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Business Trends

How to Organize and Run a Virtual Conference?

What does it take to run a successful and virtual conference? Here’s valuable information to know.

 

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Office Space

Tips and Strategies to Return to the Office

When you return to the office, you want to be able to make it a smooth transition for the company.

 

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Business Trends

What is Freelance Work? Understanding the Growing Trend

What is freelance work exactly? This is a growing trend that keeps growing! Read more details below.

 

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Office Space

How a Coworking Space Benefits Part Time Work Jobs

Are you doing part time work? You’re not left in how coworking can provide many benefits for you. Read on.

 

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Office Space

How to Set Up the Perfect Remote Office for the Day

It’s simple nowadays to set up a remote office for the day. To learn more about it, read further on for helpful insight.

 

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Business Trends

4 Tips to Mastering Remote Communication

Are you a master of remote communication? There are many tools and tricks people should know, especially when we communicate this way every day. Read on.

 

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Business Trends Office Space

5 Remote Work Models to Consider

Since the pandemic, it’s safe to say that remote work models are here to stay. But which one is for you and your business? Read below for all the details of the different types.

 

Even as we approach an end to the pandemic, many businesses in and outside of tech have realized the efficiency and potential for remote work – if managed and implemented properly.

 

The pandemic has taught us to diversify and innovate on how we work, whether from home or through coworking spaces, in work cafes, in the outdoors, or in offices with mandated social distancing. We have learned to better communicate and collaborate over great distances, improve our efficiency in the absence of daily physical meetings, better integrate virtual toolsets, and benefit from the flexibility of remote work and its many different forms.

 

Over these last few months (and over the course of the last few years), there are distinct remote work models that have come to the forefront as effective ways to integrate remote work into any given team. While remote work can be approached with complete flexibility, most remote work models can either be categorized as completely remote, split or distributed, hybrid, or virtual/remote-centric.

 

Each of these work models have their pros and cons, and managers as well as business leadership need to take into consideration how their team best functions, under what conditions their core talents thrive the most, and to what degree they might be willing to adopt or invest into any given remote work model. Let’s go over the basics.

 

1. Fully Remote and Asynchronous Work Model

 

A fully remote and asynchronous work model is usually tilted towards teams that operate across the world, with talents stationed in different corners of the globe, collaborating asynchronously through email, group chats, cloud storage, team task management systems, and more.

 

Video conferences or live calls might be few and far between, planned ahead and reserved for moments where the whole team needs to come together to answer questions quickly, solve problems immediately, or come up with a solution on the fly.

 

      • Pros and Cons

 

A fully remote team can completely embrace the freedoms provided by a business that operates remotely, through total workplace flexibility. This means that when you’re working in a fully remote team, you can work from anywhere: be that your home office, a coworking space, a local café, or a park. Furthermore, you can live anywhere, and as a manager or entrepreneur, you can source your talents from all over the world without a single care for issues like commuting.

 

But there are distinct cons to an asynchronous work model, as well as one that is fully remote. For one, it can be difficult to get things done right away. With proper management, you can ensure that your team meets all their deadlines. But if something comes up and needs to get fixed immediately, you will have to wait until your CSS specialist, or your developer wakes up and gets caught up with the situation.

 

In many cases, the boundaries between work and life can blur awfully hard when working in an asynchronous team.

 

While there is an understanding that everyone should take time for themselves and be offline from time to time, it becomes almost normal to check into work at odd hours, stay up much later than usual to resolve an issue because you had to wait for someone in another time zone to show up to work, and there are far more issues with communication and the team’s ability to react to problems.

 

With careful management, and certain considerations (such as ensuring that everyone on the team is online and working together at some point in the day, for at least an hour or so), some of these issues can be alleviated.

 

2. Fully Remote and Synchronous Work Model

 

Another fully remote work model is one that specializes in staying remote but working synchronously. In this case, the team collaborates on a similar or even exact schedule, despite minor (or massive) time zone differences. This might mean that some team members are stuck in a night shift.

 

Ideally, however, remote teams that work synchronously try to source their talent from areas in and around the same time zone, give or take a few hours, to minimize needing to put team members through the stress of long-term nocturnal living.

 

      • Pros and Cons

 

Otherwise, the pros and cons are much of the same. Fully remote teams may lack a centralized location, and because it doesn’t make much sense to be both fully remote and have a professional location, many businesses that embrace a fully remote work model lack the means to physically host clients, enjoy the benefits of face-to-face onboarding, or grow a company culture through personal interaction.

 

Some of these cons can be alleviated through a virtual office, which may exist solely to provide a place to meet and talk with clients, as well as intercept calls and relay packages.

 

3. Hybrid Work Model

 

Hybrid work models blend the benefits of a remote work model with the benefits of having an office, usually by having at least a portion of the teamwork from a central location (usually team managers) while individual team members work from home, or from different coworking spaces, nearby or abroad.

 

The exact definition depends on personal preference. Some people maintain that a hybrid work model requires at least 50 percent of a company’s workforce to work from a centralized, commercial office location (regardless of whether that space is a flex space or coworking space or owned/leased commercial property).

 

In many cases, hybrid teams form when a company realizes that it cannot serve its clients solely with local talent. In that case, a company may source remote workers to supplement the main office staff.

 

      • Pros and Cons

 

Hybrid teams only take limited advantage of the benefits of remote work, as the majority of the staff is still working from a central location.

 

This may be a popular model for most businesses interested in getting their toe in the water, but it limits the flexibility afforded by a true work-from-anywhere model.

 

4. Remote-First Work Model

 

This is a hybrid work model that prioritizes remote work, with a small subset of employees working from a centralized location. There are many benefits to a remote-first hybrid work model.

 

      • Pros and Cons

 

Remote-first work models allow team members to report in from time to time and collaborate mostly virtually. However, it may not be an ideal fit for team members who work best with other people and need a place where they can socially interact with other team members beyond the limits of a computer screen.

 

5. Distributed/Split Work Model

 

In a distributed work model, teams are split up into multiple physical locations, with a few remote team members. Most teams, however, collaborate physically and on-location in offices or coworking spaces around the region, country, or world, and work with the other teams through virtual meetings and the occasional physical event.

 

      • Pros and Cons

 

It’s expensive to fund and manage multiple commercial spaces. Coworking spaces relieve a lot of the managerial and financial pressure but stationing multiple teams across multiple coworking spaces is still more expensive than having a coworking hub, with multiple remote teams. But for many businesses, this blend of coworking and remote workspaces helps improve productivity and create a more defined and cohesive company identity.

 

Which Work Model Best Suits You?

 

Finding a model that best suits you can be difficult, and it depends on the size of your business, your resources, where your team members live and work from, and what your goals are for the growth of your company.

 

If you’re interested in ways to expand your team and benefit from both a physical location and a largely remote work model, you should consider leveraging coworking spaces.

 

Categories
Work Environment

9 Tips to Getting Work Done While Remote

Getting work done is difficult while remote, especially with more surrounding distractions. Follow these helpful tips below in order to adjust to your out of the office environment.

 

One of the bigger challenges of the past year has been getting work done while remote. Although many might have cherished the chance to work from home back in 2019, the harsh reality is that without major preparations, remote work is a double-edged sword for most.

 

It’s difficult to successfully separate family life from work life, stick to your regular hours, and get motivated to work while socially isolated. When you do finally make the switch, you get the opposite problem of struggling to unwind and being more likely to suffer from burnout.

 

The option of working from home is ideal for those who need to juggle their work-life responsibilities with certain family responsibilities, like a new child or a sick partner. In the short-term, and with proper preparation, it can be incredibly productive while saving both the company and the worker a lot of time and resources.

 

But without the necessary precautions, remote work can be substantially more difficult than getting things done in an organized office environment.

 

Here are some important tips:

 

Start with a Productive Morning Routine

 

A thorough schedule can take the guesswork out of remote work and help you regain the sort of structure you need to remain productive – and it starts from the moment you get out of bed.

 

Start by setting up a consistent morning routine that leaves you awake, refreshed, and ready for work. The perfect morning routine begins the night before. Try to prioritize a consistent sleep schedule that allows you to wake up at a set time, preferably even without an alarm.

 

Our body clock responds well to consistent sleep, and once you incorporate great sleep hygiene into your life, you can start to wake up feeling ready for the day ahead. Consider a light ten-minute exercise routine to prepare your joints and back for the day. Try something small and simple, like a handful of desk job-oriented mobility exercises or beginner yoga poses. Even minimal exercise can help you get alert and ready for the first tasks of the day.

 

Regardless of how you set up your morning routine, consistency is key. Get a feeling for what you can and can’t feasibly work into your morning. Give a little leeway here and there, and stick to it.

 

Create and Stick to a Work Schedule

 

Past the morning routine is your actual work schedule – and here, too, consistency is key. Consider your crucial tasks for the day ahead and slot them into feasible chunks to encourage productive work. Rather than approaching the workday as a single unit, approach each task individually, and calculate roughly how many tasks you absolutely need to fill into the day, and how many you’d want to accomplish additionally.

 

A consistent morning routine and work schedule can also help you separate your home and family life from your work life and give you a strict boundary for when work begins and ends.

 

Consequently, avoid unnecessary overtime. Some things can’t be put off until the morning, but if you catch yourself constantly drawing your workday out, you’ll begin to blur the line between work and home life, and negatively impact your productivity in the long-term.

 

Identify and Insert Energizing Breaks

 

An energizing lunch break can go a long way towards improving your productivity by giving you a strict period of time to look forward to early in the day and use as a means to get in a quick meal, take your mind off work, and jump back into your next task refreshed for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

 

Ideas of energizing activities to try during break time include walking the dog, calling a friend, tending to a home garden, or doing a quick chore (if these help you practice mindfulness).

 

Try to Separate Work from Home (Physically)

 

If possible, consider setting up a home office closed off from the rest of the home. Turn a guest room or storage room into your new office and make “showing up at work” in the morning a part of your routine. Separating your work from home is an important part of building and maintaining the boundary between your work life and home life.

 

Another alternative to separate your work life from your home life is through a coworking space. Many businesses that have nominally reopened are still working at half capacity at best, in order to reduce the contact between employees.

 

Coworking spaces have become an alternative for employees and entrepreneurs who must work outside of the office but can’t feasibly set up a decent working environment at home.

 

Whether it’s an unstable internet connection, the many distractions of family life, or just the mindset of trying to get productive in the same space usually reserved for relaxation and unwinding, coworking spaces provide the perfect alternative.

 

 

Take Those Sick Days

 

We might feel inclined to do more work while sick when we’re working remotely, because our jobs are a little more accessible, and no one likes wasting sick days. But learn to differentiate between a small headache and something you should seriously take the day to recover from.

 

Treating your mind and body with care is an important part of staying productive – unnecessarily drawing out sickness can negatively impact the quality of your work.

 

Use the Opportunity to Expand Your Skillset

 

Cutting out an unnecessary commute can save you a lot of time – time you can put to good use elsewhere, such as in your own education. The world is rapidly changing, and any self-sufficient professional should do the best they can to learn about how their profession is impacted by market changes and new technologies.

 

Don’t wait on mandatory training periods to learn more – be proactive about your training and arm yourself with the ability to seek better opportunities wherever they present themselves.

 

Communicate with Your Colleagues and Managers Often

 

Social isolation and loneliness are more than just simple causes of stress for many workers – they’re also leading to the alienation between employees and their employers. If your manager isn’t proactive about establishing steady contact between colleagues and different team members, establish that contact yourself.

 

Overcommunicate and keep others up to speed with what you’re doing, track your tasks over the intracompany network or group chat, and make friends within the virtual office.

 

Identify and Eliminate Your Most Common Distractions

 

Many of us have our own unique weaknesses when it comes to work distractions. A crying toddler or a newborn puppy? Other distractions are more predictable and controllable, like the need to doomscroll or check your email.

 

Identify avoidable and common distractions and try out different measures to banish them, from working them into a reward system for your daily tasks, to utilizing productivity apps to eliminate these pesky bad habits.

 

End with an Evening Routine

 

The day should end the way it started – with a simple, easy-to-vary routine. Evening routines can help us shut off the “work brain” and create a boundary to eliminate and avoid work conversations and discussions until the next day and give us time to slip into a different headspace and unwind with the family before bed.

 

Structure and consistency are important for any productive working environment, and you can create both yourself, whether at home or anywhere else.

Categories
Work Environment

Working From Home Affecting Team Collaboration, What’s the Solution?

Have you seen a difference in team collaboration due to working from home? If productivity is lacking because of this, then learn more about the solution below.

 

The benefits of remote work are beginning to drop off, and some of its long-term issues – especially in the face of poor and rushed implementation – are beginning to shine through. It’s no secret that the current crisis has pushed countless businesses into panic mode to adapt and overcome.

 

However, that initial rush of productivity has since passed, and many businesses and employees are reckoning with the long-term impact of social isolation, poor virtual team cohesion, indirect collaboration, and the impact of sheer physical distance.

 

Many businesses rely on the cohesion between individual talents, coming together to collaborate, brainstorm, and apply both spontaneous ideas and careful plans.

 

Working from home has shown to greatly affect this collaborative spirit, putting a hamper on both individual and team productivity in certain cases, and greatly impacting the overall economy.

 

For businesses worried about the safety and health implications of a full return to the office, giving up entirely on remote work is simply not possible. So, what’s the solution?

 

How Working From Home is Impacting Teams

 

The most immediate and measurable impact that working from home has had on many businesses is a general drop in long-term productivity, not necessarily due to fewer hours or lack of oversight, but more directly due to:

 

 

While teams can function remotely, many teams cannot thrive remotely, and that distinction is critical. Furthermore, the impact of these issues is felt more strongly over time as they can lead to eroding organizational health. In addition, a drop in employee engagement.

 

Individuals within a company simply feel less like they’re part of something greater, and struggle to identify and communicate with their coworkers, and the organization in general.

 

Another issue to highlight is the long-term impact of a so-called “lost year” on the global economy. Not only in terms of measurable metrics, but also in terms of lost ideas and a slump in innovation as talented individuals lose their jobs, cannot capitalize on ideas, suffer from reduced productivity due to at-home distractions, or simply never develop them to begin with due to a loss of in-person collaboration. This impact may be felt throughout the rest of the decade.

 

Addressing Team Collaboration in Remote Work

 

It’s important to stress that there is no real replacement for in-person collaboration and office face time. Remote working tools may help businesses stay afloat and keep their workers employed, but remain a poor substitute. On the other hand, a full return to the office isn’t feasible just yet, due to the very real dangers posed by the continued risk of infection in densely populated workspaces.

 

A balanced approach might be one of the only alternatives, wherein offices are sparsely reoccupied, while companies leverage both critical information technology as well as empty and existing shared workspaces. This is to help their workers take turns in a step-by-step return to more in-office collaboration, while continuing to benefit from the option of remote work.

 

Some companies may never see their workers totally return to the old system, and that may be a good thing, as it can give certain employees the ability to work from wherever they feel most comfortable, cutting down on time wasted in commutes without losing out on the benefits of regular team collaboration and social interaction.

 

Embracing Coworking During This Crisis

 

Coworking will play an important role in implementing a workspace policy wherein companies can facilitate in-office interaction and collaboration without putting their workers at risk.

 

Companies might rotate some employees through available and nearby spaces while keeping others remote, enabling in-office collaboration through a variety of spaces without excessively packing a single workspace with a dangerous number of workers.

 

This will be especially important for onboarding new employees and helping those who thrive the most via collaborative and interactive work, rather than individual and isolated work. Work styles are a measurable and important part of organizing and managing a team, whether remotely or at the office, and certain employees do better in a group than others.

 

There’s a clear trend towards wishing for a return to the office, although there’s little consensus on how exactly to approach this return safely. Different hygiene concepts may minimize danger, but not eliminate it outright. Some industries are far more at risk than others, and different regions and industries require different rules and considerations.

 

What is uniquely applicable to everyone at this time, however, is a need for adaptability and flexibility in the face of an evolving situation. Even now that the development and release of a viable vaccine draws near, there’s no practical way to tell when things will be back to “normal”, or what that might look like.

 

 

Final Thought

 

Concepts such as social distancing, more rigorous cleaning protocols, and a greater reliance on digital collaboration and communications tools may be here to stay. We may need to embrace terms such as “de-densification” and move away from the cramped open office model, towards a more modular, safer, divided, and shared floor plan.

 

While it’s clear that a 100 percent remote model isn’t viable for most businesses, let alone every business, companies may very well embrace completely new work-from-anywhere policies. This is in order to keep their main offices sparsely populated, and help protect employees.

 

Businesses, particularly startups, will see critical office space costs continue to rise as the economy reopens and recovers from the virus, and may have very well realized that some employees suffer the most from working remotely – while others seem to thrive on it, and do quite well spending most of the work week at home.

 

Finding ways to cater to individual employee needs while maintaining and improving team cohesion and collaborative efficacy may be one of the biggest and most important challenges to deal with throughout the coming year. Shared workspaces, alongside a suite of collaboration tools and new concepts, will remain a big part of the conversation.

 


Read More:

How to Stay Productive in a New Working World

Categories
Office Space

New Workplace Strategies Can Help Expand Flexibility

As we adjust and live in our new normal with new workplace strategies in place, it’s important to be aware of its expanding benefits now and for the future. Read more below.

 

If current polls are to tell us anything, it’s that many employees wish for greater workplace flexibility moving forward. Particularly, if it can help provide them with more safety in these turbulent times.

 

Calls for more flexibility, however, can be interpreted in many different ways. And it’s important to have clear strategies in place to understand how to best implement post-COVID workplace guidelines.

 

The main takeaway from the data that’s been gathered in the face of the ongoing pandemic is that people want a better mix of remote and office-based work moving forward. The ability to control how, when, and where they work is a benefit many employees would like to retain. Even more interestingly, it seems that many employers agree with these sentiments.

 

It seems that many people want the ability to work from both home and the office, depending on the circumstances and needs demanded by their work and personal lives.

 

Furthermore, companies are looking for ways to safely bring employees back into the office without jeopardizing their individual safety, while making the most of the space they already have. Reconciling remote work and office work might not be as difficult as first anticipated, given the growing role that coworking spaces may play in mediating between the two.

 

Coworking Spaces Can Help Maintain Social Distancing 

 

Companies seek to cut down on the number of workers coming back into work while keeping many workers involved via remote work. The need for flexible spaces to provide an in-between is greater than ever.

 

Coworking spaces present the perfect opportunity for small and large companies to rent space on flexible terms for workers who need to work in groups or work closer to the main office, without crowding the office or requiring them to work solely from home.

 

Coworking spaces provide an excellent third place between home and office. They are perfectly positioned to not only provide commercial real estate, but also provide services essential to ensuring that their spaces remain safe. This includes strict social distancing guidelines, individual offices and private spaces, separated and well-filtered HVAC systems, better total airflow, roving cleaning crews, mask and glove policies, and much more.

 

Coworking Spaces Can Helm the Responsibility of a Clean and Safe Environment 

 

While companies are still scrambling to find the right way to deal with the increased demand for flexibility now and moving forward, coworking spaces can helm the responsibilities of keeping a safe and clean environment.

 

Companies with existing office space will have to continue to COVID-proof their own space, but they won’t have to worry about buying or leasing even more office space to support de-densification, or worry about forcing a large portion of their workforce to work only from home.

 

Coworking spaces and flex spaces provide the optional space needed for any company that seeks to keep the number of workers working at the main office sparse while giving other employees the option to work at a coworking space or from home. To that end, the flexible and short-term lease and rent options most coworking spaces provide are excellent for addressing a business’ immediate needs and providing the level of flexibility needed in these uncertain and volatile times.

 

In a hub-and-spoke model, where companies maintain a centralized location and utilize smaller spaces as spokes in a wheel, coworking and flex spaces will remain and continue to be a useful service for companies seeking ways to reduce overhead costs and outsource the creation of a safe workplace dedicated to employee wellness and health.

 

 

Employees Want Flexible Hours to Accompany Flexible Spaces

 

Our time away from the office has led to many managers and employers finding themselves uncertain of how to track their employees’ hours, and instead rely on tracking their results. This has paved the way for the idea of revisiting the working week and judging an employee’s performance on the results they bring rather than the sheer volume of the hours they put into their job.

 

In this sense, employees are also looking for greater freedom to attend to their private and personal lives, destress, and find more time for themselves and family. In turn, seeking the kind of security and serenity needed for greater productivity at work, and a more efficient use of company time.

 

Work-from-anywhere policies can also include an amendment to the working week and develop better concepts of productivity based on data.

 

Developing new ways to track employee productivity and promote wellness and health first, in order to cultivate greater results, can also reflect well on a company’s priorities and help workers feel that their employers are putting the wellbeing of their team ahead of the business’ bottom line, without sacrificing profit, simply by placing greater trust in the team’s own motivation to do good work, and to work effectively.

 

The Ecological Footprint of Flexible Work

 

Another boon provided by a tenuous return to the office and new ideas of what it might mean to put flexibility at the forefront of emerging workplace concepts is that companies can begin to reduce their environmental impact and save time in the process.

 

Reduced commutes and reduced office space translates into reduced emissions and less resources needed for energy and heating, while keeping employees interconnected and allowing them to work together, even during emergency situations and weather disasters.

 

Remote Work and the Future

 

Much is still uncertain about how COVID will continue to impact our work culture, and our workspaces. But we know that, as we’re getting through this first inning, remote work is more important than ever. And much of the progress we’ve made towards adapting to it will not be lost the instant things go back to some degree of normalcy.

 

To that end, many workplace strategies will rely on remote work as an option for further de-densifying the office space, cutting down on the amount of space needed for a company to function, and placing greater value in virtual communication and collaboration technologies.

 

Remote work will not replace the office, and for some people it will always be an inferior option. But for those who seek the flexibility to work from home or anywhere else, it’s more than likely that many smaller and larger businesses will try to accommodate that wish moving forward, for both the safety of their workers and for the benefits that remote work can bring to the table.

 


Read More:

4 Reasons COVID-19 Made Coworking Spaces Important