Monthly Archives: September 2017

4 Reasons Why Your Company Should Invest in an Agile Office

The success of any 21st century business can be distilled down to three key factors: people, place, and technology. However, while many companies put a great deal of effort into hiring the best people and then equipping them with the latest tech, the environment in which they work usually receives less attention.

At XSolve, we use agile office methodology to drive highly successful software development projects, emphasizing collaboration, self-organization and accountability. Recently, we completely changed the design of our workplace with agile in mind and that experience has brought home the amazing benefits that come from paying attention to ‘place’.

  1. Easier and better communication

Communication is the difference between a group of individuals and a real team. Transparency and communication are often linked terms and we found that our communication benefited when we took ‘transparency’ literally.

Getting rid of cubicles and walls, opening up the space, using glass paneling, getting managers out of those corner offices, and transmitting important data via easy-to-see display screens… all made our environment more transparent and we found that when people can simply look up and see their colleagues they are much, much more likely to communicate with them.

  1. Enhanced collaboration

Collaboration is key. The good news is in the 21st century we are much more inclined to collaborate. Social media is a significant enabler, encouraging wide-ranging communities by providing a flexible space beyond traditional boundaries of country and culture. The same thing happens in your office when you create new opportunities for people to meet and exchange knowledge outside of the interactions that their specific roles demand. We created a ‘work anywhere’, plug-n-play office with standardized workstations and disrupted the ergonomics by reducing the number of natural meetings points (water coolers, coffee machines, printers) and creating less predictable spontaneous gatherings. Having a dedicated café space also boosted our level of unplanned conversations and problem-solving.

  1. Counter-intuitive efficiency

The right design boosts overall company efficiency but often not in the ways you might imagine. You might think locating the bathrooms so that people have to walk through the main office space past the café and kitchen to reach them is inefficient. But the chance meetings on that short walk more than repaid the slightly longer journey.

We were inspired by the example of the Norwegian telecom company Telenor. They ditched hundreds of coffee machines, forcing staff to go to the cafeteria for a cup of joe. The result? More communication and collaboration and a better information flow, all leading to a 20% increase in profits!

  1. Fun!

Research shows that creating a fun environment for people improves mood, boost problem-solving, and increases the quality of the work done. We upped the fun factor by creating a variety of spaces, including chaos rooms for noisy play, silence rooms for contemplation, outdoor spaces for a literal breath of fresh air, and the café as our social hub. Each offers a different working experience to match individual moods and as a result encourages a more relaxed (and productive) frame of mind.

A team’s success is greatly influenced by where it works and having an agile office that is designed to make working together a pleasurable experience actually pushes that team to work in a more agile way, achieving better quality results more efficiently. To reiterate, at XSolve we have experienced the above benefits to an incredible degree, simply by treating place as important as people and technology.

Guest post by Piotr Majchrzak is CEO at XSolve – software development company

All images:  Janina Tyńska/ XSolve and Chilid

Creating Healthy Green Office Spaces

healthy green office Our relationship with nature (biophilia) is crucial to our creativity, health, and performance in all aspects of our life. In a recent study by Human Spaces, measurable improvements of up to 15% were detected in the well-being of employees that work in spaces that incorporate nature. According to the study, overall employee productivity rose by 6% when green elements were introduced into the work place. If your office is devoid of earthy influences, consider these opportunities to improve employee welfare and start to create a healthy green office.

Natural Light. In the Human Spaces Global Report, employees requested natural light more than any other element in the office. Adding windows, skylights, or solar tubes is the most effective way to improve a work place. Interior glass divisions and transoms can also help spread that sunlight to hallways and interior spaces that haven’t the possibilities of a perimeter area.

Color and Texture. When choosing colors for your office, stay bright, neutral, and natural. Weathered wood, stone, and contemporary designs that pay homage to nature are also helpful in creating that outdoorsy feel. Reception areas, places where employees gather, and common rooms should be focal points for natural color and textures.

Accents. Bring the outdoors in, literally. Adding plants improves both mood and air quality. Peace lilies and ficus trees are good choices for longevity and ease of maintenance. Add art pieces that feature natural subjects or colors. And don’t discount shape. A large horizontal panoramic photo emulates the outdoors better than a series of square pictures.

Practices. Looking the part is important for the health of your staff, but it is important to extend that treatment into the best practices of your office. Think about limiting paper, creating designated and specific recycling stations, and choosing products that minimize the impact on your employees, clients, and the planet.

Office Finder is ready to work with employers that want to improve productivity by bringing the outdoors in. If you want to find a healthy green office, contact us. We are available to help you navigate your project from start to finish.

Three Reasons Renting Coworking Office Space Might be For You

Coworking office spaceCoworking is a growing trend. According to a recent article for small business CEOs, an estimated 3.8 million people will be using coworking spaces by 2020. While the numbers are not quite that high yet, there are many reasons that people decide to use coworking spaces rather than renting more traditional office space.

1. The Flexibility

When renting a traditional office space, you are locked into a contract. You have to rent the space for a specific amount of time, whether it is six months, a year, or something else. With coworking, you can rent the space for as long or as short as you need. Even if you only need the space for a day or if you need the space randomly throughout the month, you do not need to pay for it when you are not using it. Plus, you can get the space that you need. Whether you simply need a desk in the corner, or you need a larger office area, you can rent the space that you need. As you need more space, you can rent a larger area.

2. The Details

When it comes to renting a traditional office space, you need to worry about supplies for the office, paying for the Internet, and other office-related details. When renting a coworking space, you simply bring your laptop and other supplies that you will need for the day, and you work. Then you can go home at the end of the day, allowing someone else to worry about the other details of the office.

3. Productivity

Coworking spaces are great places to network and connect with others who are in a similar situation. According to a study conducted earlier this year, one-third of people reported increased income since they started coworking, and over 60 percent anticipate increased income. Seventy-four percent said they were more productive. Eighty-six percent said they have a larger business network, and 93 percent reported a bigger social network.

If you are interested in learning more about coworking, contact us. We can help you find an office space to fit your needs.

Millennials In The Workplace: Majority Rules!

Millennials in the workplaceMillennials are becoming a force to be reckoned with in all aspects of our society. Numbering 92 million, these 20 to 36-year-olds will, literally, change our economy over the next decade by means of their purchasing power. It’s finally happened! The Baby Boomers reign no more.

This generation is making itself known and there is no looking back! What does that mean in terms of Millennials in  the workplace? Good things.

  • The Tenacity To Endure – Millennials have survived much in their young lives. We can start with the shock and loss our country endured on 911. The effects were felt world-wide. Add to that a failing economy, rising costs, major crashes in the housing market… The list could go on. They remained steadfast in the pursuit of obtaining a college education racking up exorbitant amounts in student loans only to graduate to minimum wage jobs forcing many home to live with their parents. But, despite it all, the majority remain optimistic that, eventually, everything is going to turn out okay.
  • A Degree Is No Guarantee – This generation has learned that the traditional path from college to profession of choice is no longer the normal way of things. They are adaptable and at the ready to learn new skills. Accepting challenges in the workplace is something to thrive on, they know the information they need to succeed is, literally, at their fingertips.
  • They Have Embraced The Ever Changing World Of Technology – This generation has barely known a time without the internet. They have grown up navigating the information highway and the ever-changing devices to access it.
  • Freelancing Is The Preferred Means To Their End – Although they realize the many advantages of freelancing in their areas of expertise, nearly two-thirds of Millennials prefer having full-time employment.

All of the above points are excellent reasons for hiring Millennials as a part of your team, but what do Millennials want from you? According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Report:

  •  Job Security is more in the forefront of their minds after a turbulent 2016, but the bartering power brought to the table with the knowledge of their dream to freelance is well worth pondering. It could prove an invaluable resource in a very competitive business market over the next few years.
  • Whether Freelance or Full Time, Millennials are looking for certainty in their jobs; but, again, offering flexibility in the workplace is a huge plus when considering job opportunities.
  • Millennials want to work for companies that are bringing positive change to the world.
  • Looking Ahead, this generation is looking forward to working with Generation Z.

The Millennials in the workplace have arrived! Be prepared to embrace the wind of change that brings!

Change is essential to remain competitive in the business world. Do you need to consider upgrading to a new office space? Or downsizing, perhaps, to become more streamlined? Contact us. We can help!

Green Office Space: Healthier Employees and Healthier Planet

Target a green office spaceEvery day you see news of large businesses going green in big ways. Anheuser-Busch is switching to 100% renewable energy. Home Depot is putting solar panels on top of some of their stores. There are many motivations behind this trend. While doing something good for the planet is possibly among them, these giants are also improving their public image and saving big money. How can you, as a small business owner, do your part while showing employees and customers you care.

  1. Green Transportation. Encourage employees to carpool, or subsidize bus passes to reduce greenhouse gases from the daily commute. Provide a plug-in station for those first electric car owners, and create a space for bikers to safely store their bikes.
  2. Green Power. There are a lot of ways to reduce your power usage. Be sure computers, equipment, and lights are off at the end of the day. Use as many compact fluorescents and LED lights as possible. Install motion sensors for lights in less frequently used areas. Arrange office furniture in a way that maximizes the natural light you get. Open windows instead of turning on the air conditioning when possible. Solar power is also still sometimes an option when renting an office space. Contact the utility company about buying the solar they produce. Some communities also have very innovative solar power sharing initiatives for renters.
  3. Green Air. Indoor air pollution is bad for the environment and employee health. When painting the walls or replacing carpet, look for more natural, low VOC options. Look for office furniture made from real wood, as opposed to particle board. Use non toxic cleaning supplies, and ensure your cleaning service knows this is your preference.
  4. Green Supplies. Paper is obvious, but it’s worth saying again because many offices still use a lot of it. Go digital as much as possible. Use projector screens for meetings and encourage your staff to make notes on a digital device instead of paper. Avoid printing whenever possible. When you must use paper, buy recycled with the maximum post-consumer content you can find and look for chlorine free. Print on both sides, and use misprints for notepads. Of course always recycle, and make it very easy for your employees to do the same by placing bins in convenient spots. There are also less toxic options for printer cartridges, including recycled ones.
  5. Green Lunch. Providing a fridge and a microwave will go a long way in encouraging employees to skip going out. It reduces car emissions and waste from takeout containers. It’s also almost always healthier. Install water filters to discourage plastic water bottles. Provide a compost bin for food waste. It’s a major source of methane if it goes to the landfill, and most cities now have companies that come pick it up and turn it to rich compost.

Many of these initiatives will save you money. They also result in happier employees and a better image for your brand. Contact us, and we will help you find the perfect green office space.