Improved Productivity: Making Your Workspace Work for You
15 September

Improved Productivity: Making Your Workspace Work for You

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.

Staying Organized

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!

 

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)
15 August

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)

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.

 

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces
15 July

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces

As the coworking movement continues to trend, entrepreneurs are beginning to see more and more of the advantageous benefits of their memberships. Among them is the ability to wow prospective clients with amazing professional spaces on a budget. Some of the greatest advantages to coworking spaces and conference room rentals is the minimal overhead and maximum utilization.

Professional Space Memberships and Rentals

If you’re unfamiliar with the coworking trend, it’s essentially a shared office space which allows freelancers and entrepreneurs alike to work alongside others in a professional setting with minimal costs. It’s catching on quickly, in large part because it allows business professionals to work in some amazing (and fully equipped) spaces with very little overhead expense.

With several options available today, memberships range from full-usage, unlimited access, to conference room rentals for specific meetings. These spaces are designed specifically to meet the needs of any business professional while allowing for budget-friendly flexibility and accessibility.

What Conference Room Rentals Offer

There are a number of reasons you may find the need for a larger meeting space. Annual budget meetings, conferences, or even just to impress a specific client – whatever your need, conference room rentals might be a great option.

Many people think of these areas as hotel meeting rooms with closed off panels and outdated décor. It’s difficult to make a good impression with outdated surroundings weighing in on the meeting. That’s where the coworking movement and conference room rentals come in. Today, there are several options available for coworking spaces and conference room rentals in much more elaborate (and fully equipped) settings.

The Benefits of Conference Room Rentals

Whatever your reason for considering a conference room rental, there are numerous benefits to the rented space options. If you’re considering a conference room or meeting room rental, here is a look at some of the greatest benefits to keep in mind:

1 – The Wow Factor

Perhaps you don’t have the space in your existing office environment to accommodate a larger meeting, or maybe you just want something with an impressive view. No matter what your reasoning, renting conference rooms can offer you the chance to truly impress potential clients with functional and updated areas. Particularly, if you’re conducting business out of a small home office, professional conference spaces can supply you with a much more professional atmosphere for meetings.

2 – Fully Equipped

It’s difficult to host a meeting if you’re lacking specific technology and equipment. Depending upon your current office situation, it may be quite costly to purchase items such as multiple phone lines, projection screens, interactive whiteboards and other tech needs. Renting conference rooms offers all of the technology you will need to hold a successful meeting without the ridiculous overhead expense.

3 – Convenience and Budget-Friendly

If you’re a budget-conscious entrepreneur (and let’s face it, we all are), coworking spaces and conference room rentals are a fantastic way to stay in the black. By keeping costs to a minimum and offering flexibility of usage, these shared spaces are a great way to conveniently take care of some of the basics of your business needs.

The Coworking Trend: What Is It and Why It Might be Right for You
1 July

The Coworking Movement: What Is It and Why It Might be Right for You

Whether you’re a small business owner or a freelancer, planning a start-up or self-employed, one of the most important decisions you’ll face is where to set up shop. You’ve likely considered the usuals: home office, rented storefronts or building spaces – but did you know there is another option? The coworking movement is trending today, and for good reason.

What Is the Coworking Movement

Coworking is a relatively new concept that’s quickly gaining ground in the U.S. and it’s easy to see why. With the options and flexibility of coworking spaces, they are a great fit for many different entrepreneurs. So just what is coworking?

According to CoworkingResources.org, “coworking is a shared office space where entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote workers, and anyone else who wants access to a fully-equipped space can get a membership.”

In essence, coworking spaces are community offices that allow workers of all walks of entrepreneurship to come together. They are essentially a place to network and share ideas with others while still offering private work and meeting areas for an affordable membership fee.

Strong Growth Pattern

If you’re considering a coworking space, you’re not alone. Statistics have shown coworking spaces have a strong growth pattern, continuing to catch on across the globe. Harvard Business Review explains the new trend is due in large part to the many benefits associated with office sharing:

“…People who belong to (coworking spaces) report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular office spaces.”

With such a high number of employees reporting positive rankings for coworking, researchers wanted to take a closer look. What is it about coworking spaces that creates a highly satisfying work space?

A Networking Hotspot

Since coworking offers unique opportunities to network with others in various professions, the benefits are practically endless. In addition to the fully stocked office equipment coworkers have access to, networking with individuals with other entrepreneurial specialties can be exponentially advantageous.

“In a shared office space, there are usually dozens of other people – if not hundreds – occupying the same location as you, and those demographics will likely change every month. It’s a perfect place to meet new people in the professional world…” writes Forbes.com.

Beyond the Networking Opportunities

Outside of the networking opportunities, there are several other benefits reported by those who are already coworking members. Among the benefits, coworking spaces offer members:

  • Flexibility of membership (monthly, no long-term lease requirements)
  • Freedom (come and go as you please, no set hours or required schedule)
  • Less Pressure (no office politics or competitions with others as with a traditional office)
  • Community Support (get advice and ideas from a wider range of coworking community members)
  • Fantastic office spaces at budget-friendly prices

Above all, the coworking trend is catching on because it offers a unique and affordable office experience for those looking to get away from the traditional conformity. With the flexibility and networking opportunities associated with coworking, it’s no wonder coworking office spaces are increasing in popularity.

What to Consider When Shopping for Office Headquarters
15 June

What to Consider When Shopping for Office Headquarters

If you’re shopping for a new office space, there are many things to consider beyond what is simply available. Since your office space is where you’ll do the bulk of your business dealings, it’s imperative that you find the right space for not just your business, but your budget and your future.

“An office environment reflects and reinforces a business’s core values, through the placement of different teams and functions and design elements that reflect culture, brand, and values,” explains Harvard Business Review (HBR.org).

While availability is certainly something to consider, it’s not as critical as you may believe. What is far more important to keep in mind is something HBR.org identifies as the “7 Attributes of Workspaces:”

1 – Location of Your Office Headquarters

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial to choose a space that is central to your business needs and clients. Be sure to keep in mind how easy the space is to access by visiting customers and colleagues.

2 – Office Elements

You’ll need to take stock of any potential office headquarters’ spacial elements. What we mean is, how open is the location? Does it offer privacy where needed for meetings, and spaces that encourage comfort and productivity?

3 – Privacy Matters

Similar to the elements listed above, privacy is a key attribute to keep in mind. You’ll need to make sure the space offers elements such as private conference rooms, individual land lines for closed telephone meetings, and any other privacy options.

4 – Tech Tools

Since the bulk of business dealings today are handled digitally in one form or another, it’s crucial that your new office space is equipped with the necessary technology. Look for locations that can offer high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, and other integrated technology tools. There are many locations, such as coworking spaces, that offer all-inclusive bundles for office spaces that are ready-to-go and equipped with all the digital tools you’ll need.

5 – Networking Appeal

One simple element that many entrepreneurs overlook is the degree to which your space invites clients and colleagues to network together. In other words, does the space offer ample and inviting areas where you can comfortably carry on business with others in both a social and functional way?

6 – Focal Points

This may seem trivial, but focal points are a critical piece of any office environment. They are the elements within the space which draw you to them (and by extension, your clients). You’ll want to choose a space that has appealing aspects and a well-thought-out area for inviting and comfortable work areas.

7 – Available Space

Lastly, a space is only as valuable as its available work areas, so take stock of how much (and what kind of) space you need and compare that with potential headquarters. The area needs to have enough room for your daily functions (quiet space, communal areas, conference rooms), yet also allow for any future growth.

Overall Considerations

Once you have taken all of these elements into consideration, you can then compare your options with other aspects. Obviously, you’ll want to carefully consider your budget and individual business needs among other things. Overall, your office space will say a lot about your business in general, so consider all factors carefully before moving into your new space.

The Benefits of Coworking Office Spaces
1 June

The Benefits of Coworking Office Spaces

Coworking office spaces have grown exponentially in popularity among entrepreneurs in recent years. In fact, communal work environments are predicted to average membership growth rate increases of nearly 25% over the next few years alone, according to the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC).

So why the sudden influx of memberships? Perhaps it’s the unique and diverse environments associated with coworking offices spaces. Or, perhaps, it’s one of the dozens of other benefits members list as appealing that is drawing new members in droves.

According to sources such as the Harvard Business Review and the Chicago Tribune, coworking office spaces have become wildly popular for numerous reasons. Members who participate in them state the coworking spaces allow them benefits that are unparalleled by any other means. Of the many benefits given, here are some of the most widely reported advantages coworking members reported:

The Coworking Savings

For starters, let’s be honest – when it comes to business, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. An office space option that allows you to cut costs while keeping a beautiful and functional work space is going to be high on the list for sure.

“If you lease your own office space, you’re responsible for paying for utilities, supplies and amenities. With shared offices, utilities such as water and Internet are included, as are other amenities including coffee and kitchen supplies. This reduces costs and some of the details you have to tackle day to day,” explains ChicagoTribune.com.

No More Office Politics

Another benefit, as researchers with Harvard Business discovered during a 2015 survey, is that coworking spaces have a noticeable lack of “office politics.” Since everyone who is involved in a shared office environment has a different area of expertise, there is no sense of competition among coworkers.

“Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in,” Harvard Business Review reports. As a result, coworking space members tend to feel much more comfortable and focused on their own projects than they did in traditional office spaces.

Flexibility

Since shared office spaces usually offer monthly membership options, you have much more flexibility than you would with an office lease or mortgage. The monthly choices give members the ability to operate on an as-needed basis, as well as allowing them the flexibility of their own schedules as well. Coworker spaces are often open 24/7 for members to access whenever they want. This allows for a “come and go as you please” office environment, which is (understandably) highly appealing to members.

Community and Support

Finally, coworkers have noted that one of the biggest benefits to utilizing shared office spaces comes in the form of the community and support they gain while at work. Coworking spaces have members from all walks of business and experiences. This gives members a unique opportunity to socialize with others they may never have met before.

By extension, members are also entrenched in a pool of coworking specialties. This means that most will have a new set of coworkers that can offer on-demand help or advice with fresh perspectives every day. It also offers some fantastic networking opportunities.

The benefits of coworking seem to be never-ending if you have the opportunity to discuss experiences with someone who participates in a membership. One thing is for certain; the statistics clearly state that coworking offices are trending, and we’re beginning to see why!