we’d be happy to help. Let us know what you are looking for and we will get right to work. There is no cost to you for our services. It is FREE.