What to Expect in the Workplace in 2014

As we close out 2013, I wanted to share some top workplace trends. We know technology has changed how we work forever; we’re more mobile and flexible and our workplaces and work lives are racing to catch up. As we look ahead to next year here are the three workplace trends businesses can expect in 2014:

1. Rise of the third place: Research shows that even though 65% of workers can work remotely, only 13% say they’re happy to work from home. So a third place beyond the home, office or even distracting coffee shop is needed more than ever. Regus is now developing new types of business locations that offer conveniently located workspaces (airports, railways, retail sites) where people can drop in when on the move and be as productive as they are back in the office. Watch out for the rise of the Regus 3rd place in the U.S. in 2014.

2. Traditional office redesigned: The traditional office setting is no longer necessary as technology has unchained us from our desk. The way we use office space will continue to shift as businesses will look into flexible work options as a means to maintain employee productivity. Additionally, flexible work options have proved to reduce stress, shorten commutes and improve work / life balance.

3. Laying off real estate: Office space is the second largest expense for small businesses. Small businesses, startups and solopreneurs like Marlon Kirton are opting for non-binding, flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges or virtual offices to reduce overhead and better suit the needs of an the modern flexible workforce.

What are some other workplaces trends you are noticing? Share them with us in the comments.

5 Tips To Save Your Business Money

 

With 2013 well underway and our personal resolutions in the works (some more successful than others), it’s also time to think about shaping up your business. With recent Business Confidence Index research indicating cash flow as the biggest concern for businesses; small business owners and entrepreneurs should use the New Year as a fresh start to approaching their business finances. While personally we can head to the gym or shop less to carry out resolutions, what can businesses do to trim the “business belly fat” and increase cash flow?

 

Here are five steps businesses can take to be fiscally fit in 2013:

 Right size your business: Behind payroll, office space is the largest expenses for small businesses. Ask yourself, do you need a costly, long-term lease that may not apply to your company in six months’ time? See if non-binding, flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges better suit your company’s needs.

2.       Get flexible so your business can react to change: Explore today’s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity.

3.       Reach out for new customers: Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors.  By using a virtual office with a prestigious address, your company can expand into new areas with no upfront capital and minimal risk.

4.       Leverage technology in lieu of business travel: Videoconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.

5.       Learn from your mistakes: Symbolically, the New Year represents a clean slate for your business.  Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013. 

Tips To Prioritize Your Day

Chances are your inbox fills up everyday and that to-do list always seems to get longer.  Staying flexible, getting your day-to-day tasks accomplished and planning ahead isn't easy.

With 1,500 business centers in 100 countries, a remote workforce spread across the world and an aggressively growing company, CEO Mark Dixon has a lot to juggle.  He says it's best to think big picture.  Here are some tips from him on prioritizing your day:

 

5 Tips To Grow Your Business in 2013

 

As you celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year, you'll hear a lot about diets, calorie counting and new year's resolutions. How about resolving to help your business grow, while trimming the fat?  

 Here are five pragmatic steps businesses can take as they head into 2013 looking to succeed.

1.   Right size your business

One of the biggest costs for small businesses is their office space.  With more professionals working remotely, traditional, long-term leases are underutilized and expensive.  The capital invested in property would be better directed at growing your company.  Businesses looking ahead to 2013 should consider where they need to be and for how long.  Does your business need a permanent office?  Are you scalable?  If your employees are not all in the office at the same time, would flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges make sense?  Ask yourself these questions before you commit to something that won’t work in six months time.

2.    Get flexible so your business can react to change

Explore today’s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity.

Give workers the option to work from home occasionally or from a business center closer to home.   With the ongoing struggle to improve work-life balance, giving employees more control over their work day will help retain your best talent.

3.    Reach out for new customers

You don’t have to be the victim of a sluggish economy. This could be the perfect time to take assess and go for new opportunities in new markets.   Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors.  Use a virtual office (prestigious address and select office support).  One challenge of expansion is securing a large enough client base to justify an additional office.  With no upfront capital required and minimal risk, a virtual office solves that problem.

4.    Leverage Technology in lieu of Business Travel

There’s a range of mobile technology that can help you cut down on your business travel costs.  Videconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.

5.   Learn from your mistakes

Symbolically, the New Year represents a clean slate your business.  Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013.  Did you do enough research about your customers?  Did you spend enough time analyzing your data?  Did your analysis confirm your assumptions?  Every business will make a mistake.  It’s what you do with the knowledge you now have that will make the difference. 

Working from Home Is Great…Except for The Kids, The Dogs, The Dishwasher and the Television

 

Superstorm Sandy shut down public transportation, closed highways, and flooded tunnels, forcing thousands of people to work from home.  For some workers, this may have been the most extended period of time that their living room became their office.   For that week, they joined the 10 percent of workers, approximately 13.4 million people, who work from home at least some of the time, according to data recently released by the Census Bureau.  However, not everyone sees it as an efficient and sustainable way to work.

 

A recent survey we conducted, found almost half of American professionals admit they have difficulty maintaining productivity when working from the home office.

 

Here are the top 5 distractions when working from home:

1. Children and family wanting attention (58%)

2. Children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls (44%)

3. Difficulties accessing office equipment (printer, fax, photocopier (27%)

4. Household noises such as bell ringing, washing machine, dishwasher (25%)

5. Temptation to keep the television on as company (23%)

Despite this unique set of challenges, a combination of advancements in mobile technology making it easier  to work from home and many companies looking to reduce real estate costs, means more and more people will find themselves calling their home their office.

Here are 5 tips to improve the work-at-home experience:

·         Create Parameters: Set rules with family and friends, and let them know when you are not available. Most importantly, ensure they are aware of any scheduled conference calls in order to limit any background noises or interruptions, so clients don’t feel you’re working in an unprofessional environment.

·         Establish a Routine:  Working from home can lead to working around the clock.  Set blocks of time for work and stick to the schedule. Following a schedule will reduce the chances of burnout.  Do not turn on the television during your set working hours, and laundry can wait until after 5 p.m. 

·         Keep Lines of Communication Open: Maintaining regular contact with colleagues and managers will ensure status of projects and deadlines are understood by all. This means it will keep you motivated to stay ahead while working from home.   Use technology like videoconferencing and instant messaging to remain in constant contact.

·         Utilize Flexible Workspace Options: Making the right impression with clients is very important. There are flexible options to establish a presence outside the home where you can meet with colleagues and clients, print off large documents in color, focus at a desk as opposed to your couch.   These spaces are available by the hour or day.

·         Avoid Isolation:   Feeling out of touch?  Leave your home office drop in to a collaborative work environment, attend networking events and plan business lunches.   These are a great place to connect and network with other professionals.