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Office Space

6 Types of Coworking Members to Know

Coworking businesses are experiencing a huge and promising boom – and as we move well into 2020, that boom shows no sign of slowing. As someone operating their business out of a shared space, what types of coworking members will you work next to?

 

Millions of people across the globe are congregating at coworking spaces, seeking other professionals to network with, trying to overcome the boredom and isolation of working from home, or trying to save on the massive costs and overhead of setting up a small office in a big international metropolis.

 

Some are simply chasing the trend, interested in what a shared space might have to offer over working from coffee shops or from the comfort of one’s own sofa. However, just as many coworking spaces are thriving, some are not. Some of that has to do with an increasing growth in competition.

 

Because these spaces have a wide variety of businesses, entrepreneurs, satellite offices and more, it may be confusing what to expect as a customer. What kind of coworking members will you work alongside in your office space? The answer is quite complex.

 

What is the Average Coworker?

 

Coworking members are extremely varied, yet the most significant common factor in all tenants is independence. People who work in coworking spaces are less likely to already spend a significant amount of their time in an office.

 

In other words, freelancers – in all their forms – will often make up the majority of coworking customers. But they certainly aren’t alone. Remote workers, startup teams, entrepreneurs, and smaller satellite teams from larger companies are some of the other people who typically seek out shared spaces as an alternative to expensive and long-term leases in big cities.

 

The average coworking space customer is:

 

      • 39 years old, and only a fraction (7 percent) are younger than 30.
      • People who work in coworking spaces are evenly split between male and female.
      • Many different professions utilize coworking – from graphic design to web development, software engineering, copywriting, management, and more.

 

A large portion of the people who work from flexible spaces subsist at least partially on what is currently known as the ‘gig economy’. They need a workplace that shares many of the qualities that their own work does: flexibility, transience, and mutual benefit.

 

As the gig economy continues to grow and is expected to account for over 40 percent of the US’ workforce by this year, this will likely be mirrored in the soaring growth that coworking itself is enjoying.

 

 

What Are the Common Types of Coworking Members?

 

These shared spaces consist of many types of coworking members. Some of the people expected to work in shared office spaces include:

 

Independent Workers:

 

These include any and all freelance and self-employed professionals who are not tied to a single client or company, and instead seek work while marketing themselves and their services as individuals. They do not represent a group or team, although they might work in several teams, and typically do not enter long-term contracts.

 

Startups:

 

Plenty of startups in larger, more expensive cities may opt to work out of co-working spaces in the first few months to avoid the costs of leasing an office. Because startups have a good chance of imploding early on, there is additional risk in leasing an office for a year or more. Flexible spaces provide the perfect alternative for these new companies. Similarly, these spaces are excellent for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

 

Remote Workers:

 

Remote workers may be employees in startups, SMEs, or larger corporations who do not have a set workspace, either voluntarily or as per their employer. Some companies have flexible workspace policies, allowing employees to work from the office, from home, or from anywhere else. Remote workers may relish a coworking space as an alternative to their main office or home, and as a more productive alternative to the local coffeeshop.

 

Entrepreneurs:

 

Entrepreneurs often enjoy working from coworking spaces because it allows them to meet with different professionals, network, and continue to work on their own projects while exploring new opportunities.

 

Part-time Workers:

 

Unlike remote workers who are full-time workers and freelancers who aren’t working for an individual via contract, part-time workers may work several jobs, one of which may be remote. Shared office spaces provide an alternative space to home if home isn’t an option due to poor internet connectivity, space issues, or distractions.

 

Satellite Teams:

 

Coworking spaces are increasingly becoming home to smaller satellite teams from larger companies and enterprises seeking to take advantage of the lower overhead and cost of setting up a team in a city where they may have an interest in better serving their customers.

 

From huge corporations to smaller, yet still sizeable multi-national companies, many different coworking members have an interest in using such spaces to save on costs and provide their mobile teams with a productive environment to do their work. Different companies have also recognized the collaborative worth of the shared spaces, understanding that there’s more to a coworking space than what meets the eye.

 

 

Creating the Right Space for You

 

As a business sharing space with others, there’s going to have to be a little give-and-take. You can meet people halfway and, as much as possible, create an environment that is inviting to you. That means avoiding harsh or contrasting themes, or strong or overly bold design choices. Luckily, the space is often furnished and has all the amenities you will need. The coworking office will often come with:

 

      • Large open common areas
      • A healthy variety of amenities
      • Several private rooms for meetings or sensitive work
      • Fast Internet
      • Quality cooling and heating
      • A meticulous focus on keeping things clean and pleasant

 

Often, the space will also provide different price plans for different groups of professionals, with various perks and levels with options for both an open space and the option for a private nook when a task calls for total concentration.

 

Should You Look Into Flexible Office Space?

 

If you find yourself in one of these categories, then flexible offices may be perfect for you and your team. There are many benefits to coworking that go further than just having a place to concentrate, work, and be productive.

 

Whether you are an individual freelancer, a management team, or a satellite office, contact us today to find the perfect office space for you.

 

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Office Space

Does Teleworking Increase Productivity?

More people are teleworking more than ever, yet contrary to what most might think, working from home or in a creative office is not a compromise but a boon to productivity.

 

The data shows, time and time again, that giving employees space and allowing them to work wherever they choose to (often at home) can lead to:

 

 

There are several potential reasons why telecommuting can have serious benefits for a worker’s productivity, many of them tying into time management and the distractions of a busy office environment.

 

While it seems like an employee’s dream to be able to make a living and earn a steady income in one’s pajamas, and an employer’s nightmare to try and imagine their employees spending most of their work time not with the team, the general truth of it all is that remote workers are less likely to be interrupted, and more likely to get work done while on their own and at a place where they feel inspired.

What is Teleworking?

Telecommuting is when employees work for a company, but they do so remotely. In this day and age, there are many places a person may work rather than their employers’ office. They may work from home, in a coworking space, a local coffeeshop, or anywhere else.

 

As just one example, a 2-year Stanford experiment involving 500 employees at one of China’s biggest travel agencies showed that teleworking generally:

 

      • Boosted productivity
      • Led to fewer sick days
      • Amounted to over a full day’s worth of extra work done

 

Despite fears that teleworking might affect their ability to work, it seemed that overall, a net gain in productivity was seen – not to mention saved expenses on office space, commute, company lunch, and a lower carbon footprint in the company’s name due to a cut commute.

1. Short Commute, Less Stress

The commute to and from work is one of the biggest reasons workers wish to work remotely. A sizeable percentage of people surveyed have explained that they would give up several different privileges in order to avoid their commute, and many have stated they would agree to a 10 percent pay cut if they could work closer to home. They claim the expenses of getting to the office, preparing or buying meals, and getting back home outweigh that 10 percent, in terms of time and money lost.

 

People hate the commute and depending on where your companies are situated and where most of your employees live, that commute can take anywhere from 20 minutes a day to over an hour to, and over and hour from. Census data shows that American workers in congested cities spend over 500 days of their lives getting to work and going back home – that’s nearly two years of a person’s lifespan dedicated to just transitioning from home to the office, and back.

 

By completely eliminating that commute, you not only give your employees several hours of their lives back, but you also give them the opportunity to turn those hours into a much more productive time at work.

 

Instead of showing up at the office at 9am and clocking in after a quick coffee and playing catch-up, your remote workers are likely at their desks and caffeinated by 8am, or even earlier. Homes are typically smaller than large offices, so it takes less time for them overall to get around, take bathroom breaks, brew up a fresh pot, etc.

2. Remote Workers Take More (Short) Breaks

Remote workers tend to take more breaks, but take shorter breaks – which, as other research has suggested multiple times, is actually a boon to productivity and allows workers to more effectively recharge their batteries and prepare for new challenges ahead. Instead of long breaks that completely take one out of the proper mindset for work, teleworkers can inadvertently boost their productivity by working hard – for about an hour or so, before taking a short break. Followed, of course, by more work.

 

Remote workers are not the only ones thriving this way, and short, frequent breaks are the hallmark of a more productive employee (provided that the time they spend working between their breaks is spent exclusively working, that means no distractions, no social media, no conversations with friends or coworkers).

 

Frequent breaks don’t mean frequent dips in productivity, especially if they’re used to recharge after a longer period of time spent entirely focused on the task at hand.

3. Working Where They Choose Offers Less Distraction

This might seem strange, but despite less oversight, working from home, or another location of their choice, actually offers fewer distractions than working in an office. At home, particularly in a private room like a study or a home office, workers are completely free from any and all inadvertent interruptions and distractions.

 

They can still distract themselves – and admittedly, many do – but working from home eliminates being distracted by rowdy office behavior, a sudden interruption from a coworker, or anything else that might break concentration and pull one out of one’s work.

4. Teleworkers Can Still Interact and Cooperate

One of the worries of recommending more workers to work remotely is that it would lower employee engagement and lead to more employees feeling distant from the company. While this may be true for employees who are totally isolated from their company, most teleworkers are not.

 

Those teleworking still check in with their employer, attend meetings through conference call, and thanks to modern teleconferencing technology, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to call face-to-face. Remote workers should nonetheless be encouraged to stop by the office every now and again, and many do.

5. A Millennial and Gen Z Attitude 

Expectations are different among younger and older generations when it comes to workplace flexibility. As millennials currently occupy the largest demographic in the workforce, with Gen Zers being their immediate successors, it’s important for companies to recognize that many have grown accustomed to having telecommuting as an option, and recognize both the personal benefits and productivity benefits of being able to work from home – or anywhere, for that matter.

The Cons of Teleworking

Yes, teleworking is not for everyone. Some people need the structure and camaraderie of an office and working from home simply makes them miserable. However, there’s more to remote working than just working from home.

 

In fact, a study by the Harvard Business School showed that, instead of simply working from home, allowing employees to work from anywhere at all led to an even greater rise in productivity, and helped them address issues that began to crop up among people who exclusively worked at home (including feelings of isolation, and higher levels of anxiety than their peers).

 

More research would serve to better clarify the benefits of allowing teleworking and encouraging workers to work outside of the office and decide for themselves when and where to work, whether from the comfort of their own bed, to the local coffee shop, or an entrepreneurial co-working space.

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Office Space

6 Ways to Stay Focused in A Rowdy Co-Working Space

Co-working spaces are unique settings where employees are struggling to find ways to stay focused, in freedom filled environment, which can be seen as lackadaisical cooperation.

 

There’s plenty to like about co-working spaces, but there’s also a lot to criticize. Depending on the shared working spot you work at, you’ll have a different list of pros and cons. A general thread between all co-working enthusiasts is that while it does plenty to help you appreciate the benefits of cooperative industry and professional socializing, it can be tough to work out of a flexible office space if you’re having a day where you need to focus entirely on the task at hand, and are struggling to find ways to stay focused in a rowdy shared office space.

 

It can be a nightmare roaming the office for a slightly quiet spot, trying to cancel out as much noise and behavior as possible, and making it clear to everyone around you that you really need some peace and quiet for about three hours. However, with a little bit of organization and a little more prosocial behavior, you’ll have no problem finding ways to stay focused in a rowdy work environment.

 

It’s All About Pros and Cons

Open offices, shared spaces, and co-working offices share a few general philosophies: people work best when they’re working together, and shoe box cubicles are not doing the professional world any good.

 

Overall, people in flexible spaces are far more productive than their counterparts. Even though it may seem that spending a large chunk of your day conversing with your teammates is opposite of being a productive team member, there’s plenty of research demonstrating that people generally work better in a co-working environment.

 

It’s all about embracing the pros, and working around the cons. If you’ve recently made the switch to a coworking environment, then you’ll need to accept some change.

 

Shared spaces can be very different from normal offices in their overall layout, as well as their size, and in the variety of the professionals who occupy them. If you’ve recently switched to a co-working space, reserve a couple weeks to get to know everyone, adjust, and embrace the benefits of having a little more intimacy with your coworkers.

 

Sure, they’re more likely to see what you’re doing on your screen – which means you’ll want to be more careful about how and where you browse – but by embracing that, you’ll have the opportunity to share a little bit about yourself, how you motivate yourself at work, what you do to get into the flow, and how your coworkers do it (and what each of you do with your downtime).

 

Take the time to ask others how they accomplish work. They might surprise you with useful insights on how to organize your work, their successful ways to stay focused, and reap the benefits of an open environment.

 

 

1. Lay the Foundation 

If you feel like the environment you are in isn’t conducive to productive work, just come out and say it.

 

Don’t be aggressive, speak it with a tone of genuine curiosity, and you’ll get some real answers. Others might even feel the same but weren’t ready to acknowledge it or bring it up. Or, consider asking your team leader to bring it up for you.

 

This isn’t meant to be a matter of laying down the law – it’s meant to invite discussion on the creation of  basic boundaries, a rule set allowing the group to mold the work environment into a place where everyone can get their work done, and still reap the benefits of a social co-working space.

 

2. Choose Noise-Canceling Earphones

No matter how much you talk it out with the others, your first goal shouldn’t be to create an environment of deafening silence.

 

That’s oppressive and does the opposite of what co-working achieves through an improved morale and camaraderie. A certain measure of volume is expected in a social setting, and just because you’ve got work ahead of you that requires pure focus doesn’t mean everyone else can’t enjoy their reprieve from focused work.

 

Because of those moments, it’s in your best interest to invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earphones (depending on which you prefer). Some offices instate an unspoken earphone rule: one bud in means you’re focused, but may be interrupted for something important, and two buds in means you’re not to be touched.

 

3. Find a Better Spot

If there’s more going around you than just an auditory distraction, then consider packing up and moving to another corner of the office.

 

Co-working spaces tend to be quite spacious, with several nooks and crannies for workers who require a little more peace and quiet time away from the common area. If every silent spot seems taken, move to a less rowdy spot.

 

4. Just Take a Break (Away from the Office)

Some days, your preferred space in the office is taken or it’s very distracting. That’s okay, it happens, and it gives you a good excuse to breathe a little new air and stretch your legs in a completely different location:

 

    • Head out to the local library,
    • Hit up a coffee shop, or
    • Go work from the park.

 

Taking a break away from the office might also help you breathe a little extra creativity into your work and gives you the freedom to choose where you want to concentrate.

 

 

5. Put Your Phone on Silent

In the day and age of the smartphone, people have become easily manipulated by their phones. Start to cut your phone out of your life by setting a strict rule every time you sit down to work on a task that requires concentration: no touching the phone until you’re done.

 

If the phone is important for something (like reviewing notes you’ve taken down at some other date), transfer that data over to your workstation/laptop. Alternatively, put your phone into airplane mode to avoid any and all calls, texts, messages, and notifications.

 

Every time your phone buzzes, you’re distracting yourself from work. If you decide to let it be, the urge to check your phone grows. Even if you’re just checking and not opening the notification, those few seconds away from your work only serve to disrupt your flow.

 

6. Take It Up with Management 

When all else fails, it’s time to take it up with management. If the office isn’t suited for concentrated work, speak to management of the co-working space. Inform them that you’ve tried everything to concentrate.

 

If they’ve heard similar complaints, they can take appropriate actions to help make the workplace a little more conducive towards focused work. But if you seem alone in this complaint, it might be a good opportunity to seek alternative work arrangements.

Categories
Work Environment

4 Employee Engagement Strategies to Know for Your Workspace

An astounding 85% of employees are not engaged in the workplace, and that can cost companies over $400 billion a year. Knowing these employee engagement strategies can improve morale, productivity, and profitability.

 

A happier employee is a better worker. There is plenty of data to support that assertation, yet there’s less data on how to make workers happy. An obvious answer would be money, but the truth is that it often isn’t quite that straightforward.

 

While money is a useful tool, it’s not actually the best motivator, and it certainly isn’t the key to employee happiness. Money can be a limiting factor if your employees aren’t getting enough of it, or if they’re being paid less than they feel they deserve – but throwing more money at well-paid workers does not make them more efficient, or more engaging.

 

To facilitate employee engagement strategies that actually work, it’s critical to identify what engagement actually means, and how to define it. This is especially important in shared office spaces, where it’s harder to identify with an employer or a company, and where finding and developing a cohesive bond between employer and employee is critical.

 

What is Employee Engagement?

 

Employee engagement is not job satisfaction. It is not work-life balance. It is not employee happiness.

 

Employee engagement is best described as the enthusiasm a worker shows for their work and contributions, and the organization or company they work for. Employee enthusiasm is being attentive at work, putting in extra time here and there to deliver a project early, brainstorming and showing initiative, and caring about the future of the company.

 

Engagement is when a worker works not only to further their own career path, but because they believe in their offer to the client or consumer, and because they feel their effort is worth something. An engaged employee is someone who can feel that their contribution is making a difference, someone who feels valued, someone who feels that they belong to something greater than just a job description.

 

It can be measured with a few simple questions, like:

 

      • Do you like your work?
      • Do you feel valuable to the organization?
      • Are you proud of your accomplishments at the company?
      • Do you feel that people listen to you?
      • Have you improved as a result of your time at this company?

 

Employee Engagement Strategies

An engaged employee will typically be a happier employee, and as a result, a more productive one. It’s clear that there are many factors influencing employee engagement, but it is ultimately a combination of two major underlying considerations:

 

      1. The personality of the employee and their synergy with the company culture.
      2. The way employees and workers integrate into their role at the company.

 

1. Improve the Role of the Workplace

Coworking spaces can be a great way to improve worker productivity through an open, cooperative environment that emphasizes a more casual and creative approach to work. But a shared workspace doesn’t guarantee a job well done, and it can make the bond between company and workers less tangible, and more difficult to define.

 

A shared workspace does not have a unique culture for each individual or group, but possesses a shared, general, and cooperative culture. This is the best kind of culture to have to help welcome newcomers and foster healthy relationships, but it doesn’t leave any room for the development of a unique company culture.

 

You need other ways to help your workers identify with their roles in the company and feel part of something bigger.

 

 

2. Understand Personality Differences

Some people are just more optimistic, more conscientious, and more loyal. They’re the ones most likely to show high engagement and identify more easily with their colleagues and workspace. They develop a stronger bond with those they work with and are easier to engage with.

 

Those with a more pessimistic attitude are less likely to feel positive about their work or their company and are less likely to display high levels of engagement.

 

It’s impossible to please everyone. You shouldn’t expect 100 percent engagement, but you can watch out for people who are generally more positive and glass-half-full during the hiring process.

 

3. Ask the Employees

 

Employee engagement strategies that work are more complex than just paying more. One of the best ways to figure out where to start is to ask your own people. Start a worker committee, remember that engagement begins with the employees, and ask them what it is they feel the company should be doing to improve its direction and provide a better service.

 

By turning around and asking your workers what they think, you’re giving them a chance to influence the course of the company and wield power. Suggestions are suggestions, not orders, but it can also be a good opportunity to collect great ideas.

 

4. Show that Work Is a Learning Opportunity

 

The opportunity to improve is something many workers relish, once a job fulfills the basic need of providing a livable income and a realistic future. It’s great for workers to know that they have places to go, but cerebral challenges and interesting situations at work can offer more than just recognition, but personal growth and achievement. Employee engagement strategies begin with the opportunity to become a better professional.

 

If you want an employee investment in their position at a company to be geniune, then you need to make them feel like the relationship they have with your company is not one-sided. Some workers feel like they give, give, and give, and receive nothing past the bare minimum (money).

 

A good salary is important, but key to helping someone feel like they’re in a healthy relationship with their employer is through opportunities that represent a chance to improve drastically.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Employee engagement strategies can be utilized from many different avenues, even in coworking spaces. Key to it all is remembering that employees want reasons to be proud of their work, and they need to tie those reasons to the company or space they work in.

 

If you can prove to your workers that they’re benefitting in more ways than one from working with you, they’ll be more engaged in their own work, and much more motivated to continue improving over the long term.