Staying Connected with Remote and Distributed Teams

Staying Connected with Remote and Distributed Teams

During the pandemic, companies around the world got their first taste of managing a remote or distributed team and the challenges that came along with it. Coordinating different time zones, distributing an even workload, and working through virtual meetings have become common everyday obstacles.

Today, we want to share a few ideas that can help your team work more efficiently and effectively even if you aren’t in the same room.

 

Managing a Remote or Distributed Team

 

Lack of in-person communication can severely hamper a company’s ability to hire, onboard, and collaborate with each other. But using the right tools and processes, it’s not impossible to regain a sense of human connection, even if the team is scattered geographically.

 

Choosing Your Communication Tools

 

The more remote a team is, the more they must rely on their tools to ensure communication is clear. Last year, Zoom became the de facto video conferencing app due to its accessibility and ease of use— unlike previous video conferencing software, users did not require an account or login code to join a call.

Slack has also become iconic enough to become part of everyday vocabulary. “Slack” me implies a quick message on the app, which is a kind of hybrid between the rich formatting of email and the immediacy of IM. With support for multiple channels, third-party integrations, and even voice and video chat, Slack has even replaced traditional email clients for some startups.

For those seeking to collaborate on a specific document, presentation, or spreadsheet, look no further than Google Drive. This suite makes it easy to edit documents together in real-time, which means you don’t have to keep sending files back and forth to make changes. Full cloud storage support also frees up hardware space, allowing you to store millions of files online.

Other apps can assist with various purposes— Bonsai allows freelancers to set up contracts quickly. Toggl or Mavenlink can allow teams to carefully track their time for billing. HelloSign or Docusign can help you get signatures from other people for your SOW or RFPs. Ensure that team resources are shared and properly understood. Some tools, such as CRM software, may require additional training before team members can feel comfortable.

 

Developing Your Communication Process

 

Tools are often not enough to get a team talking to each other— you have to have processes in place to ensure the tools are being effectively used. Be transparent about working hours and availability, perhaps through the use of a shared calendar. When it comes to meetings, everyone should know beforehand exactly how to join, at what time, and what the meeting is about.

The same goes for client communication. There should be a general understanding of how remote teams respond to clients, from the timing to the language used. Poor communication can portray a negative depiction of your company’s brand.

 

Recognizing Employees

 

One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a company culture remotely is the lack of recognition for a job well done. We tend to get so focused on the work at hand that it’s easy to leave little room for celebrating success, even though that’s when we need to celebrate the most.

Create a channel for celebrating success, both figuratively and literally. In Slack, you may have a specific thread dedicated to recognizing accomplishments from the team. Or you may choose to publicly shout out team members that have helped in difficult situations. Regardless, always ensure that everyone in the team gets their due recognition.

 

Remote Team Building Activities

 

Daily standups and weekly meetings – Every day at the same time, team members are encouraged to keep everyone updated on their current tasks, any obstacles ahead, and any help needed. These standups should last no more than 15 minutes but can vary depending on team size. Weekly meetings are longer and tend to involve more team members. Both these practices will develop more cohesive and collaborative teams.

Conduct special events, even if held virtually, that show you care and value your team members. Some ideas include trivia night, happy hours, webinars, online games, and other bonding activities.

Start an ask me anything session. Inspired by the popular subreddit, this gives team members an opportunity to ask each other questions that don’t necessarily pertain to work. When done right, it can be a great way to get to know someone and even find shared interests.

Organize team retreats. Nothing beats going to a place somewhere with your team. The change of scenery can inspire more creativity and collaboration and will allow team members to see each other outside work in a casual, yet still professionally relevant environment.

Volunteer together. Find a cause that’s important to everyone in the team, and then organize an event that pulls everyone together to help towards that cause. It may be cleaning up a local park, packing supplies for families, or helping at a nearby shelter or soup kitchen. Philanthropy can be a great way to bring people together.

 

Benefits of a Remote Workforce

 

Greater collaboration – working with people around the country and around the world can be eye-opening and creatively fulfilling. You get to hear different viewpoints and experiences, all of which serve to make stronger products and services— just make sure you cultivate an environment of open and honest communication.

Greater engagement – As people have more time to focus on their wellness and work-life balance, a remote lifestyle can have a significant impact on an employee’s sense of belonging and dedication to their work. The result is lower employee turnover and a higher level of loyalty.

Greater productivity – Remote work opens up new opportunities. Employees don’t have to be stuck in traffic or working a rigid 9-5. Instead, they have flexibility in deciding when and where they can work.

 

Challenges of Remote Work

 

No supervision – No one will be hovering over you to ensure you stay productive! Remote work means being accountable for your own deliverables and deadlines. This can be detrimental to people who are less autonomous or require a little more guidance.

Social isolation – Remote work can feel lonely if you aren’t surrounded by people you care about. Be sure to have check-ins with your team regarding how they are doing mentally. This is also where team activities can play a major role in increasing engagement.

Lack of resources – Depending on where you are, you may lack basic office equipment: things like printers, fax machines, conference tables, or postboxes. For some industries and types of work, these pieces of equipment are essential to completing projects.

 

Remote Work Tools

 

Project Management

 

Proofhuba useful, all-in-one project management app for workflows, discussions, Gantt charts, calendars, documents, and other important pieces of information. The interface is colorful and intuitive, ensuring your team stays on track no matter what project you are working on. Netflix, Google, NASA, Nike, and Pinterest are just a few of their clients.

Basecamp – Another popular project management tool designed to keep you productive and organized. Teams can organize projects through message boards, to-do lists, schedules, documents, group chat, and automatic check-ins. There are also apps for iOS and Android, Mac, and PC.

Instagantt – Some teams like to view projects as Gantt charts, which show the timeline, task types, and dependencies that are often overlooked when making a project. Instagantt makes that process easy with beautiful-looking charts. If you use Asana, Instagantt syncs seamlessly.

 

HR Tools

 

Lattice – Think project management meets HR, and you get a people management platform. Utilized by Reddit, Slack, Asana, and many more, Lattice allows companies to better understand their employees and their overall engagement, through performance reviews, goal setting, feedback, updates, and more. The result is a more inspiring and human way of working together.

Officevibe – Learn about the important things that your employees don’t always want to talk about— everything from collaboration problems to workplace harassment. Officevibe’s platform makes it easy to take surveys or leave feedback anonymously, protecting employees as well as the company.

Kudos – Recognition for a professional achievement can only do wonders for the individual as well as the company. So take the time to shout out employees and reward them for performing an exceptional job. That’s the idea behind kudos, a way to praise employees as part of your overall program, motivating them to do even better the next time.

 

Business Communications

 

Nextiva – Whether you communicate by phone, text, video, email, or IM, Nextiva brings it all together in one location. This isn’t just for teams, but for customers as well. That means you only ever need one app to do all your communications and customer outreach.

Whereby – Want to have video conversations but always have privacy in mind? Whereby is your solution. No app or download needed, just a single URL and you can start chatting via video. All your communications are encrypted and browser-based, and you can even have branded rooms hosting up to 50 people. A seriously competitive alternative to Zoom.

 

Coworking or Virtual Office Solutions

Even if you are working remotely, sometimes you need a physical place to meet up, or just somewhere besides your apartment or house to finish up work. Other times, you may just need a prestigious address to receive your mail and documents, or a place for printing and faxing.

Visit Expansive for more information on our various plans.

 

Sometimes just changing a single tool or updating the team process can have profound effects on the company as a whole. If you want to ensure your distributed team can perform successfully, make sure they have everything they need to collaborate and get work done. 2020 showed us that remote teams can absolutely work, even thrive, as long as the right tools and processes are available to empower them.

Holiday Season Preparations for Businesses

Holiday Season Preparations for Businesses

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.

 

Office Preparations

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.

 

Website Preparations

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.

How to Find & Lease Commercial Office Space

How to Find & Lease Commercial Office Space

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?
  • Location – where your business is situated can impact how your clients interact with you. Check out Business Insider’s list of 50 best places to work in the USA.
  • 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?

Check out Novel Coworking’s various locations across the nation.

 

4. Tour, Interview, Research

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.

Adapting to Change with Digital Transformation

Adapting to Change with Digital Transformation

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:

 

People

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.

 

Process

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.

 

Technology

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

 

Home Depot

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.

 

Curbside Pickups

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.

 

Online Workouts

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.

Executive Office Suites: Everything You Need to Know

Executive Office Suites: Everything You Need to Know

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. 

Smart Suite from Novel Coworking Superior in Chicago

Featured above is a Smart Suite from Novel Coworking Superior in Chicago

 

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 locations can 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. 

Kelsey Punsalan, Community Manager at Novel Coworking Gaslamp.

“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.

 

Who can benefit from renting an executive suite?

The office suites at Novel Coworking can accomodate 10 to 500 person teams, making them a great fit for a variety of businesses. Executive offices can benefit publicly-traded companies, satellite offices, and venture-funded startups. 

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 should compare the cost of 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 Coworking provides 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. 

 

Visit our blog for more tips on finding an office space that’s right for your business. To learn more about Novel Coworking’s office suites, visit our Plans and Pricing page. 

12 Tips for Renting Your First Office Space (Small Business)

12 Tips for Renting Your First Office Space (Small Business)

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
    – Printers
    – Conference rooms
    – Mail service
    – Espresso machine

Learn more about plug and play offices in our post here.

 

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.

Consider the plans and pricing at Novel Coworking:

  • – 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.

Find a Novel Coworking location in your area and take a tour today!