If your current office is the corner coffee shop and you’re thinking of ways to improve your workspace without breaking your budget, you’ve likely considered trying a coworking space. You’re not alone. Coworking spaces are on the rise, and for good reason: they are flexible and affordable without compromising the necessities and functionality of a professional workspace. Beyond the practicalities behind them, let’s face it, coworking spaces are a lot more professional to present as your home base than your local barista.
Taking the leap and moving your business into a shared office environment has a multitude of benefits. Since most spaces today offer a wide range of amenities, space availability, and membership options, it’s easy to find a great space for you without breaking the bank. Imagine having access to flexible work hours, essential technology, and impressive spaces for those all-important client meetings and business conferences – without the high cost of a traditional brick-and-mortar lease. That is the appeal of the coworking space movement today.
Shopping for the Right Coworking Space
So, you’re sold on the idea of moving out of your local café and into a more professional workspace; how do you go about shopping for the right space? The best way you can find the perfect solution for your entrepreneurial needs is by taking stock of what those needs actually are. Before you can choose a space that works for you, you should have a good understanding of what it is you need from your space.
Take a look at your daily routines and make note of what items you use most and what items seem to be lacking. This will give you a good idea of the type of amenities you will want from a coworking space as well as help you figure out any potential problem areas. Keep in mind what hours you like to work and the frequency with which you meet with clients to determine the caliber of availability you will need from a communal meeting room or private work area.
Things to Consider
Once you have a good idea of what you need from your space, it’s time to consider any additional criteria that will optimize your work environment. These are things that will determine how well-suited a potential shared workspace is for you, such as its location or how well it fits within your budget. Some of these factors will be much more critical than others, so be sure to rank them accordingly when comparing them to what’s available in your area.
Give it a Try
If you think you’ve located a coworking space that’s perfect for you, but you’re hesitant to make the plunge, explore the membership options available. Many communal workspaces today offer fantastic trial offers and other flexible options that allow members to give things a try without any form of long-term commitment. Utilizing spaces that offer trial periods or month-to-month memberships can eliminate the financial anxiety of larger annual obligations by giving you the chance to walk away from them at any time if you find they don’t work with your needs or your budget.
You may think holiday marketing doesn’t apply to your particular business niche, but the truth is, seasonal planning is for all businesses, no matter the goods or services provided. If your business is hand-crafted toys or candies, it’s quite obvious the holiday season is peak time for sales, but it’s also the same for practically every other form of business out there.
Know Your Angle
If you’re struggling to come up with an angle for your seasonal strategies, start by looking at your books. Find out what your customers have been interested in the most and use that information to anticipate what they may be needing shortly.
Remember that holiday planning isn’t all about retail sales and shopping. Consumers also have needs for specific services, practical items, and unique finds as well. Figure out what you can offer them and plan to highlight that for your campaign.
Begin to Prepare
Understanding that seasonal planning begins well before the holiday season begins, is the most important aspect of your process. It’s recommended to begin your planning months in advance – some even beginning as early as mid-summer. Why?
By allowing yourself ample time to research your top performers, study customer habits, and brainstorm with your team members for campaign ideas, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a highly successful campaign. You should always allow plenty of time for changes, new ideas and stocking any necessary supplies for the season.
Seasonal planning is more than simply finding the greatest marketing campaign to put out there this year. It also entails making sure you are fully stocked on any anticipated items, well-staffed for an influx of customers, and prepared for all your basic needs as well. How do you do this?
Start by taking inventory on your stock. Determine what items you’ll need to order if you are in the retail business. Plan for any additional stock items like shopping bags, receipt paper, shipping supplies for online orders, and any seasonal items like specialty flavors of coffee or printed fliers to hand out at purchase time.
Plan Your Schedule in Advance
Another key seasonal planning step is to make sure you are fully staffed to cover any potential increase in customer activity. It can help to make up schedules well in advance to allow employees time to plan for working hours around the holidays, as well as note any potential scheduling issues before they become problematic down the road.
Even if you’re not big into the holiday scene, getting festive at work is part of the seasonal planning process and your customers (as well as employees) will appreciate the gesture. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – from simple decorations to planning events for employees and/or clients.
If you need ideas on how to get festive, include your team members in a brainstorming session to get their input – this is especially helpful in coworking spaces where members come from all walks of business (and all walks of ideas!). Not a coworking space? No problem – do some online research on local events to see what fun things are going on around you that you could include in your seasonal planning.
The best thing you can do is understand that seasonal planning takes time, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. Start planning early and get those festive ideas flowing to set your plan in motion!
Practically everyone in the working world is familiar with the concept of improved productivity. The phrase is tossed around by employers everywhere and is often considered one of the most coveted assets.
Whether you’re being encouraged by your boss to improve productivity in your work place, or you’re a self-employed entrepreneur looking for a productive boost, workplace productivity has likely entered your vernacular on more than a few occasions. So just how do you go about achieving this boost?
“Workplace productivity isn’t about getting from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time… Your personal workspace is one of the most overlooked factors that affect productivity,” explains Jamie Fertsch, Director and Co-Founder of XDesk, via an interview with BusinessNewsDaily.com.
Improved Productivity Starts in Your Workspace
Increasing your productivity is a much larger picture than simply churning out projects and tasks in shorter time. There are many factors involved in reaching optimal productiveness, and it’s easy to get stressed out trying to keep up if any of these factors are out of whack.
In fact, according to Fertsch, the first step in becoming more productive should lie within the spaces closest to you during working hours: your workspace. By tackling a few simple things within your work area, you can cut stressors and increase productivity simultaneously.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but the most important step to streamlining your workspace is to stay organized. Keeping files in optimal order with clear labels will help save time and frustration when searching for items later.
Beyond the obvious filing, you’ll want to cut down on any unnecessary items within your space that take up room. A junk drawer or odd knick-knacks that cover your spaces or clutter your drawers can detract from potential workspace optimization. They also serve to add tension and crowd movement and free-thinking by adding stress.
Give Yourself Space
Once you’ve got your space optimally organized and decluttered, make sure you give yourself space as well. Sometimes when working, our minds can become too overloaded to efficiently finish a task or train of thought.
Fertsch recommends that you allow for ample break times and changes of pace. If you feel you’ve reached a wall, get up and take a breather. Go for a quick walk, spend 5 minutes outside or chatting with a coworker to reset your mind and then come back to your task to try again.
“Productivity is not directly correlated with time spent on a task… it’s important to make sure that you’re recalibrating and refueling every once and a while,” Fertsch explains.
Give Your Tech Items a Space
One of the greatest detractors of productivity is our beloved tech gadgets. The ping of a new email or ring of a new text message is often too powerful to ignore. While we understand there are times when we truly need to have up-to-the-minute notifications for things, let’s be honest, most times those items can stand to wait until we’re ready to answer them.
Designating a space in your work area to keep tech gadgets stored until you’re ready to check them can help increase productivity big time. Make sure the volume is off and place phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. in an area that’s out of view to keep you on track without unnecessary distractions.
Consider a New Workspace
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your productivity is a change of scenery. Coworking spaces offer a great way to maximize your space and get the most out of your work day. How?
Since coworking spaces offer a community setting with professionals from all walks of business, you’re essentially giving yourself a never-ending supply of networking and communication opportunities to bounce ideas off of during those productivity slumps.
Another bonus? Most coworking spaces offer a level of flexibility not seen by traditional workspaces, making it easy to come and go as you need in order to maximize that productivity!
When it comes to work spaces, most people think of the same basic essentials: desks, connectivity, technology, and room for meetings. While these things are certainly the core of any working space, many creators are taking inventiveness to a whole new level with some of the most unique coworking spaces around the world.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, coworking is one of the latest trends in the entrepreneurial world. By allowing individuals and small businesses of all kinds to co-work in a single space, these community work areas are gaining momentum all over the globe. The reason? They allow for an affordable and professional work space and an invaluable set of coworking mentors and essential networking.
That said, here are some of the world’s most unique coworking spaces that take this experience to a whole new level:
The Hub – Chiang Mai, Thailand
While you think of the basic essentials for a work space, there is nothing basic about The Hub coworking space in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Made entirely of repurposed shipping containers, The Hub has one of the most unique designs of any space around the world.
With out-of-the-box thinking and architectural design, The Hub is truly a unique working space atmosphere that is said to inspire creativity and productivity. The shipping containers allow for a resourceful use of existing elements, giving a green element to the coworking experience.
Village Underground – Lisbon, Portugal
Similar to The Hub, Village Underground in Lisbon, Portugal makes use of recycled shipping containers for coworking spaces. The repurposed containers give ample office spaces that are shared by creative entrepreneurs of all walks of life, but they aren’t the most unique aspect of this space.
In addition to the unusual office space design, Village Underground boasts even more architectural creativity. The space includes attached double-decker buses that have been transformed into an on-site café and restaurant as well as a recording studio for its audio artists.
Naplab – Bangkok, Thailand
If you’re the type who just needs a quiet space to work, then Naplab coworking spaces in Bangkok, Thailand may be perfect for you. Known for its quiet spaces, Naplab caters to entrepreneurs who need some serious focus time.
As the name suggests, this coworking spot includes a second level designated solely for – you guessed it – nap time. Yes, this space has individual bunks and pods where its members can retreat for a nap to recharge their minds on-site.
Dojo – Bali, Indonesia
If it’s a retreat you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with Dojo – the tropical coworking experience in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s most unique feature? Take your pick between the open-air conference areas, private poolside nooks or the mere one-minute walk to world famous Echo Beach.
In addition to the resort-like atmosphere for working spaces, Dojo also offers extended stay options. Yes, they have rooms you can rent for an overnight stay, making it a great place to plan a company retreat.
Coboat – Providence Mahe, Seychelles
Want to shuck the whole concept of an office in general? Coboat in Providence Mahe, Seychelles will definitely get you there! The concept? Coworkers can book their stay on the Coboat, sharing working space on an enormous catamaran as it sails around the globe.
All of the essential working space necessities are included (high-speed internet, tech gadgets, etc.), as well as ever-changing high-seas views. The concept allows coworkers to stay connected while simultaneously embarking on coastal adventures and truly fresh air thinking as they detach themselves from the mainland for weeks at a time.
If you’ve ever considered trying out a coworking space for your business, you’ve likely heard several “myths” surrounding them. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and confusion out there in regard to shared spaces, but the truth is, most offer invaluable benefits when compared to traditional spaces. To better understand what coworking spaces are (and if they’re right for you), it helps to know what they aren’t. Here is a look at some of the most common coworking myths and why they are debunked:
Myth #1: Coworking Spaces Are Only for Millennials and Freelancers
Since coworking spaces are a relatively new (but rapidly expanding) concept, it’s easy to understand how some may be confused as to what they are and who they are for. Somewhere along the way, coworking spaces have gained a reputation for catering only to those who are freshly entering the working world or only in specific areas of interest.
The truth is, coworking spaces are offered across the globe in record numbers and cater to all individuals and businesses. In fact, most spaces pride themselves on incorporating a highly diverse group of professionals in their spaces. Keeping a workplace community with individuals in all stages and areas of business offers members an unparalleled set of resources in the same space.
Myth #2: You Must be a Social Butterfly to be a Member
While it’s true that coworking spaces provide fantastic social and networking opportunities on a daily basis, you don’t need to worry about privacy or space to work on your own. Since most spaces offer private office spaces, cubes, or designated quiet areas, there’s always somewhere for those who wish to have a more solo experience as well.
Myth #3: You’re Limited to Access the Things You Need
Many people assume that a coworking space will limit their accessibility to things they need. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
With coworking spaces, you’re free to come and go as you please – meaning, you create your own hours. As you continue your coworking membership and get to know others in your shared spaces, you will begin to mesh out a schedule that works best for you and doesn’t interfere with anyone else in the space.
Myth #4: You Must Sign a Long-Term Contract or Lease
Another myth is that coworking spaces run like rental properties and leases, requiring you to sign a designated contract ensuring you’ll stay for a specified length of time. Since this can be quite a detraction for those who need flexibility, many swear off coworking spaces before they even get inside the door of one to check it out.
The truth? While there are likely some spaces that operate that way, most coworking communities are designed specifically to help those with flexibility needs. Meaning, the majority of shared spaces offer many different tiers of membership options that allow you to utilize the space only as you need it. In other words, most offer simple pay-as-you-go options that require no long-term contracts.
While all spaces operate under their own policies and procedures, you’ll never know if they’re right for you unless you chuck the myths and check them out on your own. Ask someone who participates in coworking spaces or take a visit of a nearby shared community – those are the best ways to debunk the myths and find what works for you.