Category Archives: office space

The launch event of our largest co-working space in the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru was a happening one. Our office space apart from being spread over 3 lakh sq ft, is also packed with facilities that make it one of a kind. The launch event was graced by our ennoble members and the prodigious Mitri, India’s first AI-based ‘she’ robot. We hosted a number of funfilled activities along with a social media contest. Drop into our recent blog to know more details of the event and about Mitri.

Coworking Spaces: Ideal for All Personality Types

The first thought that comes in mind when someone mentions a coworking space is a group of people working and having fun in their workspace together. The stereotype stemmed by the assumption that coworking spaces are for extroverts is quite far-fetched. Coworking spaces are home to a myriad of personality types including the introverts, ambiverts and extroverts.

Despite popular belief, coworking spaces have a lot to offer to a wide spectrum of people.

Access To Communities

A shared office space equips its members with the power to collaborate and network with the community at their own pace. Different communities in coworking spaces are specially tailored to suit the interests and preferences of the members. According to science, having human interactions is known to improve health and longevity of individuals. Coworking spaces have focused communities like sports clubs, painting enthusiasts, music and dance groups, readers club, to help like-minded people meet and socialize as per their convenience.

Collaboration and Networking

Collaboration and networking are the driving force behind the success of any business. Shared workspaces have a diverse group of professionals working under one roof, with different skills, background and experiences.

The transition to an innovative and collaborative work environment is proven to have a positive impact on employees. The access to diverse amenities, events and flexible workspaces, members and employees that work out of a coworking space are able to maintain a healthy work life balance. With different companies and startups working from the same address, the chances of coming together to collaborate and create a new service or product increase by multifold.

Workspace Flexibility

While extroverts and ambiverts enjoy working in the company of others, introverts prefer their own time and space. Coworking spaces provide abundant workspace flexibility to its members to choose from. The members can choose to work out of telephone booths, a desk in the open space or a private room as per their comfort and preference. This kind of office space flexibility is unavailable with traditional office space providers.

In a nutshell, coworking providers allow people to work near their homes and give them the option to choose agile workspaces which enable them to work as per their workspace needs and preferences. Coworking spaces not only boost your productivity by providing a tech-enabled working environment, they also help you maintain a perfect work-life balance by organizing various recreational events and workshops to help their members relax and rejuvenate.

Working alongside motivated and like-minded people, members are able to perform and achieve their creative fervor while working out of a coworking space. Hence, a coworking space is a standalone choice for people of all personality types and walks of life.

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International Coworking Day: Celebrating Global Shared Spaces

There was a time when the concept of a shared work space was considered an anathema for any working professional. Not only could businesses bring their mind around this concept, there was hardly any need to build this up. Times have changed since then, with the rise of gig economy, there came a requirement to create a collaborative workplace for such professionals.

International Coworking Day celebrates the milestones and the concept of utilising a shared space amongst a varied working professional, without hurting a business’ bottom line. Today, coworking spaces has changed and developed new ways to work. Services given by companies hosting a shared work space provides flexibility, maintains the upkeep of basic amenities such as desk space, electricity, internet connection and businesses availing such service have pay is just for the space at a reasonable price.

Along with the added benefits, members of any coworking space get to interact with individuals and businesses not just from their own industries but also from other sectors. This allows diversity of people with dynamic skills and mindset, which can be expanded to get collaboration from seemingly unknown sectors. Shared office space is always buzzing with ideas and activities.

The traditional method of running a business with an actual overhead asset such as a building and purchasing furnishings, organising cubicles and all are a thing of the past. It is estimated that there will be over 26,000 coworking space globally. Of this currently, 10% of office spaces are occupied by coworking and is set to rise to approximately 25% in the next few years.

Plus, the working population these days prefers to set their own timing, particularly the ones who are taking over the mantle from the old guards and play the vital bridge between the past and new rising professionals: Millennials.

Millennials are those born in 1981-1995 while Gen Z (often referred to as Gen Alpha), are those born after 1995, and will become the major chunk of the workforce. According to a study by Cushman & Wakefield, the biggest changes in demographics and workplace culture that will happen over the next 10 years is the entrance of some 1.3 billion Gen Z members in to the workforce this decade.

This is big number! And on top of it, these Gen Z are also digital natives, meaning, they don’t know a world without internet or smart phones and their habit reflect that. These digital natives are always clicked on and have more knowledge than even their immediate Millennial peers.

According to Forbes, millennials prefer working out of coworking spaces when it comes to running their business, for a few reasons, namely, affordability and having an ease of mind on the office expenditures such as internet. However, the workforce will undergo some changes, where coworking spaces will need to evolve and remain relevant to the dynamic, new working age population.

As we enter the new decade, it is imperative that workspace ranging from traditional office space to coworking/cosharing spaces are ready to retain the new-age workforce in their businesses.

Over the decade, 693 million workers will be retiring, a tectonic shift in the modern workplace globally. This will result in businesses going the extra mile in the hopes to recruit and retain talent and ensure their workspaces are adapted to the unique needs and expectations of its new workers. As Gen Z enter the workforce, flexibility – work timing, work life balance – will become more and more valuable.

So, where are we heading in this coworking space?

With the current COVID-19 crisis, shared office space will have to adapt to the new normal by arranging the space to maintain social distancing, arranging sanitisation products, fumigation and maintaining general welfare for members to remain healthy. The way ahead for coworking space will be to providing flexible payment and tenancy plans for business and individual members. Loyalty program is another good way to ensure long-term clients and members are not only gratified but also provide continued service.

One of the many big sale points of shared office space is recreational facilities such as gym and pool table. Expanding this on the online forum under the current pandemic might introduce new trending events.

The future of the coworking space is alive and well, as human mind is capable of going beyond the horizon and challenging new ideas and expectations. Shared office space provides that stimulus and connections which allows for business growth and directly contributes towards scaling the economy and creating new industries and sectors.

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Advantage Of Coworking For Expansion

How Large Organizations Are Taking Advantage Of Coworking For Expansion?

With the rise of start-ups in India, came the issue of addressing a workplace set up which can assist in creating an ecosystem for the entrepreneurial drive to thrive. From 2005, globally, the rise of shared, community-based office space started to gain traction as professionals started moving into the gig economy. Closer to home a similar trend was visible with many cafes and restaurants offering free wifi services.

The start-up culture truly got a boost when co-working spaces started to emerge, allowing people from various diverse backgrounds to congregate at one point, every day and collaborating with each other to solve rising business and social challenges of the day. The growth of shared office spaces can be witnessed in the spike of co-working office leasing, which rose from a mere 8 percent in 2018 to 14 percent in 2019.

From small-scale enterprises and start-ups looking for cost-effective and flexible choices to work out from, co-working space has been gaining grounds in the large corporate segment as well, due to the positive energy and employee productivity such offices cater. A survey by a real estate firm showed that 40 to 45 percent of demand came from large firms, followed by the SME sector at 35 to 40 percent. Interestingly, start-ups demand came at just 15-25 percent.

So the question that arises, why are large corporate increasingly choosing to work from a co-working space instead of the traditional structure?

There are 3 main points for this:

1. For Talent and Innovation

‘If you can’t beat them, join them’, is an adage many corporate are choosing to live by. MNCs such as Tech Mahindra, Airtel and many others are increasingly investing in start-ups which can address some of their core businesses which large organizations are unable to set up or would take time for them to do so. Co-working space offers easy access to talent and innovation. It keeps the large corporate closer to the action and ground realities for both disruptors in the industry and also strategic acquisitions.

2. Flexibility

Working out from a shared office space offers flexibility in terms of testing out a new location and operational hours. For instance, if a business needs to work on a special project that requires setting up a remote or satellite office, it is easy to choose a co-working space rather than committing to a lease for a fixed amount of time. Alternatively, if an enterprise finds a particular co-working office’s location suitable for their needs, it offers an opportunity for expansion as well.

Workplace flexibility also transmits to the company’s employees who can now have the option of working at a head office or operating from a more convenient location.

3. Easy Rental Cost

From saving operational costs to increasing their opportunity cost, when choosing the right co-working space, companies can save big when working from such offices. Reduced rent, furniture, utilities, internet, and other office facilities are easily available and taken care of. Many even offer agile office solutions that can truly reflect a company’s brand and work culture.

For large corporations, it makes sense to choose spaces that offer a vision of their office culture and ease of services. It is a win-win solution for both the coworking space operator and businesses looking for a cost-effective office space. Being able to network and tap into a rich talent pool to making acquisitions and collaborations, the flexibility of operations, reduced overheads are all part of creating an ecosystem of services.

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Choose meeting rooms

Make The Switch: Choose Meeting Rooms over Coffee Shops

The world of business is constantly being dominated by burgeoning startups and small businesses that offer work flexibility and believe in getting things done effectively. The stepping stone for running a successful business lies not just in ideas and the team but on how effectively you can network and create new opportunities for growing your business. Connecting with new people for business pitches and holding business meetings is the part and parcel of being a business leader or a budding entrepreneur.

While holding meetings in a coffee shop was acceptable in the past, it is, however direly frowned upon in the present times. With the advent of shared workspaces, state-of-the-art meeting rooms are readily available at affordable prices. Booking a conference room at a coworking space for a business meeting has become the new normal for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business travelers.

Conducting meetings in a coffee shop has the following disadvantages:

1. The lack of professionalism

A coffee shop is essentially a place for people to meet and chill, that’s the long and short of it. Discussing business plans and finances in a coffee house come at a huge price of being distracted or disturbed. Everyone needs a professional and peaceful environment for brainstorming and taking business decisions, which is best suited in an office-like environment.

2. Disturbance and noise

While preparing for a business pitch or dealing with a stressful deadline, everyone requires some peace and quiet, which is a distant dream for the ones working out of a coffee shop. While everyone enjoys the hustle-bustle of the coffee shop on a lazy Sunday afternoon, the same is frowned upon on a Monday morning. Meeting rooms in coworking spaces are ideal for ideation, brainstorming sessions and long business reviews as they are devoid of any noise or disturbances and nobody walks in and out of the door every five minutes!

Renting a meeting room at a business center has the following benefits:

1. Tech-enabled work environment

Meeting rooms at coworking spaces are well-equipped with the latest technology and have state-of-the-art infrastructure, which provides a productive work environment. Not just hi-speed wifi, these meeting rooms are well-equipped with high-tech presentation tools and projectors, printers, and photocopiers as well as whiteboards and stationery. Most of them also have a dedicated team of IT professionals to provide on-ground assistance.

2. Complimentary Access to amenities

Coworking spaces are known for the top-notch amenities they offer. Utilizing a meeting room in a coworking space will allow to access exclusive-amenities, including pantry services, discounts on partnerships, access to events among others.

3. Privacy

Unlike a coffee shop, meeting rooms in a coworking space are specifically created for providing privacy and confidentiality. All your business strategies and financial numbers will remain safe within the four walls of the meeting room and amongst the people who were the attendees of the meeting.

4. Convenience of location

Coworking spaces are preferred for their expansive geographical footprint and their presence in all the prime locations of a city. Conference rooms in coworking spaces are available in different sizes to accommodate business meetings with strengths of 4 to 50 people. Renting a conference room for a business meeting at a prime location in the city is of utmost importance to get the first impression right.

5. Affordable Prices

Gone are the days when you had to spend quite a fortune to access strategically-located meeting rooms for rent, now you can easily book a meeting room for a day or two in coworking spaces at a nominal price. Some flexible space providers also provide the option of renting meeting rooms on an hourly basis, at affordable rates. Utilizing a professional meeting room in a coworking space is the best way to avoid overhead expenses while enjoying the available technology.

While conducting a meeting in a coffee shop is possible, you can help your business scale and achieve greater heights by making the right switch- choosing professional conference rooms to conduct business in the right atmosphere.

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Deciding The Right Coworking Space

5 Tips In Deciding The Right Coworking Space

For various businesses choosing the right office space can make all the difference in not just building your business but also in forming a strong team and developing the right work culture that can boost productivity. It can be a daunting task, from figuring out the budget to location to negotiating the space and rent. Today, with the rise of start ups and entrepreneurial drive, plenty of coworking spaces have come up to meet this demand. However, not all the space can provide what you’re looking for. Smartworks has been around for a while and along the way, we have picked some key pointers when discussing our space with potential members. Here are 5 tips in deciding the right coworking space for your business, team, brand and budget.

1. Location Counts

As a business owner or running an enterprise, you want to be accessible to both your employees and clients. This mean, finding a location which is accessible by both private transport and near enough to public transports such as bus, trains, metro, cabs. Also, one can do a KYC based on your clientele, by knowing your client’s location. If you cannot be on the same street, at least choose to be in the same neighbourhood or area. By this, you will not only be close to other industry leaders but also potential new talents.

2. Space For Success

This is where your knowledge about your team comes to play. Figure out how your team prefers to work – a designated space or hot desking? Do they need a space to beat their stress? From a team level to an individual, choosing the right space can help in boosting performance. Plan and be realistic on the number of seats required, any additional furnishing needed and being able to prioritise between access to space, natural lighting, break out rooms.

3. Impressions Matter

Making the first impression on your clients (existing or potential) makes a big difference. Therefore, the type of space your business chooses to work out from will also play a big role. Maybe you are an existing enterprise which is growing, your clients might expect your business to be working out from a classy high rise space rather than a loft. These days, it is preferable to work in an agile workspace which reflects your brand and culture without having to re-do a space on your own.

4. Additional Space

Everyone likes to take a break from their hectic schedule. Once you have figured out the above points, it is best to visit the site and find out what additional amenities are being provided from the space. Is there a café for your team to get their caffeine fix? Are there plenty of meeting rooms for that important meet with your client? Being part of a community, one needs to also determine spaces that allows for hosting events such as networking sessions.

5. Figure The Budget

After considering all of the above, the final deal will be based on the agreed rental agreement. As an owner of an enterprise, you need to think beyond the short-term and determine if the space you have chosen will be suitable when you grow further. Negotiating the right price which includes flexible workspace, IT service and interior designer in one monthly fee would go a long way in saving time and money which can be invested towards your business.

To sum up, the location and ease of access for your team and clients, an agile space that reflects the best of your enterprise and business, space for your team members and clients to collaborate and network and making the right impression within budget are some of the tips in deciding the right coworking space. There are many players in the market but very few that can actually deliver to your business persona.

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Work From Home

Work From Home: 6 Reasons Why It Is Not For Everyone

With the rising cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, it made sense for businesses to adapt and adopt work from home policy to safeguard their workforce without hurting the business. It not only helped in flattening the curve, but also ensured some aspects of the economy, both at home and aboard, kept going. One the benefits of this new normal was the flexibility it offered, improved productivity, increased time management and gave freedom for work and life balance.

However, remote networking for work was already happening around the world. With France implementing strict office hour rules, Scandinavian countries experimenting with 4-days work week, the current pandemic put such efforts in the forefront. Over the last 10 years in the US, there has been 91% increase in remote working, representing 3.4% national workforce. Use of technology has also increased during this time, but there has now come a sense that an indefinite work from home set up may not be feasible in the long-run.

Under the new normal for businesses, along with maintaining social and physical distancing, it is now the right time to revaluate office hours with possible rotation in the form of working from home and from the office space. However, sticking to just working from home may not be productive. Here are 6 points for the value employees place on working from an office space for the company and the culture:

Lack of Human Connection Can Be Detrimental

Work from home has enabled technology to come to the rescue, from video calls to hosting webinars as events. However, according to a report by Virgin, 84% employees prefer in-person meeting and it makes sense. When interacting with a client, a video call may not attract the finer body language that one can notice while dealing with them face-to-face. Plus being in an office space allows for the flow of ideas and creativity, improves social skills with fellow colleagues and get tasks done quickly.

Time Management Becomes Difficult

Human beings are used to routines. The current scenario has displaced that sense of routine and replaced it with a new style of working. However, in the long run, employees might have high burn out rates if they do not address working hours according to their normal day. Being in an office environment, one is able to make sense of time, be punctual and leave for home at their designated hour. WFH disrupts that process, while a highly energised employee might log in much before business hours, that same employee may end up working much late into the evening. Such action on a regular basis will not only affect his/her downtime but also productivity.

Home and Professional Imbalance

One of the benefits of working from home is the sense of work life balance. However, during the lockdown it was observed that in many cases, this sense of balance was short-lived. The distraction of working from home is real and can impede the productivity of an employee. From washing dishes to attending to laundry, looking after children, plus working on a presentation for a client pitch can bog down an employee. Even with lockdown being lifted and kids going to school, other household duties can affect the focus and input needed for a successful outcome for any businesses.

Technology Is Not Always Friendly

Every office or workplace today is technologically enabled to assist and ease businesses and employees in conducting their duties and performance. Often many such operations have specialised software and products that can be used from a workplace. Such limitations can pose a problem for individuals to work from home. As everything is available in the office, chances are even a simple tool such as a printer may not be available at home (plus not to mention the costs of purchasing paper and inks). In some areas, issues relating to electricity and internet connection can also pose problems in the long run for employees to work efficiently.

Office Culture Is Important For Growth

As stated before, remote workplace can often be a lonely experience. The novelty of working from home wears off after a while and it starts to affect productivity and the business. Workplace culture becomes an important aspect of dealing with stress and anxiety, it allows for people to collaborate, network and grow themselves. The ability to learn new concepts and upskilling gets restricted.

With the lockdown being eased across many parts of the world, businesses still need to adopt to the new normal, ensure worker safety and maintaining physical distancing till a cure for COVID-19 is found. This is also a great time to experiment with workplace settings and work environment. However, restricting your employees to working from home on an indefinite period might stagnate their growth which can affect business output.

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smartworks Mobile App

SmartEdge- Our Online Events Platform

As the world struggles to find an equilibrium amidst the ongoing Covid-19 situation, employees world over brace themselves to adapt to ‘the new normal’ of workplace resumption- maintaining physical distancing and prioritizing personal hygiene and personal space.

Coworking space providers, hosting these companies have sprung into action and put in place all the global best practices within their premises while ensuring prescribed social distancing measures and staggered seating arrangements are followed. Alongside the battle with the pandemic, most employees are battling dreariness and anxieties, owing to the uncertainty. Human connection and regular collaboration have become more critical than ever in determining employee productivity and wellbeing. Most large enterprises and businesses are looking for swift measures to help employees cope with the ongoing situation.

In an attempt to help members uplift employee morale, Smartworks had launched ‘SmartEdge’, our online events platform with an exclusive range of events curated specially to engage and inspire. These events have been designed to enable people from different backgrounds, skillsets and walks of life to interact and share, discover and grow together.

Here’s a glimpse of the different webinars and workshops conducted by Smartworks:

Policy Making and Investment Workshops

Policy makers play a critical role in keeping employees engaged and motivated, our sessions on policy making and investment were conducted by industry leaders to share their valuable insights and tips on the same.

    – HR Policies and Legalities

  • This exclusive webinar was designed to help policymakers and HR professionals design a legal recourse and a wholesome employee engagement plan to keep employees motivated and productive while working from home.
    – Investing In Volatile Times

  • Amidst these times, financial literacy and saving for the future becomes imperative for long-term returns. This exclusive seminar brought industry experts on one single platform to help employees understand the basics of savings and investment.

Sessions on Health and Wellness

We know that this is an unreal situation, where everyone is struggling to find their equilibrium and peace of mind. Our focused sessions driven by health coaches and fitness trainers will help you relax and rejuvenate.

    – Hatha Yoga and Meditation

  • The Hatha Yoga and Meditation session in collaboration with SweatByShwetha, was a series of power-packed yoga poses and asanas designed to align your body, soothe your mind and spirit in preparation for meditation.
    – Power Yoga

  • This guided session by yoga masters was focused around teaching several energetic vinyasa-style yoga and bodily postures. Some of the key benefits of practicing this form of Yoga is to increase flexibility, focus on your body’s core and boost your immunity.
    – Embrace Your Emotional Quotient

  • Motivating the self to push our own boundaries and achieve the unattainable, requires immense time management and self-management skills. This session on emotional intelligence shares expert tips and methods of self-regulation and nurturing your existing social skills.

Creative Art Workshops

These recreational workshops were aimed at reducing stress and anxiety, while allowing people to take a deep dive in their creativity and showcase their innovative ideas.

    – Mandala Art

  • Drawing a mandala pattern is considered therapeutic and the entire experience will help you reduce stress and lower your blood pressure while promoting sleep and easing depression. This session was focused on teaching the basics of mandala art.
    – Newspaper Craft

  • To reminisce the excitement of making creative art from paper, a fun session on making newspaper craft was organized where people from different walks of life came together to draw and design interlocking patterns and take a break from their tedious routines.

Sessions Related to Smartworks’ Preventive Measures

Our team at Smartworks has been working relentlessly to provide a safe and hygienic work environment for all. Some sessions were specially curated to share a glimpse of our workspace preparedness measures.

    – Workplace Considerations for Business Resumption

  • This insightful session had Real estate experts from Keppel Land, who discussed workplace considerations and best practices from China and Singapore. Their outlook and viewpoint helped Smartworks design and implement global measures to safeguard the health and security of all upon business resumption post the lockdown.
    – Smartworks’ Preparedness and Response post Lockdown

  • This session was conducted to share an insight into Smartworks’ preparedness and preventive measures to make your workspaces safe and ready to use. The discussion addressed all the queries that members and employees had and helped in reassuring them.

Smartworks is driven to provide a safe and productive work environment for our members and employees. We will continue to implement all the global best practices and design employee engagement programs, to know more about our safety updates and upcoming events, visit- https://www.smartworksoffice.com/safetyfirstworkplace/

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How companies can boost employee morale upon workplace resumption

It goes without saying that the current COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for all, be it the first-line responders such as our health professional to manufacturers and small businesses who depend on the daily transactions to keep themselves afloat. While employees were forced to adopt remote working options, many struggled with maintaining a healthy work-life balance and keep their spirits up. With the lockdown slowly easing and most of the employees gearing up to get back to work, there is a good chance that your employees would need an extra dose of motivation and positive vibe to help them adapt to the ‘new normal’.

A recent Gallup survey has shown that low morale can cost companies anywhere between $483 to $605 billion loss each year due to low productivity. It is a huge figure, one that cannot be ignored. Low morale has a direct effect on an employee’s productivity leading to low turnover, high rate of absenteeism, and general negativity. There is nothing wrong if a person feeling low sometimes, however, the management should indulge in a ‘pulse check’ with various departments and teams before it becomes an organisation-wide issue. With most employees struggling to find a balance and manage their anxieties, all employers must consider employee engagement programs to keep the employees focussed and in sync with the organisational goals.

Here are some ways to boost employee morale and improve business productivity in the long run:

1. Low Hanging Goals

Employees need a target as part of their daily motivation to work. Setting achievable low hanging fruits can improve their focus and help them boost their confidence once the said objectives are achieved. It puts them in a better mental frame, improves positivity, and gives a sense of accomplishment. Start from small and work their way to more challenging tasks. As managers, you will need to help them out of their low morale.

2. Encourage Employees to invest time in skill-building

Another method to boost employee morale is encouraging employees to take up a course and focus on skill-building. Taking a course just for half an hour a day in their spare time can help employees feel focussed and motivated. Such online courses need not necessarily interfere with their daily tasks. Most companies such as Google, Twitter, Unsplash encourage their employees to get some time off their daily routine and focus on skill-building workshops, courses, and projects.

3. Increase Lunch Time For Relaxed Team Building

Businesses have not stopped working, it has just slowed down in this current pandemic. Therefore, to beat any type of blues within your employees, consider extending the lunch break hour. For fear of being in the bad books of their bosses, 20% of employees skip lunch. This is not only bad to boost morale, it will also affect those employees with low energy, making them more stressed, cranky, and tired. Managers should take their teams for coffee and tea breaks as part of a healthy team-building exercise which has proven to have a significant impact on the team’s morale and positive outlook.

4. Celebrate Milestones

It is important to celebrate even the small milestones, appreciating the good never goes out of fashion. Employees need to be told that they are doing well and are on the right track. When an employee overperforms, let them know, as it helps to boost their morale and the recognition motivates them to go above and beyond their call of duty.

5. Crowdsource Ideas Within the Company

Instead of hiring an external agency for developing cost-cutting strategies or coming up with marketing plans, allocate an hour a week to crowdsource ideas from employees within the company. As the employees are aligned with the organisation’s goals and objectives, they will be able to ideate and come up with innovative ideas for the existing knots and problems. This will help keep the employees motivated, engaged, and valued.

These are some of the actionable strategies that can be implemented by any type of company in the current situation to keep the employees engaged and motivated. In these uncertain times, when people around the world are struggling to find their balance, focusing on team-building exercises while creating transparent workflows can help both employees and businesses to weather this storm together.

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COVID-19: Maintain Social Distance And Host A Virtual Conference

With crisis comes opportunities and 2020 has been a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner to the work for various industries and sectors of the economy. So much so, some of the world’s biggest conferences called off their events – from SXSW, a technology and music festival, to Google and Facebook calling off their annual developers conference.

However, many took up the challenge of hosting their events through virtual conferencing and brought communities together for it. This was not limited to tech events but also various music festivals were organised to raise donations for the frontline workers others affected by a coronavirus. Various broadcasting platforms such as Twitch, Zoom, and Google Meet became popular choices to host a virtual conference.

While hosting a virtual conference might seem daunting, it is one of the best ways in the current situation to connect with your industry members and sector. Here are some tips your business must consider to host a successful online conference and webinar:

1. Set The Right Theme

To host a meaningful online conference for a day or a week, it needs to have an overarching theme. A series of various sessions scheduled as is without any pretext or context will leave your attendees clueless, distracted, and directionless. A successful virtual meeting is one where all the topics, sessions, workshops are brought under one umbrella or theme which gives a context for the conference.

2. Live Sessions

Various platforms such as Facebook and Instagram provide live streaming options for users. Along with this, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, and various other video hosting platforms allow for a live session to be conducted. Such live streaming makes a virtual conference more humanised and allows attendees to ask questions and queries. Thus, while your conference remains virtual, it allows your audience to participate and engage.

3. Make It Interactive

While hosting a virtual conference, it is important to keep it engaging. The best way to do it is by allowing and encouraging attendees to ask questions and conduct a live Q&A session. These can be done by means of online polls, conducting activities, and quizzes. Virtual sessions are mostly passive in nature and therefore, to conduct a successful one, organisers need to understand this nuance. Another way to keep it interactive is by letting your audience to submit suggestions or questions before a session is conducted and have it addressed towards the end. People asking questions in such a scenario are far more likely to be around to hear it answered.

4. Run A Demo Session

Conducting an online conference can be tricky. There can be many potential failure points and it is certain to hit some technical glitches while going live. Thus, to avoid any unmitigated risk, run a demo session with your speakers much in advance. Test your equipment and internet speeds, identify back up points in case of any failure, and plan for potential trouble.

5. Simple Is Best

Hosting a virtual conference is not exactly the same as a normal conference at a particular location. You will need to re-create and re-imagine your online sessions in a virtual manner and strip it down to the bare minimum. Keeping it simple will go a long way in making your online events a success. Use the popular streaming sites such as Facebook/Instagram Live, initiate a Twitter thread. Make it transparent and make it easy for your audiences to access the content for more reach and engagement.

6. Engage And Network!

While hosting an online conference can seem tedious, it still maintains getting almost the same traction and opportunities to network as at a physical conference. Video hosting platforms such as Zoom and the likes provide chat features which help in having a discussion between the host and participants, even during a session. Facebook and Instagram Live session encourages participants to comment as the session is being conducted, as well as allowing for a break out session, one-to-one conversations.

Conducting an online session and virtual conference brings in a new avenue of engagement and keeps your brand image alive with your audience. It also allows your business to create a series of video library which can be reused at a later stage. Apart from keeping your audience safe by keeping them social distanced with each other, virtual conferencing allows your audience to participate with experts from your industry and your brand too.

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Smartworks Preventive Measures for COVID-19

The Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it and put a sudden halt to all business activities and global economies, confining people to the four walls of their homes for the last few months. The coronavirus outbreak has proved to be a challenging antagonist for coworking spaces as most of them had to temporarily close their doors for their members to reassess their processes, re-evaluate their operations, develop frameworks for ensuring the health and safety of their members.

At Smartworks, your health and wellbeing is our utmost priority. As we continue to navigate through the situation, we have been deploying all the preventive measures as prescribed by the government for the safety of our members and employees.

Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitization Measures

Apart from our routine cleaning and regular sanitization of workspaces, we have proactively initiated weekly anti-bacterial fumigation and deep cleaning as a measure of added precaution.

1. Anti-Bacterial Fumigation:

The entire office space, including your workstations and the frequently touched areas, are regularly undergoing anti-bacterial treatment. This process is undertaken using an Ultra-Low Volume Sprayer Fogging Machine, with droplet /mist in the range of 5-50 micron with 1% Solution of Alpha Guard. This treatment is used in hospitals to minimize risk and is considered very effective to kill all germs, bacteria, and viruses on contact, establishing a personal safety zone.

2. Deep cleaning:

Deep cleaning is carried out under the guidance of experts covering every area in the office space such as staircase, lift lobby, parking area, rooftop, mechanical rooms, pantries, and machines.

3. Sanitization Tunnels:

We are in the process of installing sanitization tunnels in our facilities for a full-body disinfection using herbal citrus extracts and ionized solution. This disinfection process is safe, skin- friendly, chemical-free and very effective in killing germs and pathogens.

4. Atomizers:

We will be installing atomizers in every center to make our premises disinfected using the fogging mechanism.

5. Vehicle sanitization:

All vehicles entering the Smartworks premises will be disinfected using spray chemicals. While spraying would take care of the exteriors, we request vehicle owners to keep the interiors sanitized and cleaned regularly.

Measures to monitor indoor air quality:

We are following all the air purification measures as prescribed in the ISHRAE guidelines to maintain optimum indoor air quality inside our premises. Founded in 1981, ISHRAE is a group of eminent HVAC&R professionals that recommends air conditioning and ventilation guidelines for all workspaces and industries in India.

1. Air purification:

All the AHU/HVAC Equipment filters are being deep cleaned using R2, a green chemical. The process included the cleaning of AHU coils with pure water as well. We will also initiate a steam cleaning of indoor coils soon.

2. Hygrometers:

Hygrometers help in determining the humidity levels of the workplace and allows regulating the air quality within the recommended range of 40 to 70% as per the ISHRAE guidelines. Hygrometers will ensure the air is never too dry, or too humid, for bacteria to multiply.

Training of staff and appointment of security officers:

We have been continuously training and sensitizing our housekeeping staff and security personnel on the preventive measures and importance of social distancing. Our housekeeping and security staff is equipped with masks, gloves, and face shields to keep themselves and others protected.

We have appointed Security officers in all centres for the timely and planned execution of all preventive measures, to guide and ensure social distancing practices are followed by all inside the premises.

Measures to minimize touch inside the Smartworks facilities:

1. Sensor- Based Sanitizers:

We would be placing automatic sensor-based sanitizer dispensers at various common areas to minimize touch and maximize personal hygiene practices.

2. Foot Paddle door openers:

Our common area doors, such as the washrooms, meeting rooms, etc. will have foot paddles for contactless door opening.

3. Meeting Room bookings on the Smartworks app:

To minimize touch and maximize accessibility, we have enabled meeting room bookings through the Smartworks app.

4. Self-Declaration Forms:

Instead of pen-paper health declarations, we have enabled a self-declaration form on our Smartworks app. This form will capture the basic health information and is a proactive safety measure, to keep everyone in the premises safe.

Smartworks is driven to provide a safe and hygienic work environment for all. We will continue to implement all the global best practices and preventive measures, to know more about our coronavirus safety precautions and updates, visit- https://www.smartworksoffice.com/safetyfirstworkplace/

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