Archive for the ‘virtual office’ tag
Well, wait a second… I thought Yahoo of all companies would be, in part, leading the trend towards alternative working? Alternative workplace environments fueled by the need to be productive while being sensitive to the employees work/life balance. The same alternative Silicon Valley work environments made popular by Google and Yahoo as well as other young, tech start ups to promote a more effective collaborative work environment. So what gives, why now is home working and mobile working not acceptable to Yahoo?
We know the officing trend is clearly moving toward coworking, homeworking, mobile working, alternative workspace or whatever else you want to call it. Let’s just say the concept of officing is changing dramatically before our eyes for a number of reasons. Many large companies are changing their stale corporate notion of what an office was, to accept a new notion of the future office which can increase productivity, save money, reduce resources, increase employees work/life balance and reduce their carbon footprint. So why then is Yahoo moving all employees in house?
The answer as I see it is simple, they can’t manage their employees. They are unable to account for remote workers productivity and manage initiatives effectively. They have neglected to sufficiently develop their remote working management process. Their move clearly supports the importance of a collaborative coworking environment coupled with the need for effective management.
Most corporations are like Yahoo in the sense that they have a diverse workforce, personnel and responsibilities. All corporations additionally want to reduce costs and increase productivity by placing workers in the most effective environments. The issue is the corporations ability to manage and drive productivity through a diverse workforce. There are a number of technologies available to aid in the management of specific business initiatives. However the question is whether your organization is up to the task of managing those initiatives? Does your executive management team have a culture which can effective drive remote workforce management? What is your process to manage remote workers?
The question for executives today is not whether coworking is going to be a part of your corporations future, the answer is yes. However, the question is what are you doing today to position yourselves to be able to effectively execute upon your corporate responsibilities with the coworking office staff of the future. As always we give a score to what we see as the office of the future and this one will be difficult. On one side the team here at your office Agent are the biggest proponents of teleworking out there and love to see companies implementing smart teleworking with the right support but on the other side this whole issue has shone such a light on doing the right thing at the wrong time for the right reasons – its complicated right?
As always we are going to have to rank the Yahoo effect as the office of the future based on the same 6 criteria as usual with 5 points being the maximum available per criteria :
A virtual office combines address services with off-site technological communications enabling people to lessen their overhead costs while still managing to keep business professionalism intact. Not all people have the cash to fund and maintain a traditional office; therefore, a virtual office can provide you with a professional business address cutting down on your office expenses and at the same time ensuring that you effectively run your business.
Today, there are now a number of companies offering professional virtual office services, from the big executive suites such as Regus to the newer and trendier coworking locations such as WeWork. With all the options inbetween there are thousands of options from as little at $39 a month all over the world. These companies will focus on jump-starting your business as soon as possible, while you concentrate on strategies to promote and grow it. If you are a start-up, setting up the virtual office can be done almost instantly. No need to worry about office leases and rental rates since the premise of working in a central office has been eliminated. Moreover, you won’t ever have to be bothered by the morning rush since you don’t need to commute to your office. You and your employees will have access to the virtual office by simply connecting to the internet. That said, you can do your work even while on the go. Furthermore, you work at your own pace and you make your own work schedule, thus lessening work-related stress.
Getting professional virtual office services from a reputable company will definitely be to your advantage. Professional virtual office service companies employ experienced, multi-tasking staff who are equipped to handle the needs of their clients. They will be the one taking messages or handling calls for you, it is like you have your own professional secretary but the difference is that you are only expected to pay for the services you use.In case the secretary falls ill you won’t have to worry about the medical bills that would be the problem of the virtual office company.
Aside from having someone to take phones calls and messages for you, it is also important that you have a professional city address where you can receive your mail and package deliveries when necessary. By using a virtual office service, you will also be provided with a virtual business address, which will give your company a more professional and prestigious feel.
As always we are going to have to rank the Virtual Office as the office of the future based on the same 6 criteria as usual out of a maximum score of 5 points for each criteria -
Every month we look for what the office of the future will look like and approach the issue from a state of mind perspective rather than a physical space. What is it that the company is trying to create? what culture is being built around it and does the result change anything? This month we are going to do something that goes against our golden rule of being impartial and we are going to also look into the mirror to see how our company, Your Office Agent along with Satellite telework centers from California, compares to the greats and not so greats of industry, based on our one founding concept of wanting to be part of the Companies Changing Lives movement.
The history of Your Office Agent is short and ambitions are high. Our objective was and is to be the global leader in agile workspace strategy. This means helping companies implement worldwide home and mobile working strategies along with providing a best in class online search platform for low cost virtual, coworking, executive suite, meeting room or managed space solutions. Right at the beginning of our journey, however, we made a promise to ourselves to make a difference while we were building our vision rather than after success had been achieved. We immediately based our marketing plan on doing good for other business people or Paying it forward rather than throwing money into an empty bucket of social media, mass mailings, and online marketing, most of which don’t work too well anyway.
We began by creating the, not for profit, business growth network and Companies Changing Lives organization so we could house our community side in a separate place to our agile workspace business. Our first action was to use our property contacts to arrange free networking events for local businesses. The principle of the events were that we all come to network to build meaningful relationships with other businesses in the area and if we did a good job and had a good product then people would trust us. Within a short period of time we had over 1,000 companies registered and 50 to 100 people coming to each event. Every month we came and networked but for a while there was no return. At first some people did not even realize we had another business but then something amazing happened. We thought originally that that client interest in our solutions was the ultimate objective but not only did we get sales but we also got educated about all the other solutions and products that could compliment what we offered. In addition we built up online and offline partnerships and added to our product offering, all by giving. To quantify this our Google rankings dropped by 1 million places and sales for the participating companies from the networking events are over $700,000 in the last year. In addition we know of 8 people who have been hired from these events by other companies and we have found two of our own staff members. The cost of all this was just our time.
With the success of the networking groups we decided to add a free business directory and video area to our site and immediately people signed up, getting free access to other businesses and also keeping everyone in touch with us, our webpage and our business. We then added to this a annual charity networking event over a two year period to see if we could pass on the good faith we were building to the greater community. This disappointed us a little as money donations alone are an empty, emotionless vessel which is good for sound bytes but poor on the emotional fulfillment level. Because of this giving journey we connected with some amazing people who make giving their life story. People like Nina Steiner, Barbara Sprenger from satellite, Ted speaker Noam Kostucki and Pay it Forward head honcho Charley Johnson and we all teamed together to take this to another level. Nina has worked tirelessly to make sure that everyone knew about the event, Barbara not only arranged for the entire mall to take part but also opened up her whole office premises for the evening, Noam, Charley and the Pay it Forward foundation gave us wristbands and any other support we need and select areas of the local business community is flooding us with calls to help us.
Our result today is 250 people registering for our Pay it Forward event within 5 days of opening it up to the public. The announcement in the next paragraph is for possibly the biggest Pay it Forward party that has ever taken place and one which could not be done without Barabara and her whole Satellite team, who have embraced this as their own mission. Its date of December 11th is between Thanksgiving and Christmas and after an election where the only thing all political parties agreed on was that the only people who could help us were us. It will not cost one dime to put together and every company coming will either gift products, solutions, great advice or empathy to the other companies coming. We have everyone from industry giants Starbucks to the stay at home entrepreneur who is starting out and entry to the event is totally free and not based on wealth, status or looks, its based on the purity of what you want to help your business community with.
I just wanted to make sure nobody misses this amazing FREE Christmas Holiday party at the best venue on Main Street, Santa Monica. Its our don’t miss, once a year, Pay It Forward party in Santa Monica in December. Leaving aside just how great a feeling you will have helping other businesses and being helped it will also be an amazing networking event filled with your kind of people (enlightened entrepreneurs). The detail is in the flyer but its all free and its not only an amazing evening with free entry, free food and an beautiful venue but its also Christmas come early with 300 hundred businesses all coming to gift a service or product or just some good advice and to receive the product or service that you need. No catch, No money changes hands, just true collaboration in action. That’s it. Register on the enclosed and get it out to as many people as you can. It will be off the charts.
This is the event bright registration. If you are not registered here then you are not registered for the event so REGISTER ASAP for the FREE tickets
This is the Flyer with the details so you can see just how much fun it will be.
This is the Facebook page where we will measure the value of the business that will come from this
that’s it. We are sharing this so that others can take inspiration and base their business plans on this way of working, so that companies of all sizes who wish to come to our event can come in the knowledge that none of us are alone unless we want to be and so that you can all look at Part 1 before success and measure this concept in real time. Part 2 will be coming soon.
There are over 1 billion mobile workers in the world today according to statistics from International data Corp and this number is due to rise to 1.3 Billion by 2015. This means that many more people are working from home, more companies are having to change their culture to reflect these new work style choices and the workplace of today looks or feels nothing like it used to. The visible impact of all this workplace change is that the coffee shops are filling up and this is a sign that we all still need some form of human interaction to keep moving forward in this new business world of ours.
Here is the question though. Have we gone from bad to worse? How great is it really to work in a coffee shop with the noise, the music, the people listening to our conversations. Surely there has to be a better way. The good news is that there is a better way, but only for those in the know. Over the last 5 years an industry has been growing at over 40% annually, while the rest of the world has seen falling production and output. This industry is the flexible office and meeting room space market and comprises of a growing number of international, national and local executive suite, coworking and bespoke meeting room venues who are catering to the mobile workforce. Not only are these workspace emporiums providing the exact solutions that companies and individuals need but they are doing it for less than the coffee cost in Starbucks.
So who are these providers of the workplace of the future. The biggest one is Regus business centers who now have over 1,300 locations worldwide and with their business world card you can get access to their business lounges for under $30 a month. This is on average less than the price of one Starbucks coffee per day for a workspace, unlimited coffee and filtered water, free wifi access and the pleasure of being surrounded by other people doing business rather than buying a cappuccino. Premier business centers also offer 16 hours meeting room access a month for their mailbox clients for $50. That’s $3.00 an hour for a boardroom. Coworking Spaces like Blank Spaces or WeWork allow access to desk space for $20 to $30 a day, where you are surrounded by other companies who are all encouraged the network and refer business to each other and if you look hard enough you can use this space for free in many locations. It is impossible to mention every option because there are over 10,000 around the world and all offer office and meeting rooms by the hour, day or month in an environment that works for your business. Your office Agent exist to educate companies for free about smarter ways to work and then guide you to the best one. This is the future of work.
As always we are going to have to rank the coffee shop though based on the same 6 criteria as usual out of a maximum score of 5 points for each criteria:
2. personal employee growth – 0 (this is our first zero but well deserved)
3. Community collaboration – 3 (This is because you do get to meet your friends and that is fun although not too productive)
4. Premises look and feel – 1 (its still a coffee shop)
5. Desire to be here – 1 (8 hours in a coffee shop is a long time)
6. Employee work life balance – 1 ( only if you like coffee)
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a networking event at the offices of an Orange County recruitment company and met with one of their team members, whose card intrigued me because her title was the “Mission, Vision and Values Director”. Now I have seen many titles in my time and most are self serving ego trips for senior management, however, this was the first time that the writer had seen a title where Values held a place as important as Vision. Within 30 seconds of being there I wondered if this was going to prove to be an office of the people for the people or just another good title.
The first clue was the self mocking portrait of the owner as you enter the floor, which is almost directly opposite the proudly placed award for best place to work 2007. With all the other fast growing awards on the wall this one took the main spot. As you then walk onto the main recruitment floor I was struck by the bar area with beer on tap, Margarita machine (with different flavors), plasma screen showing the basketball game and the inviting way the stools surrounded the whole section. Behind me was the cube area which I normally oppose, however, it seemed to really work with the direct contrast to the large open plan kitchen / bar and circulation area. To my right was the bosses office, a time out room, with more multimedia equipment to help escape from the world of work and a cigar patio. Photos of basketball stars filled the walls in the way a fan would decorate their lounge at home. To my left was the table football with signs all around it showing the companies values.
It was interesting to note that the walls were not full of targets and sales numbers, as I would have expected in a recruitment office, however inside the cubes this was obvious to see. Its almost like the message is that inside your cube you be everything you can be and outside “mi casa es tu casa.”
The networking event itself was done in a open plan area which had very comfortable cinema like chairs, more multimedia equipment but the casual nature of it made it easy to see how much more effective this would be as a brainstorming and learning area than the more traditional boardroom that most companies use. The area was surrounded by a fish tank behind and barbeque patio in front of it and was just an excellent use of what would normally have been dead circulation space.
The event was also streamed online because the data technology and broadband speed is second to none and easy to scale and the fact that they were hosting a networking event to some of the smartest people in data showed me that their way of marketing had that same human touch as the space itself.
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 – 3 (it is a traditional lease, mainly office based so limited flexibility to be agile)
- Personal employee growth – 5 (Recruitment is the highest pressure industry there is and the happier your good people are the more you destroy all competition)
- Community Collaboration – 4 (we don’t like cubes normally but the bar and presentation areas are excellent, as is the networking. We did not see any gender, child friendly or culture specific benefits but are sure they are or will be in the plans for the future)
- Premises look and feel – 5 (Just a nice place to be)
- Desire to be here – 4 (Almost a 5 however it is all fixed office space rather than virtual / fixed combinations)
- Employee work life balance 4 (Recruitment as an industry is always bad at this but this business has taken the home into the office – smart)
25 out of 30 makes this a great place to work and a real lesson to those new companies who want to create a culture that people will really like instead of making their staff miserable and keeping the best space for themselves. In too many companies we see senior management who believe they are great leaders but in reality are just great process driven bullies who were probably bullied getting there. Real leadership is about the team coming first and providing an environment for the great to become greater and a platform for those who need help to get it. We wish this team success in what will undoubtedly be an imminent expansion.