coworking

Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Co-Working Space

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Co-working spaces are the modern-day equivalent to the traditional office, being set to occupy 7% of real estate in London in 2019, with its success lying in its variety.

Co-working is as ideal for a start-up looking for an office, as it is a freelancer looking for a workspace. It's flexible, facilitated and the poster boy of modern-day working. After all, it's supplying an already existent demand: with office-based flexible working on the increase, and the self-employed on track to take over the public sector for the very first time.

What was once a novel supplement to the traditional office, is now a full-blown credible alternative, encapsulated in a global market estimated at over 21 billion pounds. Offices, teams and freelancers co-working in a space conducive to maximum productivity and collaboration eliminate many of the downfalls of the 9 to 5 one-office-one-team model. So when it comes to choosing a space, what factors are most crucial to its suitability? Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a co-working space.

1.    Membership Types & Costs

The core membership types are:

Virtual membership: Some spaces do a virtual membership which gives you access to the wider co-working community and events. Perfect for very early stage start-ups.

Hot desk: Hot desks are part of the shared workspace and allow you to sit anywhere without having to plan ahead. A popular option among freelancers, part-timers or people needing somewhere to host casual client meetings.

Fixed desk: A dedicated, permanent desk that’s available to you 7 days a week. Choose a single space for yourself or several desks for your team.

Private office space: A dedicated private space for your team, which depending on size and co-working space, can house from 2 to 250 or more people. Private office spaces don’t incur the charges needed by traditional offices for supplying reliable internet, printers, furniture and cleaning, which can rack up to a hefty cost, or hefty saving, if you opt for co-working spaces.

2.    Location

Co-working spaces don’t just give flexibility within the space, but flexibility between several spaces, depending on your needs.

Fixed location: The rare opportunity to dictate where you work and the commute time and transport links involved, is a great way to be your own boss and free up time where's needed. Shortlist spaces within half an hour's commute away first.

Various locations: If you need to access multiple spaces around London, make sure you compare the set of locations among the other co-working spaces, as they differ wildly. 

3.    Sector Specific Spaces & Ways Of Working

Some co-working environments are geared towards different expertise and ways of working.

Sectors

With potential work relationships at stake, it’s important – whether you’re looking to network now or not – to know what expertise the space is geared towards. Co-working spaces by nature were designed to allow entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and innovation to interact and flourish; by putting in place certain design considerations and ways of working. 

People who work in these spaces work for a diverse melting pot of clients from up and across the food chain, but within these ecosystems, the co-working ethos tends to attract the creative and technology industries. Some spaces are equipped with more studios and worktables for more hands-on work, while others have more desk spaces.

Different fields of expertise also attract different workers with different requirements, so it’s important to be aware of the general majority of expertise so you can gage the networking potential. Although a co-working space doesn’t have to involve collaboration, if you see them and the people in it as a networking event, it can help keep your options specific and targeted, and the opportunity for business relationships to form in the future open. 

Ways of working

Different ways of working needed by yourself, a project, a team or sector, require different environments at different times, for example, large meeting spaces where interaction is key or quiet spaces where solitary thought and deep focus is key. Assessing what degree each co-working space has of these is integral.

4.    Facilities & Discounts

Co-working spaces have realised that if a space is going to become the go-to for people to work and network, five days a week, outside of the traditional office, then it needs to offer a lifestyle where productivity is made easy with certain facilities in place.

Facilities differ but they often include a variety of: fast Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, soundproof phone booths, quiet public workspaces, networking events, bike storage, 24-hour opening, changing rooms, showers, gym or reduced membership fees, gym classes, outdoor space (if you’re lucky: a roof terrace), a café, discounted breakfast and lunch, and bar. Make sure to enquire about the full range of facilities to compare with other spaces. 

5.    Viewings & The Feel Of A Space

No amount of e-brochure browsing can truly translate the feel of a place, especially when considering that co-working spaces now combine office, café and members club culture (with a touch of home comfort) into one indivisible whole. Arrange a viewing with a co-working space and they’ll give you a tour and often allow you to stay and work for the rest of the day. A few viewings down the line, and it’ll become clear what facilities and atmosphere you can and can’t live without. 

Co-working spaces are designed to equip the entrepreneurial minds of the future. Spaces are well crafted, vibrant and spacious. But with innovative pursuit, comes diverse thinking, and browsing the unique variations of each space is essential to securing an environment that’s conducive to your way of reaching maximum productivity.

If you’d like more help on finding a co-working space or directional advice for your start or scale-up, please get in touch.

Business Culture: Two Common Misconceptions Preventing Business Growth

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In many businesses, there are common misconceptions that represent less the business ethos itself, more the traditions businesses have simply become stuck in.

Misled assumptions about where, when and how people should work stifle companies’ ability to reach their actual potential, rather than their perceived potential, especially when rival businesses are now embracing new flexible ways of working. And with the current workplace looking young, bright and (no, not orange) flexible, it’s as prime time as any to set these misconceptions straight.

So here are two common misconceptions preventing businesses from their reaching their actual potential. 

1.   Team Happiness Doesn’t Influence Business Growth And Profit, Just Skills

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By nature of happiness being an emotion rather than a skill that can be measured or applied, it isn’t seen as a direct contributor to business success and therefore largely falls under businesses’ radar, in pursuit of skill-based goals. A business is the sum of its parts, and its constituent parts is the team. 

The happiness of the team therefore, is indispensable to achieving sustained optimal growth. Small increments of going the extra mile as a result of a team member feeling empowered, valued and trusted, are the seemingly small things that over time when multiplied by an entire team, can be the tangible difference between a business being successful, and a business that stands out above competitors. 

2.   The Environment Most Conducive To Productivity Is One Environment, And It’s An Office

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The environments most conducive to productivity have been left largely unexplored in the past under the overbearing weight of dated traditions and stigma around flexible working. What makes someone most productive, equates to anywhere and any time window that makes them most relaxed and focused. 

Depending on the individual and job role, this could be variations of home, a workspace, an office, starting early in the morning or late into the evening. The key misconception here is that there’s one environment most conducive to getting the job done, and that environment is an office to be in from 9 to 5 every day, every week, of every month. 

Once employers realise there are several efficient ways to get the job done outside of these confines, in ways that can not only benefit them by transforming business culture and growth, but the teamby instilling more trust, value and empowerment (A.K.A. happiness), progress can be exponential. 

The ratio of weight businesses apply to understanding how consumer attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, compared to the weight businesses apply to understanding how their team’s attitudes and environments yield profit and growth, is disproportionate and reflective only of their perceived potential, not actual potential, which this can enable.

For more posts on team productivity and business culture, keep in touch with our blog for regular posts on all things business.

In the meanwhile, view the latest article on Business Culture: 3 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Team  

 

 

 

 

Working Effectively Outside Of A Traditional Office Environment

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Being your own boss means being able to choose exactly when and where you work. That’s pretty awesome, right?

Working flexibly can be a huge help with achieving work/life balance and is practical from both a logistical and financial point of view. For example, you can join in the parents’ race at school sports day without taking a whole day off and save cash on office overhead and travel costs.

However, working outside of an office can be difficult at times. Home distractions can mean that you get less work done and procrastination may mean that even getting started is difficult. 

So how can you ‘work smarter’, i.e. stop procrastinating and achieve more? 

Well, it’s simply a question of creating structure and discipline for your work day. Once you get into your groove, you’ll wonder why you ever struggled with staying on-track. 

Read on for our 7 top tips to stay in control, keeping you productive and motivated, wherever and whenever you choose to work.

1. Get Up, Get Dressed & Get To Work!

Of course, you don’t have to get up at 6am (the benefit of having no commute is that you can have a little more sleep), however that doesn’t mean you can lie in until noon every day.

 Decide your working hours, then set a daily alarm that will give you enough time to get up, shower, dress, and make yourself a cuppa before you begin your working day. Some people find it helps to ‘dress’ for work (i.e. wear smart/’office’ clothes). I find I can concentrate better in comfortable joggers and a T shirt, but I do always change out of my pyjamas to switch into a ‘work’ mindset. Find what works for you but make sure you do something that signals your brain to be prepared for work. 

2. Choose The Most Productive Work Space For You

 Some people can work effectively from their sofa or kitchen table, others need a proper desk in a home office. You may choose to escape home distractions by working from your local library, or you might prefer the buzz of a nearby coffee shop. Experiment with different work spaces and decide what works best for you. Be aware that this might change, depending on what you want to achieve. For example, completing your tax return may require solitude and calm, whereas design inspiration might be enhanced by some fresh air (garden office, anyone?).

3. Prioritise Your Tasks

 At the start of your day (or perhaps the night before!), make a list of what you want to achieve. Order this list with the most critical task first and make this your priority. By working on your most important (and challenging) task first, you’re more likely to complete it and then feel motivated to continue with the less onerous ones!

 This time management technique of starting with your biggest, most important task is advocated by Brian Tracey

He dubs it ‘Eat That Frog’, which stems from a Mark Twain quote:


“If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.”

4. Minimise Distractions

You’ve already decided what is important and chosen to focus on that today, so don’t allow your phone, news sites, social media, chores, pets or anything else to distract you from that. This may mean closing the door to your workspace, complete with a large ‘do not disturb’ sign, switching your phone to silent, turning off social media alerts, or using a website blocker to help you stay focused.

5. Manage Your Time To Maximise Productivity

These tips will help you get even more done in less time:

Email can be a huge distraction (and the more you send, the more you receive!), so turn off email alerts, set time aside to check it and stick to that. For example, you might check email only first thing in the morning and again after lunch. 
If you find yourself writing a lengthy missive to someone via email, consider giving them a call or send a voice note instead.

‘Chunk’ your time to boost your productivity. You’ve already decided WHEN to check email, so go one step further and decide HOW LONG to spend on it. When this time runs out, STOP and go onto your next task. Do this with every task on your to do list. Breaking down your tasks into timed ‘chunks’ creates a sense of urgency and translates tasks into a series of ‘appointments’. And by limiting your time spent on each task, you naturally focus on the most urgent first. 

Try the ‘pomodoro’ time management technique. Essentially this means that you work on a specific task for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. After 4 of these 25 minute blocks, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes (you might use a timer app to help you with this). Pomodoro works well with time chunking. You can ‘chunk’ each task according to how many 25 minute blocks you want to dedicate to it. 
This technique forces you to focus on a task for a specific time, but the regular breaks prevent you from feeling stressed. 

6. Take Breaks

Regular breaks actually increase your productivity and help you stay motivated. Think of them as a mini reward for avoiding procrastination!  So, when that timer goes off to tell you that it’s break time, how do you spend it? 

Here’s a few ideas, but I’m sure you have others!

·      Read a book or magazine

·      Do some yoga

·      Go for a walk around the block

·      Make a cuppa

·      Meditate

·      Give your fur babies some love (is that just me?!)

Remember to get back to work once break time is over!

7. Stay Away From Lunchtime Drinking!

You wouldn’t drink in the office at lunchtime (unless you work in an advertising agency from the 1960s *ahem* Don Draper), but when you’re working from home it might be tempting to have a glass of wine with your lunch. That glass of wine might be a large one. And you might be tempted to top it up…

That’s a recipe for a fruitless afternoon.  Avoiding alcohol during your working day will make those Friday night G&Ts all the more enjoyable!

This post is brought to you by our client Watermark Homes, a property development company, based in Chislehurst, London, with a culture of flexible working. 


Watermark Homes creates beautiful, affordable homes for discerning homebuyers in South London and Kent.