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BTips for Managing a Remote Workforce During Coronavirus Outbreak

Best Expert Tips for Managing a Remote Workforce During Coronavirus Outbreak

Whether you are prepared or not, with this outbreak of Coronavirus, working from home has been thrust upon everyone and as a manager or a business owner, you will have to deal with this new work scenario and set up a remote workforce while the lockdown is in place.

The concept of work from home might be novel but it can add more stress than you already are facing with all the uncertainties due to this pandemic. This is why, your role becomes more important to maintain order and structure as people from your employees to clients will be looking at you for direction and guidance.

Here are some essential tips for managing remote workforce during the Coronavirus lockdown:

1. Keep Calm and Carry On

It is easy to get moody and feel discouraged with all that is going on around the world but you are the leader of a team of people. If they see you feeling low, they too will feel the same. While it is important to acknowledge the uncertain times due to coronavirus, it is essential you maintain your decorum and lead your remote workforce as you would during normal business hours. Accept the fact that your workforce will not be as responsive as they normally would. Be patient, respectful and try to avoid criticising them. Allow your workforce to settle in from their remote workplace. Remember, you are the leader so lead with example. Rest will all fall into place.

2. Do A Morning Video Meet Up

While you and your business deals with this current crisis, remember to set the agenda of your business with your team with a video conference. There are plenty of free channels and apps to use for this purpose. Conducting a morning video meeting will allow your remote workforce to interact, see and communicate with you and everyone in your team. It is a good team building exercise too. Your team members will know they are not alone in this situation.

3. Grab The Low Hanging Fruit

Try to approach your daily business in a new way. Your team is away due to the coronavirus lockdown, business flow is uncertain and not everything is going the right way. In such times, focus on achievable tasks. Targeting such low hanging fruits does three things to your team members: first, it puts them in a position where they know they can achieve some outcome. Secondly, it works as a positive direction, away from distressing thoughts. Lastly, it gives a sense of accomplishment.

4. Coffee Break

Often, working from home can be distracting with your team members carrying on their assigned tasks even after normal working hours. This can be due to several house work that may arise, especially for those with children and pets. It is therefore important to set aside some time for a group coffee break where you discuss non-work related issues. This can be sometime in the evening or first thing in morning. Approach this as you would in an office situation where team members take a short break or a water cooler talk.

5. Do A Daily Pep-Talk

These are uncertain times. Chances are there are many in your team who have never faced such a situation before or were too small to remember. As a manager or business owner, it is your role to step in and do a daily check up. This can be a simple hello to providing assurance to their fears. This is required during the initial stages of implementing remote work as most people are not keen for change.

These are some tips for managing remote workforce during a lockdown due to coronavirus. Your team members are the ones who are helping you keep your business afloat, so as a leader, it is imperative you can give them some of your time and calm their fears.

Ways To Protect Your Business During Coronavirus Outbreak

Ways To Protect Your Business During Coronavirus Outbreak

With the increasing number of cases due to the Coronavirus outbreak, it is important for businesses of every kind to take stock of the situation and follow government advisory to minimise loss and ensure the safety of their employees.

COVID-19 has disrupted the normalcy of life across the world. There is panic everywhere: at home, in the market, at work, and for business owners it becomes even more important to assure their team of their company’s commitment of taking care of them in such trying situations. It could be a simple assurance of salaries paid on time to providing healthcare support for anyone affected.

Just as you are taking safety measures to ensure this disease stays away from you, your business also needs a safety check to beat this virus. Here are some ways to protect your Business during Coronavirus outbreak –

1. Formulate A Plan

Due to the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have already put in place safety measures to protect their company and employees. On the other hand, some are revamping their emergency plan to include this new pandemic for the future. If there is no emergency plan in place, this is a good time to make one for today and the future.

An emergency plan not only outlines the steps a company will take in such times but also the measures to be undertaken for the protection of employees and businesses. It becomes the guide to follow and must include information such as measures to protect employees, emergency contacts, business operations and any deliverable measures.

2. Establish Work From Home Procedure

In normal circumstances, the Work from Home step up would not be considered but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, these are not normal times. Depending on your industry and business profile, you can try this approach to ensure critical work gets done without having your employees to commute to work. Set some rules around this process such as logging in at the right time, breaks, communication set up, etc will give a sense of professionalism between your employees and clients. Setting up video conferencing and morning meetings will ensure the day’s workload is set up and achieved by the end of the day.

3. Keep Updating Managers & Employees

Nobody likes to be left out of communication, especially during these trying times. The situation is constantly evolving due to the spread of the Coronavirus and its impact on businesses. As a business owner, you will have to keep the channels of communication open and keep updating your managers about any latest development on COVID-19 and its implications. Check the news for any government advisories and regulations related to coronavirus and update your line managers accordingly.

In such times, always make it a point to issue a memo, email or voice note to your employees too. This will make them feel assured as well as reduce panic in their minds. Ensure your managers are also doing the same. This will ensure transparency and common messaging, thereby eliminating any doubts from the minds of your employees.

4. Sanitise Your Workplace

With everything going on to ensure employee satisfaction and expectation, do take the time to fumigate and sanitise your workplace. Depending on your industry and servicing, there might be some employees required to make their presence at work. Establish standard operating procedures for cleanliness and sanitisation. Ensure work desk and floors are cleaned with disinfectants, stock up on hand sanitizers, issue directives and print outs suggesting washing hand techniques and using soap, make sure sick employees stay at home.

These are some of the safe bet options to protect your Business during Coronavirus outbreak. Following the above tips, businesses can position themselves to weather the storm caused by Coronavirus and ensure employees and clients remain safe and healthy.

Smartworks is closely monitoring the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We are proactively implementing all global and local government guidelines and carrying out all the preventive measures to maintain an infection-free work. Help One, Help All – Let’s fight this together!

Best Productivity Tips for Working From Home

7 Best Productivity Tips for Working From Home

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies are opting to choose the work from home strategy but they also need to ensure the best productivity tips for working from home are put in place in a bid to flatten the curve in stemming the spread of coronavirus and ensuring productivity and output remains ongoing.

Social distancing is one key element in stopping the spread of this disease. It basically defines being physically distant while maintaining social solidarity. While not everyone will be comfortable or used to working from home, there are some simple behavioural tips that can be applied in these trying times. Home, after all, is a personal space and filled with distractions from doing the dishes to laundry, taking care of a child or a pet, assisting in the house chores and the list can go on.

On the other hand, you might find yourself overworking. Since you’re in your home 24×7, you have carried on with your work without noticing the time and worked past your usual hours. Staying put indoors for long can also make you susceptible to cabin fever, without you even realising it!

However, much like everything, working from home is a challenge that everyone has to get used to. The key remains in maintaining your daily schedule much in the same way as you would when leaving for office. Avoid sleeping in, taking too long over breakfast, and mentally prepare yourself for a commute to work, even if it means stepping in the next room.

Everyone will function differently during this time but below are some tips that can help you along:

Tip 1: Set Boundaries

Set a concrete working hour, in much the same way as your normal office hours. This will help you prepare yourself in getting your work done. Make a checklist in the morning of your things to do. Set up online meetings and con-calls. Let your spouse and children know you’re at work and will able to attend to them after completing certain tasks.

Tip 2: Set Your Day Like Everyday

When you had to commute to work, you would wake up at a certain hour to reach work on time. Do not give up that habit. Set your alarm for the same time you would usually wake up, make a nice breakfast, and change into something comfortable – either work clothes or even a t-shirt and track pants – but get out of your nightgowns and pyjamas.

Tip 3: Commute Gets Interesting

As you’re now working from home, one would argue your commute doesn’t exist. This can create a complacent attitude which can result in you unable to switch your mind once work from home is no longer an option. Use the commute time for your own personal growth by reading a book or changing your timetable a bit for exercise and then changing for work and breakfast. This commute time is extra-time for you, so spend it wisely!

Tip 4: Create Space

Working from home brings its own set of challenges. As a professional, you will need to find a space within your home which is comfortable and distraction-free. If you’re used to the busy buzz of a noisy office, play music in the background or turn on the TV but at a comfortable volume. This will help you get into your work zone.

Tip 5: Balance House Chores

Remember the commute time which is now open for you to utilise? Use that time to finish off your laundry, washing dishes and undertaking various other house chores. Once your actual work time commences, you should be the focus on your professional work and get back to your personal chores at the end of business hours.

Tip 6: Arrange Morning Meetings

One of the best productivity tips for working from home is ensuring you can set your day’s task by holding a call or video conferencing with your teammates. This can also be done with your office buddies to get the work vibe flowing through you. A simple talk with others can be extremely healthy to start your day.

Tip 7: Don’t Become A Couch Potato

Keep moving as you would while being in office. Get up and move every 30 minutes. Stretch yourself or take a quick walk to the kitchen. Experts recommend to keep moving your body and not sit for too long.

Meeting Room design

Modern Meeting Room Design Tips for Coworking Spaces

Meeting rooms are an integral part of office space, it constitutes at least a quarter of your workspace design. Prominent research has depicted that various teams spread across different sectors and organizations spend most of their working hours in a meeting room, ideating and brainstorming.

Meeting rooms are mostly the secluded part of your office space, where most of the action and implementation takes place. Meeting rooms in coworking spaces are known for their innovative design and tech-enabled environment, which supports innovation and aids productivity.

Even though meeting rooms are a crucial element of coworking space designs, they are the most ignored. Gone are the days of dull and dingy meeting rooms, everyone prefers a vibrant-looking meeting room, which has a positive impact on an employee’s mood and keeps them motivated to accomplish the goals on their to-do list. There are many factors which contribute in shaping the overall look and feel of a meeting room, which includes the kind of furniture and their placement, lights and acoustics, conferencing equipment and the room décor, these design factors are an integral factor in the success or failure of a meeting, for a meeting room is an important factor which helps form the first impression.

Here are a few tips to design meeting rooms for coworking spaces:

Chalk out your audience

Before setting out to design a meeting room, it is imperative to understand the likes and preferences of your target audience. The idea ‘one-size-fits-all’ is a notion of the past, it is important to understand that with the emergence of new-age professions, different kind of work demands a different workspace experience. For example, a radio artist or a VFX director would need a sound-proof room whereas a marketing team would need a collaborative space, different key aspects of the meeting room like the lighting, furniture or sound system have to be designed keeping in mind the preferences of customers.

Pro Tip:
Bifurcate your target audience in terms of their profession, team member count and preference, before drawing the meeting room design.

Technology and Connectivity

Technology failure is the most common problem faced by people while conducting a meeting. Technology is a key aspect of your, it can either make or break the deal. Everyone demands a tech-enabled meeting room which helps increase their productivity and maximize employee engagement. A state-of-the-art conference room with the latest amenities like high-speed wifi, projectors, and display systems, concierge services aids the overall experience of the employees.

Coworking spaces should also focus on devising an easy way of booking meeting rooms, most of the problems faced by clients while booking a meeting room in a coworking space is that of no-show bookings and multiple bookings, an efficient app can be designed to simplify the process of booking meeting rooms.

Pro Tip:
Meeting rooms can be equipped with IoT for easy operation and maximizing energy efficiency

Design and Aesthetics

Another common problem while designing meeting rooms is sticking to the old and outdated designs. Gone are the days of dull and dingy meeting rooms, everyone prefers a aesthetically designed meeting rooms, with ample of seating arrangements and adequate lighting. A well-ventilated meeting room, with comfortable furniture, can make all the difference.

Pro Tip:
Research the analytics and study the utilization of data before designing the meeting room.

Focus on the walls

The texture of the wall determines the vibe of the space while having a positive and serene effect on the mood of the individual. Walls that have pastel shades or vibrant designs have a calming effect and help combat a high-stress work environment. A graceful wall décor can, not just add colors but also complement the individual’s sense of purpose.

Pro Tip:
Exposed brick designs and vibrant wallpapers are an upcoming trend.

The three basic considerations while coming up with meeting room designs are- floor space, privacy, and technology integration because meeting rooms are the spaces where most of the productive interactions happen. It can have a positive impact on the way meetings are conducted and the direction they steer. An excellent meeting room design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also takes into consideration employee comfort.

Types of co-workers post-Holi

How’s the thought of celebrating Holi in office space? Exciting !! Scrumptious Gujiya, colorful Gulal, and the cool summer breeze can only mean one thing- Holi! A festival where looking your worst marks a day well-spent and a festival well-celebrated. Holi can unite a nation known for its stupendous diversity with the power of simplicity. A simple touch of color followed by a sweet phrase- Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai- does the trick! While the festival is the epitome of fun, it’s the after-effects that are funnier. As you reminisce about yesterday’s celebrations and enjoy your long weekend, here is a list of your dear co-workers who you’ll definitely encounter on Monday morning-

1. The water advocate: This person informed the entire office about the hazards of water wastage, helped the HR send out emails, put up posters and sent WhatsApp forwards on office groups. The particular person- no matter what they claim- ended up playing with water and a bunch of other liquids (eggs, mud, the list is endless). Although they had the best intention at heart and an extremely valid point, in reality, it’s always hard to follow what you preach and expect that from others as well. Still, no harm in trying though?

2. The DIY granny: He/she arrives on Monday with clean, shining skin and a host of DIY(Do-It-Yourself) recipes to offer on Holi in Office space. They’re the King/Queen of DIY and will have the best advice to offer. From a hack passed on by their grandmother to a hack they discovered by experimenting- they know it all. Head to their seat if you’re still getting a mini heart-attack every time you see the red colored water while bathing!

3. The Holi horror victim: These tortured souls were scared before the festival and the after-effects have left them petrified. They’re the ones who view the Holi ground/garden as a battlefield and you, as a soldier armed with the most deadly weapon known to mankind-colors. You can spot them as the people who hid in the bathroom or didn’t move from their desks while everyone played Holi at work. Don’t confuse them with the DIY grannies. They both might be spotless, but one would offer you advice about banishing color from your skin and others about banishing Holi from your life!

4. The gujiya lover: The beautiful, golden dumpling filled with mouth-watering sweet Khoya is everyone’s Holi favorite. No one loves it more than ‘The ultimate gujiya lover’. If there is a gujiya within a ten-meter distance, they’ll find it and eat it. No gujiya box can hide from their sight.

5. The proud multi-colored enthusiast: These people are hard to miss. Be it before or after the festival, no matter how much you try; you cannot avoid them. They’re the ones who are the most enthusiastic about Holi in office space and spend the majority of their days leading up to the festival discussing the colors, location, plan-of-action and other things (which cannot be mentioned here) of their Holi party. Post-Holi they carry their color stains like triumphant soldiers who have returned from the battlefield. Every stain is like a scar which is then followed by a story. They played Holi with any substance imaginable and have no shame in narrating their story to anyone who’s willing to hear it. They and the Holi horror victims will never understand each other, and we’ll always spot the former trying to narrate their stories forcefully to the latter.

Factors For Choosing Best Co-working Space

Location combined with amenities stand out as integral factors in choosing co-working space

Going by famous expression coined by real-estate tycoons, three factors matter the most when it comes to real estate- ‘Location, Location & Location.’ This dictum is followed by a majority of people in the business.

While we’re no real-estate gurus, we do have an expertise when it comes to choosing the right co-working space for your business. There is plenty of advice floating around on the internet and in the real world for businesses on a lookout for shared spaces. Mostly this information is either too amateur or too complicated to decipher and follow resulting in a confused business, unable to make the right decision for their selves.

We, at Smartworks, to make it easier and precise skip the technical and cumbersome jargon and shift our focus to only two factors. The first, passed on to us by real-estate legends- Location. Second, a factor we figured out with our experience in the business- Amenities/ Facilities.

Why Location?

A centrally located office is largely significant in how much value you get out of your membership. A location, having good transport connectivity, nearby entertainment facilities and convenient stores, decent restaurants, parks or other reputed companies is a win-win situation for your business. An impressive neighbourhood or a prestigious cyber park not only impresses potential clients but serves as a lucrative factor for the prospective employees as well. A short stroll in the park post lunch or an evening out at a nearby restaurant with colleagues serves as a welcome break from the mundane routine at the office.

On the flip side, choosing or getting a centrally located office space is no easy feat. Every location requires a thorough research and some ground-breaking determination to finalise. When it comes to a co-working space, the importance grows manifold.

For instance, at Smartworks, we make sure that our offices are located in the heart of the city to cater to the needs of a majority of businesses. Yet, an essential factor to remember is that every business has its own requirements so always choose a location that works for you and the needs of your business.

What to look out for?

  • Easy to reach
  • Good parking facility
  • Superior connectivity to public transport
  • Safety and security precautions
  • Convenience

Why Amenities/ Facilities?

Does your business require a fast Wi-Fi connection, access to an excellent 3D printer, Skype room for client calls, suitable space for brainstorming sessions? Or you need something for yourself like a cup of coffee or tea early morning, a cafeteria offering healthy food or home-cooked food options? Clean toilets?

First of all, it’s quite challenging to work in an office not offering facilities which are a necessity for your business. Secondly, it’s equally difficult to work in a space which does not cater to your basic needs as well. Every office-goer has some requirements to be fulfilled. It’s simple logic- the more needs met means an increase in the happiness index of employees which automatically equals better performance at work and an increased job satisfaction. That is precisely why it’s also important to find a co-working space that gives you everything else you need to maximise your work experience.

The creation or complete destruction of the value proposition of office space depends entirely on the infrastructure and amenities it has to offer.

Ideally, a business should look for a co-working space that caters to all their needs by providing a membership plan which makes you productive sans lucrative extras you will never use.

A co-working office space like Smartworks offers all the basic as well as luxurious amenities like a Smart cafe or a weekly entertainment session. On top of that, a co-working facility like ours helps balance the work/life equation and provides a daily dose of fun as well!

What to look out for?

  • Engaging working environment
  • Good internet connection
  • Sanitary bathrooms
  • 24-hour electricity back-up
  • Good cafeteria and drinking water
  • Comfortable seating facility etc.