Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
There have already been far too many articles about coworking and the mindless propaganda that surrounds this way of work. Its like everyone talking about a prize fighter being the next world champ before the title shot takes place.
For those few of you who have not heard about the coworking revolution it is is described as a mostly open plan office area where multiple companies sit beside each other, focused on their own businesses, but able to collaborate with each other for the common good. The focus is not on the pin stripe suit you are wearing and more about the concept you are developing. The logic behind the concept is that the creativity and referral business that this collaboration will cause will elevate you and your business to new levels. Sounds good, almost enjoyable. Oscar Wilde would turn in his grave at all this love of workplace and actually even workplace cynics like our team at Your Office Agent agree that this is an amazing concept, however, our contention is that up to now there has been too much focus on meaningless rhetoric about the concept and not enough focus on measuring its success. There are many benefits to companies who can really embrace this concept, however, up to now and leaving out our home workers, mobile workers, start ups and lonely souls, most medium sized companies have been afraid to fully embrace such an overwhelming concept such as this. We therefore made it our mission not to look for owner operators, who look to make a margin from the business, but moreover to find those genius companies who not only embrace the concept but turn it into their competitive advantage. As such, our February submission for the Office Of The Future are the the Auctionpoint offices in Marina Del Rey. the Story behind Auctionpoint is all about finding a disruptive technology to make an industry better and during this journey partners Keith Yang and Joseph Tang decided that the only way to stay ahead of the competitive curve was to make sure they created the best working environment they had ever worked in and then invite companies into that environment who also inspired them. It gives the writer goose bumps even thinking about it but for any company to qualify to be part of their space they needed to be (1) innovative, (2) entrepreneurial, (3) tech-savvy, and (4) creative. In all 5 companies were chosen to sit in designated areas with Auction point in the middle directing the flow of traffic. Cutting edge companies such as Magnet.tv, mystoryinc.com, vanquishla.com, resourcepro.com and m-codesign.com all bought into the dream to create an awesome environment from the moment you walk in. So how does the scorecard compare to our other finalists.
As always the Your Office Agent Scorecard is always based on 6 criteria out of a maximum score of 5 points for each criteria:
1. Lease flexibility and space agility – 3 (excellent terms on space and meeting rooms and only restriction is the max size)
2. personal employee growth – 5 (co working is an amazing model to learn from 6 companies instead of 1)
3. Community collaboration – 5 (not a massive surprise)
4. Premises look and feel – 4 (great inside but have to enter from the back)
5. Desire to be here – 4 ( great location and wonderful open environment)
6. Employee work life balance – 4 (space is excellent but office base always knocks off a point)
25 points has these visionaries in joint first place with perfect Microsoft technology and ahead of the super ship in San Francisco as the 2012 Office Of the Future. Its hard to stop a dream just at the good bit so we will be watching closely to see what this leads to in the future.
If anyone watches Mad Men on television then you will have the image of how we have always worked. Our goal in life was to get that amazing corner office and have all our peers look to us in admiration, whilst cowering in front of our business greatness. the cost of this was normally a early morning commute to the office with thousands of other commuters crowded into public transport or the equally bad car trip, inching along at a mile an hour on inadequate highways to get us to a glass or concrete jail where we would spend 70% of our waking hours. Sound depressing? I have not even got to the trip back home yet.
This way of working was not only inefficient but it also created an unfair business playing field because, if you did not have space in one of these expensive office buildings, then companies did not feel safe doing business with you and the big fish stayed big against all comers.
Then something magical happened. Technology came into our lives and rewrote the business manual. Laptops meant we were no longer chained to the desks, wireless networks meant that we could dispose of the wires, Smart phones and tablets meant that we could take our office with us, the cloud meant that this new office did not weigh anything and for the first time, a true free market without boundaries became possible. Smart commercial building owners and executive suites quickly maximized customer benefit and provided far reaching business solutions such as high level video conferencing to connect us all over the world. Virtual offices became the new low cost company image, so executives could have their addresses in amazing buildings and phones answered far away from where they are based. Drop in offices became available for rent for as little as a day at a time globally, led by Regus and then followed by other providers like MWB, Premier, Servecorp and Avanta. Now for the first time companies could really build their own Ideal Office rather than being forced to follow an outdated convention. More recently the latest move forward is to do with co working as a solution to the home and mobile working mass. Co Working is when multiple companies share the same space but it is genius because it is a marketing return on investment rather than a facility cost. To explain more simply, I would rather have 30 companies around me helping my business grow than rely on little old me coming up with all the solutions.
All of this is made possible by technology and Microsoft is the daddy of this technology. Their latest move to roll out retail stores around the US but to use them as local business hubs instead of just shop fronts is akin to what co working is doing for executive suites. We managed to get the below video from Microsoft about their vision of the future, which we highly recommend a look at.
Your Office Agent Scorecard
Your Office Agent Scorecard is always based on six criteria out of a maximum score of five points for each criteria.
- Lease Flexibility and Space Agility – 5
- Personal employee growth – 3 (technology is a great teacher but we are still learning how to learn this as well as through human interaction)
- Community Collaboration – 4 (social media gets us access to more people than ever before but we must learn how to manage this)
- Premises look and feel – 5 (you get to create your own reality at a fraction of what the price used to be)
- Desire to be here - 4 (for me this is a 5 however measuring remote technology with fixed technology is important for many people)
- Employee work life balance 4 (Technology has actually made most of us work harder but we get to do it where we wish and that’s pretty good.
25 out of 30 puts technology in front as the best office of the future yet. In addition, as we evolve, this score will only increase. We will be watching closely to see what Microsoft and all those developers do next to take us to the next level. Let the team here at your office agent know if you ever want any help with finding your office of the future at www.yourofficeagent.com.
How would you like to have your own office in probably the greatest innovation centre of the world where you can run shoulders with the greats of business everyday, no visa is needed to do business and tax is a distant memory.
California based Blueseed has plans to do exactly that on a bespoke Office Ship. Imagine being able to be part of the Silicon Valley dream from just a few miles offshore and have the opportunity to be one of the top 1,000 entrepreneurs on the ship to develop their business. I have to say that it is not often that a weary skeptic like this writer gets to really want to see a new office complex but just the thought of being in the cabin beside the next Bill Gates, the next Steve Jobs or the next Facebook founder has me drooling with anticipation Blueseed CEO Max Marty and his team intend to offer all this by giving 1,000 of the best entrepreneurs a chance to develop their ideas “in an ecosystem designed for their success” just 12 nautical miles from San Francisco.
At Your Office Agent we are always looking for the Ideal Office for our clients and Ideal is the place where staff achieve maximum efficiency is perfectly balanced with the same staff liking the job so much they don’t want to leave. In a case like this it is interesting because, although this would seem to go against some of the home life balance rules, it also scores very strongly in the personal growth areas and in a report done recently by Workplace giant, Regus, personal growth and employer appreciation scored much higher for employees than money or convenience.
Who gets to come to the party?
The “build it and they will come” question does not need to be asked in this case. San Francisco is like many other cities in the world where good space is hard to find and companies are looking for business growth and adaptability solutions as much as space itself. More to the point will be the type of companies who will choose this solution. The developers are creating a very green environment however in reality it will start with the who’s who of technology because they will not want to miss out. Then it will be followed by the hundreds of starry eyed entrepreneurs who want the IPO golden ticket to happiness. From our perspective we love the community aspect to this office Ship solution. In too many cases companies lock themselves away and never collaborate with other companies on their floor, their building, their street or their city. In this case you can meet your neighbor while choosing where to be seasick. A price worth paying if you ask us.
Our Ideal Office scorecard is always based on six criteria out of a maximum score of five points for each criteria. We adapt our criteria based on your feedback and the latest needs for office users, so please keep giving us your views so we can stay on track.
- Lease flexibility and Space Agility – 3 (we do not know the lease terms yet but agility has to be an issue in a confined space)
- Personal employee growth – 5
- Community collaboration – 5
- Premises look and feel – 4 (it may not live up to its hype)
- Desire to be here – 5 (for those who want to be here there will be no other option)
- Employee work life balance - 2 (This is is a single persons gig)
24 out of 30 is a good score and to be honest some companies will score this a 30 out of 30 if the collaboration side of it is really important to them. From our side we like anything that pushes the envelope so our friends at Blueseed get our thumbs up. We will be watching closely for our clients but feedback to us what you think.
Marketing is an integral part of any successful business strategy. Back in the day when there was no Internet, an ad in the local newspaper and the yellow pages was enough to get the word out to customers. It is different these days. Customers go to the Internet for information on your business and if you want to attract more business your way and save on advertising expense, local search marketing is for you.
To put it simply, local search marketing is making sure your business is promoted by search engines and yellow pages on the Internet such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, CitySearch, and Foursquare. As you can see, there are many options you can choose from but make sure to use the ones that are popular with your target customers. The form may differ with different services but the basics of each are the same.
Build a website or claim and register your business
A storefront is not enough. Create a website so that your business can be found online. Also, do not forget to claim your business in Google Places or any other sites similar to it. And, register your business in Internet local directories. These are all great ways to be easily found online.
Optimize your site with keywords to increase ranking in local searches in search engines (SEO)
Get the right keywords people use in searching your type of business and add them to your website or any other place your online business profile might be in such as review sites or online local directories. Google AdWords can help you identify relevant keywords for your business.
Encourage customer reviews
Reward customers with incentives if they leave a review online for your business. Reviews are important for other customers to know if your business or service is something they would like to pay for.
These are just a few ways to begin to tap into the important world of marketing online. With the increasing popularity of smartphones and GIS devices, it’s essential to your business’s success to be prominent in the online space. If you’re not, your competitors are and they will be found first!