Business professionals are no stranger to risk and uncertainty. Whether it’s reaching out to a new client, or releasing a new product, risk and uncertainty influence every business decision. They can push a startup to innovate faster, or bankrupt businesses that fail to plan accordingly.
But what are the differences between the two concepts? Are they similar, or more different than people think?
The Difference Between Risk and Uncertainty
Risk is defined as the possibility or probability of an unpleasant or undesirable event.
In business, risk might suggest the potential loss of money, time, or information. Most importantly, risk can be calculated or measured. Entrepreneurs can use market data to calculate whether a new product may be worth introducing. Accountants can use balance sheets to measure the profitability of certain stores. Calculated risk can be beneficial, as risk takers can also generate significant returns.
Since uncertain events are unique and difficult to plan for, they come with even greater downsides for unprepared businesses. During the dot-com era, companies invested heavily in expensive domains before understanding their value. When the bubble finally burst, several companies disintegrated, and thousands of employees laid off.
The main takeaway from these two concepts: risk can be measured and predicted, while uncertainty cannot.
Examples of Risk and Uncertainty
Here are a few examples of risk and uncertainty in the business world:
Risk is when an online clothing store decides to sell a new line of clothing, based on customer analysis. Uncertainty is when that same clothing store introduces a new, unrelated product without research, such as a new furniture line.
Risk is when a company moves their processes and data to the cloud. Uncertainty is when a major outage affects multiple servers across the nation.
Risk is when an ad agency opens an office in a new country. Uncertainty is when the country enters a recession.
Identify risk – Spot the risk early through research and historical analyses.
Assess the probability – Evaluate all the factors involved, including the likelihood of positive and negative outcomes
Make a cost-benefit analysis of alternatives – Measure the pros and cons of each decision you could take.
Choose a response
Evaluate results – How did the chosen action impact the business?
Ongoing monitoring – Risk events should be constantly checked for changing circumstances. In some cases, risk aversion may be the best option.
While uncertainty cannot be measured, the same approach may be taken in addressing related tasks and challenges. While a recession cannot be predicted, a business can take steps to protect the future of its employees and customers.
Turning Risk Into Opportunities
Risk and uncertainty surround every business. Weighing options and outcomes, and deciding the final action as a team is just one way a business can remain vigilant. With enough practice in risk analysis and assessment, risk turns from an obstacle into a challenge. Risk forces startups to mature and innovate faster through competition, and rewards entrepreneurs with greater experience of the market and industry. Risk can’t be avoided, but when businesses learn to prepare, risk can open up new business opportunities.
Risk vs Uncertainty
The main differences between risk and uncertainty can be summarized by control and predictability. Risk can be measured, and therefore, controlled. Changes in sales because of the season can be predicted and planned. This is why risk analysis or risk assessment can be important for a business’s strategic development. Calculated risks can lead to great rewards.
Uncertainty on the other hand cannot be quantified or controlled. For example, a new local competitor can have unpredictable effects on your own sales. You cannot measure uncertainty, you can only deal with uncertainty. This is why we look for certainty as much as we can: the more certain future events are to take place, the better a business can prepare.
Coworking has become something of a phenomenon in the past decade. It all started back in 2005, when Brad Neuberg opened the first coworking space in San Francisco. His initial idea was to create a space that supported the community and structure that he had been searching for, but unable to find, throughout his career doing consulting and a great deal of traveling.
Recently, coworking environments have grown increasingly popular as professional individuals are able to work in a space where there is a variety of industries, helping to foster new ways of thinking. Here are a few reasons why coworking spaces have replaced the traditional office space.
1. Experience organic networking opportunities
People that work in coworking spaces are, by nature, a diverse group. When someone works in a shared office environment, they are in search of openness and collaboration from those around them. The person sitting next to you could be a great contact or may be able to connect you with someone who could help grow your business. The people surrounding you are resources you might not have been exposed to in a traditional office environment.
2. Maintain a professional appearance
Coworking is a perfect medium for employees. It allows an autonomous person to work freely while providing the necessary resources to get the job done. Forget workplace politics; instead, focus your attention on urgent tasks. Shared workspaces like Novel Coworking offer important amenities, including office, mailing addresses, meeting rooms, ad video conferencing tools that ensure a professional appearance.
3. Increase efficiency
For those who typically work from home, transitioning to a shared office environment can boost productivity. This space creates a sort of productive bubble around you. The person on your right could be a social media guru and to the left, a real estate agent. No matter what you do, working in a space with a variety of people creates a huge pool of knowledge that’s encouraging and helpful.
4. Diversity and creativity
Spending just a few days in a coworking space is enough to realize the importance of diversity in the workplace. With so many different types of companies and individuals working alongside each other, there’s a greater sense of creativity and collaboration that you wouldn’t notice in a cafe or in a home office. Diversity is crucial for startups to gain a competitive advantage and to create innovative solutions to industry challenges.
5. Office perks
Many shared working spaces include access to printing, meeting rooms for client visits, and video conferencing capabilities. At Novel Coworking, coworking memberships also include access to a kitchen and lounge area, featuring an espresso bar and comfortable couches. These amenities provide the comforts of working from home while maintaining the professionalism of an office. Whether you work from home, hop from coffee shop to coffee shop, or commute to a company office, look into shared office space to switch up your routine and get those creative juices flowing.
Maybe you’re a solo entrepreneur in the early stages of your first startup venture or an industry veteran with a fast-growing enterprise. Novel Coworking can find an office solution that can meet your business’s needs. Find a coworking location near you to begin your journey.
Overworking and mismanagement aside, there’s another force that can rip your team apart from the inside: gossip. With just a few words, feelings are hurt, reputations tarnished, and the team divided. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a newly hired member of the team, it’s important to call out gossip when it starts, and develop practices to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.
Gossip can have varying definitions. Some believe gossip must be false, others say gossip must be defamatory. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as, “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”
So whether it’s malicious or harmless is beside the point, as long as the conversation involves someone else and is not yet verified, it can be considered gossip.
Distinguishing gossip from casual conversation
So what separates gossip from ordinary conversation?
For one, gossip has to be about someone else. So employees talking about their own problems do not count as gossip. Nor does it count when one talks about somebody present during the conversation. Typically, gossip has to be about someone who is unaware of the conversation.
Second, gossip is generally untrue, or at the very least, based on unconfirmed rumor. Discussing an employee’s promotion or severance without the chance to speak directly to that person or the manager falls under gossip.
As we mentioned, gossip isn’t always malicious. Sometimes what starts off as an innocent remark can quickly turn into a scathing critique or early judgment. For example, congratulating Jane on her pregnancy may seem like a kind act, until you find out it was only gossip, and you’re left in complete embarrassment.
The effects and consequences of gossip
Gradual disintegration of trust and respect. This is by far the most damaging effect of gossip. Any team that hopes to work effectively together must be founded on mutual trust and respect for one another. The moment gossip begins to circulate, it can be difficult to know who to rely on.
Loss of reputation. Building a reputation can take a lifetime, and reducing it to nothing can take only a few minutes. And it’s not just the reputation of the subject of the gossip, or the person gossiping, but the reputation of the entire team.
Decreased productivity. When teammates are gossiping instead of working, productivity is greatly reduced. When morale suffers from especially damaging gossip, productivity reduction is even worse.
Team division. Instead of moving as a single unit, team members begin to take sides on a matter and becoming increasingly hostile to one another. This can make it difficult to accomplish what used to be simple tasks.
Unintended consequences. Discussing Will and Sarah’s engagement before it’s announced may seem innocuous, but it could also lead down a dangerous path, resulting in needless discussions with HR, strange looks from other team members, and so on.
How to manage gossip in the workplace
State clearly in the employee handbook and in person that gossip and spreading rumors is strictly prohibited. Better to take preventative measures than punitive action. Don’t just settle for including it in company literature, it should be an actively repeated concept in the company culture.
Set training guidelines and examples
Many people are still unaware of what counts as gossip and what counts as a harmless conversation. Educate the team by providing examples and clear definitions. Bring in an HR representative to discuss gossip and related matters to the whole team.
Create opportunities for healthy discussion
The zero-tolerance policy shouldn’t prevent the team from having constructive conversations about superiors. Make sure there are opportunities for team and manager feedback when possible. Doing so may even reduce the need for gossip.
Keep work and personal life separate
Set an example for others. Whenever gossip comes up, make an excuse to get back to work, or call it out when you hear it. Prevent yourself from sharing sensitive information and others will learn to do the same.
Focus on improving employee health
Gossip tends to be the byproduct of a larger issue- whether it’s boredom at work, issues with a coworker, or personal problems deflected onto others. One of the best things a manager can do is to ensure their team is both physically and mentally healthy, with enough breaks between tasks, and a balance between work and home life. Read our previous blog post, Low-Cost Ways To Encourage Better Employee Health for more ideas.
The impact of gossip in the workplace
For all the steps you will take to prevent gossip, it will inevitably happen. A small amount may be normal, even healthy for the team to create a sense of camaraderie. But the moment someone is hurt or tension flares up, actions need to be taken to address those involved, educate the team, and prevent it from happening in the future.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether something is gossip or not, just leave it out of the conversation. You have more to lose and little to gain from gossiping about your team.
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Any hopeful startup will want a space that inspires productivity and creativity. That’s why finding a suitable but affordable location is often a top priority for new business owners.
But exactly how much should a startup pay for an office or coworking space? Ideally, the minimal amount, as they typically have other expenses such as labor, licenses, equipment, and more.
In Novel Coworking’s first post for the year, we’ll cover what every entrepreneur should know about paying for their startup’s office space.
How much does it cost to rent office space?
Since every location is different, there is no single answer for how much office space rent costs. Instead, there are a number of factors that affect the price, including location, workspace type, and additional services and amenities.
As with any other real estate, the value of the space is largely dependent on location. Metro areas like New York charge substantially higher rent per square foot than a city like Seattle. According to thesquarefoot, San Francisco is among the most costly cities (approximately $65.16 per sqft), while Atlanta is the most affordable (approximately $20.97 per sqft).
Another consideration to be made is the type of workspace your business will need. For sole proprietorships or small teams, a single office room may be enough to accommodate the company, at least at the start. For much larger businesses or rapidly-growing startups, an office suite may be more appropriate.
Finally, startups must also factor in the additional expenses tied to office spaces, which may include a reception desk, maintenance and cleaning staff, mail delivery service, Internet, and parking space. Fortunately, when business owners rent with Novel Coworking, their offices come fully furnished with fiber internet and WiFi, as well as many on-site amenities. The all-inclusive pricing covers the little things that business owners may overlook, such as mail service, security, and utilities.
How do you calculate rent for office space?
You may be curious to learn how much of your business’s revenue should be allocated to rent. Renowned startup entrepreneur David Cummings provides these example figures:
Coworking environment or scrappy sublease — $100 – $250/employee/month (most desirable if it works for your startup)
Creative office or decent class B office building — $300 – $500/employee/month
Swanky office building with nice finishes and great views — $500 – $1,000/employee/month
Typically, you’ll need to first consider how much space you need per employee, and then whether you’ll pay monthly or yearly. From there, you simply multiply the square footage (space) by the cost per square foot (price) and then by 12 (months).
Where do I find office space for rent?
When you’re ready to make the jump and rent office space for your business, Novel Coworking has your back. We offer beautifully designed spaces in major cities at competitive rates. Each location comes with a community manager and on-site staff, as well as useful amenities and services such as hi-speed Wi-Fi, a private conference room, a fully-stocked kitchenette, beer on tap, an espresso machine, and much more. Since these amenities are provided, you can avoid the additional costs that can come with renting a traditional office space.
Our office spaces come fully-furnished with enough room for your equipment and your team. Prices for office spaces start at just $299 per month.
For larger businesses, our office suites can accommodate teams of 10 – 100 people. Prices for office suites start at $2,999 per month.
And for freelancers or solo entrepreneurs who don’t need a private room, our coworking space is all you need to get started. Our coworking spaces start at just $99 per month.
Curious to learn if there’s a Novel Coworking in your area? Visit our ever-growing list of locations today to learn more. You’re one step closer to finding the perfect space for your business.
Remember the Rolodex? The toylike office accessory was originally designed to allow professionals to thumb through a Ferris wheel of business cards. They were efficient at organizing the clutter of your contacts physically, but by today’s standards, look dated and limited in their capacity.
Today we live in the information age. We can easily capture thousands of contacts and access them with just a few swipes and taps on our phone. Thus, the question of contact organization has now become a digital one: which app is best for storing and organizing contacts?
As the name suggests, CamCard makes it simple to snap a photo of your business card and digitize them. The app automatically orients the image, transcribes it into your contact list, and exports the information to your email, contact list, or social media. CamCard is excellent at reading words and numbers but fall short in categorizing information to the right places. You may have to manually edit a person’s company name into the right field, for example.
CamCard is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. There’s a version with ads and limited card slots, and a premium version that ranges between $10 and $20.
ABBYY Business Card Reader
ABBYY Business Card Reader is billed as the “world’s fastest business card scanner and contact management app”, and has even been recommended by The New York Times, CNN, The Telegraph, Computer Business Review, and Macworld. ABBYY works like a breeze, even auto filling missing text and offering automatic or manual backups. It’s also more extensive some of its digital Rolodex counterparts, with support for Apple Watch, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MS Excel exports.
The free version comes with ads and offers 10 card recognitions. Premium offers unlimited card storage, auto backups, and ad-free support for either $8 each month or $30 per year.
Perhaps you are looking for an app that will not only store your business cards but also your receipts, contracts, or other business documents. Evernote Scannable is the solution you’ve been looking for. With a clean and sleek interface, Scannable acts more like a secondary camera app, except documents ready to be scanned turn blue. All images are auto-oriented, cropped, and adjusted for readability, and are easily exported into PDF or JPG, and sent via email or text.
Best of all, Evernote Scannable is totally free to download and use, without limitations.
Despite the odd name, ScanBizCards is actually one of the more powerful options on this list. In addition to the same scanning abilities offered in the other apps, ScanBizCards also allows you to export your cards into the CRM platform of your choice, including Salesforce and SugarCRM. For those worried about transcription issues, ScanBizCards even offers manual transcriptions, with 2 complimentary included and then 50 transcription credits for $10. The app has received praise from Apple Gazette, TechCrunch, and the Appy Awards on ABC TV.
ScanBizCards has only one flat price: $2.99, and comes with no subscriptions or limits (except for the aforementioned transcription credits).
If you want something that does away with all the cloud technology and fancy graphics, SamCard is your best bet. SamCard doesn’t have any fancy features or flashy interface but instead opts for a simple UI and imports information directly to your phone’s local contact list. Some power users may fear that the app is too barebones compared to the others mentioned on this list, but if you want to capture the simplicity and ease of the Rolodex, SamCard is all you need.
SamCard has a free lite version and a $4 premium version.
Perhaps you work with several international clients and want to support a variety of languages. WorldCard Mobile has the best language support out of all the apps. With 21 languages available, from Chinese to Arabic, you can format names that don’t translate easily to Roman English. For Gmail users, there’s the added benefit of being able to sync to your Gmail and Google contacts. One caveat is that it does not have the auto-snap feature when the card is in the right position. This may not be a dealbreaker for some, but definitely noticeable for others.
WorldCard Mobile is available in a free lite version and a $7 premium version.
These are just a few of the most popular card scanning apps, but there are many more on the market that serve different niche needs. Regardless of which app you choose, you can look forward to speeding up your contact information organization and ditching (or avoiding) that ancient contraption called a Rolodex.
Which one is your favorite? Have an app in mind that we missed? Get in touch with us through our Twitter (@NovelCoworking) and Facebook. Check back each week for more tips on how you can increase productivity and more!
If you want to start the day off right, start with breakfast. People call it the most important meal for a reason- not only does it fuel you with energy, but it can also be a great opportunity to bond with your other team members. Unfortunately, because our agendas are so packed, we tend to skip the meal far too frequently.
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to skip breakfast or resort to coffee and a donut each morning! In fact, you can eat something both easy to make and healthy before you start working in a matter of minutes. Here are a few ideas.
Hot Oatmeal with Fruits and Seeds
Oatmeal has become a staple in many breakfasts, largely because it’s quick and filling at the same time. Whether you get the instant microwavable oatmeal pouches or cook it on a stove, you can make oatmeal in just minutes. Top off your bowl with slices of banana, raisins, or cranberries, or with almonds or nuts for an added nutritional kick. If you want to make it sweeter, simply add some brown sugar or honey. Delicious, healthy, and quick.
The egg white omelet is another popular favorite for quick breakfasts. Egg whites are low in calories and high in protein, so this recipe is great even if you’re on a certain diet. Omelets are also infinitely customizable: throw in meats like turkey bacon or vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, and onions as you see fit! Allrecipes has a great recipe for egg white omelets.
Black Bean Breakfast Burritos
Here’s another recipe you can use towards meal prep, and all you need are some black beans, egg whites, and tortillas. Simply cook the beans and eggs, and spread on a warmed tortilla. For more flavor, experiment with adding sour cream, basmati rice, potatoes, cilantro, peppers, and cheese. When you’re done, you can seal leftover burritos in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for later!
Cereal won’t fill you up like this treat. While the prep may take a little more time (get it done the night before work), you can easily have enough left over for the rest of the week! Like other recipes we’ve listed, this one can be modified with your own personal favorite ingredients. This recipe from Deliciously Ella calls for almonds, walnuts, oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, bananas, berries, and honey.
Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits
Want something cold and sweet? Breakfast parfaits don’t just taste great, they store easily for future breakfasts too. All you need is some greek yogurt, your choice of milk, and some mixed fruits like cranberries and blueberries. Layer them in a mason jar or bowl, toss in some chia seeds or oats if you like, and voila! There you have it. Save some for later, or make some for the rest of your team!
Due to their health benefits and easy preparation, breakfast smoothie bowls have become quite the recent favorite for working individuals who are looking for a morning energy boost. These creations are delicious, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan! Just as the name indicates, all that is required is to blend some fruits or berries in a blender or food processor, then pour in a bowl with some mixed fruit and toppings. Need more inspiration? Here’s a Berry Coconut Breakfast Smoothie Bowl recipe from Gringalicious.
Carrot Cake Donuts
Donuts don’t have to be bad for you! Take this paleo, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free twist on the typical donut recipe for example. Fill that donut craving and forgo the guilt – from Thunderbird Food Bars, this Paleo Carrot Cake Baked Donuts with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting is a great snack to bring into the office and share— just make sure to check if anyone has any nut allergies!
Let’s say you’re really in a rush and don’t have time to bake or blend anything. That’s okay! You can still cut up some fresh fruit and mix them in a bowl. Strawberries, bananas, berries, peaches, apples, and watermelon have shown up in many mixed fruit recipes, but feel free to add your own fruits. Pack some to work, or refrigerate for a later snack. Best of all, you can use them as an ingredient in a smoothie or parfait later on!
For those that need a protein snack to go in the morning, you can’t do much better than Chomps! Throw away those gas station beef jerky snacks and trade it for an all-natural, non-GMO, 100% grass-fed beef jerky stick. Chomps is a Novel Coworking client and they are based out of our River North building in Chicago, you can find the Chomps snack at Trader Joe’s, Amazon, Safeway, and other leading supermarkets.
You don’t have to skip breakfast or make a fast food trip before you head into the office. Some of the best treats we listed are easy to make and shareable with the whole team, so there’s no excuse not to give one of these recipes a try!
Want some more tips for building, maintaining, and growing your business? Check out Novel Coworking’s weekly blog! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to join our community.