Category Archives: Tips & Hacks

productive office space

4 unusual productivity hacks by 4 billionaires

Besides their astronomical net worth, what do Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? Some traits, habits, actions and hacks that have helped them become the success they are today.  

At times, your work life can get overwhelming. You have a thousand things to do: client meeting, internal reviews, sales and target presentations, etc., but what makes a real difference is how effectively you manage everything and succeed.

Although our last few blogs have focused on productivity hacks for office, home and managers, this particular  blog features the unusual productivity hacks of four billionaires that can transform the way you work.    

Sack the sit-down meetings

Let’s start by stating the obvious- Meetings waste a lot of time. Agendas get forgotten, topics go amiss, and people get distracted. Barring few circumstances, a normal meeting on a single topic or client shouldn’t last for more than 5-10 minutes. That’s precisely why the Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson prefers walking meetings.  

Richard feels that decisions get made pretty quickly if you stand up or walk during the meetings. Of course, you can’t walk around in a meeting that involves ten members, but you can stand, huddle and get the ball rolling. It’s also a great way to fit in a bit of exercise and stay focused on a busy day.  

Focus on ‘signal over nose’

As the CEO of three companies — Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top of things on a day to day basis. As per several reports, Musk’s jam-packed schedule often sees him darting back and forth between SpaceX’s LA headquarters and Tesla’s base in the Bay Area.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work, or in his own terms, things that send “signal over nose”. For Musk, this means dealing with essential emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

In addition to this, he also breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots, even eating his lunch in five minutes or less, usually during a meeting.

While dividing a day into five-minute slots might look difficult to execute, you can identify your most critical work and start your day by completing that.   

Fit in ‘do nothing’ time

Sometimes being too busy can get in the way of doing a business or a job well. How many of you reach a point in a day where you feel that your day is so packed with back-to-back meetings that there’s barely any time left to process what’s going on around you or just think? Almost everyday, right? But fret not, even the most successful people in the world face the same issue.   

Which is why, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules “do nothing” time on his calendar. In fact, leaving gaps in his schedule is the “single most important productivity tool” he uses.

He creates 90 minutes and two hours buffers in his day where he keeps no meetings, no calls and no one can even disturb him during this time. This blank gray slot on his calendar gives him enough time to think and do his job well.

So, no matter how busy you are, try adding these buffers in your day. Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, read things you were saving in your phone or iPad, or just take a walk. After all, there’s a big difference between being productive and being busy!

Seek negative feedback

As unusual as it sounds, incorporating and accepting negative feedback is an important part of Elon Musk’s work ethic.  

As per Musk, seeking negative feedback might be hurtful at first, but you normally end up getting a lot more out of it.

All you have to do is gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve. Ask them to give their honest feedback and make an effort to apply it.  

You can do the same exercise with your friends and family too. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you, and it’s all in good spirit!

So, the next time you find yourself chronically short on time, try giving these five proven productivity hacks a try. You can even come up with a few experiments on your own. It may take some time to find the perfect formula, but the more you optimize your work schedule, the more productive and satisfied you’re going to be!

What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Chapter 4: What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Improving employee productivity is like an overdue file that keeps making its presence felt at the manager’s desk. No matter how hard they try, there is always a clause or a page that remains incomplete.

Managers across every domain face similar problems when it comes to increasing employee productivity. There are reports that say employee productivity has grown by .3% a year over five years, from 2011 to 2016. The slim growth reveals that something needs to be done right by the firms and of course managers to get better at employee productivity.

There are a lot of tricks in the book but rummaging through them can be pretty time consuming and at times futile. To make every manager’s life easier and make every firm prosper, here are four practical ways to live by if you want to be a better leader at work and inspire your employees every day at the office:

Incentives: ‘one’ for ‘all’, not ‘all’ for ‘one’

One of the best ways to encourage employees to be more efficient is actually to give them a reason to do so. Recognizing your people for a job done well will not only make them feel appreciated, but also encourage them to continue increasing their productivity.

But there’s a natural tendency for management to focus most heavily on senior-level economic incentives. While this is understandable, it’s best not to neglect substantive incentives for lower-level employees.  

While some may argue that it can be a costly affair, experts say that a carefully structured program with clearly defined revenue and/or earnings targets can work like a charm, both for an employee and manager.

Say it when you mean it and mean it when you say it OR Communicate Richly

Meaningful feedback is a foundational management skill that can have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity. Undeniably, feedback should not always be positive rather it should be encouraging. Managers and employees communicating effectively about the problems and improvements will create a holistic environment to work.

So, providing constructive feedback on a regular basis, be it encouragement for a job well done or advice on a presentation gone awry, will make a massive difference to the productivity of a firm.

Value. Support. Recognize. (VSR)

Three words that can’t be stressed enough. It’s essential that every manager understands and abides by these words in their tenure.

A manager’s support in times of need won’t be forgotten. In fact, it builds employee goodwill and loyalty. A situation where an employee is valued and recognised for their work can have a positive impact on them as compared to the contrary situation.

That’s not saying that unwarranted praises will do the trick. Recognition at the right time (say for getting a client onboard) is often a more powerful motivator than money. Value your employees, support them during rough times and recognise their hard work and achievements.

Make yourself a priority

Yes, you read that right. The best investment you will ever make as a manager is in yourself. In fact, this is a move that will put the aforementioned points into action.  

Get enough sleep, use your time wisely and always surround yourself with people who share your values and push you to achieve. By doing things that will make you a better leader or a person will let you have more time to tend to the needs of your employees.

So, to say that increasing productivity of a firm is just in the hands of a few individuals is incorrect. It’s an amalgamation of effort by everyone who is a part of the firm.

To know more about increasing the productivity of your firm, check out the previous chapters and get an insight on how highly productive and engaged employees can change the course of a company’s success.

4 home productivity hacks by celebrities like Richard Branson

Chapter 3: 4 home productivity hacks by celebrities like Richard Branson

In our last productivity chapter, we elaborated on hacks that can make your productivity at work go from a dull zero to an exhilarating 100. While there is still an ample amount of advice available on the internet for work, very few focus on the homefront.

Most of us associate productivity with things we do at work and fail to understand that productivity at work is directly proportional to productivity at home. The way we start our day or actions that we take back home, augment our productivity and allow us to make most of our day.

Keeping this in mind, we did some hard work for you and dove into daily lives of successful people to understand what keeps them going. Here are four actionable takeaways that you can start immediately to make a difference in your daily life.

Have a morning ritual
How many of you snooze the alarm until you have no choice but to quickly shower, race out the door, and grab some (unhealthy) breakfast on the way to work? We see a lot of heads nodding.

A productive day undoubtedly starts with a productive morning. Having the first 30-60 minutes of your day to yourself is a highly effective yet most understated productivity hack. These first few minutes of the day not only give you a great head start but also allow you to invest in your body and mind.

In fact, a lot of millionaires of our generation have their own version of morning rituals. Where Richard Branson (Founder of the Virgin Group) swims around his island and play tennis before sitting down for a healthy breakfast, Jack Dorsey (Co-founder of Twitter & Square) wakes up at 5.30 to meditate, followed by a 6-mile jog, Indra Nooyi, on the other hand, wakes up as early as 4am and reaches office no later than 7am.

So the first step to being productive at home begins with finding your version of ‘morning time’ and sticking to it.

To-do list to the rescue
The way you structure your day can either hurt or help your productivity. When you know exactly what you need to do and get done, you can then hit the ground running the first thing when you start your day.

You save time without having to think or organise your day because you already know what to do. But unfortunately, most people get to office at the very last minute and then spend their time thinking what to do. And that’s where a ‘to-do list’ comes into the picture.

Just like a morning ritual, it is also a productivity hack that contributes to many people’s successes, including Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX) and Nathan Blecharczyk (billionaire, and co-founder of Airbnb). In fact, some successful people go an extra mile and give each day a job or theme. This means that they devote certain days of their work to different types of work. For example, on Mondays they would focus on meetings, Tuesdays for product development, Wednesdays for marketing and so-on.

Simply put, start your day with an agenda and a plan ahead because people who fail to plan for their day, eventually become a part of other people’s plan.

Accomplish something beyond work
A healthy work-life balance is not only about succeeding at work or earning a certain digit figure. It’s about having a sense of accomplishment, both at work and home. Make room for things that can fit into your overall vision for work and life.

It could be as simple as reading a book you’ve always wanted to, watching a long DIY video, being more involved in your kids football, dance or drama practices or doing something long-planned as learning a guitar or any new language.

All you have to do and decide is that ‘one thing’ that always takes a back seat and you will definitely see a change.

Make it home for dinner (Always!)
There is always more to be done, more that should be done, and more that can be done. But work shouldn’t stop you from spending time with your family, and most importantly yourself.

And making it home in time for dinner is a productivity hack that makes you realize that there will always be more to do at work, you just need to decide when to take a hard stop intentionally. Just remember that spending time with your family and taking time at night to rest and recharge is always a wise decision.

Bonus Tip
By now, we’re guessing that our tips are being put to action. So, try and keep things as simple as possible. If you are writing down your to-do list, focus on things you intend to finish in maximum 32 hours, starting a workout regime- start with 30 minutes a day, making room for things you always wanted to do- take baby steps and start with something simple. The idea is to find your inner peace, both at work and home.

improve your productivity at work

Chapter 2: 5 hacks that will improve your productivity at work

Last week we demystified the real definition of productivity for you all. This week, let’s see how you can put it to use at work.

‘Productivity at work’ feels like that colleague who has big plans, is always busy and super-organised. Yet, at the end of the day, he is the one with unfinished work, a truck-load of stress and a million cups of coffee and papers strewn all over his desk.

The problem here lies in perception and interpretation of productivity. We perceive productivity as a task done fast and interpret it as a task that requires hard work.

In reality, productivity is about tackling a task smartly and completing it effectively.

Long story short, here are five no-fuss hacks to help you jump on the productivity boat and make your work life better.

Proactive trumps reactive, any day
Every firm prides on being process oriented, but the reality is that there are going to be days (every day) where the process goes out (of) the window. And you’re left scurrying around trying to make up for the lost work and time. Such situations require premonition.

Anticipating the next day’s work night before and coming up with a plan will be beneficial. Constant phone and con-calls, emails and brainstorming sessions will always come in your way, just don’t let them dictate how you’ll spend your day.

Pro-productivity tip: Plan your day and stick to it as closely as possible.

Give up perfection for determination
We all run after perfection, which in most cases is an illusion. Perfecting a task requires time, practice, patience and a lot of hard work. But, at times, in spite of all the efforts, perfection is still not guaranteed.

No one is saying to drop the effort, just don’t get hung up on attempting to perfect a task. The idea is to complete the job to the best of your ability and move it off your plate. Simply put, it’s about progress, commitment and effort. You can always come back to the task after completing other important work.

Pro-productivity tip: Be determined to ‘perfect’ the task to the best of your ability. Then, move on.

The “two-minute rule”
First coined by entrepreneur Steve Olenski, the “two-minute rule” suggests completing a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, on an immediate basis. This will help you make most of your time at work.

Olenski believes that a task which can be completed immediately takes less time as compared to doing it later. This tactic has made Olenski one of the most influential content strategists online.

Pro-productivity tip: Sending an email, finishing touches on a presentation or replying to text in most cases will take 2 minutes. Get done with it now!

Taking a break is not a sin
If you believe that your brain can be in work mode 24/7, then you’re either kidding or just blessed. Every task at work requires you to give your 100%, right?

Then, working on something that is draining all your energy should be stopped immediately.

Instead of relentlessly working on one thing, take a break when you feel your mind cannot take even an iota of information. A break will leave you refreshed and ready to take the task head on.

Pro-productivity tip: If you’re being judged for listening to your own body, you’re working for the wrong people.

Find the best (Read Smart) way to do your work!
Just like one shoe cannot fit all; one strategy cannot solve all the tasks at hand. Whenever a process or work makes you frustrated, question yourself- What’s the best way to do this. The best approach might not be the fastest, but it will be the easiest.

Also, make changes that will speed up your routine/process. In such a case, the trick will be your own and something that you can do best; no one can do better right?

Pro-productivity tip: Don’t work harder, work smarter.

Let the productivity begin

Chapter 1: Let the productivity begin!

What is productivity?
By default reply: A twelve letter word most commonly used in HR presentations, manager meetings and self-help articles.

Reality: The state or quality of being productive.

To shed light on this straightforward yet mildly abstract concept, we decided to try an experiment at work. We went around the office and asked our colleagues, “What did you do today?” A majority of them replied, “ We were drowned in work and had a lot on our plate; back-to-back meetings, con-calls, presentations, the usual.”

You might relate to this or brush it off as a standard answer. In reality, such phrases tell us nothing about what was actually accomplished. If anything, it proves the point that being busy is often such a distraction that it obscures what we may have achieved. Here the curious case of ‘productivity’ unfurls.

Recent research by the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company concluded that biggies like Google, Apple, Netflix et al. are 40% more productive than the average company. The data gathered from these large firms point to three components of human capital that impact productivity: energy, talent and time.

That said, the prime organisations are not only winning at productivity; instead, they organise their business processes and employees in such a way that their profit margins are 30%-50% higher than industry averages. So, what makes productivity different in such firms?

First, how they function and second, who makes them functional. In other words, the business processes and employees are an integral part of productivity. A harmonious and symbiotic relationship between the two can guarantee productivity.

When it comes to individual talent, focusing solely on emulating the habits of successful individuals will not assure productivity if it runs counter to how an organisation gets work done. The goal is to focus on collective instead of an individual.

Even Steve Jobs, most revered Player-Coach, believed that ‘focus’ preceded everything. Jobs elaborated on his belief at an off-site meeting with about 200 Yahoo executives. In the presentation, he explained how most companies make a list of 10 things they want to achieve in a year, but the smart ones reduce it to three or four items. Jobs, on the other hand, only focused on one thing his company could achieve in that year and allocate all resources to accomplishing that.

Productivity in its broadest sense will have different applications, yet its product will always remain the same; providing success to a company and its employees.

Lastly, inspiration is another critical aspect of productivity. The Bain & Company research even said that an ‘engaged’ employee is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker, but an employee who feels ‘inspired’ at work is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one.

To make this concept of productivity crystal clear, we’ll be coming up with a series of blogs, which will become a guide to increase productivity for your business and employees. Stay tuned.

Quick tip :
To maximise efficiency and productivity, start your day by asking yourself “What is the one thing that I can accomplish today which would give me immense satisfaction”.

Once you’ve figured that out, ensure you complete that task no matter what. This remarkably simple strategy will allow you to understand the concept of focus and convert it into a practical application.

employee rights

5 rights every employee should know – But they don’t

In our last article, we shared some ‘in-office’ wisdom for employees standing at crossroads do’s & don’t’s in a professional setup. In this article, we would highlight some of the fundamental employee rights each employee is entitled to in India.

While individual companies have their own employee handbook, most of them miss educating their people about workplace rights.

In order to create and maintain a symbiotic relationship with a company’s biggest asset, its people, every employer must talk about these rights.

Below are a few-

1) Right to keep copies of documents you sign

How many of you remember that stack of papers you signed (without reading, of course) when you started your job?

Well, you may have agreed not to work for a competitor, not to communicate with clients and vendors of the company, or leave the company before completion of a year or two.

Whether you are leaving the company or plan to stick around for a while, get a copy of everything you sign. Having copies of these documents is your right.

It gives both parties a sense of security that both are fully aware of their obligations and have agreed to comply with the stated terms and conditions.

2) Right to complain or protest about work

Ever wonder why a plethora of strikes (READ Recent sanitation workers strike, DLF site strike et al.) in India aren’t stopped in one swoop?

Well, that’s because they are legally protected under The Factories Act, 1948.

The law says that every worker has the right to protest and object to working conditions. Does your company fail to provide decent working conditions to you and your colleagues? They may be breaking the law.

3) Equal pay for equal work

Also, a constitutional right, equal pay for equal work means every employer is liable to pay equal to men, women or even temporary staff performing same tasks or responsibilities.

Unfortunately, even after repeated focus on women empowerment and gender equality in public discourse, there’s still a considerable gap between men and women in pay scales.

For instance, a survey conducted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2017, point to the extreme levels of disparity in wages for women in India.

The study reflected that men earn more than their women counterparts for similar jobs. The gap in many cases was as staggering as 30 percent.

Nevertheless, as an employee, you must know that it’s your right under India’s “Equal Remuneration Act of 1976.”

4) Right against sexual harassment at workplace

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention) Act, 2013 mandates employers to protect their employees, especially women, at workplace against any incidence of sexual harassment.

In fact, as per the law, all incidents of sexual harassment – big or small – require employers or managers to respond quickly and appropriately.

So, next time if someone tries to cross the line, don’t hesitate from complaining because of his/her position in the company.

5) Gratuity

As you all might already know, Gratuity is a retirement benefit under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 paid to an employee at the time of retirement, termination, resignation or employee’s death.

As per the law, an organization with 10 or more employees is supposed to pay gratuity to workers who have worked for 12 months or more. It is the last drawn salary (sum of basic and dearness allowance) multiplied by the number of years of service.

In case the employer fails to provide gratuity, he/ she faces prison for a term not less than six months and not more than two years.

That’s all for today, folks! Keep following Smartworks for more exciting scoops about work and work life!

work life

How to transform your work life in just three minutes!

Work life balance plays a significant role in an individual’s life. You’re snug in bed. Your alarm rings, you hit snooze. After a few snoozes, you realize you’ll be late if you don’t leave immediately. You reach office in the nick of time dressed in any attire you can lay your hands on! You reach office dishevelled, and find a pile of paperwork on your desk. You count down the seconds until it’s time to leave.

Does this sound like the story of your life?

First impression is the last, but with so much already on, where do you find time to take care of your personal grooming or imbibing appropriate work etiquettes?

#Smartbytes is the answer to all your workspace etiquettes woes.

Workplace ethics and etiquettes have always been a nebulous social territory where the fear of messing up can be daunting. Instead of initiating a flight response or sweeping it under the carpet, the best bet is to face them. The question often remains how?

The answer is simple, by investing in the most important person in your life-YOU!

This self-love has in fact proven beneficial for many office-goers. For instance, 48% of US employees combat stress by investing in professional development, according to a report by Udemy.

Another interesting report by the American Psychological Association revealed that 91% of workers at companies that support well-being efforts feel motivated to do their best.

Keeping the idea of professional development and well-being in mind, we came up with ‘Smartbytes’- A crisp, no-fuss and informative route to help you up the corporate ladder. Consisting of a series of videos anchored by the best experts in the field, Smartbytes is our take on everything professional. From power dressing to conversation etiquettes, we’ve got everything covered.

Our first series is on ‘Corporate Grooming’ and features Babita Jaishankar. She is the dynamic force behind Wsol, a consultancy that offers image management expertise to individuals and corporate entities. With her image management prowess and expertise, we have covered a variety of themes.

For our future video series, we plan to include topics such as rediscovering the joy at work, balancing work and family life, time management. The video series will feature experts from different fields offering top-notch tips and hacks for a smooth sail in your corporate life.

If you still haven’t seen a Smartbytes video, then it’s time you catch up! Watch the first video here

coworking space

Fun Things That You Can Do in a Coworking Space

The sound of your alarm buzzing at 6:00 am signifies the beginning of a long day ahead, making you wish that the ‘am’ magically turns into ‘pm’ and you can finally go back to where you belong the most- under your comfy blanket, away from the worries of the world. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? Yet we struggle to get up early in the morning to get to work when we don’t want to.

Well, there are plenty of reasons behind this struggle, one of the most prominent is your workplace. Believe it or not, but your work environment affects every aspect of your job: Your commitment, your creativity, your inspiration and your enthusiasm for going out there and making things happen.
 
While conventional workspaces tend to drown you easily, it’s a coworking space that offers you the opportunity to enhance your creativity and work shoulder to shoulder with professionals from other industries. Ultimately, life has a lot more to offer than just stressful work. In such a case, a coworking set up provides us with a possibility to do our job and have fun while doing it.

So, here are a few fun things you can do in a coworking space to make your work life more interesting-

Embrace diversity: Hanging out with your colleagues is good, but going beyond your comfort zone is fantastic. Every person comes from a different background with their own story and experiences. Here, each one has the ability to give a new spin to any conversation. This novelty not only adds to your knowledge reservoir but also opens up your mind to fresh perspectives.

Learning the art of ‘small talk’: ‘Small talk’ is one of the most underrated weapons known to mankind. If small talk can change your grumpy old neighbor into a cheerful-helping hand, then imagine what it can do for you at your workplace? Start with a smile and then go with the flow. ‘Small talks’ have the ability to turn into great conversations, and we all know the power of a great conversation right?

Inspire and be inspired: Inspiration can happen anywhere! There is no right time, but there is the right place. We work not only to sustain our life but to also evolve and grow as human beings. Inspiration is the only factor, which can make you work to the best of your abilities. Getting inspired by a coworking space is inevitable- thanks to all the ideas, good energy and the zeal to do something great wafting out of every corner of the office.

Turn labor into laughter: Work can be tough, there can be days when your frown refuses to leave your face and a smile struggles to sneak in. Unfortunately, everyone around you is probably going through the same phase so what do you do? You interact with people who are in a different stage of their work life and can lift your mood. Thereby, making coworking spaces the happiest place to work.

Beanbags become your best friends: Now, who doesn’t like to ditch the boring old chair and settle into the warm embrace of a beanbag. This bundle of joy gives you the freedom to sit anywhere and everywhere with anyone or everyone. Thanks to cool co-working spaces we’re already reaching out to someone while you ponder over this statement!

work-life balance

4 must-read tips for better work-life balance

For most of us, finding a work-life balance between the time spent on a demanding career and ever-so-important personal life is an ongoing challenge. Technology, with all its positive aspects, has added to the trouble by making working professionals accessible around the clock.

In fact, a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours a week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week as per a Harvard Business School survey.

In a scenario like this, achieving the elusive ‘work-life balance’ can often feel like an impossible feat. So, in today’s ‘do more with less’ competitive world, how can a working professional manage careers and families? Here are some handy and easy-to-adopt tips to help you find the balance that’s just right for you:

 

Prioritize

This is the most important tip. It defines not only your day at work but also your life. So, simply start by identifying what and who is essential in your life and draw some firm boundaries to devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities.

This identification and boundaries will make it easier for you to see what needs to be trimmed from the busy schedule. If social media surfing sends you into a time-wasting spiral, try using some productivity software or just try devoting limited time to them each day.

Or if you feel that your time gets gobbled up, almost every day, by indulging in some less constructive conversations then find ways to excuse yourself and limit these interactions politely. In other words, try and focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.

 

Make quality time true quality time!

No matter what stage of your career you are at, it’s imperative to know when you should shut your phone off and enjoy the moment. This also holds relevance when you are at work, and personal issues throw you off balance. Try to live in the moment and make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, activities that will help you rewind and recharge.

While most people believe in making plans over the weekend, fit in a family or friends outing during the week. If you have plans with your families on your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and it will act as an extra incentive to manage your time well at work.

 

Exercise & meditate

No matter how busy our lives become, we make time for the critical things in life. We eat, we sleep, we party and even watch Netflix. And yet exercise is often the first thing to go for a toss when our calendars fill up. But as per various research and experts, exercise is one of the effective stress busters for people looking to strike a healthy work-life balance.

It pumps ‘feel-good’ endorphins in your body, lifts your mood and even reflects positively in your office work. Therefore, start dedicating a few hours a week to ‘self-love’ in the form of yoga, exercise or meditation.

 

Start small

We’ve all at some point in time said to ourselves: I’m going to touch my target weight of 55 from 85 today. Will go for a run from zero miles a day to five miles a day. Spend all the weekends with family from none today. But do we really do that? Our obvious guess is no.

Therefore it’s important to start small. Start by 1 kg a week, one mile a day and one evening a week. In order to achieve the ideal work-life balance, start by taking some baby steps and experience some success and failures. Stand up again and build from there!

co-working space agreement

Signing a co-working space agreement? Keep these points in mind!

While working in a co-working space is slowly yet gradually gaining popularity in India, there persist several confusions regarding the working of the agreement. Where some argue that the co-working arrangement is similar to that of a lease agreement, some claim that it’s just like entering into a rental agreement.

But in reality, working in co-working spaces is like checking into a hotel room where you get access to avail all the facilities and services (of course at a cost) without owning or renting the property.

In other words, co-working space agreements are service agreements in which coworkers use the space for a limited period (according to their needs) and leave when they are done. These contracts don’t bind the person to a company forever.

Since now you know what the co-working agreements are, we will take you through six things to keep in mind when entering a coworking agreement. Most people tend to ignore these factors when opting for a coworking space.

Let’s see what they are and why you should keep them in mind:

  1. Nature of the Agreement: First thing first. The nature of the co-working space agreement should be such that it gives full liberty and permission to the member of the co-working space to use the premises and the ancillary facilities transparently. While the possession, ownership and control of the location will be with the owner of the area, the member client can utilize the services freely. The agreement must also clearly state the duration and the validity of a service agreement and the mode through which it will be extended, if and when the need arises.
  2. Monthly Fees and Payments: The monthly fees, payments, additional fees and renewal fees should be mentioned in the co-working space agreement. While this could vary from contract to contract, monthly fees and payments are usually payable on the first day of every month to the owner of the co-working space. Make sure that all the information related to the mode of payment is specified along with the penalty fee. The deposit refund in case of termination of the agreement must also be clearly specified in the agreement.
  3. Use of Premises: This is one of the most important clauses and should be laid down quite clearly by the owner of the co-working space. The access of the workspace must also be clearly mentioned in the agreement including the timings and days of the week.
    Furthermore, there should be an additional pointer talking about the use of illegal downloads or infringement of copyrights/trademarks. If the client wishes to use any additional equipment or items, he/she must inform the owner in advance to avoid any penalties or chargers.
  4. Insurance: You can’t really change much here. Just make sure you comply with local regulations and know what is covered and what’s not under your insurance. Unless law binds you, do not insure the coworker’s property: they should take care of their own property.
  5. Policies of the Workspace: Co-working spaces are all about utilising the same place with different people from different fields. Therefore, the procedures relating to the use of assets and physical furniture and fixtures such as tables, chairs, electrical fixtures, kitchen utensils, et al. should be clearly specified in the agreement.
  6. Universal Feature: Last but not least, a co-working service agreement must be universal in nature as it caters to different people. Typically, the space is shared by people who work in startups, established companies or service professionals who are in consulting or advisory fields. Therefore, the agreement must be such that allows individuals and diverse enterprises to fuse and work with ease. The use of technical jargons must be minimised to make them easy to understand.