It’s almost the end of the year and the holiday season is approaching fast! The last couple of months are usually the busiest time: many businesses will expect to see a spike in customer spending and a rush to complete projects while they begin preparations for the coming year. If your business is in this situation, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Make sure your team is properly set up before you unplug and unwind for the holidays. One place to start is with your time off policy. Every business needs to have an established holiday or vacation policy for its employees. Not every business can afford the luxury of sending everyone off for Christmas or Thanksgiving. This will provide fair guidelines when it comes to time off. Having this policy established as soon as possible will also help employees plan ahead and avoid headaches.
Once your team has settled on a policy, you may want to prepare your out-of-office message. This is an automatic reply to emails you’ll receive during your time off, so it is important to set this up as you’ll still be receiving important emails from your connections. Out-of-office messages will help with setting expectations from your clients.
Finally, consider hosting an office party for your team. Taking the time and effort to prepare a party for your team lets you give back and shows your appreciation for them. It’s a good time for everyone in the company to get to know each other as well. It’s also a celebration for all the hard work and success of your business. In the current climate, you may have to be creative with how you hold parties, such as doing a virtual meet-up for example.
Similar to putting up house decorations, it’s good to give your website a holiday makeover. You can opt to commission banners and put them up on your site to give it the holiday feel. Businesses can also use these banners to promote holiday discounts and sales.
Unless you’re completely shutting down over the holidays, you might still get customer inquiries. Consider implementing customer support tools before going on break, such as a chatbot. This way, you can avoid the surge of customer inquiries in January. Some tools could even be automated to provide answers to frequently asked customer questions.
Also, despite people taking the time off work, consumers are still on their phones connected online. Investing in a strong SEO strategy over the holiday season could be beneficial for your business. Make sure to update keywords to cover trending topics as well as preparing relevant holiday content.
Holiday Marketing Strategy Preparations
Marketing over the holidays is crucial to businesses, especially those relying on consumer sales. With much of the office being out for the holidays, it is important to prepare a marketing strategy ahead of time.
Host a high-level meeting to discuss the year-to-date progress, as well as any aspirations for the company in the new year. You are bound to come up with great ideas that your team members have been considering throughout the past year.
Plan out your content calendars for the last couple of months. As you’ll no doubt be busy with family, a well-crafted content calendar will help make things easier for the team.
Prepare to remain active on social media as well. Consumers will be heading online to look for discount deals and holiday promos. Staying active on social media will help boost engagement and help your brand stay top of mind during a competitive season.
Tips for eCommerce and Retail
For eCommerce and Retail businesses, the holidays are an important time that significantly boosts sales. Here are some tips to stay on top:
1. Update Google My Business
Google My Business is a free to use tool that helps businesses owners manage their information online. This is where you can update the information found on Google Maps or Search. Your business profile is accessible to customers when they are searching for relevant products or services.
You can update your profile to help customers easily find the information they need over the holidays. One example is whether or not your business provides curbside pick up, as customers are looking for last-minute buys. Another example is providing a list of available inventory, to save your customers the hassle of figuring out what is in stock. Adding your holiday schedule is also a good idea.
2. Partner with Last-Mile Delivery
In order to keep the sales going during the holidays, eCommerce and Retail businesses should consider partnering with a company to fulfill last-mile deliveries. Companies such as FedEx, Amazon, and USPS provide fulfillment services to get your product to customers.
Consider looking into local delivery businesses as well. Small last-mile companies have less reach but are able to quickly fulfill local orders. It might be a better option depending on the scale of your business.
3. Adhere to Covid Regulations
Finally, make sure to prepare strategies to handle any Covid-related concerns. Some employees may still need to head into the office to work. As such, it is important to make sure to have systems in place to quickly respond to any emergencies.
For those still going into the office, ensure everyone follows social distancing protocols. Keep a reasonable stock of face masks and hand sanitizer. You’ll still be needing these heading into next year as well.
On the customer side, make sure the delivery personnel follows local protocols when it comes to face masks and shields. Develop regular check-ins with your team to gauge their efforts and overall experience.
Tips for B2B
Don’t miss this great opportunity to show some appreciation to your B2B connections as well. No matter your product or service, giving a thoughtful experience to your connections will go a long way.
Research states that more than half of US customers find positive experiences to be more influential than advertising. This helps in retaining and improving customer engagement. For the holidays, consider giving meaningful and relevant content to your customers. Plan early and carefully to help ensure great results. Depending on your business, some content ideas include eBooks, Video Tutorials, and Infographic reports.
The holidays may be a time to relax but businesses still have things to do. Make sure to prepare ahead of time to allow your employees an enjoyable holiday season. Plan as early as possible to maximize marketing strategies and lessen headaches for when you get back.
Choosing an office space for a business is a difficult but important decision to make. The space you ultimately choose will come to represent your brand and influence how your team performs. Before you make your decision, you should do your research to find the space that best fits your business’s needs.
There are a lot of considerations to make in finding commercial office spaces for rent. While we can’t make your final decision for you, we can help steer you in the right direction in determining the space or spaces that work best for you.
Types of commercial real estate
Retail space – One of the most common, public-facing spaces. Retail covers anything from a convenience store to a grocery store, as well as service companies like nail salons or car rentals.
Office space – Used by technology or communications companies, office spaces can usually be found in metropolitan areas. They are also often used by small businesses or startups.
Industrial – Manufacturing or supplying companies may have large warehouses for storing their goods.
Tips before you sign a lease
1. Plan for Your Office Needs
Forget about “best of” lists and fancy awards- the best office is one that supports businesses to do their best work. That includes:
Space – how much square footage of space does your business require to operate efficiently?
Number of offices – are you a large business that needs private offices for each member?
Amenities – Coffee machines, printing services, mail delivery etc. Typically more amenities mean a higher monthly or yearly rent.
On-site staff – From the receptionist to the community manager to the cleaning crew, a helpful team can make all the difference in an office.
Transportation – The ideal office should be close to public transportation or main roads and highways. The easier the morning commute, the more productive the team can be.
2. Calculate Your Monthly or Yearly Budget
Moving offices may seem straightforward, but it can quickly become a costly investment if not properly accounted for.
If your business involves moving from a previous location, start by evaluating the cost of moving. These costs typically include the cost of hiring a moving company or renting a moving truck. Keep in mind your previous office location may require an early termination fee under a rental contract.
Consider additional costs, such as electricity, heat, Internet and parking spaces. While some places may quote a reasonable rate, make sure it’s inclusive of all the other utilities your team may need.
Once you add up your costs, evaluate whether a move is right for your business. For many startups, a coworking solution may be more cost-effective. For medium-sized businesses, a shared office suite may be more effective. Explore your options and consult your team for the best route.
3. Focus on a List of Potential Locations
Location is everything! Once you begin to find spaces based on your personal criteria, consider where the building is located. Is it in a safe neighborhood? Are the rates reasonable for the area? Is it close to public transportation, nightlife, restaurants, other relevant or important services for your business?
Start listing down locations that best match your expectations. Some may be in completely different cities or states. It’s important to get the opinions of other key stakeholders in your team. Would they be willing to relocate?
Start researching your list- the locations and the building. This is the only way to determine the viability of potential locations.
Determine what kind of space your business needs. Do you need an extension to your business’s existing offices? Or perhaps you simply need a temporary coworking solution.
Many office space providers offer tours of their location. Don’t just settle by going off images or 3D renders- you need to visit them in person to make a decision. Can you see your business’s culture developing within the space?
You may also spot something during your tour that wouldn’t have shown up on the webpage- a dilapidated corridor, or leaky pipes. In-person visits will also help you measure the specifications of each room, allowing you to determine whether you can move in existing furniture and infrastructure.
Most importantly, touring a location with your team can really help you accurately envision how your business may operate within the environment. There’s no point in having a large and spacious office that none of your team members feel connected to.
5. Negotiate Your Lease
You’ve narrowed your choices to one or two spaces. Now it’s time to negotiate the terms of your lease contract.
Keep in mind not all places will allow negotiation of a contract. However, they may be open to a flexible rate depending on a few factors, including the expected length of stay – the longer your business expects to rent out the space, the better position you may be to negotiate a lower average rate.
Plans may vary also depending on your need. Monthly plans may be more suitable for shorter stays, while Yearly plans will help you save in the long run.
Have your team’s general counsel or attorney review the terms of the lease as well. You never want to be caught in a position where you inadvertently break one of the landlord’s rules and find yourself moving spaces again.
How to find commercial lease listings
1. Google search and web directories
There’s a good chance you have already tried this out of instinct, but searching online is always a great place to start. Remember to use important keywords relevant to your search, such as “commercial real estate for lease” followed by the location or city name you are looking for. Doing so will also bring up a series of local directories, which can aid in your search for commercial real estate.
2. Facebook groups and community boards
In addition to searching Google, try searching through Facebook groups, subreddits, and LinkedIn groups. Although some may have strict requirements for joining, this is an effective way to canvass and network within the industry. You may also find unique opportunities that just aren’t available through other, more traditional channels.
3. Novel Coworking
That’s right, Novel Coworking offers commercial real estate for teams of 10 – 500 across our nationwide network. To learn more about our offerings, visit our Office Suites page, with plans starting as low as $2,999 per month.
Your new commercial office space
There’s no specific guide to finding commercial office space- each scenario differs depending on the business involved. However, you can still use these tips and best practices to help find a space that maximizes your team’s productivity and efficacy.
Interested in finding a flexible, customizable solution for your business? Whether you need multi-room extensions or just a new private office, Novel Coworking works with your team to develop a plan fit for your needs. Check out our plans and pricing page.
Over the past few years, many businesses in different sectors have begun allocating significant amounts of time and resources to incorporate technology into their business. This strategy to transform businesses in the digital age has been going on for a while now, but the pandemic simply accelerated (some would even say “forced”) this evolution. For example, several companies are only now learning the various communication challenges involved when face-to-face interactions are limited.
In this post, we’ll cover some of the best practices involved in updating your organization to modern-day technological standards.
Roadmaps to Digital Transformation
To remain competitive in this new age of consumer behavior, businesses must update their business model with a clear digital strategy. Each business has its own quirks and will require different degrees of digital transformation in order to remain successful. Creating a roadmap provides a structured approach to digital transformation. It’s best to start by simply looking at your business in its current state. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Perhaps the most important aspect of any business is the people running it. As you transform your business, it is imperative to identify key persons that directly impact success. It might also be a wise decision to bring in new talent to help transform your business and gain a competitive edge in the digital space. It’s not uncommon for large enterprises to recruit digital transformation agents from other successful companies.
This aspect of the business is all about maintaining or improving efficiency. A company’s process should include a future-proof plan for scaling the business and updating the business model to compete in the digital age. How will you maintain growth and earnings? What bottlenecks can be improved? Which innovations can take place? Take a deep dive into your internal processes to understand how to better serve both your own team and your customers.
Tools and infrastructure are needed to empower people and enhance processes. Prior to the pandemic, businesses have already been utilizing different platforms to facilitate communication between team members. A few examples of these platforms include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. These company group chats help integrate members of the business together, and helps facilitate communication and collaboration over the internet, without the need for face to face meetings. But technology can also influence sales, marketing, customer support, finance, and various other functions of the business.
Reassessing Road Maps Due to Covid-19
Now, and for the foreseeable future, the majority of consumers are limiting their time spent outside of the home. This has brought about a surge of online traffic, with companies ramping up infrastructure to accommodate the load.
With this change in consumer behavior, companies must reassess their strategies in order to maintain growth. For example, as people now stay online longer on average due to being stuck at home, social media, and entertainment platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) are now viable investments to incorporate into your marketing campaigns. Understand where your target market is spending their time online. Analyzing new consumer groups is important in answering this question.
As a general rule, newer platforms tend to attract the younger generation. The rise of TikTok is no doubt thanks to Gen Z or “Zoomers”. It’s been a powerful tool to introduce products to Gen Z consumers due to the easily digestible content. Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook tend to be frequented by Millenials (Gen X) as well as Baby Boomers as these are the platforms they grew up with. Facebook and Twitter in particular boast the highest user count among all platforms.
Keep in mind this is only one aspect of digital transformation: online marketing. Digital transformation can also have a profound impact on one’s business by automating repetitive processes, offering more robust technical or customer support, or creating a more vivid and insightful report for your efforts. All of these changes will become even more essential in this post-pandemic world.
Advantages of Digital Transformation
As the need for digital transformation grows for each sector of the market, the benefits are also becoming clearer. The first, most obvious advantage is the opportunity to improve processes and innovate within the business. Using online tools and technology, each process or task can be made easier to improve efficiency across the board. Consider how tools like Asana or Basecamp have simplified project management to the point that people from different countries can continue to work and track their progress with increased agility.
Adopting certain technology will also serve to enhance customer experiences. Platforms such as Salesforce or HubSpot have become highly effective at analyzing customer journeys, which in turn can lead marketers to create more valuable experiences from the moment they are hooked, to the moment they return for a purchase. For example, receiving an email notification about an abandoned cart, or an upcoming booking can help increase engagement while providing customers with the information they may have ordinarily forgotten about.
Other tools can also help yield new consumer insights. Collecting information on how users navigate a website, interact with social media, or engage with email campaigns can open a treasure trove of information that you can then use to deliver better products or services. Location data is one such example. On many platforms, you can now learn where the bulk of your audiences come from, which in turn can help inform your advertising strategy both online and offline. More advanced enterprises even use machine learning and artificial intelligence to seek out patterns that the human eye cannot detect.
Jobs to be Done
So what are the jobs to be done in theory? What are some unmet customer needs that can be addressed? When creating your roadmap for digital transformation, you’ll notice that new tasks and processes will develop. This could mean expanding your team or training an existing team member. Use the data gathered from consumer behavior to determine what jobs are needed.
One example is finding out how your customers engage with your brand. Do customers head directly to your social media account? Then you need a Social Media Manager to handle your brand’s social media presence. Do they go directly to your website instead? Perhaps expanding your web development team to optimize your website would be better instead. Does creating a phone application make more sense for your business? Then you’d want to hire an Android or iOS software developer. Figuring what works best will greatly improve the customer experience.
Keeping up with the competition allows for some accurate competitive analysis. As brands become more public, one can determine the more popular brand based on user engagement online or follower count. Figuring out what works and what to improve is made easier with information on competitors being publicly available.
Examples of Digital Transformation
Back in 2017, Home Depot decided to update its brand strategy by creating a more seamless online experience, across all channels. Over three years, the company invested $11 billion into hiring over 1,000 professionals, updating their back-end and distribution channels, and completely revamping their IT department. The result: more actionable customer insights, better local trend tracking, and more accurate inventory levels. Their revenue has since grown over $17 billion.
With governments urging social distancing, countless companies with physical stores that usually rely on foot traffic need to come up with a way to get their goods to consumers without heading into a large group of people. Grocery stores have begun promoting curbside pickups to get goods to customers to help avoid large gatherings. Companies such as DSW and Michael’s are also adopting curbside pickups for customers. This new practice relies on an effective online scheduling and notification system, as well as a robust back-end that can handle all these requests.
Fitness companies such as 24 Hour Fitness have begun offering online workout classes in response to gyms closing due to the pandemic. Other fitness brands such as Orange Theory and Planet Fitness are now also promoting At-Home workouts by creating both free and premium content for their customers to use at home. These apps must be carefully developed and designed, as they are effectively acting as the online equivalents for their facilities.
The year of the pandemic has been a wake-up call for companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Companies need not reinvent the wheel: while these examples have involved larger companies with significant budgets, smaller-scale organizations can begin (or continue) their digital transformation with modest yet impactful initiatives, such as updating a CRM platform or migrating to the cloud. As we look forward to future advancements in tech, these organizations that have already begun their transformation will have a unique advantage over competitors that fall behind.
Are you in the market for a new office? Then you may be wondering what the difference is between an executive suite and a traditional office space. This week’s blog post will explore why executive suites are a great option for startups that require a collaborative environment and corporations looking to branch into new cities.
What is an executive suite?
An executive suite is a collection of shared offices that are used by executives or leadership teams. Executive offices are also frequently referred to as a type of serviced office. Serviced offices are similar to traditional offices or office buildings, but they are furnished, equipped, and managed by another company.
Entrepreneur’s Small Business Encyclopedia defines executive office suites as, “Shared offices with services provided by a management firm.” Novel Coworking’s office suites, for example, provide access to communal lounge areas, kitchenettes, conference rooms, business services, mail service, and more.
What is the difference between an executive suite and office space?
The key difference between executive offices and conventional office space is that executive suites provide added features that are not listed in a traditional lease. Executive suites often include:
Fully furnished – Move-in ready offices allow teams to cut back on furniture and moving costs, while also minimizing startup time. This is a great option for teams who need to transition into their new space quickly.
Amenity-rich – Unlike traditional office space, executive suites include amenities such as break rooms, coffee, wi-fi, snacks, and more. Amenities not only provide value to employees, but also save on costs associated with running an office.
Business services – Management teams for executive suites provide business services such as mail delivery, building management, and printing capabilities. Often there is even a full-time receptionist that can greet your visitors.
Communal spaces – The community environment of an executive suite is a large part of what distinguishes it from a traditional office space. Think of it as a business center, a hub for professionals to meet and collaborate. The provided conference rooms and collaborative environments are great for developing a company’s brand and community.
What are the benefits of renting an executive suite?
While traditional office spaces may hold their own appeal, executive suites have a number of clear advantages:
Affordability – The office should not only provide a great place to work, but it should also be affordable. The savings associated with an executive office suite make it an attractive option for business owners.
Location – Executive office suites can make renting an office space in a major city much more practical. Novel Coworking locationscan be found in key business districts across the U.S.
Flexibility – Lease terms for executive office suites range from monthly to half-year agreements to long term contracts, allowing for greater flexibility and future growth opportunities.
Networking – These vibrant communities include lunch n’ learns, happy hours, and other networking events. Networking opportunities foster richer connections than a conventional office space.
Support – By providing a supportive team, executive office suites are able to deliver additional value to clients. The Novel Coworking team helps to shape lively communities and enrich client experiences.
“I love supporting our client’s business and watching their story unfold. Just like every story, there is a beginning, middle and end— theirs begins at Novel.” – Kelsey Punsalan, Community Manager at Novel Coworking Gaslamp.
Flexible leases and customizable offices allow for huge growth opportunities. Novel Coworking client Athena Bitcoin started with a small private office at Novel Coworking’s Katy Building in Dallas, then added a modest office suite at Novel Coworking’s Wacker building in Chicago. After another year of amazing growth, they added a second customized suite at the same location complete with original murals, a fully equipped kitchen, and fantastic views of the Chicago River.
How much do executive suites cost?
Finding a productive and collaborative workspace is a major step for any business. Not only should the office provide a great place to work, but it should also be affordable.
When deciding between a traditional office and an executive suite, business owners shouldcompare the costof rent with the cost of services and amenities. It’s also important to consider the location and how it reflects upon the business. Is the office easily accessible to key clients and partners?
Where can you find an executive suite that fits your business goals?Novel Coworkingprovides office suites in the heart of major cities across the U.S. at an affordable and inclusive rate. The Novel Coworking SmartSuites™start at $2,999 per month and offer between 800 to 11,000 square feet.
As thrilling as renting a new office space can be, it’s important to do your research and find a space that will help your business grow. An office space can bring awareness to your brand, create a sense of legitimacy for your business, and increase your team’s productivity. In this week’s blog post we share seven tips for renting your first office space so that you can make an informed decision and take the next step for your business.
The first step is deciding if you actually need an office space. How will an office impact your workflow and team collaboration? The benefits of investing in a physical office space may include:
Mail Delivery – Providing clients with a reputable business address is much more professional than a home address or P.O. Box. It will also allow you to keep your private and work life separate.
Search Engine Optimization – Brands that have a physical address can verify their listing on Google and show up on Google Maps and local search results.
“Before we landed at Novel Coworking we talked constantly about the importance of a good environment for creative output. So we invested in our businesses and ourselves and rented a private office. We’ve already had so many good conversations and collaborations in the space. Here’s to many more!” – Koriko Creative
Koriko Creative is a design studio dedicated to those who are working to improve the world around them.
1. Measure the space you need
Space requirements can vary widely by company, industry, and geographic location. While enterprise companies may be interested in suites that can accommodate up to 500 people, startups and first-time entrepreneurs might benefit more from a coworking space or smaller private office.
Consider how many people are on your team and what your growth projection looks like. How much square feet of space will you need per person? What kind of work environment will your team thrive in? How is your business expected to grow during the course of your lease?
Sheri Williams, Head of Customer Success at Solv Health, said, “We moved into the Novel Denver building last year and one of the main reasons we chose Novel is the variety of space available that would allow us to stay in the same location as we grow the team. We are now in our third space with Novel due to growth! The Novel team is truly wonderful to work with and has been an essential part of our growth plan in Denver!”
Solv Health is renting their third office space with Novel Coworking in Denver.
2. Ask about included amenities
Renting a modern office space means assessing what amenities are included in the cost. Providing your team with a fully functional space and modern amenities can make a world of difference.
For example, Novel Coworking provides the following amenities to members:
– Fiber internet
– Fully furnished
– On-site management
– Conference rooms
– Mail service
– Espresso machine
3. Compare the different office types
There are various types of spaces when it comes to an office. From open coworking spaces to traditional private offices, entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of office layouts.
Access pass – Unique to Novel Coworking, reserve a private office for the day using our app, with access to the lounge on the day of operation. Includes access to amenities, direct-fiber internet, and nationwide membership.
Office suite – A great option for entrepreneurs that need multiple, interconnected spaces for a growing business .
Private Office – Fit for teams between 1 and 20 people. A private office is best for entrepreneurs who plan on growing their team and need an exclusive space for collaboration.
Dedicated Desk – Similar to a coworking membership, dedicated desks offer flexibility and affordability, as well as the security of a locking file cabinet and a reserved desk.
Virtual Office – Not technically an office space, but highly useful for those working remotely that need access to a prestigious business address.
4. Explore the neighboring area
It’s vital that you choose an office location that is easily accessible to your team and clients. Is there public transportation nearby? Does the office have a bike rack? Your team may also appreciate a location that has nearby coffee shops and restaurants to choose from.
Because Novel Coworking owns their historic buildings, members can rent an office space in prime urban locations for half the cost of similar office providers. For example, our new North First building in San Jose offers proximity to Apple, PayPal, and eBay, as well as easy access to the airport. Novel Coworking River North in Chicago, on the other hand, is steps from popular restaurants and nightlife, as well as the Chicago River and train stations.
Novel Coworking Johnson Square is at the heart of the city’s commercial and business center, just two blocks from the riverfront.
5. Avoid legal pitfalls
When renting a commercial office space, remember to carefully consider the terms of your lease. Pay extra attention to the length of the lease, when it begins, and whether there are renewal options.
Additionally, does your rent include insurance, property taxes, and maintenance costs? What is the security deposit and what conditions need to be met to have it returned? What common areas are included with your rent?
6. Consider your budget
Don’t choose an office space that will put your business in debt. Deciding on an appropriate budget will help you maintain your peace of mind. That being said, investing in your company and in your dream is a necessary part of growing a business.
– Access pass membership starts at $219 per month
– Office suites start at $2,999 per month
– Private office space starts at $399 per month
– Dedicated desk space starts at $329 per month
– Virtual offices start at $59 per month
Remember that amenities, maintenance, taxes, mail service, furniture, and other factors should be weighed when deciding on your office space budget.
7. Look for flexible terms
Read your office lease agreement from top to bottom. In addition to the criteria you set for your ideal office space, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any flexibility in the leasing process. For example, the office space company may offer a discount on your rent for signing a long term agreement (such as a one or two year contract). This level of flexibility can be crucial for ensuring the viability of a developing company.
8. Customize your space
If you’re planning on spending most of your week in the office, then why not put the effort in designing it to your liking? At the start of your week, the space should give you a feeling of optimism and excitement.
We’ve seen people put up posters and photographs of their family, write inspirational quotes on their walls, even bring in furniture from home to make it feel extra comfy. How will you customize your space?
9. Observe your business’s growth
A single office may suffice for the start of a small business, but if you’re rapidly growing, you’ll also need to keep scalability in mind. How many new team members are you adding each month or quarter? Do you expect to grow even further in the next year? As you choose a space right for your team, remember to keep your near future in mind as well as your present state.
10. Learn about building security and maintenance features
Safety and security should be the number one priority for any of your team members. No matter where you end up working, you and your team members should feel protected.
Ask about the security measures in place. Typically these will involve keycard access, security cameras, and various safety procedures in the event of an emergency. You should also ask about how the building is maintained- it’s a good sign if technical or mechanical issues are addressed as soon as possible so as not to interfere with your day-to-day work.
11. Cultivate your company culture
One of the best parts of working in an office is the community you build with your colleagues. Not only can they inspire you to work harder, but they can also make work feel less dry and mundane.
Speak with your team about what values are most important to them, and start to build your business’s culture around those values. What is essential to keep in mind? What drives your every action? Culture is what separates a generic business from a company with longevity.
12. Be respectful of others using the space
There’s a good chance you’ll be sharing your floor with other businesses and professionals, so get to know them but respect their privacy and space as well. If you have a meeting in an open space, try not to be too loud. Avoid interrupting them if they seem locked in their work.
Over time, you’ll develop a rapport with those around you, and it can be a great feeling. You never know– they may end up being your next business partner or client!
When you’re ready to rent your first office space, Novel Coworking can provide you with competitive rates and amenity-rich options to help you grow your business. Each location provides on-site staff and amenities such as hi-speed internet, conference rooms, and a fully-stocked kitchen with an espresso machine.
Returning to the office after a considerable period of lockdown will be one of the unique business challenges of this generation. There are a lot of questions on everyone’s mind: Is it safe to go back? How different will it be? What can I do to prepare? The answers will vary greatly from company to company.
In this special post, we’ll share essential tips, updates, and resources to help your business return to the office. Read on to learn more.
Preparing your team for a return to the workplace
Coming up with a clear plan for returning to the office will help avoid confusion and prevent possible transmission. Remember to take it slow and prioritize everyone’s safety each step of the way.
Start by understanding the guidelines and recommendations for returning to work, which varies by industry and location. In the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, businesses will need to open up in phases, first allowing a limited number of people with face masks and social distancing in place, and then gradually easing restrictions to normalcy.
Business owners would do well to start understanding the new needs of your team. In a post-COVID-19 world, some team members may want to continue working remotely more or require a little more time before fully returning to work. Listen to each team member with an open heart, and negotiate on terms that work best for both parties.
In the beginning, a less is more approach may be safest. Only bring the staff you need at the start, and follow all local and national health recommendations, including wearing a mask and regularly washing your hands.
Healthy standards in commercial buildings
Around the world, each country has had its own response to the pandemic and has developed its own set of recommendations. As such, there are no widely held international health standards as it relates to coronavirus. With that said, there are a few common safeguards in countries that are opening up again.
In an unpublished study by the CDC and various national health institutes, experts believe the coronavirus can live up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. This suggests that even in areas with decreasing numbers of cases, it’s still possible to contract or spread the virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face.
Building managers should take extra precaution by sanitizing frequently touched surfaces: door handles, elevator buttons, tables, chairs, faucet handles, bathrooms, fridges, and of course workstations. The EPA has a list of cleaning products that are most effective against the coronavirus. In response, Novel Coworking also frequently sanitizes high traffic areas for our clients’ safety.
In countries that have already opened up again, face masks have become a part of everyday life. Although masks have generated heated debates, most medical experts including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now believe they help prevent further transmission where social distancing isn’t possible. For symptomatic or sick individuals, masks prevent others from getting sick through coughs or sneezes. For healthy individuals, masks prevent the contraction of the virus.
Here is a helpful video made by the Czech Republic’s Minister of Health on why masks are so important:
Be sure to consult your company’s leadership if you are considering the use of temperature measurements at work.
Should you keep social distancing? At the time of writing and publishing, the answer is yes. Since the beginning, social distancing has proven to be the most effective measure against preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In the workplace, this means avoiding high traffic areas such as a water cooler or kitchen and teleconferencing or remote working whenever possible. Some employees have even implemented new food policies (bringing your own lunch into work and avoiding the lunchroom) and sneeze guards for heightened safety.
The Society for Human Resource Management has created a helpful guide to illustrate the importance of social distancing in the office.
Over the past two decades, we’ve witnessed a major shift in the way people work. Companies have gone from leasing expensive cubicles to using private offices and coworking spaces. This shift has also opened up opportunities for smaller businesses to use shared space to both save money and improve collaboration.
But only in 2020, with most of the world’s workforce at home, did entrepreneurs and small businesses realize the importance of flexible working conditions. Workers that were required to come into work have suddenly found time and freedom. Leaders may have noticed higher engagement and overall morale in their team.
So why should you keep a remote team? Because in the event your offices or headquarters aren’t accessible, a remote team can continue operations as normal. For some companies, like a web or app development team, remote work is already ingrained into the culture, because of the nature of their technology.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you may have noticed that some employees perform better remotely than others. This can happen for a number of reasons: their remote environment, their access to the Internet, distractions at home, or the simple need to be surrounded by other productive workers.
So how can you identify people that work well remotely?
Self-motivated. Hands down one of the most obvious indicators of someone who works well remotely is if they are able to set their own daily goals and tasks.
Autonomous. In the same vein, these workers tend to work best on their own, not always needing guidance or direction.
Great communicator. Remote work takes away many of the usual communications we tend to rely on, such as body language and tone of voice. Remote workers should be able to convey these nuances in their writing and communication.
Dependable. Remote workers should be someone you can count on when the going gets tough. Just because they can work from where they want, should not lessen their responsibilities.
Willing to improve. Working remotely can take some adjustment, but all that matters, in the end, is that the employee is willing to learn from their mistakes and do better in the future.
Is the choice between remote and in-office too difficult to make? One solution you can try (and may help in the transition back to the office) for your own team is to institute a hybrid remote/in-person work hours schedule. This means allowing your team to work from wherever they want a few days each week. This offers a greater sense of freedom and flexibility for your employees without sacrificing the productivity and collaboration that arises in the office.
Understanding psychological effects after a lockdown
Whether you’ve been directly affected by the coronavirus, or you’ve experienced severe cabin fever in lockdown, it’s important to address the mental health implications of COVID-19. People are feeling lost, scared, confused, and even angry, and it’s your job as a leader to provide some direction and assurance.
Identify early stress or burnout indicators. Just because someone works remotely does not mean they are having an easy time. They may be concerned about their family’s living situation or a mortgage that needs to be paid off. They may be overworking out of fear and could end up burning out without realizing it. Keep an eye out for these signs:
Longer work hours
Symptoms of fatigue, tiredness
Bitter or abrasive attitude towards peers
Repeated errors, mistakes
Schedule regular check-ins to see how your team members are handling their workloads. Offer emotional support to everyone in the company, regardless of title or role. As a society, we tend to frown upon individuals that exhibit emotions, viewing it as a sign of weakness. Instead, encourage your team to be honest about how they are feeling. Create channels that let them speak freely, and then refer them to the proper resources or counseling. A team cannot work effectively if its members are emotionally or mentally weighed down.
Create a safe environment for communication
Finally, it’s absolutely vital that you develop a system that encourages honest feedback and communication. Whether or not people are ready to return to the office, coming to a company-wide decision can only truly work if everybody feels rightfully heard.
There’s bound to be cases where people argue or debate for a number of reasons. In these cases, it’s important to hear both sides out but also to flat out reject any speech that may be used to belittle, demean, or injure someone else’s character. People should feel free to say whatever is on their minds, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Tips to keep your team safe on the transition to the workplace
Establish a gradual transition to normalcy
For the past few months, your workers have grown accustomed to a new way of working. It’ll take some time to go back to normal. Although some of them may be ready to get out of their home, it’s in everyone’s best interest and safety not to rush the transition back to the office.
Start by having informal conversations with your team on how they feel, their level of comfort, and their overall decision to go back to work. If it helps, you may even want to make returning to work optional until a wider city or state order deems it safe to return. Always keep your team’s safety the priority.
Make it clear
Provide clear communication channels that distribute important updates as well as allow anybody in the company to report their concerns. For much larger companies, this is vital— dozens, perhaps even hundreds of people will be looking for leadership during these trying times.
Be as direct and supportive as you can in your communications. Your team should never feel lost, no matter what they are doing or what position they hold.
Adapt and evolve
2020 has upended many of the world’s preconceived notions about the workplace and work in general. Companies need to adapt accordingly. This requires taking a long, hard look at the company’s past and how to update the business for the future.
Enable new ways to collaborate online— whether that involves standup meetings, updated processes, or new tools. Ask yourself: how can your team come out of this pandemic stronger, smarter, and more capable than before?
Offer additional support and benefits
Sick leave, vacation days, 401k contributions… These are just a few of the perks that help engage team members. As other companies start ramping up their re-hiring efforts after the pandemic, your company will need to stay competitive to attract the best from the talent pool. One of the most effective ways to do this is to offer a benefits package that truly makes the team feel supported during tough times.
Going back to work will be a major undertaking, for just about any company. It will require considerable planning. There may even be risks along the way. But take this moment as an opportunity to grow, individually and as a team. 2020 has shown that many of our old ways of working must be updated for a new world. How will your company adapt?