Shared Office Space and Coworking: Happiness Helps Scale Companies. By Shantanu Mohan

Bringing happiness to your workplace is likely your top goal, as it is with most companies. Anyone who doesn’t understand that happiness is the key to better productivity and retained employees needs a new education.

No doubt you understand its importance. Yet, you’ve maybe come up empty on finding exactly what makes your employees happy.

The key is to find ways to bring better leadership and collaborations so each employee feels their worth. Using shared office space and co-working concepts are scientifically proven to help.

Using Shared Office Spaces

While you might find a few employees who like working independently, you’ve no doubt seen how collaborations lead to faster and better ideas.

If you’re new to what a shared office space is, it’s also often called a co-working space. These are designed for companies like yours needing to save money and not really wanting a giant office filled with cubicles.

These are also designed with collaborations in mind. Plus, when you rent these out from a provider, they’ll provide many services for you so you don’t have to invest on your own.

What kind of employee happiness can you create with these office spaces? Much of it comes down to bringing more flexibility in how people work.

Finding Ideas from Outside Talent

When using a co-working space, you’re essentially allowing your employees to go and work with outsiders who may not even belong to your office.

Many co-working spaces are designed akin to a bar where you meet up with different people to discuss ideas. You won’t find alcohol here as you would in a bar, yet it provides a comfortable place to find real collaboration with people in your industry.

As Inc. points out, this brings a community-oriented space to help nurture more innovation. Relying strictly on your own team to come up with innovative ideas can often come up empty. Looking to unbiased outsiders brings a refreshing way to look at things and find new solutions to old problems.

There isn’t any great sense of happiness than being able to move ideas forward in a faster way.

Bringing Happiness to Younger Workers

Statistics show Millennials now make up 30% of the workforce. With this, they’re shunning the traditional office environments of cubicles or separate rooms.They’re a demographic naturally gravitating to shared office environments and the co-working concept. Take advantage of this since you’re likely hiring more Millennials to fill positions of those retiring.

Millennials usually have fresh ideas in mind compared to those who’ve been working with you a while. It’s time to give these younger workers a chance to collaborate in a comfortable environment to break norms.

The Emotional Benefits

When you think about it, forcing workers into enclosed work spaces often leads to depression. Some workers may prefer to work independently, but most will prefer having more engagement with at least fellow employees.Polls show 84% of employees using the co-working concept found it helped them on an emotional level. For the ultimate happiness, there isn’t anything better than keeping them motivated to brainstorm for ideas.

Working alone can often lead to distractions that co-working spaces won’t allow. Interacting with people throughout the day will make your company much more competitive and keep ideas flowing.

Finding a Provider of Shared Office Space and CoWorking

At WorkSocial, we’ve become a leader in providing these office environments, including corporate training offices and virtual offices.

Located in Jersey City, NJ, we know how hard it is to find similar office concepts without having to pay a fortune. We offer very affordable options for the startup budget.

The Ultimate Packing List for Remote Work from Your RV (Part 1)

A Whole New World of Remote Work

As the world adapts to the internet era, there are an increasing number of jobs that can be done completely remotely and sometimes with no physical office at all. This is because all the things that were once necessary about an office like inboxes and phone availability can now be accessed in a mobile workspace on almost any mobile device.

Whether you’ve started your own business or are working with an amazing company that allows remote work from anywhere, a high-quality virtual workspace that allows you to collaborate easily with co-workers can allow a savvy tech professional to do their job anywhere without affecting the quality of their work. With all this freedom, some people will happily stay at home in their pajamas and slippers while others will take their show on the road, able to go anywhere they please while still remaining a rock-star employee.

Of course, that work depends heavily on being well-equipped and finding the time to settle in and get some work done. If you’ve already got travel plans in place and you want to try remote work from your RV, here’s the ultimate packing list to make sure you’re on the ball and at work when needed no matter where you choose to take your internet lifestyle.

The Ultimate Packing List for Remote Work From Your RV:

1) Your Laptop

The star of your show and the center of your remote work – your laptop – is the number one most important thing that needs to come with you every time you travel. A fast, powerful laptop is the perfect center for any traveling office because you can take it with you and get work done even if the RV is in the shop.

Through the laptop, you’ll be staying in contact with your team and/or employers and contributing to the project remotely. It can only be assumed that your laptop will wind up with a lot of accessories from a convenient mouse to external hard drives.

2) A Powerhouse Hotspot

There are many different hotspot devices and plans, and some are significantly better than others. That said, the hotspot will be your connection to the rest of the world. While your laptop may have WiFi, there’s not always going to be a high-quality wifi network nearby.

It’s important that you find a device with a reliable battery, strong signal, and fast network connection along with a plan that suits it well. Make sure to go for the highest possible data plan you can manage and don’t forget to read the reviews before buying. If you plan to work as remotely as possibly, pairing your hotspot with a signal booster is a very good idea.

3) Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Whether you’re running your own business or working remotely for someone else, there’s a good chance you’ll need to speak on the phone. Rather than diving for a device, try the convenience of a Bluetooth earpiece, now much smaller than the original fangs.

A hands-free and cordless headset is the perfect addition to a ‘remote work from your RV’ lifestyle because it allows you to stay connected with clients, friends, and relatives while you can still completely keep driving or working. Of course, if you prefer the smart home RV, you can hold your phone conversations through the hub instead.

4) Wireless Extra Mouse

Unless you’re one of the rare people overjoyed with the features, laptop touchpads are a nightmare. They’re very practical given how laptops are built, but you don’t have to lightly tap and drag your way around the screen if you don’t want to. Instead, get yourself a wireless mouse!

The signal-nubbin can be plugged into your laptop while the mouse itself gives you absolute control over your workflow and improve your own efficiency. Plus, they’re just plain more comfortable.

But Wait – There’s More On Our List!

This is only the first half of our packing list for remote work from your RV! If you’re ready to hit the road with all the powers of a laptop and a virtual office, join us next time for the second half of our two-part article where we’ll cover batteries, solar, emergencies, and more.

10 Tips for Choosing Virtual Offices

The use of virtual offices has been very popular in the world for more than a decade.

Renting virtual offices have been highly demanded mainly by entrepreneurs and small companies that decide to start business operations.

Here are some tips when hiring virtual offices:

Location. Choose a virtual office company that is located in a populated area that is easily accessible to your customers, partners, and collaborators.

Find a building that is attractive, as this will boost your corporate image. Check the quality of training rooms and meeting rooms. Do not get carried away by images on the websites, check the conditions of the offices.

The space of the virtual offices. It is important that you evaluate the specific area of the office rental company, and choose a reception that gives a good professional impression to partners, clients, suppliers and prospects, as well as a professional boardroom. Generally, the signatures of rental offices will offer you within your monthly quota some hours of meeting rooms and training rooms per month.

You should take into account availability. This means that if the virtual office firm has leased most of the offices to other companies, it is likely that there is no capacity for the use of training rooms and/or meeting rooms. In case this is unavoidable, you can opt for a satellite assembly that can be used for your meetings.

Another thing  you should take into consideration when renting a virtual office is that you obtain the right to use the correspondence address. You want to be able to announce the address on your website and promotional materials.

Ask about the rates that office firms charge for this service to use the address. In fact, there are some virtual office rental companies that also offer you the use of a fiscal address. • One of the most important recommendations in the field of rental offices of this type is to check if you can place in the lobby or waiting room your company logo. This will be an important element to highlight your corporate image. You may have to pay an additional fee for this concept.

Parking in the office rental. One of the basic tips that you should take into consideration when renting virtual offices is to check if they offer parking places for your customers or suppliers.

Undoubtedly, one of the great benefits of using virtual offices is that within your monthly fee you will be entitled to the use of community office equipment, as well as basic office supplies, so make sure that the space of the offices equipped for rent have the basic office equipment (fax, photocopier, wireless Internet connection, scanner).

One of the most important advice in the field of rental offices of this type is to check if the meeting rooms or training rooms have videoconferencing elements, blackboards, furniture, among others.

Virtual and Successful

We have already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using a virtual office. Now that you have decided to hire one or you are thinking about renting one, we will give you some small tips so that you have even more success working with this modality.

You always have to have order. Now, because you work from home you have to do it in an undisciplined way. You must set work schedules and wear professional clothing in case you have a last minute meeting either physically or by electronic means of communication.

Choose a space at home to work. It is good to be at home working and you can have much more comfort, but it is advisable that you have a place where you attend your meetings and business. Adapt some space or room of your house, so you can work as a professional and everything is orderly.

Define your way of working and communication. If you have employees in other cities or countries, it is recommended that from the beginning you define what way they will use to communicate, as well as schedules in which they can do so. Remember that before hiring a person you have to make sure they are responsible with their work and know the technologies that you use in your business.

This establishes what you require of a virtual office. When you are comparing between the business centers that offer virtual offices you have to pay attention to the details and characteristics of each package. An example is what type of calls you want to attend and which to simply leave a message. How you want calls to be answered is something that will give your business better image.

AT WORKSOCIAL WE ARE READY TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS. CONNECT CREATE AND GROW

IMPORTANT TIPS TO MANAGE VIRTUAL OFFICES [WorkSocial]

While some organizations are swimming against the tide driven by today’s digital age and adhere to the belief that employees—and contractors—must be based in the same office, the majority are jettisoning the traditional workplace structure in favor of virtual teams. Not only can organizations recruit and retain top-quality workers quicker and easier, but they also perform better. Additionally, a virtual team is more agile, able to respond to new business opportunities faster than peer teams shackled to a physical office space.

Yet, without the right processes and technologies in place, virtual teams can run up against obstacles that result in failed projects, diminished efficiencies, and even team infighting. Having managed virtual teams stretching across multiple states, continents, and oceans, I compiled a list of tips that can help ensure that your virtual teams collaborate effectively and deliver optimal results:

ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND THE WORKDAY

  1. Employee Job Descriptions. For remote employees, it is important to write job descriptions that clearly delineate roles and responsibilities that includes aspects specific to remote work (e.g., work hours, use of technologies, etc.). Having these in place helps prevent misunderstandings and failures to execute.
  2. Tasks and Goals. Virtual teams accomplish more when they have specific tasks and goals. These should be established for the team in general as well as each individual member.
  3. Diversity of Skills. Every member of a team has strengths and weaknesses and great—or lesser—levels of experience in certain skill areas. Thus, it is important to build a virtual team with members who possess a diversity of skillsets and experience.
  4. RACI/DACI. Just like their on-site counterparts, virtual teams often struggle to when it comes to roles specific to projects and programs. Here, a RACI (responsible, approver, contributor, informed) model (or DACI—decision-maker, approver, contributor, informed) can help teams to stay focus and avoid situations where individual members assume responsibilities delegated to others (e.g., someone who is a contributor but acts as an approver).
  5. Flexibility but Consistency. Workers today seek out companies that provide them with flexibility and work-life balance. Expecting your workers—whether on site or remote—to abide by the traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday is akin to sticking your head in the sand and hoping for a reversal of the digital era (admittedly, there are some organizations who still adhere to the eight-hour workday “caboose”). MEETINGS
  6. Regular Meetings. While regular, consistent meetings—whether staff or project teams—are important for any team, they are even more important for virtual teams that don’t have the face-to-face advantages of on-site teams. These facilitate communications and collaboration and serve as checkpoints.
  7. Video Conferencing. A great video conferencing service is a must for any virtual team. The underlying technology must allow for participants to share their screens, conduct real-time chat, offer dial-in numbers for multiple locations and countries, and provide any number of other capabilities such as recording and integration with calendaring.
  8. Rented Meeting Rooms. Sometimes a portion or the entire virtual team needs to be onsite, and this is where rented meeting rooms such as Davinci Meeting Rooms play a critical role. In these instances, organizations aren’t bound by a location but rather can pick a location that works best for the larger team and moreover a meeting room that accommodates their business requirements.
  9. Leadership Roles. The most effective teams share leadership responsibilities—whether managing regular meetings or taking the role in presenting status or findings in broader meetings. This empowers team members to assume greater responsibilities while giving the opportunities to develop skills in new areas.
  10. Meeting Accouterments. When your team or a portion of your virtual team attends an on-site meeting, it is important to have the accouterments needed to ensure a productive meeting. These include everything from web conferencing services, online booking, flexibility in booking (by the hour or day), lobby greeter, wireless Internet, and projectors and LCD monitors, and more.

COMMUNICATIONS

  1. Chat. While too many chat messages can become overwhelming to team members, it’s important to ensure you have in place chat platform that makes it easy for team members to collaborate in virtual real time. There are any number of great chat platforms such as Slack, Skype, and HipChat, among others.
  2. Manage Communications. Team members can become overburdened with too many email and chat messages. To help avoid these situations from happening, have your desktop/helpdesk team work train team members on ways to configure their email folders and chat platforms that enable them to flag high priority messages and to catalog them in different folders.
  3. Video Chat. Depending on the project or issue at hand and moreover the culture of the virtual team, sometimes video chat is needed. Not every issue or project task can be resolved via text only, which lacks the visual cues of video chat. The upside is that most of the most prevalent chat programs also have video options.
  4. Calendar Sharing. Having a calendaring solution that enables virtual teams to see each other’s calendars and to schedule meetings accordingly can be a huge time saver. No one has time to schedule meetings by manually confirming availability between each of your team members.
  5. Time-Zone Differences. Develop an overlapping schedule for team members in different time zones that enables all team members to be online at the same time during a portion of the workday.

ADMINISTRATIVE, CUSTOMER SERVICE, AND SALES SUPPORT

  1. Virtual Assistants. Much has been written about virtual assistants—or chatbots—in recent years. Inbound phone calls can be a huge distraction and productivity drain. With virtual assistants such as Davinci Auto Receptionist services, virtual teams can remain focused on executing tasks and projects while allowing the virtual assistant to intelligently route incoming calls to the right team member and moreover identifying those that need human interaction versus automatic routing.
  2. Live Receptionists. When incoming calls cannot be handled by a virtual assistant, live human assistance is needed. The latter is always required in the case of the latter. What some organizations are realizing is that they can tap live receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists to answer customer service and sales emails and calls. This enables them to remain focused on initiatives tied to business execution.
  3. Live Web Chat. Many of your incoming customer service and sales calls need to be routed through voice. Not only do your customers prefer digital engagement, but it is cheaper and more efficient for you. Here, you can leverage a third-party live web chat provider such as Davinci Live Web Chat services that can offload upwards of 30% or more of your incoming calls and emails.
  4. Integration. While each of these technologies are critical enablers, they can become huge detractors if they aren’t integrated. Customers expect seamlessly portability between each engagement channel. Thus, it is critical that you seek out digital engagement solutions that are integrated and allow customers to move from live web chat, to voice, to email, to text as if they are using the same engagement tool and talking to the same customer or sales representative.

MANAGEMENT

  1. Project Management System. Anyone who thinks that a project management is overkill is kidding themselves. Project management technology tools give each virtual team member with insight into each other’s work, request and give approvals on tasks and projects, share ideas and files, and update individual team members or the entire team on status changes.
  2. Document Collaboration. As often is the case, most virtual teams share and edit documents. Whether part of a project management system or a shared document management system such as Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, virtual teams need a centralized solution that enables them to view and edit documents simultaneously.
  3. Measure Outputs. Measuring the productivity of your virtual team is important. Here, you need to have a solid understanding of what matters to the business and what key performance indicators (KPIs) should be tied to those initiatives. These metrics should be tracked and reported to be meaningful.
  4. Hiring. Not everyone is made to excel as a remote worker. When hiring for positions where workers will work part- to full-time from a remote location, you need to ensure they succeed—from a workspace environment and characteristics (and sometimes experience) to thrive in a virtual team setting.
  5. Pay. If the only reason you’re hiring workers remotely is because you want to pay them less, then you need to take a step back and evaluate your business case. While workers are willing to take less pay in exchange to work from their home offices, they also expect to be compensated fairly and recognized for their efforts.
  6. Mixed Teams. Not everyone on the team may be virtual, and in these instances, it is important to ensure that both those who are on site and those who are remote share common goals, measurements, and opportunities. You can quickly demoralize your virtual team members if they are treated differently than those who are on site.