Category Archives: Agile Workplace

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.

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.

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.

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

Does Remote Working Satisfy Employees or Alienate Them?

Remote workingThere has been a lot of debate over the years related to remote working by employees. Much of it has been centered around productivity form the business’ point of view. A recent survey by Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates on remote working comes at it from the employee point of view. It shows some interesting concerns. While remote working does offer increased flexibility to employees, less commute time and more control, the survey found that 45% of U.S. workers  and 55% of Millennials would rather work in an office than remotely. The survey found that there are 3 main factors employees are looking for:

  1. Face Time with Colleagues – A quarter of respondents report negative feelings while working from home, including feeling less a part of their team. It is more difficult to collaborate or develop relationships with fellow workers without a central office.
  2. Privacy – 70% of U.S. Adults – and a whopping three-quarters of Millennials – would feel more comfortable working in an open floor plan if there were private spaces available to them. This is one of the fundamental design factors in today’s coworking office design.
  3. Convenience – Most U.S. workers – and nearly two-thirds of Millennials (62%) – would prefer to work in an office that was in or near a shopping center over one that wasn’t. Which is one of the drivers of the return to the downtown markets from the suburbs especially for companies that have a high percentage of millennial workers. In other words, the tech giants.

This does not necessarily mean that businesses should end remote working, but it does evidence the need to have more flexibility. It does not need to be an all or nothing decision. Essentially employees like a base station to be able to use on an as needed bases. Done right this will enable those who are more comfortable working in an office to do so, but still allow the flexibility to work wherever they feel they can be most productive. It sounds like an agile workplace because it is. It also sounds like a Coworking office space and is that too.

If you would like some help in finding office space, that is what we do with our network of local brokers throughout the US, Canada and many other countries. Contact us today to find out how we can help; typically at no cost to you.

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How to Create an Agile Workplace that Really Functions

Agile workplace that worksTo say that there is a backlash against the open office space, and the agile workplace setup, is putting it mildly. Disgruntled employees have been venting for years about noise, constant “visits” from co-workers, and interruptions.

Has the embrace of the agile workplace been little more than the professional version of the 1960s hippie movement?

Actually, it is possible to make the concept work. Here are some suggestions on how to do it:

  • See the workplace through the eyes of an employee. To you, the absence of walls is the hallmark of an open office environment. To your employees, it is a large space that carries the din of countless conversations. Unless you understand what your employees need to do their jobs efficiently, the concept does not work for them.
  • Equip your workforce for agility. The idea behind agility is the notion that the worker can perform the needed tasks from anywhere in the office or outside of it. This goal requires a streamlined hardware and software setup for all employees. You are not truly agile if the WiFi stops working in the rear third of the office.
  • Empower your workers to make decisions. If workers have to check with supervisors or managers whenever reaching a decision point, you maintain the old work environment minus a few walls. Instead, empower your employees to make decisions, which allows them to collaborate without having to interrupt the flow of productivity for approval seeking.
  • Set clear objectives. Agility thrives on group settings that allow for immediate work production. Management staff must provide clear parameters and goals that teams will meet on pre-defined dates. By empowering employees and doing away with the old structure for a more agile setup, a larger group of workers now shares responsibility and accountability.

If your current office setup just does not support the agile workplace you envision, contact us to find a setting that is far more useful for your goals.

Agile Office Space For Generation Z

Generation Z agile office space needsMove over, Millennials, Generation Z is here, and its needs an agile office space. Termed Post-Millennials, Plurals or simply Gen Z, these workers were born in the late 1990s. What makes this generation tick and how can you customize a workplace to suit its future needs?

An Extension of the Millennial Mindset (with economic improvements)

More so than Millennials, Gen Z has grown up amidst the implementation of revolutionary social changes. That said, they have also grown up in the aftermath of September 11 and during the Great Recession. Business Insider defines this group as being “more entrepreneurial” than Generation Y. In short, when members of this group begin entering the workforce as your employees, the agile workplace you are implementing now for Millennials will find continued and expanded use.

Office Setups You Can Put in Place Now

Making your workplace attractive to this group of employees with a business-minded attitude does not have to be difficult.

  • Increase square footage per worker. This is not a group that thrives in cubicles. Allocate personal space that allows for distance from others when desired.
  • Provide flexibility. Shared and collaborative work spaces will become more important and more common. Teams connect informally in these settings.
  • Create visual flow. Chopping up the office into sections will be considered outdated. Instead, allow your office space to naturally flow from shared work spaces to private desks.
  • Being adaptable counts. Modular furniture, movable walls and seating groups that you can change and rearrange become standard in a few years.

Find the right space now to create the agile office space of tomorrow. Working with an office-leasing broker who understands the local market is a big plus. Contact us today to find out what this type of professional can do for you. Their services are FREE to you. It is a no lose proposition!

4 Lessons You Can Learn from Microsoft’s Agile Workplace Experiment

Agile Workplace StudyWhat does it take to create an agile workplace? While office planning and design choices are at the top of the list, there is more to the collaborative work environment than aesthetics of office design. In fact, it is a mindset that translates into structural adaptations. Microsoft has set the pace for this revolutionary use of space. Here is some of what they have done.

  1. From offices to work environments.

    On two of its properties, Microsoft has done away with the traditional office environment. From the top down, employees and management staff share a variety of work environments. The latter include team rooms, atriums, and large halls featuring a variety of seating options.

  2. From corporate to relaxed feel.

    The company has done away with the stuffy corporate feel for a comfortable, and therefore more productive, atmosphere. A broad range of color hues create a welcoming environment that is more at ease than administrative.

  3. Enabling privacy without individual offices.

    Of course, the biggest challenge is the need for privacy. Some workers simply do not do as well in a large open environment as others. Microsoft has mastered this balance by offering headphones to workers who find the open space too distracting. Smaller work spaces, called coves, are the equivalent of an office with a closed door. The results have proven that quick conversations now replace lengthy emails and productivity is possible for all.

  4. Customizable by workers using the space.

    The office used to be the employee’s refuge where family pictures, plants, and little art objects would personalize an otherwise nondescript corporate setting. This is no problem for Microsoft workers. Their team building activities include a focused customization of the space where employees spend so much of their days.

What really makes Microsoft’s agile workplace functional is its flexible nature that hones in on the needs of the business and its workers at any given time. Contact us today to learn more about finding a office space that works with an agile workplace strategy.

Agile Workplace Strategies Appeal to Baby-Boomers and Millennials

Baby-Boomers and Millennials Agile workplace strategiesEmploying Baby-Boomers and Millennials in the same office can sound like a mighty challenge. Whereas one group is face-to-face interaction oriented, the other one likes to handle things remotely. Finding room designs that appeal to both demographics, and bring out their strengths, and keep them engaged can be as simple as adding a few agile workplace strategies to your office space design.

Understanding the Generations

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCOC) suggests that there are 77 million Boomers and 82 million Millennials. While the former are starting to enter their retirement years, the latter are at the peak of their productivity. Boomers have decades of work experience and made their way in the business world when interpersonal skills were the tools of the trade. Millennials see technology as the way of the future and place less value on face time.

Agile Workplace Strategies to Suit Both Groups

When you rely on a mix of employees to drive your business forward, bring out their strengths with office space design strategies. Take for example the meeting space. Also known as a collaborative work space, areas that you designate for team or group meetings is essential. Boomers may feel a bit out of their element because of the apparent lack of formality. Choosing movable walls such as glass or acoustic panels can make a huge difference. Alter the space as needed with a few tweaks to the wall setup.

Next, there are the teamwork zones. In this shared setting, members of one team work together on a project. Unlike the meeting space where multiple teams may connect, this is a smaller setting that is also quieter. It allows Millennials to get a break from the more socially taxing meetings while it gives Boomers an opportunity to observe some formalities like personal desk space.

If you are unsure whether a restructuring of your current office space is your best solution, or if your business would be better served by leasing a new space to accommodate both demographics more readily, contact us with your office space questions.