Building an Inclusive Workplace

Building an Inclusive Workplace

Many modern businesses have embraced the concept that diversity and inclusion is beneficial from both a business standpoint and a value perspective. However, implementing these values and measuring the outcome can be a challenge. This week’s blog post will explore how leadership teams can continue to grow their diversity and inclusion efforts.

 

What is an inclusive workplace?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines inclusion as, “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.”

In other words, inclusion in the workplace means empowering employees from a variety of backgrounds with a sense of belonging and community. Consider the following key questions:

  • – Can employees bring their “whole selves” to work?
    – Can employees voice diverse points of view?
    – Who is on the company’s leadership team?
    – What resources and opportunities are available to each team member?

 

Benefits of an inclusive workplace

According to research by Deloitte, organizations with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.

“Our research demonstrates that inclusive talent practices drive measurable and predictable business outcomes,” said Stacia Sherman Garr, vice president, talent and workforce research leader, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “After two years of study, we conclude that these business outcomes are possible for all companies – but only with a change in focus. The research shows that CEOs and business leaders should own the strategy, and the entire organization should embed and use inclusive talent practices.”

Additionally, workplaces that value diversity and inclusion allow employees to be themselves, share problems, make mistakes, and contribute ideas.

 

How do you create an inclusive workplace?

Move beyond diversity. Diversity refers to who is in the room, who is hired, and what groups are represented. Inclusion, however, refers to providing opportunities, resources, and community to everyone on the team.

Implement multiple forms of diversity. An inclusive workplace should be prepared for multiple dimensions of diversity. Here are a few examples: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, personality, socioeconomic status, and education level.

Provide resources and opportunities. Empower employees by providing opportunities for advancement. This includes creating space for everyone to bring their whole selves to work, as well as providing mentorship to everyone on the team.

Drive accountability. Companies should focus on strategic measurements to track the impact of their inclusion practices. Senior leadership should discuss achievements and areas of improvement regularly with the team.

Companies looking to further develop their inclusion strategy can look to Novel Coworking client Holistic. Holistic helps companies build diverse, inclusive, vibrant workforces by using data and analysis to attract, retain, inspire, and motivate top talent.

 

The 6 C’s of inclusive leadership

The benefits of a diverse and inclusive company culture are clear, but what does it mean to be an inclusive leader? According to Deloitte, there are 6 attributes required for inclusive leadership.

Commitment – Developing an inclusive work environment can be challenging and requires resources. Inclusive leaders are committed to the process and understand the importance of diversity from both a business standpoint and a personal value system.

Courage – Inclusive leaders are required to speak up and challenge the status quo, while also remaining humble and reviewing their own weaknesses. This vulnerability requires courage.

Cognizance – Speaking of owning weaknesses, inclusive leadership means taking a close look at unconscious bias. Leaders should be mindful of both personal and organizational bias, ensuring a positive work environment for everyone.

Curiosity – Leaders who have an open mind and a willingness to learn about other people’s experiences will be better suited to support an inclusive work culture. If a leader isn’t curious, they can’t change.

Cultural Intelligence – An understanding of various cultures is helpful, but it may be more important for inclusive leaders to recognize how their own culture impacts their worldview. This means paying close attention and avoiding cultural stereotypes.

Collaboration – Empowering individuals and diverse teams is essential for inclusive leadership. Individuals should feel comfortable sharing their diverse perspectives, which will then enhance the team as a whole. Learn more about collaborative workspaces here.

 

Novel Coworking offices offer a collaborative environment with business owners from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. Plus, Novel Coworking provides amenities such as gender neutral bathrooms and mother’s rooms to support inclusive practices. Book a tour today to learn more.

Why is Storytelling Important for Brands?

Why is Storytelling Important for Brands?

As a company, Novel Coworking has grown from one to 31 locations nationwide, and we’ve come to realize that our narrative isn’t just our own — it’s comprised of the thousands of unique stories of our clients.

But how do our clients tell their own stories? This week’s blog post explores why storytelling is important for brands and how to share effective narratives.

 

What is brand storytelling?

Everyone is familiar with storytelling through books, television, and art, but what does it mean for your brand?

Brand storytelling builds awareness, engagement, and relationships with audiences by leveraging relatability. It encompasses more than the messages sent by the brand itself. The story includes facts, feelings, and interpretations which become messages shared by both the brand and the public.

According to Small Business Trends, brand storytelling combines:
– Who you are
– What you do
– How you solve problems
– How you engage and contribute

 

How is storytelling related to content marketing?

While brand storytelling more broadly refers to both intentional and unintentional messages sent by a brand, content marketing focuses on materials published by the brand itself. Content marketing can include blogs, videos, newsletters, and social media posts.

 

Why is storytelling so important?

Quality brand stories inspire trust and foster engagement. Below are three key benefits of brand storytelling.

 

Stand out from the crowd

Attention is the new currency. Brands are producing endless streams of content in order to compete for brief seconds of consumer attention. While the internet has made marketing more accessible, it has also made it more difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Instead of focusing exclusively on statistics and testimonials, brands can use storytelling to make their content memorable and relatable. The best stories provoke an emotional response from audiences. Brand stories can include history, challenges, successes, and value propositions. Stories make a brand unique and difficult to replicate.

 

Attract the right audience

By using stories to create a deep emotional connection, brands can turn one-time customers into brand advocates. How does a brand build these lasting relationships? It starts conversations, builds engagement, and asks audiences to take part in the story. One of the best ways to foster a digital community is by providing emotional value — and that’s how storytelling can help. What emotions, values, and ideas can you offer your audience?

 

Make your brand more human

Consumers want to support brands that are making a positive impact on the world. Storytelling is a great way to share a brand’s mission and connect with audiences on a human level. According to Harvard Business Review, “There is a direct link between empathy and commercial success.” Use storytelling to inspire audiences to share their support.

 

How can you tell better stories for your business?

Draw on emotion – When crafting a story it’s important to consider what emotions should be conveyed and what anecdotes support that emotion.

Focus on authenticity – Decide what makes the brand authentic and then be consistent. Consumers will disengage if a brand does not live their values and consistently project authentic messaging.

Make it relatable – What problem is your core audience facing and how can the brand relate? What concerns or tensions can be addressed through the story? By relating on a human level and providing solutions, the brand can ingrain itself into the lives of viewers and readers.

Identify core values – The brand and its audiences should align with a few non-negotiable beliefs. Sharing these value systems will help to connect the brand to consumers.

 

How to measure storytelling success

Storytelling is not always about an immediate financial gain. One of the benefits of telling great brand stories is that the brand becomes more human, so the measure of success should examine how audiences are relating to the material. Consider the following examples: social and community engagement, audience growth, press coverage, and increase in earned media.

 

Successful storytelling examples

Warby Parker – This is a socially-conscious brand with a genuine vision. Warby Parker donates a portion of their profits to make eyewear available in underserved communities around the world. By making a social impact, the brand has developed a loyal following.

Burt’s Bees – The company’s founder models how to live simply, naturally and responsibly. Brand stories share Burt’s lifestyle and how products are made. This mini-documentary is just one example.

Airbnb – The property rental company provides a forum for customers to tell their own stories. These micro-stories add up to tell the larger brand story. Airbnb’s strategy is effective because it builds consumer affiliation while also building a sense of trust, safety, and familiarity.

 

Narratives play a key role in any brand’s marketing strategy. Want to start writing your own success story? Join our community of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and enterprise companies today.

6 Tips for Renting Your First Office Space

6 Tips for Renting Your First Office Space

Renting your first office space can be a challenging, but exciting milestone for your business. The space you choose will represent your brand and influence your team’s productivity. In fact, being able to rent an office space is a major goal for many new entrepreneurs.

Investing in an office or coworking space can help you focus and grow your professional network. “I joined Novel Coworking to have an actual office to go to a few days a week when I feel like I need extra focus (with unlimited free coffee, count me in!) and I’ve loved having the option to work alongside other entrepreneurs a few days a week,” said Nina Baez, owner of Nina Fitness Training.  “Entrepreneurship is rewarding and sometimes lonely if your business is entirely virtual, so if you’re feeling that you need a change of focus or motivation, try something new.”

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. 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.

 

Benefits of an office space

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:

Local Brand Awareness – Grow your brand’s local presence by renting an office space in an area with heavy foot traffic.

Meeting Space – Coffee shops may be an adequate meeting space when you’re just getting started, but might not help you get to the next level. In-person meetings and conference calls will benefit from a quiet space with reliable internet.

Increased Productivity – Working from home can make it difficult to stay on task. Working in a high-energy, professional space can improve productivity and collaboration.

“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.

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.

 

1. How much space do 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.

First, consider how many people are on your team and what your growth projection looks like. 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. What amenities are included?

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
    – Beer on tap
    – Fully furnished
    – On-site management
    – Printers
    – Conference rooms
    – Mail service
    – Espresso machine

 

 

3. What type of office should you rent?

Modern workspaces come in many different forms. From open coworking spaces to traditional private offices, entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of office layouts.

Shared Office – A great option for solopreneurs who want a space to focus on work, but don’t mind sharing their office with another freelancer or business owner.

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.

Coworking – Through coworking, entrepreneurs can work in a modern and professional environment for an affordable rate. Coworking spaces have the added benefit of allowing business owners to connect with dynamic leaders and innovators.

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.

 

4. How to choose a location

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. Legal pitfalls you should avoid

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:

  • – Private or shared office space starts at $299 per month
    – Coworking membership starts at $129 per month
    – Dedicated desk space starts at $249 per month

 

Remember that amenities, maintenance, taxes, mail service, furniture and other factors should be weighed when deciding on your office space budget.

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 beer on tap and an espresso machine.

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

5 Startup Conferences in 2019 Worth Your Attention

5 Startup Conferences in 2019 Worth Your Attention

Social media has made networking easier than ever before, but nothing beats the real-life interactions and professional relationships cultivated in a conference setting. But with so many conferences worldwide, it can be difficult to know which ones to prioritize and which ones to skip.

Today, we’ll cover the best startup conferences to attend this year as well as how to choose the right conference for your purposes.

 

Why should you consider attending a conference?

Whether you run your own company or are an aspiring freelancer, conferences can help advance your career.

Build your network. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to meet hundreds of industry veterans and thought leaders in a single space. You may find your next business partner or potential new hire.

Expand your education. Typically, seminars, talks, keynotes, and other industry resources are readily available at conferences, allowing anyone to learn and develop new insights. What does the future hold for your industry? How can you improve on your work? What are some of your peers doing in the same space?

Discover new opportunities. You never know what you may find at a conference. You could be one of the first guests to demo new technology, or receive special discounts to a new product, or join new groups and communities.

 

5 noteworthy startup conferences in 2019

 

Disrupt SF

One of the earliest startup conferences in the tech space, Disrupt SF continues to prove its legacy as one of the most important showcases and networking events for all kinds of startups. The conference is organized by tech publisher TechCrunch, and is held in San Francisco in early October.

Disrupt SF is also where the Startup Battlefield Competition is held, a free competition for startups to enter and win a $100,000 cash prize, coaching, and top-tier investment. The competition is responsible for launching Dropbox, Mint, and Fitbit.

 

Collision

Billed as “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference” by Inc., Collision hosts tech startups from all around the world in Toronto each May. In its five years since its founding, Collision has grown to accommodate over 25,000 attendees. This year, there are an estimated 3,750+ CEOs attending, from Ev Williams (Founder and CEO of Medium) to Christina Miller (President of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim).

 

Web Summit

If you’re looking for a more international conference, you can’t do much better than Web Summit, held in Lisbon. Web Summit is organized by the same people behind Collision, so expect to see a similar presence of CEOs and attendees. This year, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Hulu CEO Randy Freer, and Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans are just a few of the confirmed speakers attending.

 

Lean Startup Conference

Maybe you’re less interested in what big companies are doing and want actionable information for how to operate your own lean startup. Then the Lean Startup Conference is for you. This one-week event hosted each October is designed to educate your team in building a modern startup through lean principles. The conference was originally founded by Eric Ries, the same person behind The Lean Startup, a book about building your own company using agile methodology.

 

Summit LA19

Summit LA19 isn’t really a conference- it actually presents itself as an “ideas festival”. Over three days, various thought leaders, industry veterans, and experts come together over gourmet food, insightful talks, performance art, and much more, to build meaningful personal and professional relationships. Scheduled for this November, look out for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 Jennifer Doudna.

 

How to choose the right conference

Each conference is different so you may wonder which ones to prioritize.

Start by writing down your business’s goals. Is it to rapidly expand in the next few years? Is it to maintain? To find inspiration? To hire new partners? Once you better understand your own objectives, you can choose which conferences best suit your business.

Next, you need to determine your business’s budget to attend a conference, even if you plan on going solo. Some of these conferences, such as Disrupt SF and Web Summit, will cost far more than local conferences.

Finally, you may need to do your own research to find conferences that apply to your own specific industry or niche. Most of these are tech conferences, which may not be of use to businesses in the hospitality or healthcare sector.

Whether you go to a conference on this list or one near your office, conferences can open the gateways of possibility for your business. Put yourself outside your comfort zone, and discover how your brand can truly grow. For more content on building your business, visit Novel Coworking’s blog today.

8 Quick and Simple Green Tips for the Office

8 Quick and Simple Green Tips for the Office

The Importance of a Sustainable Office

When you’re under a deadline or stuck in meetings all day, developing a greener office may not be at the top of your priority list. But when you look at how they align with your other business activities, such as finances or team productivity, green initiatives are actually one of the best investments you can make. They can even help your employees stay healthier, happier and more productive.

Above all, companies with green initiatives get to be part of an elite group that is contributing to the sustainability of our planet. More than growing the bottom line, going green means working together to build our collective future.

Here are a few tips on building a greener workplace.

 

Revisit your business process

Start with your business process- from onboarding new employees to bringing in new customers. Does your company use a lot of posters and flyers to promote events? Or print out physical handouts for each customer? Or perhaps your work involves back-and-forth driving. No matter your industry, we’re all guilty of using more resources than we need. Think about all the steps that involve using excess amounts of paper, plastic, or energy. What can you do to avoid waste?

 

Use eco-friendly office supplies

According to the National Wildlife Federation, 17 trees and 6,953 gallons of water can be saved by recycling just one ton of paper. Imagine the difference that can be made when entire organizations decide to use recycled paper, drink from reusable water bottles, and repurpose old electronics. What supplies can your business replace with eco-friendly alternatives?

 

Cut back or schedule your energy consumption

Retailers and corporate offices are guilty of leaving the lights and computers turned on even when the day is over. Schedule power cycles for lights, air conditioning, and computers to avoid wasting energy. Not only will your team not notice an inconvenience, but you will greatly decrease your energy consumption.

 

Embed sustainability into the culture

Sustainability isn’t something that can be knocked off on your weekly agenda. It’s a mindset that must be adopted by the entire company, a routine followed every day, month, and year. Revisit your company culture. How can the literature be modified to be more environmentally conscious? How can you ensure that the company continues to strive towards its green goals?

 

Install energy-efficient alternatives

Incandescent bulbs are a relic from the past, yet we continue to use them in our desk lamps and hallway light fixtures. Consider replacing these bulbs with newer versions, such as CFL or LED, which use 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than incandescent lighting.

 

Let employees work from home

Depending on your job, you may not even need to come into the office on a daily basis. For one or two days during the week, allow your team members to work from home. Not only will it develop a greater sense of freedom and autonomy within your team, but working remote also cuts back on expenses associated with commuting, such as the cost of ridesharing and gas.

 

Develop a recycling program

Instead of having a generic wastebasket in the office, purchase a trash can with a separate receptacles for recycling paper and plastic. Amazon offers dozens of options for a variety of budgets. Recycling is one of the most effective and direct ways each team member can contribute towards a more sustainable workplace and environment.

 

Redesign your space

Not everyone has the luxury of working or living in an environmentally friendly building, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do your part. Consider purchasing sustainable office furniture, from Steelcase for example. Bring more plants to regulate the air quality of the space. Make use of large windows to take advantage of natural lighting. There are dozens of ways you can adjust your space’s design to be greener and more sustainable.

 

Novel Coworking spaces have always had sustainability and environmental impact in mind. We offer recycling services, automated lighting and air conditioning, and naturally lit spaces. To learn more, visit our location map to find a space near you.

How to Find Investors for your Business

How to Find Investors for your Business

If you’re planning on starting or maintaining a business, you better be prepared to pay for it. Some business owners save for years, others borrow banking institutions. But there are alternative options to get capital, namely, through investors.

Investors ensure the lights stay on throughout the work week, and that every employee can go home with a check, but finding the right investors isn’t always an easy task.

So how exactly does one find investors for a business?

 

Where to find investors for a small business

 

Searching within your network

You may think, “I don’t know any investors!” but you would be surprised. Your friends, family, former professors and classmates, and even ex-coworkers could be potential investors. Since you already have an established relationship with them, it may be easier to sell them on your business idea.

Be careful- you may be personally close to many of these people, so it’s important to draw clear boundaries. Be very clear about the risks involved with a startup, for instance, that they may not receive their investment back. Above all, never let your business or the money get between your personal relationships.

 

Crowdfunding platforms

Finding one or two investors to pledge a few thousand dollars can be a crapshoot. Getting a few dollars from a thousand or more people online may be more achievable. Today, there are dozens of different platforms that allow you to crowdfund, such as Kickstarter, IndieGogo, GoFundMe, Patreon, and many more.

When taking the crowdfunding route, businesses need to be mindful of the promised product or service. Backers (the investors on these platforms) will only invest when they see a potentially profitable and feasible product. When you abuse that trust and fail to produce on that promise, your brand will likely experience an overwhelming backlash.

 

Coworking Spaces

Coworking is ideal for networking and collaborating with like-minded business owners. Coworking spaces are known to have dozens of businesses, many of them startups. At the next Lunch & Learn or networking event in your coworking space, introduce your startup team. You may find your next investor there.
Investors aren’t the only people you’ll find in coworking spaces. It’s not unusual to meet a potential business partner just down the hallway or in the lounge. Best of all, coworking spaces contain entire communities of professionals and entrepreneurs. More than funding, you’ll find a group of supportive mentors willing to guide your entrepreneurial venture.

 

Startup incubators and accelerators

No man is an island. Even if you have some funding already, that doesn’t mean you have all the tools to ensure your startup succeeds. That’s where incubators and accelerators come in. Incubators connect companies with angel investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs to help them grow. Accelerators are similar, with the primary difference being that accelerators operate under a set timeframe.

Incubators and accelerators have the added benefit of training and guiding business owners along the way. They’re not just dumping funds into a business- they’re helping it grow and scale. Business owners learn about the common pitfalls and mistakes of early startups, so they are better positioned to use the funds they receive.

 

Private Equity Firms

Private equity firms are considered one of the most reliable paths to getting funding, especially early during the development phase. Within a few meetings, you could pitch your idea and receive anything from thousands to millions of dollars.

Once your startup takes off and begins to grow, your business will need to sell the private equity firm’s stake. Check out Wall Street Oasis’ Company Database to find thousands of different private equity firms.

 

Getting off the ground

Funding is just one part of starting and running a business. But it can also be the most difficult part. There’s a lot of competition from other startups looking to get a piece of the action, so your brand and idea need to stand out.

First, focus on your elevator pitch. You need to have a great idea and be able to present it to others succinctly and effectively. If your elevator pitch is lacking, investors won’t believe in your idea enough to invest. Even with a great pitch, you need to understand how investors think. Tailor your pitch to each investor with these tips.

Still in search of a little more guidance? Check out our previous post on tips from successful entrepreneurs. As always, visit Novel Coworking’s blog for more guides on building your dream business.