Category Archives: Agile Workplace

7 Key Factors When Choosing A New Office Space

Your office space isn’t just any other space–it’s the center of innovative ideas and the collective effort of your whole team. That being said, you should always be extra prudent when choosing a new office space. 

Whether relocating or starting up, here are several things to consider when choosing a new office space for your company:

Location

The first item to tick off your priority list is the office’s location. Choose a location that’s easy to access, not only for you but also for your employees. Ideally, the office space should be accessible for your clients, partners, and suppliers. Also, consider its proximity to necessities such as public transportation, restaurants and other amenities.

Parking is also another factor to consider when choosing the location. Is there adequate parking for both your employees and customers? You don’t want your customers getting frustrated because they couldn’t find a parking space. Downtown locations generally have very limited parking so it is important to decide how much parking you will need.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure involves several aspects, not just the internet connection. Of course, you want an office space that has reliable connectivity, especially since, nowadays, a business may find it difficult to function without an internet connection. But also take into consideration other aspects of infrastructure like telephone connections and postal services.

 If you’re planning to buy a property and turn it into an office space, you need to ensure that the infrastructure is good, especially the availability of good Internet access, electrical, heating and cooling (HVAC), and plumbing systems. If you are planning major renovations for a rehab, check out what is in stock at EasyMerchant.

Your Clients And Other Stakeholders

If you’re moving to a new office, you need to consider if your clients and other stakeholders will find it easy to access the new office. If you’ve been operating in your old office for some time, they’ve undoubtably acquired familiarity with the location and everything around it. 

Tasks And Workforce Amenities

Amenities are also an important consideration in determining how comfortable your team will be in the new office. Are there enough amenities for the whole workforce to use and enjoy? An example would be conference facilities that can accommodate the whole team whenever you need to hold a company-wide meeting. 

If you’re renting, there are important amenities that should be present in the building like shared meeting areas and daycare centers. Other amenities that may be considered are fitness centers, a lounge, cafes, and even outdoor spaces for tenants. 

These amenities will ensure that your organization remains productive at work, and, most importantly, encourage employees to come to the office more frequently, especially if you are implementing an agile workplace with remote work.

Scalability

Scalability means the capacity of your office space to be changed or modified either by size or by scale. Your new office space needs to be flexible enough to accommodate the size of your workforce and it should also have enough room to grow your team. 

With scalable office space, you don’t need to worry about having to relocate again just because the space can no longer accommodate your growing company.

Competition

While the office usually needs to be situated in a place where business is centralized, you also need to consider if there are competitors in your prospective area. Make sure and do some research to find out if there will be any competitors that would impact your business nearby.

Price

Whether you’re renting or buying the whole property, you need to know if the asking price is fairly competitive for its location and amenities. If the landlord is not providing tenant improvements, an allowance for them or if you’ll need to do any remodeling and or reconstruction yourself, make sure the price for such is reflected in the price. It is important to make sure you know what it is going to cost prior to signing a lease. You don’t want any nasty surprises after you are committed to a long term agreement.

Conclusion

A productive office space isn’t only for your team’s benefits, but also for the image of your company. Choosing a new office isn’t a walk in the park, but with the help of the tips provided, you have a few of the most important things to consider when choosing a new office space. Needless to say, we recommend you obtain the services of a qualified tenant rep to help you in acquiring your office space. They do this on a day-to-day basis and know what needs to be considered to make sure you get the right space at the best price. We have over 600 local tenant reps to assist you. Contact us today to get in touch with one. No obligation to inquire. You will be glad you did.

 

Protective Measures Offices Can Implement to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission

 prevent COVID-19 transmissionWe live in an age where a global pandemic is quickly spreading between people wherever they go. Since life has to go on and some people have to keep going to work in their offices, it is important to know how you can protect yourself and those around you from the dangerous virus. Offices often have numerous employees working side by side in teams or individually to keep their establishment running smoothly and making profits. Here are some protective measures your office can implement in order to prevent COVID-19 transmission and ensure everyone is safe.

Wear Masks

Masks have been proven to be one of the best ways to avoid transmission of COVID-19. Make sure  that when your employees are moving around the office that they are wearing masks. It is a very simple and effective way to keep them safe.

Encourage Hand Washing

One of the main things you should really focus on in your office to protect everyone against COVID-19 is encouraging your employees to wash their hands regularly. All the global health organizations are swearing by the effects of regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds each time to remove all kinds of harmful viruses and bacteria effectively. Regular hand washing will greatly minimize the risk of infection and help keep everyone safe in case someone is infected with the virus but is not showing any symptoms. Make sure you raise awareness of the importance of handwashing and personal hygiene in the office and hang signs everywhere to remind your employees to wash their hands so that everyone stays safe in their work environment.

Clean All Surfaces

Offices often have numerous employees going back and forth from one desk to another and touching different surfaces as they go. Keeping your surfaces regularly cleaned and disinfected is essential when it comes to protecting everyone working in the office. Make sure you use proper cleaning products to clean all the surfaces in the office, from desks to floors, and even walls and mirrors. As seen on HealthySole, you can even invest in new gadgets that are made to facilitate the process of cleaning surfaces automatically, or even cleaning shoes when people are on their way in or out of any room so that the risk of virus spreading is greatly reduced. Anything that can be touched by any of the employees in your office is something that should be disinfected on a regular basis to reduce the risk of COVID spreading.

Install Disinfection Booths

Many of those who get infected by the COVID-19 virus do not show symptoms until after a few days or may not show any symptoms at all, yet they can still be spreading the virus everywhere they go. To reduce the risk of your employees infecting one another when they walk into the office, it can be a good idea to invest in a disinfection booth on the door of your office to remove any lodging bacteria or viruses on people’s clothes and faces before they enter the workplace. It can also be a good idea to have someone measure people’s temperatures with a digital thermometer before they walk into the office to ensure nobody is infected without realizing they actually are.

Keep Employees Distant From One Another

When it comes to protecting your employees from COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, one of the most effective measures to implement is social distancing. You need to make sure all your employees are standing or sitting at a safe distance from one another to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, and ensure everyone is safe while working. You can start by making some space between each desk in the office and reducing the number of employees you have by giving them alternate shifts so that they can all keep their jobs but stay safe at the same time. It can also be a good idea to have some of your employees work from home whenever possible and start a virtual office environment rather than risk everyone’s safety. This way, you will be saving your employees from all the hassle of having to come to the office every day and reducing the risk of transmitting the virus. If your employees have to go to the office, then make sure they are distant from one another and wearing face masks at all times.

Implement an Agile Workplace

An Agile Workplace concept is an activity-based work space that makes the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces. Employees who don’t need to be in the office daily can make reservations to come in when they or you need them to do so. This way will limit the number of employees in the office at any one time and therefor reduce the risk to those employees wh are in the office.

A Scary Time for Employees

Living and working through a pandemic can be pretty scary. In order to keep yourself and all your employees safe in the workplace, you need to make sure you are following all the basic protective measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission by reducing the risk of infection and ensure the work keeps running smoothly. Make sure you raise the awareness of your employees about all the safety procedures they need to take to stay safe against the virus. It can also be a good idea to put some effort into creating a virtual office space where your employees can work from home and nobody has to risk their health in the first place.

If you are looking for a professional to discuss your office space options, we’d be happy to talk with you. Use our contact form to have one of our local pros get in touch with you, even if it is just to discuss options. We know office space and can help you identify what would work best for your company.

 

6 Ways A Clean Office Enhances Employee Productivity and Well-Being

A vital element to employee productivity is a clean workspace and it all makes sense now why the popular adage says “your space reflects your state of mind.” Aside from the fact that having a clean workspace improves one’s productivity, it also helps to refresh our mind.

Furthermore, it’s not how big or small your business is that serves or gauges the quota of your priority level for the cleanliness of your office; cleanliness is essentially crucial and highly valued for general well-being. The modern office has gone through several evolutions in the last 20 years and the influence of the office environment on employees’ health, wellbeing, and productivity remains to be a trend.

Several research projects and studies have affirmed and corroborated the impact of workplace cleanliness on productivity, and understanding how vital this is, employers tend to opt-in for the service of business cleaners who’ll do justice to the cleanliness of the office environment.

For employees to produce their best work, they need to be calm in their physical work settings and feel comfortable, and if you would prefer to oblige to business cleaning contract services to make your office space sparkling clean, do well to only go for experienced business cleaners who will put good efforts in effectively contributing to the workspace’s productive atmosphere.

Six Ways a Clean Workspace Guarantees Employee Productivity

1. It Makes Employees Happy

Have you ever thought of the kind of bliss your employees will feel when they walk into the office to meet a neat and tidy space? In fact, they’ll always be glad to show up at work and this will foster their productivity. With a clean office, they’ll have more time to get things done and they can quickly and easily track down paperwork if need be.

Keeping a clean work desk means zero distraction and this fully eradicates the need to scamper around wasting time and getting exhausted while looking for a document. Employees spend about eight hours in an office and they tend to treat their office as their second home. Thus, a tidy office is a necessity to achieve a desirable comfort zone that will beef up productivity.

2. It Enhances Creativity

When your employees are clustered with arranging “this” and taking care of “that”, you restrict and deprive them of harnessing their creativity because too much clutter can be detrimental to clear, creative thinking.

Although some people would say the mess on their desk can help them think and be creative, it’s worthy to emphasize that an untidy desk and workspace can hinder you from giving your all to what you are to do for the day because it subconsciously draws you back from tapping into that full creativity level.

As an employer, you can encourage your employees to practice the habit of decluttering their office space daily to help enable them to have a peace of mind of their cleanliness because after all, an agile workplace can go a long way in encouraging creativity, teamwork and problem-solving.

3. It Improves Focus On Work

You’ll find it pretty herculean to focus on your work when you have an untidy workplace because a cluttered office has a lot of distractions and it threatens your sense of personal control. A messy environment is in no way beneficial because it makes you have a short persistence.

On the other hand, you’ll be able to easily focus on the matter at hand when you have a clean space because there’s this sense of calmness and personal control one feels in the ambience of a clean environment.

4. It Reduces Stress

Relaxation and peace, often, don’t necessarily come with possessions of material things — decluttering is a great way to feel relaxed, reduce stress, and combat anxiety. You’ll not be able to focus on work and your anxiety levels will increase when you have too much in your office.

5. It Maximizes Employee’s Working Time.

You’ll be helping your employees to concentrate on the more important things if as an employer, you prioritize the cleanliness of the office workspace. Several business cleaners can provide a variety of services to help ensure employees’ working areas are kept in pristine condition.

Paperwork will be easy to find when the desks of your employees are organized and they’ll be able to spend quality time on getting their to-do lists effectively tackled rather than wasting time frantically looking for a document in a messed up office. Investment in a business cleaning service is worthwhile for employers who truly care about their employees’ well-being and as well desire to improve their productivity and creativity.

6. It Keeps A Healthy Workspace.

Health is wealth and one of the best ways to facilitate good health is to get into the habit of cleaning and decluttering your office space. Employees should know that a messy office can have a severe effect on the overall productivity of the company and there could be several sick leaves and more absenteeism if workers’ health is compromised.

 

What To Know When Renting Office Space Following The Pandemic

What To Know When Renting Office Space Following The PandemicMaking decisions about renting office space is more challenging because of the impact of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are asking how the current health situation affects office leasing and businesses at large. Is work-from-home the latest trend? Or will the new normal open more opportunities for commercial property owners? 

In this article, you’ll learn the essential things about renting office space following the pandemic.  

Health And Safety Protocols Compliance 

In the ‘new normal,’ property owners are mandated by governments to comply with all health and safety protocols set in place to protect the public. Future tenants are also advised to do the same.  

In order to find tenants, office operators are taking this seriously. As an example, our friends who have Offices in Manbre Wharf, have fully implemented health and safety protocols to ensure that tenants are safeguarded from the threats of COVID-19. Everywhere else in the world is having to do the same. 

So, what are the general health and safety protocols when it comes to renting offices? 

Here are the details of the scope of health and safety protocols involving renting office space and other commercial establishments that you should know before renting office space: 

  • Risk Assessment: Assessment of environmental, health, and safety risks, which tackles the responsibility of landlords and property owners when creating rental policies and agreements. 
  • Management And Reporting Of Cases: It tackles the responsibility of landlords and property owners to report any case of COVID-19 during the period of lease to concerning health and government authorities. 
  • Implementation Of Guidelines: Once health and safety guidelines are fully explained to tenants, landlords and property owners should do all means to monitor full compliance. On the other hand, tenants, particularly office or business owners, must make their employees aware of the policy.  

Social Distancing In Offices 

Before the strike of COVID-19, many office layouts and designs have open plans, which aimed to promote good collaboration, better communication, teamwork, and cost-savings. However, the current pandemic forces everyone to maintain physical distancing or what is called “social distancing” to keep people safe from one another. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that people practice social distancing by maintaining at least a six feet distance between individuals. Because coronavirus is highly contagious, employee desks must be spaced wide apart, and possibly each employee should have an individual cubicle to avoid getting infected.  

Renting Additional Office Spaces 

It is now impossible to fit employees in offices as pre-COVID-19 having the same number of people in the same square footage. Business owners either need to set alternating work schedules for their employees by creating an Agile Workplace or lease additional office space, which means additional overhead cost. 

Here are some benefits of renting additional office spaces following the pandemic: 

  • Be able to resume peak business operations to attain higher productivity and revenue as compared to last year. 
  • Help businesses recover from low production and sales because of temporary closure or sluggish business operations during the peak of COVID-19.  
  • During the new normal, renting extra office spaces is a better option than compromising the health of your employees and facing legal consequences due to negligence. 

Corporate Culture Adjustments 

Workplace culture greatly transcends in your office. Corporate culture is highly reflected by the office layout and structure because collaboration, open communication, and promoting productivity are readily seen through open plans. However, there must be some adjustments following the pandemic, which means less worker density, fewer meetings, and less social get-togethers.  

When renting a new office space, you may need to also make some adjustments to your previously planned corporate culture. Here are the challenges you might face when adjusting to corporate culture when renting office space following the pandemic crisis: 

  • Recruitment: It will be a challenge to attract new talents, but the virtual world can decrease the burden of hiring new employees. Final face-to-face interviews are still possible in office buildings following the health protocols, such as installing hard, transparent plastic dividers between the interviewers and the job applicants. 
  • Office Design: Designing and modifying existing workspaces can be difficult. Supporting the established culture and following the new health and safety protocols poses a challenge to everyone. For this reason, your architect and interior designer should work together to come up with the best solution designed for your business needs. 
  • Co-Working: While co-working has been a trend and major contributory factor to the office market recovery, the new health protocols that accompany COVID-19 may have an adverse effect on co-working businesses. Co-working companies may diminish following the pandemic, so venturing into this work setting is not advised. 

Conclusion 

Renting office spaces nowadays can be more challenging than ever. All future tenants must comply with existing health protocols, like ensuring social distancing and wearing of personal protective equipment, like face masks. Business owners would likely need to rent additional office spaces and make the necessary corporate culture adjustments to be productive and realize business goals. Let us know if we can help you find new office space. Contact us today!

Even Though Much of The World is Working Remotely, Here’s Why You Should Still Consider An Office

Remote Work PlaceIt is estimated that approximately 56% of the jobs in the US are compatible with remote work. Global Workplace Analytics project that 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely, most of the week, by the end of 2021. The pandemic has created some new norms for working that are expected to last. The question is, will working remotely work for you and your company even after the panedmic subsides? There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account in making the decsion on whether or not to maintain an office. What things should you consider?

Is your home environment suitable for working remotely?

While it’s great to save that extra travel time to and from work, is your home working environment conducive to productivity? Who is at home during the day? Where in your home do you work? We all love spending time with our family (well, maybe not all the time) but how much are you going to be interrupted at home?  As we know, it’s impossible to plan for all interruptions from Wi-Fi to plumbing issues to your elderly neighbor needing to borrow an egg for the cake they are baking. What you need to consider is, are you going to be more productive in an office, even if it is more convenient working from home. The pandemic has put an extra burden on working parents, especially those with more than one child. Many schools have reopened and yet most children have continued their learning online or virtually. This means that many parents have now had to balance their workload with playing teacher (creating a renewed respect for teachers that they rightfully deserve). Being physically in an office means that there are fewer opportunities for you to be interrupted, and, if you can increase your productivity, then you may be able to clock off early and better manage your responsibilities at home.

Are you starting a business?

The majority of businesses have been adversely affected by Covid-19, many closing down, but some new businesses have been innovative and thrived. If you are hoping to be one of those, then working from home may not be the best option. Are you going to be happy with people coming into your home, is it even going to be possible? Renting a new space is going to be less expensive than usual, given the oversupply of space. Most new businesses involve a lot of meetings, hiring staff, receiving goods from suppliers, and pitching to investors or clients. Consider a co-working space or renting office space monthly to cater to some of the dynamics that may come with starting a new business.

It can be quick and painless to register your new gig with many companies now providing this service. The pros at Fatstacksblog have screened the best companies for this, check out their review. Most new businesses involve a lot of meetings, hiring staff, receiving goods from suppliers, and pitching to investors or clients. Consider a co-working space or renting office space monthly to cater to some of the dynamics that may come with starting a new business.

Being social is important for physical and mental health

Much higher rates of anxiety and depression have been reported this year and many clinical psychologists have attributed this to isolation and the lack of human-to-human interaction not just in working remotely, but in our lives in general. Other negative effects of isolation have been lethargy and the so-called “zoom- fatigue” from too many online meetings. When you are considering working from home, it’s important to think about how much less you are going to socialize with others because of this. It is amazing what comes from water cooler conversations. Then think about all the meetings, coffee breaks, and small talk you have when you are in the office. All of these tiny interactions and adverse health effects add up. Taking this into consideration, healthier and happier workers are going to be more effective, confident, and creative in their job. It may be worth working in an office and being a better working version of yourself.

How Much Office Space?

If you decide to return to the office, working remotely is still an option. There is nothing that says this is an all or nothing decision. The big question is how much office space will you need and where do you need it? There are a number of options. Understanting the Agile Workplace concept is important. The concept is activity-based working space and making the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces. There are many companies that have taken this to heart even before the pandemic.

Many companies are now choosing to take advantage of using executive suites or coworking space as a means of providing flexible workspace for their employees. They do not all have to be located in the same place, but can be spread around for the conveniece of employees.

The whole world has had to embrace working remotely. It was a no-brainer, no-choice decision. Technology allows us to work from wherever we are. Once the pandemic subsides, it may not always the best option for everyone. For many, it may be their personal circumstances, such as being a parent, the number of children they may have, and if they are starting a new business. there are many considerations in deciding the level of working remotely that you choose. As we mentioned, there can be some negative mental health consequences from working remotely, too, For people considering working from home or thinking about going back to the office, assess your home environment to conclude if it is condusive to productivity and if it is going to allow you to be the healthiest and most productive version of yourself.

If you need help finding office space,, whether conventional or flexible space, we can help. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion on how we can help.

 

10 Security Tips to Protect Your Company’s Data

Hackers and online criminals are working day and night to access our data. They look for vulnerabilities in our software, and also in us. People have had their identities stolen and sensitive information accessed. Even the US government is vulnerable as demonstrated with the most recent series of attacks on sensitive servers. When this happens to a company it can be disastrous on a larger scale. Many small companies end up closing due to the financial implications of what has happened.

The term ‘paperless office’ has meant that more and more business information is being moved online. That increases the pickings for cybercriminals. When hackers are getting more and more clever, what can be done to protect company data? Let’s find out right now with these 10 security tips.

Consider Third-Party Hosting

When this option is chosen, the responsibility for data storage, updating software, and maintaining security is moved to the host company. If someone chose to use QuickBooks cloud hosting their data would be stored on a dedicated server. The advantage can be that a business is not sharing the host site with another company. With shared servers, both companies need to maintain their IT security. If one is hacked, the other company will also be hacked.

Other benefits of such hosting are that passwords and usernames are kept private, and there is automatically encrypted data backup.

Draft An IT Security Policy

One of the biggest security vulnerabilities that companies have is their staff. Employees should be advised not to leave their computer screens unlocked when unattended. USB sticks and hard drives should be securely locked away.

Businesses should incorporate their IT policy into staff employment documentation. This should include an outline of the responsibilities, accountability, and consequences of security breaches. Training sessions should be conducted as part of the staff induction process, and also on a rolling basis.

Training should also be given on creating and maintaining effective passwords, identifying phishing emails, and not downloading files for personal use. Staff should also be warned about using public wifi or reading private company information in public places.

Use A Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN software puts an encrypted (coded) layer around the person’s online activities. End to end encryption is where a message sent by one person is encoded, and it can only be unencrypted by the valid recipient. Website access and data exchange become secure as a result.

Without a VPN, staff may be vulnerable when working remotely. The wifi hotspots found in coffee houses, airports, or hotels frequently connect to insecure networks. This means it’s easier for hackers to access the data.

Install A Firewall

Companies have these as external hardware devices or internal software. They are built into Apple and Windows. Firewalls act as security guards day and night, observing all incoming and outgoing activities. They instantly report issues and block them.

There are a host of unwelcome visitors that firewalls are designed to stop, ranging from spyware, adware, viruses, and worms.

Use Antivirus Software

This is designed to supplement the effectiveness of the firewall. Defender software is installed within Windows 8 and 10. This can do the job effectively in most cases, but there is always the risk that such things as ransomware may be able to bypass it.

Warnings can also be provided by antivirus software that sites are insecure or have known risks.

Have A Strong Password System

A study found that from January to March 2019, 74% of security breaches related to passwords getting into the hands of the public.

Employees should never keep written passwords on their desks or share them with others; neither should they use the same one for different applications. Obvious passwords should be avoided too, including passwords, 12345 or previously used ones. They should be at least eight characters long and include letters, numbers, and special characters such as $£*&.

Password management software is well worth considering as it creates the passwords for you, stores them all in one place, and even logs in to programs for you.

Securely Dispose Of Data

If a computer, memory stick, external drive or laptop are thrown in the rubbish there is the chance that someone could take it. Even deleted files or reformatted drives are unable to stop criminals from gaining access to the data.

Fortunately, there are external companies that can securely dispose of computer equipment. When one looks at the financial risks involved, this could be well worth the money.

Perform Updates And Allow Patches

It may not be hard to imagine that a small item of software may have security vulnerabilities that need regularly addressing. More alarmingly, there are similar issues with big players such as Windows, Adobe PDF readers, Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, or Firefox.

Cybercriminals are constantly searching for blind spots and loopholes, so when they have discovered it’s necessary for an update or patch to be installed to keep them out.

Set Up Two Factor Authentication

This can be created for use when people log in to such applications as Facebook, Gmail, or Evernote. It can also be utilized when making online payments.

It acts as a ‘prove who you are’ question. Someone may receive a code by text that they need to enter into the computer before they can proceed. Alternatively, they will receive a phone call requiring a secure code.

Create Data Backups

USB sticks and external drives can be stolen or lost. Computers can break and websites can be hacked. When data is stored online there is an extra layer of protection.

Companies frequently create disaster recovery plans. They should include what to do when IT equipment is destroyed or a cyber attack has been effective. It’s no good waiting until it happens before such things are considered.

There are a host of actions and policies that can be put in place to protect a company’s data. When it is all adopted, a secure wall can be created to keep the villains out. Whilst many of these suggestions will cost money, the alternative can be unthinkable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Reasons to Use a SIP Trunk to Reduce Telecommunication Costs

SIP trunk in the cloudThe world, nowadays, is all connected through telecommunication services. Businesses, in particular, rely heavily on telecommunication tools to carry out daily tasks and get in touch with employees and possible clients. Traditional communication methods can be quite costly when startinga  business, which is why they are always on the lookout for cheaper options that offer premium solutions at an affordable rate. SIP trunking is among these solutions that help reduce the telecommunication costs and allow businesses to carry out the necessary work without a hassle.

You are probably asking yourself the same thing I did. What the heck is a SIP Trunk? SIP stands for “Session Initiation Protocol.”  SIP trunking is a method of sending voice and other unified communications services over the internet. It works with an IP enabled PBX phone system and replaces traditional telephone lines.

Having a business of your own also means having to manage all the services you offer your customers; from payroll services to merchant accounts. A SIP trunk allows you the advantage of re-prioritizing your budget according to your needs. A SIP trunk is a virtual form of your analogous phone line that aids in effective communication with all your employees along with easing the constraints on your budget. SIP trunking enables an end point’s PBX to send and receive calls via an IP network, such as the Internet or private WAN. As the Session Initiation Protocol is applied as the signalling protocol for multiple real-time applications, SIP trunk is able to control voice, video and messaging applications

Here are some of the reasons why your company should start using a SIP trunk to reduce telecom costs.

1.  Minimal Initial Investment

One of the main concerns for any business when it initially starts is covering all the necessary costs to get the workflow running smoothly. When you use SIP trunking, you will ensure your initial investment in telecommunication services is minimal or almost non-existent. Even if you are transitioning to SIP trunking, you will not be needing to invest a large amount of money to get the process going.

2.  Free Internal Calls

All establishments need to communicate internally one way or another. Using a SIP Trunk service, you will save a lot of money, as you will be getting free internal calls within your establishment to make day-to-day communication easier. It is a very attractive advantage for all businesses who rely heavily on internal calls and want to allocate more money to other areas in your business. Calls made via SIP trunking are made through IP connections, making them significantly cheaper than any other telecommunication method. It is free, reliable, and quite attractive, especially for startups.

3.  Reduced Communication Costs

SIP trunking eliminates the need for traditional phone line connections, which has been shown to save companies an average of 70 percent on their monthly phone bills. Many businesses tend to rely on long-distance calls, and regular communication services can cost them a fortune. Even if the calls are not internal and free, SIP trunking still costs a lot less when making external communications than other traditional methods.

4.  Easy Compatibility

When you choose to invest in SIP trunking for your company, you will not have to worry about spending more money on device upgrades as it is easily compatible with most existing devices. You will not have to worry about replacing any old hardware as SIP works with the majority of phone systems and can easily be integrated into your communication system.

Effective communication is the life and soul of any modern business. Establishments in all industries need easy and cheap solutions to communicate internally and externally in order to keep the workflow going smoothly. SIP trunking offers many businesses the chance to save a lot of money on telecommunication costs without having to worry about investing a fortune in replacing their existing phone systems entirely. Before you make the transition to SIP trunking, make sure you do some research in advance to ensure that your business communications will run smoothly without a hassle.

You may be wondering why we are starting to post articles such as these. At OfficeFinder we help businesses find and negotiate for office space, but we also want to help businesses improve their bottom line. We have taken upon ourselves to expand our blog to incorporate ideas for businesses to do just that. We hope you find it beneficial.

3 Ways You Can Improve Customer Experience

Customer experienceGood customer experience is a vital ingredient in the success of any business. However, attaining this goal is not as easy as it sounds. There are many aspects to excellent customer experience that a business owner should look into it.

So how do you improve customer experience? Here are some ways you can try out for your business. 

1. Invest in Effective and Innovative Contact Center Solutions 

Are you used to relying on Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to gauge customer experience?  Do you even know what it is? Well, with the advanced technology in data analytics and AI, you can determine how your customers are doing in every step of the sales funnel through real-time data analytics and omnichannel reporting through effective contact center solutions.

Aceyus explains that a business owner can gain insight into customer experience by utilizing a call center metrics dashboard, which compiles real-time data in a single, centralized dashboard. Here are the important benefits of implementing more effective contact center solutions: 

  • Improve data organization and call center agility: Negative customer experiences can be avoided by uniting all data sources, external and internal, to get a whole picture of the customer journey. It enables you to determine the critical key performance indicators (KPIs) or business metrics, including customer experience scores.
  • Optimize business operations: Data analytics provide real-time data to help optimize your business operations. It prevents wasting your efforts by optimizing call routing with queue metrics recorded in real-time calls.
  • Boost agent productivity: A flexible dashboard tracks the performance of your call center agents across multiple platforms. Managers can easily filter data and review team insights by viewing the performance of individual agents and the entire team in a centralized dashboard.

2. Increase Employee Engagement:

Your employees are your front-line workers who directly interact with your customers. Happy employees often give rise to happy customers. Increasing employee engagement would also increase customer engagement.

Improving office space efficiency can help increase employee productivity and engagement. Providing your employees with a healthy and safe workplace would boost their morale and work productivity. For instance, increase natural light by opening curtains or blinds inside the office to enhance overall mood and increase motivation.

With the Covid-19 pandemic in full steam, agile workplaces have become more popular. These workplaces are designed as activity-based working space and make the work space flexible. It is an office hoteling reservation technique or set up in a workplace. It is a way of utilizing a work area more efficiently, utilizing non-assigned seating arrangement and desk-sharing to maximize and creating collaborative spaces where employees can go on occasion, not always being in the office.

3. Use Behavioral Science 

Behavioral science studies how different factors affect a person’s behavior, which is crucial in improving customer experience. However, the use of behavioral science in service operations is rarely done.

The principles of behavioral science have only been implemented by a few companies, like telecommunications companies. Telecommunications businesses give customers control over service interactions such as scheduling field service visits at their most convenient times, to boost satisfaction, instead of customer service reps setting the appointment for them depending on their availability.

Many companies seem to ignore what makes consumers tick. For instance, customer experience is usually disturbed by the interactive-voice-response or IVR systems in call centers or menu alterations on automated teller machine or ATMs by banks. A lot of businesses fail to recognize the great psychological discomfort that customers experience when they’re faced with these unexpected changes.

Check the following tips to improve customer experience based on behavioral science principles:

  • Resolve bad customer experience early: Don’t make customers wait too long to get their problems fixed. Make sure to address any concerns as soon as possible. For instance, customers feel no assurance when they receive generic statements, such as ‘This problem is now being addressed. Allow 24 hours for a response.’

Instead, you should try to resolve the problem while the customer is still with you on the line (phone call), or if some waiting time is needed, be proactive in scheduling a follow-up call, instead of the making the customer call you back.

  • Give your customers more options: Instead of saying ‘no’ or ‘can’t’, give your customers more options to resolve their concerns. It’ll show them that you’re doing something to resolve their concerns and keep them satisfied.
  • Let consumers stick with their habits: Drastic changes can ruin customer satisfaction. If you need to make changes, do it gradually and make sure they still align with your customers’ habits. Think about substitution or alternatives.

Conclusion 

By fully understanding your customers through investing in effective contact center solutions, you can help improve their experience without directly asking too much information from them.

Applying the principles of behavioral science can also help you better understand your customers to reduce churn rate.

Improving your employee engagement by providing your employees with a safe and healthy workplace can also help increase their morale and productivity, which also affects the quality of service they provide to your customers.

At OfficeFinder we do our best to make sure your customer experience with us is beyond expections. We are always looking for the WOW factor to keep our customers happy. If you need office space and are looking for a good customer experience for yourself, contact us and let us show you how it is done!

5 Strategies to Control Office Occupancy Costs

Office Occupancy Costs DiscussionRunning a business comes with high costs. The best way to know that you are doing enough is to make sure that you are earning more than what you are spending to make it work. One of the biggest expenditures that a business has is its occupancy cost since most offices have to pay rent for their space. Though it is one of the biggest areas you spend money on, it can also be the most versatile since there are strategies you can cut back and save money. There are 5 effective ways you can control your office occupancy cost.

1.  Find Cheaper and Long-term Leases

One of the best ways to save on occupancy costs is to find an office space that directly helps you save money. Ultimately, finding a space with a lower price can do great for your spendings. The first way is to find a location where office spaces are relatively cheaper because some areas demand more expensive prices. If your team can afford to be in an office far from the central business district, then it is a better alternative. You can also look into leasing for the long-term because the security of the lease outweighs short-term income. You already have a chance to move away from city noise and toxicity while staying economically wiser. If you need help finding the right space at the right price, that is what we do. Contact us today!

2.  Subletting Office Areas

Owning a large space where your employees can have a conducive work area is a great thing to have, though it comes with a great price as well. The cost of rent is always determined by the size of the space, so that means a bigger officer is also a bigger expense. Should your office have unused areas, you can put this up for occupancy by others via subletting. A lot of freelance workers or small groups of collaborative individuals are always looking for an office hub where they can meet and work. If your office can accommodate them, you can put the space up for rent where you can become their landlord. Just make sure there is nothing in your lease to keep you from being able to do it.

3.  Team Effort

Team effort or the collaboration of various departments in your company can help in office cost savings. With a good workflow, office supplies and equipment are maximized, along with individual knowledge and skills, promoting productivity.

Employees can play a huge role in controlling occupancy costs. Though there is specific expertise that can give more useful and practical insight, not all companies can afford to hire full-time staff who will focus on this aspect. A great alternative is to hire a part-time CFO who can perform financial assessments and recommend necessary steps to help you cut back on occupancy costs. Employing one is handier since you can engage their services whenever you need them, and you don’t have to fully commit since their employment with you is only part-time. Experts can do great things to improve not only your budgeting but your overall financial standing as well.

4.  Flexible Working Arrangements

This time of the internet and technology makes all sorts of working arrangements possible. Flexible working arrangements make it possible for employees to skip reporting to the office and instead work from home. It is an “Agile Workplace.” The first step in doing this is in assessing which positions can be filled by a work-from-home employee. You can also make a blocking schedule where some employees work from home and the others at the office for a few days they switch. You can reduce the needed space almost in half since not everyone shows up together at the same time. This can work for businesses where the nature of work and be accomplished via individualized work and communication can be made virtual. Not only is this beneficial for employees, but it also allows the company to switch to a smaller office.

If you decide to adopt a remote working environment for some of your employees, make sure that you have a way to monitor their output and performance. Fortunately, time and work management apps are available to gather sufficient data and track the completion of assigned tasks. Choose a system with the right features you need, such as taking screenshots of computer screens to clearly see if they’re working on a task in their working hours.

5.  An Energy-Efficient Office

Energy-efficient office space is also great for the environment. Switch to devices, electronics, and supplies that are energy-saving in the office since you can use the money you have saved to pay for the occupancy cost instead. Office spaces that are polished with these energy-efficient devices tend to lease the space for cheaper prices as well since they don’t have to spend as much in buying expensive appliances and features. Make it a commitment not just to control your occupancy cost, but the overall spendings you make on other miscellaneous expenses as well.

For an energy-efficient office, you might want to consider installing solar panels and take advantage of solar energy plans from a reputable energy provider, such as TXU Energy. This way, you’ll have long-term savings on energy bills. If you’re not ready to adopt solar energy, you can use this energy source as a backup if a power outage arises. 

Make your office energy-efficient by ensuring that your employees are well-informed about your ‘green’ methods. Enforce energy-efficient measures from simply unplugging office equipment or devices not in use and turn off all the lights at end of a shift or business hours.

Controlling office occupancy does not only mean saving money, but it also gives way to a more economical way of running a business. This favors both employees and business owners since there is room for flexibility and saving the environment. If most agree on the measures you want to impose, you can take the necessary action to improve your financial and working situation.

Can your company benefit from an agile workplace?

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

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

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

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

How will Agile Workplace benefit your business.

Space Utilization.

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

Increase in productivity and efficiency.

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

Getting and retaining best talents.

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

Improved Employee Performance.

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

It can adhere to your changing workforce.

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

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

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

Do Your Research.

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

Identify Employees Not Suited to Office Hoteling

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

Determine the Maximum Employee Density on an Average Day

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

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

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

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

There is Help

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

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