A short series that graphically depicts why coworking spaces are essential and have become part of everyday lives for us!
Batman is chosen in the lead role; somebody who is an epitome characterization of self-sufficiency. Lets see why a coworking environment is crucial to support his SUPER LIFESTYLE!
#1 - daily distractions leave no time and reduce efficiency. in effect they reduce focus in doing the primary work
#2 - you need to have a very strong balance between your work and life. Multi-tasking requires an efficient support system ready at all times!
#3 - everyone needs space for brainstorming and for making strategies. call your squad and bring disruption!
#4 - Motivation is essential to all of us, even Batman! Working with other awesome individuals keeps us motivated at all times.
# 5 - Some meetings should only be made in public and not at home. Especially the ones that are crucial for Business!
#6 - Networking allows visibility. Visibility allows more business opportunities. Don't stay put in your comfort zones, break away and get plugged into the ecosystem!
#7 - Don't let the logistics take your creativity down. Break away from repetitive and mundane works, let someone else handle that for you. Concentrate on the things you are good at!
#8 - Lastly and the most important of all is your team. Expand and grow your team under the same roof!
Sustaining through a co-working space? It’s most likely that stress has become an inevitable part of your life and competition has taken over everything else. Time to take refuge in books, your personal stress busters which shall steal you away from the hustle-bustle of daily lives and deliver an overwhelming experience that certainly cannot be explained.
However the question remains, is it viable purchasing expensive books to be read only once. If not, can subscription be made to one of those libraries located far away in some old dilapidated building? Would visiting it each time you wish to read a new book or return an old one be possible?
Booker's Cafe presents an assorted range of books across varied subject of interests that shall be impeccably delivered at your office space here @ UnBoxed as per your request. Unlike the complicated old days library, all that you are required to do is place an online request for a book and it shall be delivered within shortest possible time frame at your coworking space.
3. Issue the book, once it reaches the Unboxed on the 1st of the every month. Update the issue process on the following shared file-
Enjoy Reading !
Mumpreneurs are like any other entrepreneur in the business world and they too have as much of a chance to make it big in the market as others. The concept of a chaotic mumpreneur who is interrupted by a crying baby during important calls and is surrounded with incomplete projects is history.
Today, mothers trying to hit the jackpot are taking a step ahead along with the rest of the working crowd. Furthermore, the introduction of coworking spaces has only enabled them to demarcate their work life from their personal life. In short, what were once baby steps have now turned to become giant leaps towards success.
We spoke to Gunjeet Parmar, computer scientist by education, and mumpreneur at Crafty hands by choice, about her coworking experience. Let us listen to what she has to say about her journey.
UnBoxed: What are the problems that you personally faced when you worked from home, coffee shops, or offices?
Gunjeet: It is definitely better to work at a coworking space than at home, in an office, or even a coffee shop, especially when you are a mother. I tried them all. For about 13 years, I worked in a corporate environment and after having a baby, I tried working from home. There were times I would visit restaurants that provided the facility to sit and work. However, I found the right balance between home and work only at a coworking space.
A blurred boundary between personal and professional environment, especially with children in the house is a biggest problem with working from home. This also includes not being able to enforce personal discipline just as someone with a regular job would do by getting dressed and starting his day at a specific time.
As far as going to coffee shops is concerned, even though free wi-fi is available, there will be a lot of chatter and other distractions. So, giving undivided attention to work becomes troublesome.
Another drawback of working in the coffee shop is that the seating is not ergonomic. Chairs in coffee shops are meant for lounging and not for long working hours. Additionally, the technical backup and quick access to office supplies like courier and print are unavailable.
In a typical corporate environment, there is a lack in the variety of people you get to interact with. Everyone is almost always talking about the same issues. On the top of that, you have deadlines and a crying baby at home.
This is where coworking comes in as a breeze. The space offers a mixed energy of various individuals hailing from diverse fields, thinking in different directions, and doing real work. So, it becomes extremely interesting.
UB: According to you, what are your essential requirements at a coworking space?
G: To work, I first need my tools. These days, a laptop serves most of the purpose and since I am a software professional, I carry my laptop everywhere. Besides that, I need a clean, peaceful, and safe environment. It has to be a space where I can get time to think and do my work with ease with easy access to basic amenities like snacks, internet, electricity, and restrooms. I guess that is about it.
UB: Have you heard about the term “Coworkation”? Please share your thoughts on it.
G: Coworkation, for me, is kind of an oxymoron. I am a firm believer in full vacations. I have children. So when I am away from home on vacation and I am working, I’d like to just work. But, if I am with my children I would be committed to having a good time with them and so I prefer not to work.
However, if I was single and just backpacking and travelling then I would probably cowork. It is a good concept especially when you run out of money during a vacation as you can start working and earn some.
It is understandable why people would opt for coworkation but, considering my personal situation it will not work for me. My children would be disappointed in me. Also, the border that coworking is helping me establish between my work and family life would start blurring.
UB: Why did it click for you at UnBoxed? What caught your attention there?
G: I have been working at UnBoxed since the last 5 months. Prior to this, I checked out other similar facilities and even tried them for a day, but eventually I liked and chose what UnBoxed provided.
From a professional standpoint, UnBoxed gives me access to everything I need to work, but what really worked for me was their huge open spaces.
Here, many prefer to sit on the floor. We all have access to one another, so there is a lot of interesting discussion happening and you get to know about what others are doing. This exposes us to different kinds of problems and compels us to come up with innovative solutions. The environment at UnBoxed is flexible and casual without unnecessary rules and regulations.
I find it a breeze to work there.
UB: What went wrong outside UnBoxed at other coworking spaces?
G: Like I mentioned, there were obviously space issues. You cannot work freely in a cramped space where others can peek over your work on and off.
Another reason why other places did not work for me was because their managers did not take the effort of introducing new people to the existing members on the floor, unlike UnBoxed. So, you are working with them not knowing what the person sitting next to you does for a living. The same thing applies to a corporate kind of coworking space. Nobody knows anybody. So, unless you are an extrovert and inclined to making connections yourself, there is no scope of any kind of business networking.
With this, we come to the end to our conversation with the mumpreneur, Gunjeet.
Coworking spaces surely are the next generation workspace for the self-starters and freelancers providing them with all essential facilities and amenities. But as in the case of Gunjeet, we can see not all coworking environments are conducive to everyone’s basic needs. So, what are your views on coworking spaces? Do share with us.
Today, a larger number of people are working for themselves more than ever. More and more are freelancing or opting to bootstrap their own venture. Whatever be their choice of work, what bothers them is the availability of a space they can work uninterrupted while still having fun.
Freelancers with projects that do not require them moving around usually opt for either coffee houses or their homes as their workplace, while startup owners with small teams rent offices. Both options prove unfeasible in the long run - if one is not distraction-free, the other is not cost-effective.
So, what does a feasible option look like? Something like coworking spaces. According to DeskMag, in 2014, there were more than 110,000 people working in one of the 2,500 coworking spaces available worldwide. It was also seen that there was an increase in the number of coworking members by 245 people on an average on each work day.
Why coworking spaces are clicking for so many people? To answer this, we picked brains of a bunch of coworkers and the following are our findings.
Making Success Stories
FACT: If, as a freelancer or a small team, you are considering moving into a coworking space , then the good news is that entrepreneurs and freelancers exhibit a higher level of success when operating out of a coworking zone.
The coworking concept was unheard of 5 years ago. Yet today, it is trending in the industry. Further, if the modern class is seeing this as a stepping stone for their business, this trend holds potential to become a norm in future.
Ishha Ajmera, Founder of White Crow Consulting, credits joining UnBoxed, a wonderful coworking space, for her success,
"I do not know how to quote in terms of numbers, but being at a coworking space has played an integral role in channelizing my energy into my core area of work. It's not expended into arranging tea or coffee or taking care of the electricity for my team. My energy is only focused on doing my work. So definitely I would say, that coworking has given me freedom and an increment of about 30% in my efficiency."
A recent study done at the the Global Coworking Unconference conference states the fact that 84% of people felt more engaged and motivated while 67% confessed an improved professional success at coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces like UnBoxed, which are membership-based, accept anyonewho needs affordable work space. The members range from architects to web developers, entrepreneurs to freelancers, and even artists, all working in one big shared space.
"If you are sitting with a small group of people, doing the same kind of job everyday, you will never have interaction with other folks. There would be no synergy. However, if you talk to different individuals, you realise different kinds of problems and develop an innovative approach to their solutions.
The environment at UnBoxed Coworking is flexible and members are equally open, and the atmosphere is very conducive to my process of ideation. It's perfect!" exclaims Gunjeet Parmar, Entrepreneur, Crafty Hands.
Many feel the difference of work style right from the first day itself. Additionally, the chance to meet interesting people coming from different professions and backgrounds makes this concept all the more inviting.
At a coworking space, people don’t have to match a company’s criteria and hence, they feel more relaxed and free to work in the way they find most suitable. Without holding anything back, they bring their entire selves with them.
As we have established, these collaborative places are highly affordable financially.
"People should definitely opt for coworking spaces. If I consider the finances, unless I am a team of 10 and I need a separate cabin for private team discussions on an everyday basis, there is no point in renting an office", says Ishha.
Managing everything, from furniture to food to the office infrastructure just for a team of 3 or 4 is not wise. At Coworking everything is taken care of- Most of the amenities are free and all you have to worry about is your work.
Pankaj, Founder of Payona, quotes:
"While looking for a workspace for my team, I was looking for a fully furnished place with a great ambiance. I discovered UnBoxed online and decided to check it out. I liked the place. It suited my team's preferences and I am quite happy with what I found here."
When coworking can make life so easy, then surely one should give it a try.
These are only some of the reasons why these spaces work for most startups and individuals.
Today businesses do not require the same level of infrastructure as they did in the past. This is the reason for increased number of independent workers and micro-businesses.
So are you still asking yourself why coworking spaces work?
Post by Jared Carrizales
Over the last few years, Heroic Search has been privileged to work on marketing campaigns for some truly kick-ass coworking spaces. They are consistently some of the most innovative groups of people we work with, so the ideas for promoting their spaces are equally kick-ass. Whether it be a concept of ours that we executed for a client or one that came from someone else, we wanted to share some of the most creative ideas we’ve seen for these spaces with you guys. Below are some killer marketing ideas for coworking spaces that we’ve come across or been a part of personally.
Disclaimer: It would be easy to suggest things like paid advertising, holding events, blogging, etc., but those are uber-boring. Don’t get me wrong, they totally work, but you want unique, out-of-the-box, members-pouring-in-the-door strategies. That’s what we’ve got here.
Local coffee shops. Create promotions of mutual benefit through coffee shops in your area. Sponsoring free drinks, free WiFi, etc., are all possibilities that the average coffee shop owner will be open to. You get the benefit of tapping into your target market and the coffee shops get to shuffle off some of their guiltiest “campers” to greener (and more work-conducive) pastures. (hat tip @NickClark83)
Twitter chats. Engage in coworking-related twitter chats (real estate, startup, entrepreneurship, etc). Your participation will help to establish you as an authority in the coworking world and put you in touch with a wealth of resources that can help you stay on top of your game and give your members what they want.
Twitter chats (2). Start a branded Twitter chat to stimulate engagement around coworking, an industry you serve, a particular location, or an ongoing event you want to promote. (check out #coworkchat)
Non-profits. Get involved with non-profits to help spur memberships and events. Many times non-profits simply need manpower, so getting members together on a Saturday can bring people together while also helping the non-profit achieve their goals.
Offer childcare. Spaces like NextKids, Sprout, and Work and Play have done a great job offering kid-friendly work environments. In addition to being an extremely marketable “perk”, benefits like this can make a world of difference to parents who would otherwise have to work from home.
Popup coworking. Last year when Common Desk was being renovated, we held a popup coworking week in a rented space just a few minutes away. Members loved the change of pace, and partnering up with several local eateries helped spread the message of what coworking was and bolstered the space’s presence in the neighborhood.
Get local businesses involved. This is hardly a newsflash, but the idea can be applied in an infinite number of ways. For instance, you could partner with a restaurant to cater an event or team up with a local movie theater to host a special screening of a film relevant to your member base. This gets your name out to new audiences and strengthens local ties you can draw on later.
Create a map of coworking spaces around your city/state. This may seem a little counter-intuitive, since we’re talking about marketing yourspace instead of others, but at the end of the day people are going to become members wherever they want to, regardless. Making relevant information easy to find will present you as an authority as well as help the community overall. Update: related to this is adding your own listing to a more comprehensive map on Sharedesk (over 4,000 spaces in their global network). While adding your space to strategic and high quality directories should be a given, Sharedesk’s listings and marketplace takes that idea to the next level because it acts as another source of possible traffic and revenue altogether, making it that much more valuable.
Be live music friendly. This might be tough (read: impossible) to do during working hours, but you could easily have a dedicated spot for people to play in evening hours. Performers could be musically-inclined members or you could make a full event out of it and invite a band to come and play from time to time.
Partner with local transportation entities. If you’re in a densely populated area, try partnering up with the city to give discounts or other kinds of perks for members that use public transportation.
Create a health insurance program. It can be a challenge for individual spaces to do this on their own, but if you band together with other spaces in the area, it can become manageable. COHIP, the Coworking Health Insurance Plan started by Ashley Proctor, has worked wonders for press for the brand, not to mention helping the coworking clan worry less about healthcare, a big perk and pretty significant draw to membership.
Offer coworking getaways/vacations. These don’t have to be entirely free (although that would be awesome), but having organized working vacations helps make the community stronger and gives you a very marketable asset as a space. Reserve some spots for your members with someone like Surf Office or, hell, book a getaway on Coboat. Or, if that seems a bit much, consider working out an arrangement with a destination space that would allow your members to visit at a deep discount or apply part of their membership fee to a week at one of these spots.
Get creative with happy hours. Happy hours aren’t really anything innovative, but you can combine them with games, food or wine tastings, or some other twist to make them something special.
Invest in member promotion. This is huge. A coworking space should be viewed as an ecosystem. It’s incredibly common for members to work with each other on their own volition, but how about helping cultivate that culutre. Back end dashboards that list members’ industries and events like Lunch and Learns are good examples of ways to help members connect.
Discounted membership promotions. If you’re looking to bring in members quickly, you could put together a contest or other type of promotion to help prompt tour schedules (think: Spring Break Signups Get First Month Free). Obviously not everyone who takes a tour to will become a member, but you should get a solid influx of new members, provided the discount/promotion was worthwhile. Either way, you’ve still increased awareness.
Offer conference discounts. More than likely, your members are regularly going to out-of-state conferences – how about sending them for free? Again, this could be combined with a type of contest if you wanted (Schedule a tour for a friend and be entered for a chance to attend The World’s Greatest Conference in the The Most Fun Place). This would work exceptionally well if you operate a coworking space that caters to a specific niche.
Provide organized classes. This goes beyond regular Lunch and Learns. Providing organized training courses for higher-level skills like coding, SEO, or graphic design can not only become a strong marketing asset for your space, but also help you get press, not to mention the value add for your members if they get a discount on the courses.
Create a food program. This could mean certain member companies providing meals on certain days or a dedicated “food fund” that members contribute to on a regular basis or some other arrangement. However you work it out, having more lunches in-house will increase the likelihood of new people meeting each other and sharing unique ideas for projects they’re working on. And just like the rest of these tips, a food program would be an extremely attractive bonus to a prospective member in the middle of deciding where they should set up shop.
Partner with colleges. I know, I know, this is a little vague, but that’s intentional since there are just so many ways to do this. Things like student programs, courses offered at your space, or even internship arrangements backed by companies in the space. Note: An internship program will be that much more effective if you can get a big name that offices out of your space to dedicate X number of internships every season.
Keep an organized mentor list and use it. I’m currently a mentor at a space, and it’s awesome! Being able to participate in helping people’s businesses get off the ground is very rewarding (not to mention a great way to meet potential clients). Likewise, the businesses/members themselves have direct access to a collective knowledge base that the space has vouched for and helps keep organized through classes and events. Truly a win-win-win.
Host Hackathons. This was a great suggestion from @GetCrossant, and it’s totally true. I’ve personally seen some really great spaces take advantage of hackathons. It appeals to a huge target market for coworking spaces, and is awesome when it comes to building up collaboration.
There are countless blogs and websites out there on the internet, which are dedicated to every imaginable approach to travel, and the most successful ones get paid to do what most of us spend months saving up for. While browsing through some of our favorite travel sites, we got in touch with one blogger who combined his love of the open road with coworking. If you are one of the lucky ones and travel is not only your passion, but also your main source of income, it is important to find a way to combine adventure with productivity. There are no guarantees when you are on the road, so finding a coworking space might be just the perfect solution.
Travel writer and founder of Nowhere Travel Stories, Porter Fox, spoke with Deskmag about his own experience traveling the world while using coworking spaces. In fact, Fox likes coworking so much he has recently launched his own space in New York City.
As a travel writer, you have to embrace uncertainties while on the road. In many ways this can benefit one's writing. What are some of the challenges you face as a writer while on the road?
Porter Fox: I would say that uncertainty is one of the most exciting parts of travel. There are always challenges…where to sleep, where to eat, where to work. You get out of your world and into a foreign one. It is great for your writing because it's always easier to describe something foreign rather than something familiar. It is much easier to describe a place you've never been than the house you grew up in.
Before you set off on a trip, do you contact coworking spaces in your specific destination beforehand?
PF: I actually don't. I like to run into them as I go. I usually do so through friends, contacts, and strangers. Sometimes it is something informal; sometimes it's more structured. Predictability breeds tedium.
As a professional travel writer what does a coworking space give you that a coffee shop can't?
PF: People go to coworking spaces to get things done. It's always good to be around folks who are productive. In a coffee shop people can be catching, listening to music, anything… folks in a workspace are there in order to accomplish something. In the same way, if there are people in the space who are not working, they can also affect your productivity. The best scenario is to be around folks whose work you admire.
Do you have any specific examples of positive (or negative) experiences that you have had while coworking while traveling?
PF: I worked in one space with a wealthy guy who was in between jobs. He texted on his phone all day long, went out to a fancy lunch, came back and texted some more. His paintings were terrible, mostly because he never worked on them. He sat right behind me and it was like a giant black hole sucking creativity out of me.
I would think that coworking might turn off some travel writers, because they might find it takes away from spontaneity. Do you agree with that?
PF: Not really, because when you are a travel writer your work is walking around through the country. You simply need a place to sit down, be quiet and write at the end of the day. They say they you forget 80% of most detail within 48 hours so you need to get it down quickly...
Today, I think many find professional writing a daunting prospect. As things are changing drastically, I think people are afraid that journalism is no longer a lucrative field. Do you think that coworking can help aspiring bloggers and writers find a stable community, and ultimately succeed?
PF: It helps because it's not just a coworking space, but also a collaborative space. Like-minded people are typically brought together there and you can benefit from that. I've worked for several folks that I shared space with it always goes very well.
Tell us bit about why you decided to open your own space?
PF: I've worked at coworking spaces in NYC for almost 15 years. I had a lot of ideas while I was working there so I decided to design exactly what I wanted. Outdoor workspace, garden plots, flex project space, kitchen/living room, event/teaching space, large communal area, wood-burning stove. It's going great...
The interview was first published on Deskmag.
I spent 2 weeks of my Sabbatical to work on a few passion projects and to creatively recharge at one of the most unlikely places: a coworking space in the company of startups. What happened next was a series of discoveries and minor epiphanies.
A working vacation.
I confess I was greatly inspired by a Fast Co. article about why film director Joss Whedon followed up one of the biggest blockbusters ever The Avengers, with a low budget Shakespeare film, and why he needed a “Creative Shift” instead of a vacation.
While I didn’t write a sequel to the Avengers or create Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I had spent a decade at Ogilvy Singapore. Work had been exciting as well as challenging, given the technology disruptions that were happening globally at lightning speed. There was hardly a moment to pause and reflect.
After completing several high-profile campaigns and pitches, I decided that I needed a little time off. My wife, who’s also my creative conscience, suggested I take a vacation. However we both quickly realized I didn’t have to go back to one of my favorite cities, Tokyo to visit the Maraikan (Japan’s Museum of Emerging Science and Technology) or that I desired more Ramen. I needed a working vacation. I needed to “Creatively Refocus”.
My choice of a ‘holiday destination’ was a local coworking space. Apart from the practical reason of needing a desk to work off — I couldn’t attempt this at home as I was pretty sure I would’ve been distracted by my 2 year-old toddler — I also wanted to spend my limited 2 weeks with a sense of urgency and discipline which a sun-and-beach environment would most likely hinder. I deliberately chose The Working Capitol (TWC) as it housed some notable as well as up-and-coming startups in the region. My ‘itinerary’ included my passion projects and getting to know the startup community and their stories. I was all fired up to embark on this adventure.
My first day at TWC was filled with fresh faces in a whole new space. I noticed quickly how everyone had a real energy to them. They were single-minded and frighteningly focused. I was determined to meet all of them. Oh, did I mention that they were all very well dressed?
The entire space felt like a school campus. People mingled at common and break out areas, sharing stories and lunch. No one was hiding in cubicle hell. Often I heard the words “I’m excited, let’s do this”. Every startup here wants to change the world. They are both the employer and employee with great passion for what they were doing. Guys and girls stood in corridors with earphones and sounded absolutely convincing with their business pitches.
What I saw and heard had me worried and envious at the same time — yes, I did a lot of eavesdropping. I wanted to know their motivation and see what I could learn from them.
From discovery to realisation.
One of the startups I met was Photomoolah, a branded photo content service.Photomoolah match brands and photographers to create custom imagery in response to briefs. I found out that one of our Fortune 500 clients worked with them and would be speaking at an upcoming Photomoolah event. This got me thinking: if our clients are now working directly with content creators, how do advertising agencies maintain their competitive edge?
That same afternoon I met one of Singapore’s top photographers (he declined to be named for this post) for lunch. With competition like Photomoolah and average joes with a keen eye and affordable camera equipment, he’s feeling the heat and even had to give up his studio space recently. He then told me about a recent photoshoot where the client was making changes over his shoulder. He had glanced over to the creatives from the agency (not Ogilvy fortunately) and they simply shrugged! What’s going on here? What is the worth of agencies if we have lost our unique creative vision and our right to fiercely defend it? Is this why some clients now bypass agencies because we no longer brought value to the table?
“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” — David Ogilvy
Drawing a parallel lesson in my own work.
I’d admit to have fallen over the wayside recently. I had accepted that the solution to selling emotional ideas to a client was to have safe, objective conversations with them. But if we stopped for a moment to believe that our art and commerce could be analysed with cool detachment, we would never provoke any response. At the end of the day a lot of our art is based on intuition. A lot of music is like that, it’s about ‘gut feeling’ — yes, data analysts in our agency might just roll their eyes at that term.
We must then think and operate like startups. We need to keep up and get down to doing things. We need all creatives to understand technology, platforms, media, trends, data, and how to generate ideas. We need to pick up cameras to shoot videos ourselves, use software to string the stories together and get our hands dirty. Do WHATEVER it takes to materialise and sell an idea.
Could agencies start sharing in a shared economy?
If you think about it, coworking spaces are occupied by various startups with varying agendas and ambitions. Just like advertising agencies with our business units, disciplines and client cells. The biggest difference perhaps is how everyone here gets together to leverage each other’s expertise and connections to pursue a shared goal of becoming successful. I heard one startup asking another for help in data analysis. It wasn’t commercial, it was trade bartering.
Could advertising agencies benefit from this culture of shared economy? Would this community be open to agencies bartering both our services for opportunities for great work?
Big inspiration from a Genie.
Crowdfunding is fast becoming a route for startups to raise funds, and Djenee’s (a resident at TWC and pronounced “Genie”) recent record-breaking equity crowdfunding in Asia had me quite excited to meet them. Investor interest in Djenee comes hot on the heels of Magic, a similar service based in the US, which recently raised money at a US$40million valuation just after six months of operations.
It’s interesting how digital concierge services like Djenee could change how we get stuff done on smart devices. Think of it as Spotify meets Uber: on-demand requests fulfilled by an army of “Genies” in a UI free experience through your Apple Watch.
Now imagine Djenee working with brands hoping to create a live-response CRM
Let’s go back to the start
It’s been an amazing 2 weeks. When you’ve worked in the same place for a long time, being in a different environment and meeting diverse folks make you recall why you started in this business eons ago. The ambition, hunger and courage these startups possess all come flooding back to you.
With my work-cation is over, I return with renewed focus and energy to 2 big upcoming new business pitches and a baby girl coming in October.
Oh, what about that personal passion project I spent 2 weeks on at TWC? Stay tuned my friends. :)
Remember your first loan? You were excitedand apprehensive: Excited because now you had the cash to invest, apprehensive because you had just taken on a debt you would have to repay.
But that was okay, because you were confident you could create more value than the interest you would pay. Even though you eventually have to pay off a financial debt, gaining access to the right resourcesnow often marks the difference between success and failure.
That’s true for financial debt – but it’s never true for culture debt.
Culture debt happens when a business takes a shortcut and hires an employee with, say, the “right” the skills or experience… but who doesn't fit the culture. Just one bad hire can create a wave of negativity that washes over every other employee – and as a result, your entire business.
Unfortunately the interest on culture debt is extremely high: In some cases you will never pay off the debt you incur, even when a culture misfit is let go or leaves.
Here are five all-too-common ways you can create a culture debt that can keep your from building from succeeding.
1. You see the ivy and miss the poison
The skilled salesperson who in the short-term always seems to outperform her peers… but who also maneuvers and manipulates and builds kerosene-soaked bridges just waiting to go up in flames… won’t turn into a relationship building, long-term focused ambassador for your company just because you hire her.
The interview process is a little like a honeymoon. You see the best the candidate has to offer. If a prospective employee doesn't look like a great fit for your culturebefore he is hired, he definitely won’t be after he’s hired.
Never risk making a deal with the culture-fit devil. The soul of your company is at stake.
2. You discard the attitude and play the skill card
Skills and experience are worthless when not put to use. Knowledge is useless when not shared with others.
The smaller your business the more likely you are to be an expert in your field, so transferring those skills to new employees is relatively easy. But you can't train enthusiasm, a solid work ethic, and great interpersonal skills – and those traits can matter a lot more than any skills a candidate brings.
According to this study only 11% of the new hires that failed in the first 18 months failed due to deficiencies in technical skills. The majority failed due to lack of motivation, an unwillingness to be coached, or problems with temperament and emotional intelligence.
Think of it this way: The candidate who lacks certain hard skills might be a cause for concern, but the candidate who lacks the beliefs and values you need is a giant culture debt red flag.
3. You try to sell a used car
It’s tempting to over-sell a candidate on your company, especially when you desperately need to fill an open position and you've been recruiting for seemingly forever.
Don’t. Great candidates come prepared. They've done their homework. They already know whether your company is a good fit for them.
Describe the position, describe your company, answer every question, be candid and forthright, let your natural enthusiasm show through… and let the candidate make an informed decision. But, don’t oversell.
The right candidates recognize the right opportunities – and the right cultural fit.
4. You mistake the rumblings for hunger
Nothing beats a formal, thorough, comprehensive hiring process… except, sometimes, a dose of intuition and gut feel.
At my company HubSpot (grew from 0-500 employees in 6 years) there are five key attributes we value:
- Humble. They’re modest despite being awesome. They’re self-aware and respectful.
- Effective. They get (stuff) done. They measurably move the needle and immeasurably add value.
- Adaptable. They’re constantly changing, life-long learners.
- Remarkable. They have a super-power that makes them stand out: Remarkably smart, remarkably creative, remarkably resourceful…
- Transparent. They’re open and honest with others – and with themselves.
In short, we look for people with H-E-A-R-T, because they help us create a company we love. So we always weigh our impressions against more qualitative considerations. You should too. Think of it this way: The more experience you have – the more lumps you’ve taken and hard knocks you’ve received and mistakes you’ve made – the more “educated” your “gut.” While you should never go on intuition alone, if you have a funny feeling about a candidate… see that as a sign you need to look more closely.
And look more closely.
For a detailed insider’s peek into how we think about culture at HubSpot, check out Culture Code slides)
Bottom line: Define the intangibles you want in your employees and never compromise by hiring a candidate who lacks those qualities.
5. You decide to double down
There are two basic kinds of risk you can take on a potential employee.
First the worthwhile risks: Taking a shot on a candidate you feel has more potential than her previous employer let her show; taking a shot on a candidate who is missing a few
Now the foolish risks: Taking a shot on a candidate with a history of performance issues that you hope will somehow develop a strong work ethic; taking a chance on the candidate who left his last two jobs because "my bosses were jerks;" taking a shot on the candidate who has no experience yet only wants to talk about how quickly and often she will be promoted.
Why do you rationalize taking foolish risks? You're desperate. Or you're lazy. Or you have "other issues to focus on." Or you figure your culture is strong enough to withstand the impact of one ill-fitting employee.
Don't take foolish risks. They almost always turn out badly. Occasionally, take potentially worthwhile risks, because they can turn out to be your most inspired hires and, eventually, your best employees.
And never, ever take a chance that creates high-interest culture debt.
The cost to your organization is just too high. And, life is short.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn Influencer.
Since the inception of coworking spaces in 2005 at Spiral Muse by Brad Neuberg, the practice has spread to major countries in Asia and Europe.
So, What was so Great About Coworking?
The emergence of a 'Coworking space' provided a great networking platform that
According to an infographic released by Officevibe, 70% of coworkers felt healthier than they did while working in a traditional office setting.
It also reported that 40% of workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and solopreneurs by 2020. These findings signify the growth of a coworking culture in future.
Is Coworking a Great Idea for Startups?
Stressing on how coworking is a great option for most startups, Anthony further explains-
Instead of working with a team of 2-3 members, working in an environment surrounded by 100 people on a daily basis, gives you an opportunity to make a professional as well as personal connection.
This not only cuts down your office space budget but also opens up the possibility of bringing forth innovations with other like-minded people.
Coworking Space or Traditional Office Space: What is Right for You?
As Rebekah Kowalski, VP & Principal Consultant at Right Management shared her views in an interview for Centre for the Study of the Workplace. During the interview she said, to choose between a coworking space or a traditional office space, businesses need to evaluate their workforce and understand their employees’ needs.
To help you arrive at a decision, here are some questions that you should be asking yourself:
- What is your office culture and what do you want it to be?
- What is right for your workplace profile?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Who are your talents and what are their needs?
However, if you prefer control over your work environment or crave for a personal space, a traditional office space is a better option for you.
When it comes to cash flow, coworking spaces become an attractive option as economy and resources are shared. Unlike traditional startup costs, like office furniture, Internet & telephone bills, utility & service charges, etc., in a coworking space, you are not required to spend a lot of cash upfront. It lets you focus on your growth.
In a story published at Nerd Wallet, Nick Clark, founder of The Common Desk, maintains that a business could save 75% in total costs in opting for a coworking space, making substantial savings over the years!
Various Benefits of Opting for a Coworking Space
1. Affordable Office Space in Prime Locations
For a small business, one of the biggest challenges is getting an office space in prime areas while they are still bootstrapping. Saving this trouble, coworking spaces provide affordable in-demand spaces, the types of offices and locations that you couldn’t otherwise afford to have.
Once you have chosen the place, you can get to the work right away as the amenities and utilities are already set up.
2. The Flexibility and Scalability for Startups
Another major benefit of opting for coworking is the flexibility of accommodating changes to the size of the team. Whether your business expands or contracts, you can easily upgrade or downgrade your space requirements anytime as needed without requiring a yearlong commitment from you.
In most coworking spaces, you can opt for a one-time pass, monthly, or yearly membership plan accordingly. You can also opt for a private office or an open coworking space.
It also gives you the flexibility to change your location as you please since your leasing terms are not binding.
3. Collaboration: All in One Place
It gives you the opportunity to collaborate with a community of talented people from different professions who you otherwise might have never necessarily interacted with. It provides an opportunity to trade skills to get a project done, or outsource projects to other teams when they are more specialized than you.
As Dodd Caldwell, founder of Loft Resumes and MoonClerk, explains in 'The Future of Coworking and Why it Will Give Your Business A Huge Edge,' sometimes it is as simple as tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it is catching a quick whiteboard sessions with other team(s).
Cutting to the chase, coworking gives you the opportunity to tackle and solve problems from a variety of angles.
How do You Know Which Coworking Space is Right for You?
With the boom in coworking spaces, you can choose one that focuses on a particular industry or varied ones. A focused space gives you the benefit of working with people who are thinking about the exact problem that you are thinking about and thus, leading to a greater productivity.
In a coworking space that is open to varied industries, you are surrounded by professionals coming from different backgrounds, where you get more ideas for running your business successfully. This diversity in turn promotes your creativity by giving you a perspective on things each time.
To find the right working space for you, here is a to-do list for you:
- Make a list of things that you would like in your workplace and the things you would hate.
- Visit the workspace and find out the things you like about it. Ask yourself if they will make you more productive.
- Find out if their work culture fits yours. For example, if you are looking for a more focused space, then you should opt for one that has the flexibility of private work stations.
- Find the coworking space that offers simple registration, billing and leasing terms.
Most importantly, while you are short-listing coworking spaces to work in, remember to choose the one where members are complementary to each other and not competitive.
According to Deskmag’s annual Global Coworking Survey, 71% of professionals reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, 62% in an improved work quality.
Therefore, if you are an entrepreneur with a small team seeking to lease a private office, you should consider leasing a coworking space before you sign the final contract.
Having a great company culture is no longer just an option. Today’s workers consider it as much as they consider salary and benefits. In fact, fantastic company culture is almost expected along with other traditional benefits.
Zappos has become almost as well known for its culture as it is for the shoes that it sells online. What does that culture look like?
It starts with a cultural fit interview, which carries half the weight of whether the candidate is hired. New employees are offered $2,000 to quit after the first week of training if they decide the job isn’t for them.Ten core values are instilled in every team member. Employee raises come from workers who pass skills tests and exhibit increased capability, not from office politics. Portions of the budget are dedicated to employee team building and culture promotion.
Great benefits and a workplace that is fun and dedicated to making customers happy all fit in with the Zappos approach to company culture -- when you get the company culture right, great customer service and a great brand will happen on its own.
Takeaway: Zappos ires according to cultural fit first and foremost. It has established what the company culture is, and fitting into that culture is the most important thing managers look for when hiring. This promotes the culture and happy employees, which ultimately leads to happy customers.
2. Warby Parker
Warby Parker has been making and selling prescription glasses online since 2010. It designs its own glasses, and sells directly to customers, cutting out the middleman and keeping prices low.
Company culture at Warby Parker instigates “culture crushes,” and one reason for that level of success is a team dedicated to culture. That team means that a positive culture is on the forefront, setting up fun lunches, events and programs. The company makes sure that there is always an upcoming event so the entire team has something to look forward to, and it uses methods to make sure the entire team works well together by insisting everyone helps keep break areas clean or sending random employees out to lunch together.
Takeaway: Warby Parker has made company culture deliberate by creating a dedicated team tasked with coming up with events and programs to promote community. Great company culture doesn’t happen on its own.
3. Southwest Airlines
The airline industry is often mocked for grumpy employees and poor customer service, but Southwest Airlines bucks those trends. Customers loyal to Southwest often point to happy and friendly employees who try hard to help.
Southwest isn’t new to the game. It’s been in operation for 43 years. Yet somehow, during all that time, the company has managed to communicate its goals and vision to employees in a way that makes them a part of a unified team. Southwest also gives employees “permission” to go that extra mile to make customers happy, empowering them to do what they need to do to meet that vision.
Takeaway: Employees who are convinced of a larger common goal are people who are excited to be part of a larger purpose.
Employees of Twitter can’t stop raving about the company’s culture. Rooftop meetings, friendly coworkers and a team-oriented environment in which each person is motivated by the company’s goals have inspired that praise.
Employees of Twitter can also expect free meals at the San Francisco headquarters, along with yoga classes and unlimited vacations for some. These and many other perks are not unheard of in the startup world. But what sets Twitter apart?
Employees can’t stop talking about how they love working with other smart people. Workers rave about being part of a company that is doing something that matters in the world, and there is a sense that no one leaves until the work gets done.
Takeaway: You can’t beat having team members who are pleasant and friendly to each other, and are both good at and love what they are doing. No program, activity or set of rules tops having happy and fulfilled employees who feel that what they are doing matters.
While oil and gas companies are prime targets for a lot of negative PR and public ire, Chevron employees responded favorably towards the company’s culture. Employees compared Chevron with other similar companies and pointed out “the Chevron way” as being one dedicated to safety, supporting employees and team members looking out for each other.
Chevron shows it cares about employees by providing health and fitness centers on site or through health-club memberships. It offers other health-oriented programs such as massages and personal training. Chevron insists employees take regular breaks. In other words, the company shows it cares about the well-being of employees, and employees know that they are valued.
Takeaway: Your company culture doesn’t have to be ping-pong tables and free beer. Simply providing employee's with a sense of safety and well-being and creating a policy where everyone looks out for each other can easily suffice.
This successful startup is regularly voted as one of the best places to work in New York City. Its company culture is one that is “flat, open and creative.” A flat organization is one where there is no (or very few) levels of management in between staff and executives. This approach is more common among startups, and can be tricky to maintain as a company grows larger, generally requiring groups to form.
SquareSpace also offers robust benefits and perks, including 100 percent coverage of health insurance premiums, flexible vacations, attractive office space, catered meals, stocked kitchens, monthly celebrations, relaxation spaces and periodic guest lecturers. Solid benefits such as these help a culture, but are not the sole instigator of successful culture. Down-to-earth leaders and direct access to management have a great deal of impact.
Takeaway: Employees feel their voices can be heard when they aren’t muffled under layers of management. This level of freedom and empowerment creates confident employees and improves morale.
It would almost seem wrong not to mention Google on a list of companies with great culture. Google has been synonymous with culture for years, and sets the tone for many of the perks and benefits startups are now known for. Free meals, employee trips and parties, financial bonuses, open presentations by high-level executives, gyms, a dog-friendly environment and so on. Googlers are known to be driven, talented and among the best of the best.
As Google has grown and the organization has expanded and spread out, keeping a uniform culture has proven difficult between headquarters and satellite offices, as well as among the different departments within the company. The larger a company becomes, the more that culture has to reinvent itself to accommodate more employees and the need for management.
While Google still gets stellar reviews for pay, perks and advancement, there are also some employees who note growing pains that you’d expect from such a huge company, including the stress associated with a competitive environment. Hiring and expecting the best from employees can easily become a stressor if your culture doesn’t allow for good work-life balance.
Takeaway: Even the best culture needs to revisit itself to meet a growing company’s team. The most successful company culture leads to successful business, and that requires an evolving culture that can grow with it.
For outdoor enthusiasts, REI has long been the company to turn to for great gear. Employees of REI, a cooperative where profits benefit its member-owners, also agree that this is a place where greatness happens, even beyond the beloved camping and outdoor products. REI’s mission is to equip both customers and employees for the outdoors, not just to have fun but also in promoting stewardship of the environment.
REI says that its employees give “life to their purpose,” firmly attributing company success to workers. The CEO of REI has acknowledged thatemployees can get benefits anywhere, but allowing outdoors-oriented employees to immerse themselves in REI culture is what makes it unique. Employees can win equipment through “challenge grants” where they submit a proposal for an outdoor adventure that would be challenging. Regular townhall-style meetings are held where employees can submit questions anonymously to help management understand what’s happening in the company.
Takeaway: When your employees are completely immersed in the same interests as your company, the culture propels itself forward almost on its own. Culture that is owned and propelled by the same people puts value in their voices.
Just like Google, Facebook is a company that has exploded in growth as well as being synonymous with unique company culture.
Facebook offers, as do many similar companies, lots of food, stock options, open office space, on-site laundry, a focus on teamwork and open communication, a competitive atmosphere that fosters personal growth and learning and great benefits.
Yet, Facebook has the same struggles as similar companies: a highly competitive industry leads to a sometimes stressful and competitive workplace. Additionally, a free and organic organizational structure that worked for the smaller organization is less successful for the larger one.
To meet these challenges, Facebook has created conference rooms, has separate buildings, lots of outdoor roaming space for breaks and has management (even CEO Mark Zuckerberg) working in the open office space alongside other employees. It’s an attempt at a flat organizational culture using the buildings and space itself to promote a sense of equality among the competition.
Takeaway: When your company depends on new hires who excel in a competitive field, your company culture and any associated perks will likely be the tipping point for applicants. You must stand out from other companies vying for attention.
Adobe is a company that goes out of its way to give employees challenging projects and then provide the trust and support to help them meet those challenges successfully. While it offers benefits and perks like any modern creative company, Adobe's is a culture that avoids micromanaging in favor of trusting employees to do their best.
Adobe products are synonymous with creativity, and only through the avoidance of micromanaging are the people who create those products truly free to create. For example, Adobe doesn’t use ratings to establish employee capabilities, feeling that that inhibits creativity and harms how teams work. Managers take on the role of a coach, more than anything, letting employees set goals and determine how they should be assessed.
Employees are also given stock options so that they know they have both a stake and reward in the company’s success. Continual training and culture that promotes risk taking without fear of penalty are part of Adobe’s open company culture.
Takeaway: Putting trust in your employees goes a long way towards positive company culture, because trust leads to independent employees who help your company grow.
Many of these companies offer similar perks and benefits, but those do not determine the culture completely. The approach taken with how employees are treated and what level of ownership and trust they are given is also a key part of company culture.
One word of caution: focusing on company culture to the exclusion of other workforce considerations (safety, laws, regulations) can lead to abuses or create situations where employees aren’t comfortable. Even the best examples of culture on this list have detractors.
Remember that the best culture makes all employees feel safe and welcome, never excluded or uncomfortable. Focusing on “culture fit” alone makes it difficult to hire and welcome employees who are different than the prevailing culture, even if they’d be an asset and great counterbalance at your company. Your company culture needs adjustment if it causes you to end up with a homogenized team who think and act the same.
The article first appeared on Entreprenuer.com.
Do you remember how, a few years from now, the Indian metropolitan crowd faced and resisted the concept of shared cabs?
This concept involved sharing your taxi with other passengers, usually strangers, who were headed in the same direction. Initially, travelling with strangers was not a welcome experience. It meant stepping out of one’s comfort zone. So, if someone owned a car, he/ she would prefer using it over a shared cab.
After all, having to step outside of one’s comfort zone is a scary thing. Just as Neale Donald Walsch once said,
Some early adopters stepped outside of their comfort zone to catch glimpse of life into shared cabs, and through word of mouth, this concept started selling like hot cakes. Today, it doesn’t make sense to people to hire
Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to rent a complete office if you happen to have a team of only five or even smaller and are just starting up. Further, what if you are a one-man-army or freelancing? Why rent an office or work at home when you can share an office and pay just for your workstation?
These coworking spaces are different from a typical office environment, and are generally shared by individuals coming from different organizations and professions. These professionals and individuals are mostly strangers to each other, initially, and pay a small fee for the facilities received at these shared spaces.
Coworking Spaces - Do we really need them?
One of the many factors that has led to the sprouting of coworking spaces is the multitude of youth populating the modern workplace. The workplace is more connected than it has ever been before. Employers too, have given ear to this connectivity and heightened amount of human interaction, and have recognized that these factors can actually help foster productivity and innovation.
Let’s talk Benefits
An increasing number of social media groups, WhatsApp groups, cafe meetings, startup meets and conferences, greater use of collaboration options like Slack, Asana, Trello, and such indicate how offices are moving out of the four walls and occupying spaces in places where people want to work at their own comfort and still not lose their motivation.
Trends like these have led us to believe that people are no longer interested in working with a small in-house teams or hiding behind tiny cubicles anymore, nor do they like anything coming in the way of their work, be it commuting or taking care of their offices. Simultaneously, they have an increasing urge to build new social connections with like-minded individuals.
Let us go ahead and see how a coworking space can serve this new breed of workaholic generation.
Perhaps, some of us, as freelancers, are utterly productive and focused to be able to get up every morning and go into the work mode even while staying at home. Yet, the truth is that a majority of freelancers find the idea of working from home a challenging and unconducive way of getting things done. While at home, our mind tends to divert towards many other things, like the laundry, maybe the baby, the cooking, the cleaning, the nagging mothers, and so much more.
This is the reason why we see many freelancers flocking their surrounding coffee houses. But, that too does not save them from distraction as the guilt of taking up a seat for too long catches up on them. So, where can a freelancer go? A coworking office!
At a coworking space, all you get is focus. You can give undivided attention to your projects and not worry about a thing in the world. Having a workstation in a coworking environment is a luxury at a price of a penny. You have the comfort and flexibility of your work and work hours while enjoying the focus a regular workplace offers. Plus, no guilty feelings of occupying the seat for far too long.
And as a bundle deal, you get to expand your connections, learn from others, and bag more freelance projects.
Concentration, Collaboration, Creation
The problem with many individuals of the the new working generation today is that they want to work. However, to find a place where one can concentrate without being distracted, and execute what has been planned is a pain. This same crowd finds ‘working from home’ an isolating experience and their visit to the coffee shops, a distraction. Coworking space offers them the best of both worlds.
The best place to work is one where people are motivated and dedicated towards their work and believe in collaboration as a tool to amplify each other’s strengths. That is where coworking comes into picture.
In a coworking space, you are constantly surrounded by passionate, self-motivated individuals, which positively affects your motivation towards your work. According to a recent study, coworking spaces have increased by 400 percent in the last two years because they provide community and collaboration which is a much emphasized aspect of working by the upcoming, forward thinking entrepreneurs.
Real Life Social Networking
A great coworking space engages with its surrounding audience and external community. This space is not renowned because of the pre-existence of some desks or free wi-fi. Coworking spaces are thriving communities of talented and self-confident people who come not only to work, but also to create real connections that can help them personally as well as professionally. The atmosphere is welcoming, interesting, and beneficial to one, because of the chance to be able to connect and meet with fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Coworking spaces attract myriad members from diversified backgrounds and industries and so, they promote innovation. According to Martin Ruef, a sociologist at Princeton, it was discovered that people who widened their list of contacts from small groups of familiar acquaintances to larger, more loosely-connected networks of people turned far more innovative than their counterparts.
And imagine going on a vacation with your small team of three. How fun would it be if you could team up with other teams, board a big bus and enjoy a hearty gang of guitarists, singers, dancers, card wizards, trekkers, chefs and photographers?! Cost sharing and happiness multiplying - doesn’t that sound fun?
Budget - “Wise”
On a serious note, coworking spaces ease the process of starting a business. Usually when a company is just at its doorstep, it has to focus on many factors like having to hire a workplace, maintaining the employee payroll, cost of facilities, and many more financial expenses which can rip your energies apart in directions that may not be beneficial for the business initially.
Moreover, if you are a startup and the head count of the employees is below five, then hiring a workplace would just be a waste of precious resources. In such cases, coworking spaces allow the opportunity to save up financially, taking into consideration the minimal fee a team has to pay in comparison to the cost of an individual office. Additionally, you get access to enough workspace and other added facilities such as the internet, snacks, drinks, and a lot more.
Again, not just because of the free amenities, the clear benefits of the space is the wealth of human resources present in that space. After all, as a founder of a company that is just at its grassroot level, what would your preference be?
Today, if we can use the simplified and well devised web tools, a beautiful collaboration can be attained. This way, no one would require to book office spaces or rent residential apartments or work in garage while they are at a premature stage of their business.
As the saying by Gordie Howe goes -
Enjoyment of our daily working culture can have a positive impact on work ethics, well‐being, and productivity. Coworking might be the buzz in India today, but it's sure a buzz for good.
The concept promises more than just the resources and a place to do business. It is a community, and a growing community at that. This is the future of how businesses are going to be carried out. Entrepreneur, startup, or freelancer - no matter who you are,
Don't forget to tell us what you feel about this new concept in your comments below.
Till then enjoy the following infographic summarizing all the tangible and intangible benefits of choosing a oworking space over other arrangements. Have a look and make up your mind!