Category Archives: Flexible Workspace

How to Help Your Team Comfortably Transition to Standing Desks (Part 2)

Standing DeskWelcome back to the second half of this two-part series on introducing standing desks into your office to improve both productivity and employee health. Last time, we covered why standing desks are the ideal solution to the myriad of health problems that tend to plague office employees and how to slowly introduce standing desks as your team adapts to the new physical norm. However, the standing desk policy doesn’t require participants to stand all the time so today we’ll start with interesting chair alternatives for sitting, resting, and working out.

Consider Chair Alternatives

Every now and then, something we thought was permanent about the world will be changed suddenly by a new idea. In this case, standing desks have introduced the idea that offices don’t need office chairs. In fact, employees can sit on whatever makes them comfortable and productive. No one should stand 100% of the work day so transitions will happen and you can make them easier by helping your staff choose how they want to sit when they sit. Some standing desk users prefer a tall stool to rest on from time to time, others like a nice big exercise ball for their sitting time which is also great for desk workouts. Others will keep a desk chair or folding camp chair nearby for lumbar support when they rest.

Find a Posture Coach

One of the reasons some people have a terrible time adapting to standing desks is because they don’t know how to stand. Many people slouch, lock their knees, or simply never learned to line their spine and shoulders above the hips and stand in ‘parade rest’ for long periods of time. If you want standing desks to be a hit, make sure your team knows how to stand comfortably. A posture coach can be a training video, a demonstration, an employee assigned to help others, or a professional brought in from the outside.

Dynamic and Anti-Fatigue Standing

Finally, even with good posture no one stands in the same position for hours comfortably. Standing desk professionals have begun to explore interesting alternatives like a wobble board, foam tubes, step stools, and mini-elliptical machines for enjoyable standing that doesn’t leave you stiff. Of course, no matter how you mix it up, fatigue mats are an undeniable necessity as they turn the hard, unyielding floor into a conforming, supportive surface for your feet.

Whether your team is three people or fifty, introducing standing desks is a great way to promote employee health and break up the monotony of everyone sitting quietly without activity or movement for many hours at a stretch. Just make sure when updating the office to standing desks that you do so in a way that is workable and comfortable for everyone.

How to Help Your Team Comfortably Transition to Standing Desks (Part 1)

Transition to Standing Desks

Transition to Standing Desks

Good employers have always done their best to promote health and well-being in their workers and not just because a healthy worker is energetic, has a better attitude, and needs to take less time off. Many companies are genuinely dedicated to being part of ‘the solution’ rather than ‘the problem’ and in light of recent studies, there’s no denying that sitting all day at work has become a major health problem. Companies have tried in-office gyms or gym membership vouchers, inviting landscaping with jogging paths, catering healthy lunches, and hosting employee sporting events. However, with heart disease, cancer, and waistlines still on the rise, it’s no wonder businesses are trying something new.

Standing Desks: Solution to Employee Health?

Standing desks address the age-old problem of leading a horse to water. You can make company gyms available and implement reward programs for using them, but you can’t actually force a steadily less healthy workforce to actually use the workout machines. Implementing standing desks, on the other hand, gets everyone up, on their feet, and their blood moving at a quick, healthy rate all within the usual work hours. In many ways, implementing a standing desk policy in your office can help to reverse some of the damage caused to your employees by years of sitting still and working for hours. While you may meet some resistance from your team about the change, the key to a successful standing desk transition is to do it gradually with the right posture, timing, and equipment.

Introduce Standing Desks Over Time

It’s important to understand when switching to a standing desk office that standing for long periods of time requires a number of posture and stability muscles that most people haven’t worked on, especially if eight hours of their day or more are spent sitting and working. This means that a full 100% transition is likely to see a lot of hurting feet, legs, and lower backs, not to mention the drop in productivity as fatigue sets in. Instead, it’s best to introduce standing slowly over time, adding an hour or two of standing per day each week with the help of soft fatigue mats for adapting feet.

This means that you don’t want single-height standing desks. While you can work with two desks at separate heights, the best solution is an easily height-adjustable standing desk that can transition depending on whether your employees need to be standing or sitting. This also allows you to make personalized adjustments to achieve the optimal standing desk height for each employee’s personal size.

Standing desks are one of the best things that has ever happened to office and employee health but introducing them to the team is only the beginning. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part series where we’ll talk about chair alternatives, posture, and new ways to think about standing.

If you are looking for office space, contact us today!

What Millennials Appreciate About Coworking Spaces

millennials in coworking spacesCoworking spaces can be very socially engaging, educational and informative if we choose the right environment. Millennials are looking for work environments that engage them at all these levels with little or no cost to them. Historically, as a group, millennials are the generation to have emerged from college with the greatest debt to date. So let’s talk about what millennials want their work environment to look like.

Social Engagement

Millennials are prepared to work, work hard, and they want to be engaged at work. This doesn’t mean that every minute of the day needs to be a new learning experience but feeling connected to what they do. Often that connection comes in the form of external engagement like taking part in local, national or global responsibility projects. This is hard to do if you have a small company but coworking spaces offer the ability to connect with others in your work space to feel the sense of community and connection. These type of social action programs are often offered by the managers of the coworking space or maybe by one of the companies working there. So look for a space or ask about if this is a priority for the space you are considering.

Ongoing Education

Millennials are lifelong learners. Whether it is online through places like Udemy or in the office through continuing education programs, coworking spaces can offer small companies the ability to ban together to gain greater access to educational resources they may not get alone. In some cases, the coworking spaces may provide the opportunity for its tenants for a discounted fee or free of charge depending on the seminar.

Staying Informed

Staying aware and informed of changes in the economy, your field or maybe a field that the millennial is considering entering. Coworking spaces bring engaging speakers and presenters to the office to create a more aware workforce of the changes happening. This is such an important part of one’s desire to grow and learn. Ask if the coworking space you are considering brings in local speakers or if it provides a platform to learn from office mates.

Coworking spaces offer millennials the chance to stay or become engaged in social action issues, keep up their education for little to no cost and remain informed about their knowledge space. Providing these benefits help millennials feel fulfilled and coworking spaces can offer these benefits.

Contact us for more information on finding the right office space for your business.

Top Tips For Making Your Office Friendly For Those With Reduced Mobility

If you’re starting up a business, moving or looking to make renovations to an existing office, then taking into account employees and visitors with reduced mobility is imperative. Creating a diverse and encompassing workplace will not only help to tackle any problems with inaccessible access in the future, but it may also help to widen your hiring opportunities. Creating an accessible office isn’t as costly as it may initially seem, and here, we’re providing you with top tips to help make your office friendly for those with reduced mobility.

Corridors & Pathways

One of the key areas in the office that can create a barrier for those with reduced mobility is the corridors. If these are cluttered with cupboards or boxes, then the corridors may seem narrower than they actually are. As a result, those who rely on the use of a mobility scooter or a wheelchair, no matter the size, may be unable to navigate their way through seamlessly. Simply decluttering your hallways, corridors and outdoor pathways can help to ensure that your office is much friendlier for those with reduced mobility. In some cases, you may consider renovating your office corridors in order to widen them, or create alternative wheelchair-accessible routes to accommodate those with reduced mobility.

Ramps & Front-Door Accessibility

A big consideration for businesses is the accessibility of their front door. Ramps, mobility scooter routes and automatic doors may all need to be installed, or renovated, in order to accommodate those with reduced mobility appropriately. Ramps are often an affordable option, but these tend to be temporary, unless concrete alternatives are put in place to act as a ramp. In addition to this, you may want to consider separate routes to the building for mobility scooters in particular, as these may be deemed to be a hazard to pedestrians. Numerous hospitals and other public buildings tend to class bikes and mobility scooters as a similar vehicle and therefore, have a bike/mobility scooter route to help ensure the safety and ease of navigation of everybody entering and exiting the building. Automatic doors may also be a consideration that your business may implement, due to the ease of access they provide when entering and exiting a building.

Allow Work Day Modifications

This is particularly important for businesses who have hired employees who have a disability. In order to make the workplace friendlier, some businesses may require the work day to be modified, in order to allow for frequent breaks, flexible starting times and in some cases, the opportunity to work from home from time to time. While this isn’t always a necessity, and sometimes it may not even be a practical possibility, if there are some ways in which your business is able to better accommodate the needs of their disabled employees (whether they are have reduced mobility, or a visual or hearing impairment), then they should be a key consideration.

Understanding the needs of visitors with reduced mobility, and accurately accommodating for those needs can often be key for business success. Whether you’re looking to widen your corridors, install ramps at the building entrance or reinstate a neglected lift, there are plenty of options that you can consider when it comes to making your office friendly for those with reduced mobility.

If you need help finding office space that is friendly for your reduced Mobility employees, contact us.

Coworking Perks People Love: Workplace Strategies to Improve Productivity

coworkingOne of the best things about having office space in a coworking environment is that it offers employees a chance to socialize and meet people beyond their own workplace. Happier employees are excited to come to work. Here are a few tips to keep your employees happy and help increase their productivity in at work.

Encourage Participation in Workplace Learning Activities.

Coworking spaces offer tenants opportunities like lunch and learns and happy hour discussions. These are “free” sessions for your employees to attend and broaden their knowledge of a particular subject. In some cases, these opportunities could help them do their own work and make them a more productive member of the team.

Participate in Workplace Social Activities.

If your coworking space does not already offer its tenants a chance to join a team like kickball or have regular ping pong tournaments, see if you can work with the managers to organize one. Exercise is a great mood lifter and helps the brain with memory and learning.

Suggest Working in Common Areas.

As human beings, we crave social interaction. Coworking spaces offer employees the chance to meet new people in the common areas or engage in discussions that aren’t related to work. Offering your employees a moment to step outside their everyday work routine provides time to recharge their batteries.

All of these strategies are inherent perks when you lease in a coworking environment. Look for these types of amenities when you look for new office space and your employees will appreciate it. Contact us for more information on how we can help find the right workplace for you and your company.

How A Coworking Office Can Be A Major Boost To Your Company

coworking office spaceIs your business struggling to keep up with its competitors or are you looking for a way to stand out in a crowded field? Then consider a coworking office space. This surprising concept has spread wildly across the business world and it may inspire your company to greater heights.

What is A Coworking Office?

These intriguing new work ideas are based on the idea of sharing working areas with other people and businesses. You can rent these places out and will work beside and along with other people. It is a fairly novel concept and one that many people are arguing for and against. We believe it will seriously improve your business by offering you a variety of benefits.

The Benefits of Coworking Office For Your Business

When you invest in a coworking office, you receive many great benefits, including:

  • Improved interaction between your coworkers
  • New interactions with potential partners and business associates
  • Boosted performance caused by focusing on boosted capacities
  • Stronger trust between your coworkers and other companies
  • Better grasp of how your coworkers work and obtain their goals

These many benefits are a big part of why coworking spaces are such a wise investment. However, there are a few negatives that should be discussed. The most problematic of these is knowledge leakage.

The Risk Of Knowledge Leakage

While coworking spaces allow you to meet new people and new potential partners, they also cause the possibility of knowledge leakage. Think of this problem of a potential loss as a business advantage. For example, let’s say your company has information that could help it outperform its competitors.

Unfortunately, this information is found by somebody sharing office space with you, and they use it instead. While these instances are very rare in most coworking spaces, it is important to acknowledge the fact that they could happen.

If you are interested in learning more about finding a coworking office, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Coworking Office Space

Coworking office spaceDeciding to rent coworking office space is a big decision. It is one that should not be made lightly. Whether you are moving from a traditional space or just starting out, it is important to determine the pros and cons of working in this new office configuration. Here are a few of those pros and cons to help you get started.

Coworking Office Space Pros

1) Great opportunity for networking. Take advantage of the events that coworking spaces provide like happy hours, learning seminars and impromptu gatherings. It’s a chance to meet those around you and possible future clients.

2) Take note of what is included. Coworking spaces provide a variety of services that could save you money over time like cleaning, Monday morning breakfasts, snacks and coffee. Many spaces come fully or partially furnished, a big expense for anyone starting out.

3) Variety of spaces inspires creativity. Sitting in the same space, staring at your screen can become monotonous. Take advantage of the variety of venues to work together with your team, find private space or hold meetings.

Coworking Office Space Cons

1) Beware of distractions. With all the great amenities being offered to you and your staff, you’ll need to set ground rules. It’s very easy to want to do all your work in the common areas but you’ll need to evaluate if that is the model you want for your business.

2) Isolation. If you choose not be part of the networking events, you could feel isolated even with people around you. Make a conscious effort to be a part of some of the organized activities.

3) Poaching. With so many companies co-located together, chances are that there are other companies who do similar work to your company in your space. To help avoid the possibility that one of your employees will leave to join another company, include a no compete clause in your hiring process.

Moving to a coworking space is both exciting and scary. There is always a bit of a fear of the unknown. Contact us to help you navigate the next stage of your company’s business.

3 Workplace Strategies That Will Boost Productivity And Morale

boost productivityFor some business owners, blending workplace productivity with morale can seem like something of a balancing act. But this doesn’t have to be the case when you employ workplace strategies that prioritize both. In this post, we will examine three key workplace strategies that will help you boost productivity and morale in the office.

  1. Set up Spaces to Disconnect: With technology and social connection dominating not only our personal lives, but our work, it is becoming increasingly harder to step away from the online connectivity. However, if you want to place more emphasis on empowering the natural creative talents of your employees, you’ll need to set up an area where your team can disconnect. Have an internet-free zone somewhere in the office. Dedicate this space to natural production of creative ideas where inspiration won’t be interrupted by the internet.
  2. Keep Placing Emphasis on Flexible Work Areas: Although we have seen a recent push in workplace flexibility, it’s important to continuously re-introduce it to your team. Don’t let these flexible spaces be underutilized. Part of the reason some companies might struggle to utilize these spaces more often is because employees don’t know how. If many workers have been used to the cubicle setup for decades, it can be difficult to break that habit. Continue to reiterate the availability of unassigned work spaces and encourage your employees to use them.
  3. Prioritize Coworking: Coworking is not just for the creative freelancer. If you are employing co-working tactics in your company, embrace this mode of working and celebrate the benefits of it. Continue to evolve your coworking strategy to build both flexibility and stronger relationships among your talented employees. Offer an agile workplace with flexibility to meet your needs and boost productivity and morale among your employees.

For more info of getting help with your office space needs, contact us today.

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

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.