Category Archives: Agile Workplace

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

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 with your budgeting but to 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.

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.

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.

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.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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.