How a Virtual Office Can Benefit Your Business

1234

Virtual offices offer startups, entrepreneurs and established professionals the ability to amplify their position in the industry in which they compete. Though there may be a small team behind the work they produce, there is nothing small about their passion to constantly improve. A virtual office can give your business the boost it needs to thrive–for many reasons. Here are a few ways a virtual office can benefit your business:

Eliminate the Commute

The traffic in Southern California can be egregious, putting you in a terrible mood just as the morning begins. Cutting out a commute can give you a longer morning to relax with a cup of coffee, giving you a sunnier disposition to start the day. If a long commute is standing in the way of breaking into a new geographic market, a virtual office enables you to work remotely with a team, right from your home.

Mailing Address Without the Rent

Location, location, location—it’s important even if you’re not there physically. All established businesses have a professional mailing address that’s not in a residential neighborhood. You can improve your business’s reputation with a prestigious mailing address, especially in upscale or trendy neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Pasadena, or Woodland Hills. A huge advantage of a virtual office is that it costs far less than a month’s worth of rent for a similar location. Barrister Executive Suites offers varying levels of features for virtual offices, each with professional mail and package handling so you don’t miss a thing.

Free Your Budget to Expand Your Business

Stop paying exorbitant rent, utility, and office overhead fees that are a drain on your profitability. Managing your team remotely, collaborating using employees’ own company-approved technology, can put thousands of dollars back in your pocket each month. Reallocating your budget to what really matters can grant your employees, your business, and yourself huge benefits.

Professional Receptionist

Having an answering service is one thing, but a professionally trained receptionist warmly greeting clients and associates creates an incredible first impression. The personalized answering service offered by Barrister Executive Suites is one of the features clients enjoy the most, as it gives their business an increased level of professionalism.

If you’d like to learn about more features of Virtual Offices, visit Barrister’s Virtual Office Space.

Work/Life Balance Goals

123

How are your 2018 New Year’s resolutions going? If you’re a type-A workaholic, you probably smashed your work-related goals back in February. For others, life might have gotten in the way of your resolutions and they may have faded into the background–and that’s okay, life happens. The new year can usher in a fresh start to meeting your goals in both your personal and professional life. It’s all about balance, though it can be easier said than done. If you have started losing track of your New Year’s resolutions, here’s how to get those work/life balance resolutions back on track.

Take Time to Get Organized

Organization probably doesn’t make it into your checklist, rather it’s something of a necessary evil as your desktop and email clutter beyond the point of what you can handle. In the beginning of a new week, schedule just five to ten minutes per day before or after your workday to straighten things out, file things away, and get yourself ready for the next task at hand. Writing this step down on a checklist makes you more likely to complete it, and it can help you maintain a more efficient workday. Imagine how great it’ll feel to go into a new day with email folders and a clear desktop that will help keep track of obligations! This can also limit those nights spent burning the midnight oil on last-minute work instead of spending time with loved ones.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Have you ever spent time with your family without really being present? Sifting through emails and stressing about deadlines instead of appreciating the company of those right in front of you? It’s common to do that from time to time, always being near a smartphone. To truly disconnect from technology out of work hours, begin practicing mindfulness. Not a pro at meditation yet? Start by focusing on your breath, and begin noticing what each of your senses are feeling. Beginning the day with meditation, whether it’s a workday or a weekend, can help reduce stress over time. Apps that track and guide meditation can help motivate you to continue this practice.

Shift Your Thinking About “Yes” and “No”

How often do you find yourself saying that you can complete a project, no matter the deadline? Saying that you’ll take care of something, when your planner is already bursting at the seams? Compare that to how you approach questions asked of you at home, by your children or spouse. For many, saying “no” to family is somehow easier–no to your six-year-old insisting to wear her Halloween costume to school in March, no to a last-minute dinner with friends–do these responses really improve your quality of life? Reevaluating what you say “yes” to at work and “no” to at home is a great way to shift your perspective and determine what really matters. Work assignments can always be delegated or reprioritized, and really, what’s the harm in letting little Sally wear fairy wings to school?

Plants in the workplace

Plants in the office

Plants in the office do offer more than sprucing up the place.  Decades of research has shown that contact with vegetation and plants, in a variety of contexts, is highly beneficial to human beings.  We invite you to explore some of the benefits that comes from having plants in the workplace.

Provide cleaner air: The natural process of photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide in an environment while releasing oxygen into the air. Plants also absorb pollutants!  Several common species of interior plants have the ability to remove compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, and hexane.

Reduce office noise:  When plants are strategically placed, they can have the effect of quieting an office.  A small indoor hedge placed around a workspace, for example, has been shown to reduce noise by 5 decibels.

Reduce stress:  Some people find that plants reduce their stress levels.  The mere presence of plants help these individuals to feel they are in a natural setting, which can produce a calming effect.  When an employee is less stressed, they are better able to focus on their duties.

Provide a more comfortable environment:  Plants add moisture into the air.  This moisture, in turn, can lower temperatures and increase humidity levels, which can lead to employees feeling more comfortable overall.

Plants and flowers can inspire us:  Natural elements often help to provide humans with illumination and creativity.  Some studies haves demonstrated a clear link between the presence of office plants and the rise of innovative thinking, idea generation, and problem solving.

We here at Barrister Suites know that having plants in the office environment can be beneficial. Many of our Suites have plants in the reception and common areas. You don’t even have to water them! We take care of that.

 

 

Learn more about the studies about The Benefits of Plants in the Workplace

How much is too much process?

Policies and procedure documents for business

Processes are designed to help companies grow, develop best practices, and improve efficiency. If they’re not regularly evaluated, however, they can quickly get out of control.  Too much emphasis on process can stifle innovation and creativity.

In a study of U.S. and European companies, the Boston Consulting Group found that “over the past fifteen years, the amount of procedures, vertical layers, interface structures, coordination bodies, and decision approvals needed…has increased by anywhere from 50 percent to 350 percent.” In addition, “managers spend 40 percent of their time writing reports and 30 percent to 60 percent of it in coordination meetings.”*

Businesses use processes because it allows them to measure productivity and progress, which, in turn, makes people feel more accountable and efficient. When processes are used correctly, they should simplify and standardize necessary works tasks that allow a business to operate smoothly. They are meant to enable companies to undertake complex work.

The situation becomes unhealthy and dysfunctional when there are so many processes in place that they restrain the people they’re supposed to help.  Processes should empower people, not make their lives more difficult.   If your employees spend considerable time asking for – or seeking – permission before executing a task, if they’re attending unnecessary or redundant meetings, or if their days are filled with answering irrelevant or unimportant emails, you’ve got a problem.   When this happens, the processes have become a bureaucracy – one that is stifling effectiveness and flexibility, as well as sacrificing creativity and innovation.

Here are five indications that processes has become a problem in your workplace:

 

  1. Lack of clear vision: Great companies crave a big-picture vision and important goals to strive for. Unfortunately, many companies have vision statements that are filled with jargon and buzz words, but devoid of any actual meaning. This creates a lack of real purpose within the organization.

 

  1. Empowering with permission—but without action: Often we give our employees more responsibility, but our processes insist they obtain an unreasonable number of approvals (or sign-offs) before they can actually get the work done. This is not empowering, but rather, it signals a lack of trust.

 

  1. Too much dependence on meetings: Productive and collaborative teamwork does not require meetings for every single decision, task, or action. Employees can become ineffective or overwhelmed when they find themselves constantly stuck in meetings. This dependence on meeting indicates that politics have taken precedence over productivity.

 

  1. Leaders who focus on process instead of people: Too often managers, supervisors, and other leaders look to processes, and not people, when they want to try to solve problems. This approach doesn’t work! Instead of recognizing that a person needs more training to do a certain task, for example, a new software is purchased to try and do the task for them – or make it easier. This signals a lack of humanity.

 

  1. Management acts as judge: The purpose of at least some meetings should be to encourage creating, thinking, or building. If managers consistently oppose all new ideas from employees – or balk if/when they question the status quo, then this signals a lack of openness or perspective.

 

Don’t let process become your company’s culture.  Yes, you want to efficiently – and consistently – produce outstanding results, however if your employees have jobs that depend on meeting metrics and maintaining the status quo, they’ll be reluctant to spend their energy towards invention, innovation, and creating something new.

Are you taking the breaks you need at work?

Relax, refresh and recharge in office

We live in a fast-paced world, and our work environments are no different.   Not surprisingly, many individuals don’t take proper breaks during their average work day. Some even skip a lunch break entirely, or eat while working.  The lack of breaks can increase depending on the industry, a company’s given policy, and if there is someone who is tasked with enforcing breaks.

Taking proper breaks are important… for everyone!

 

Breaks help with overcoming boredom and increasing concentration
Your brain is NOT a computer. You may be working on a task, and in the groove, but you’ll eventually lose it. The human brain wasn’t built for extended focus, but taking a break will help you to stay focused. Even a 15 to 20 minute break can help to sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.

Breaks can increase productivity!

There is a general belief among researchers that employees who take regular breaks are more productive. Allowing time for rejuvenation enables people to complete their tasks more accurately, which leads to fewer errors.

Breaks can lessen physical ailments that can affect an employee’s ability to do his/her job!

As previously discussed, sitting for long periods of time as you work can be unhealthy.  One survey from the American Journal of Epidemiology* revealed that sitting for lengthy time frames (over six hours daily) can cause an individual to be 18% more likely to suffer from obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.  Staring at the computer screen for too long – and without a break – can also cause eyestrain.  Any of these conditions can affect an employee in the long term and could create conditions where she or he can’t do certain tasks at all.

 

Breaks reduce stress!

Again, you’re not a machine, and your mind and body can only take so much.  While perseverance is an admirable quality (and consistent productivity is often a required expectation), you don’t want to push yourself to the point of exhaustion.  Regularly skipping your breaks can cause fatigue and stress to sneak up on you. This, in return, can result in a sudden loss of zeal, passion, or stamina for your work or duties.  When necessary, take a quick break away from those stressful issues, and revisit them again once your mental state is improved.

 

Breaks are the law!

While federal law does not require employers to give their employee breaks, many states have laws in place.  Consider, for example, the California employee law for meal breaks.

 

Case study:

Staples Survey Reveals Many Employees Feel Too Guilty to Take Breaks, Despite Spending Longer Hours at Work

 

What better way to relax than to utilize the employee lounge and break room in your Barrister Suite?  Some locations also have outdoor seating, like our Marina Beach Offices pictured below.

89_marina_5 Marina Del Rey Office Space

 

Each suite also has periodic tenant mixers and parties, such as last year’s Summer Kick-Off Celebration in Burbank! It’s a great way to kick back and relax, and to get to know your fellow Barrister tenants.

 


*The Importance of Employee Breaks at http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-employee-breaks-40680.html

 

 

 

Ready for the next step? Transitioning from freelancer to entrepreneur

Transitioning from Freelancer to Entrepreneur

There are 53 million Americans freelancing today, and collectively they are earning $715 billion a year. * While these numbers may look impressive, they actually indicate that a given freelancer is only bringing in $13,490.56 a year.  Not surprisingly, some individuals are wondering if they should make the move from part-time freelancing to full-time entrepreneur.

Making this move can be a scary step, but its potential to bring you many rewards can be quite appealing!  It allows you to work for yourself, on the projects you love, and it has the potential to make the income you need.

Before taking the plunge, however, you need to do some research, analysis, and preparation.  Consider the following steps to help you to begin:

Learn how to work smarter, not harder in this article from Entrepreneur

  1. Develop a vision

    The biggest enemy can be you!  If there’s a small voice inside of your head saying “you can’t do this,” then your first step is to turn off that voice and develop a realistic vision.

    Show yourself that freelancing can be your reality. Your idea isn’t a whim – it’s a business plan. Begin envisioning by creating a business name and a vision for your company. This will help you develop a mental picture of your business and to give yourself a clear path to follow.

  2. Believe in yourself

    Everyone has to take a leap of faith sometimes and it’s okay to have – and to acknowledge – your doubts.  You do also need to be prepared to overcome them, however. It takes practice to overcome doubts, but it’s an important practice. Be sure that you’re mentally invested in your business before you quit your day job.  If you doubt your own ability to find success, you won’t find it.  Believe in yourself!

  3. Decide on a form of business
    You can decide to change the form of your business down the line, but it’s good to have an original plan so you can properly arrange the financial aspects of your business.  You can set up a legal entity for your business (such as a limited liability company) or you can operate your business as a sole proprietorship.  The choice is yours, but do the research first.  Ask yourself:  What are my business goals?  What are the benefits that would come with each model?

  4.  Set up the financial processes
    You can’t begin to bring in work if you’re not fully prepared for it.  Develop your prices and invoice templates.  Create an accounting plan and figure out how much you need to set aside for taxes.

  5. Work on your portfolio
    You shouldn’t launch a business before you have experienced with the work and can demonstrate those experiences to others.  If necessary, delay the launch of your business until you have quality samples of the work you will sell.  If you find you can’t create a solid portfolio of samples that accurately represent your work, then it may not be the right time for you to develop your own business.

  6. Create marketing materials and advertise your business.
    You need to have at least some initial marketing goals as you launch your business.  Develop and launch a website and social media profiles.  Reach out through your business and personal networks and let everyone know that you’ve started a new venture.  Have business cards and/or literature to hand out to them.

 

The bottom line is that, with proper planning, research, and hard work, you can make a go at creating a business that you are really passionate about. Be brave and take the leap when you’re ready!

Healthier Ways to Get Over The Afternoon Slump

Getting over the afternoon slump

Many of us experience it on a regular basis.  You’re having a productive morning and feel energized and on task.  Then sometime in the early mid-afternoon, a wave of sleepiness suddenly hits and you’re yawning and fighting to keep our eyes open.  It’s the “afternoon slump!”

The afternoon slump is perfectly natural and normal. It’s a mini version of the drowsiness we feel before bedtime. Right before you go to sleep at night, your core temperature begins to drop.  This signals the brain to release melatonin, the sleepy hormone.  The same conditions occur during the afternoon, but on a smaller scale.  Your body is telling your brain to get a little sleepy.

But don’t blame your body!  What you are eating – and when – is also a key factor!  How you respond to the afternoon slump also matters.   Stay alert with the following tips:

 

Get more sleep at night!

On average you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  Losing even one hour of sleep can result in slower mental functioning the next day.

 

Eat a good breakfast!

The best way to keep your energy level at peak performance is to start the day with a solid breakfast. Missed meals mean you miss out on nutrients, which can affect your ability to concentrate during the day.  Most women should be eating about 300 to 400 calories for breakfast, and most men about 500.  Try for whole-grain bread and cereals, and fresh fruits.

 

Drink More WaterDrink more water!

Everyone’s body needs a certain amount of water to function properly and when you don’t have enough in your system, your body slows down.

 

 

Snack wisely

Snacking on fruits and vegetables to will boost your intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  When you snack, keep moderation, variety, and balance in mind.  Avoid junk food that is high in fat.  Fatty foods take a longer time to digest and will make your body feel sluggish.   If you have to go to the vending machine, look for peanut butter crackers, a nice carb-protein combination.

 

Watch the sugar!

Eating sugar can give you a boost in energy, but when sugar is introduced into the bloodstream, the body also makes insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. This can cause the body to over-adjusts itself, causing the blood sugar level to drop rapidly. This means you may experience a big DROP in energy about 30 minutes after eating that sugary snack. Use sugar in moderation, and try and combine proteins, carbs, and fats for a more even blood sugar level.  Avoid that roller coaster 🎢!

 

Take a fitness break!

A great way to fight off the afternoon slump is get up and move around!  Do some stretches – or better yet – take a quick walk to get the blood pumping and to stimulate your mind. Many Barrister Suites locations have perfect places for you to take a walk outside so you can reduce stress, and stay alert!

Summer Dress Code: Do’s and Don’ts

Summer dress code tips

Summer is officially here, and that means longer days and warmer weather.  Many offices have a more relaxed summer dress code, but the line between casual and inappropriate may not always be clear.  A number of businesses, particularly those that are small or creative environments, don’t have a dress code policy in place. Others have a policy, but it can often be vague, ambiguous, or subjective.  Keep this list handy as you prepare to dress for the office during the summer months.

 

Do’s

  • Keep your sleeves over the shoulder. A good rule of thumb is to wear capped sleeves that cover the shoulder completely.
  • Grab some capris. Capris can look both professional and fashionable.  They are a great choice when the temperatures begin to rise.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. They project an air of professionalism and good sense.  If your employer allows for open-toe shoes, make sure your toenails are clean and maintained.
  • Less is more. It’s great to work trends and current styles into your professional wardrobe, but it’s best done with little accents (i.e. jewelry, belts, purses, etc.)

 

Dont’s

  • Don’t show too much skin. Avoid wearing shorts or skimpy hot pants in the office. Other summer wardrobe offenders include tank tops (men included), sheer dresses, tube tops, midriff-baring tops, and micro-miniskirts.
  • Avoid casual footwear.That means no flip flops!
  • Tuck it in! Men can wear shirts made with lighter fabrics, but they should always be tucked in.
  • Watch the facial hair. A long, unkempt beard can make you look disheveled, unprofessional, and maybe even a little threatening to some.  Keep the beards and goatees short, clean, and trimmed.

 

When in doubt ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I showing too much skin?
  • Is this skirt or these shorts appropriate when I sit, stand, or walk up the stairs?
  • What will my manager’s reaction be when she or he sees what I’m wearing?
  • Do I look like I’m going to work or going to a place to hang out with friends?
  • Am I abiding by the dress code policy (if applicable) or do I look like I’m barely following it?

The Benefits of Learning to Code – Even in Non-Tech Jobs

Why You Should Learn to Code - Barrister Executive Suites

Web development is a very hot industry today. The median salary for a software developer is almost $100,000. From 2014 – 2024, the employment of software developers is forecasted to increase 17%, way faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.  However, even if you don’t plan on pursuing a career in programming, learning to code can have plenty of great benefits to your career no matter what it is. Here are a few ways it does that.

It Increases your Versatility

Learning any new skill while currently in a job is a great way to get noticed by your superiors. So why not learn something that could be useful to almost any company? Knowing how to code greatly increases your versatility in your job and gives you a much wider scope of tasks that you could handle. It also shows that you’re willing to accept challenges and learn new things, which look great when being considered for a promotion

It Will Enhance Communication with Teammates

Learning to code is learning a new language. If you learn French, you gain the ability to communicate with many more people that you could when you only spoke English. The same logic applies to computer code. When you learn a new code you gain the ability to communicate better to the tech team at your company as well as anyone else in the industry. This will lead to increased efficiency in completing tasks as well as greater respect from other members of the organization.

It’s Great for the Entrepreneurial Mind

If you have an entrepreneurial mind and have dreams of starting your own business, learning to code is invaluable. Have an idea for a new app? It’s one thing to tell the idea to someone and have them make it for you hoping for the best, but it’s another to create a simple prototype, which will help you can gain better financial support and hire more qualified people.

Even if we’re not talking about the tech industry, any startup business is low on funds, so knowing how to code your own website is a huge plus.

It’s Brain-Training

Learning to code also acts as a brain trainer. With all of the logic involved in different coding languages, it helps to enhance your logical thinking skills, which is important both in the workplace and in everyday life.

Learn a New Way to Think

Learning to code takes discipline and logic. It can increase your problem-solving skills, since you have to provide information and actions to a computer in steps, much like you would when training or explaining it to a new hire. It can also help you to start seeing patterns and relationships, how one little variable can greatly change the outcome.

It Could be your Hidden Passion

So you learned to code because of, but not limited to, the first four reasons in this post. It turns out, however, that you absolutely love it. The great thing about the times we live in is that it is so easy to explore different skills to find what you are truly passionate about. So why not give coding a try? You could find your next passion, and as mentioned in the opening paragraph, make a lot of money doing it.

Employee in the Spotlight: Jerome Chau, Technology Manager

BarristerSuites_JeromeChau

Jerome Chau, Barrister’s Technology Manager

 

Meet Jerome Chau!

 

Jerome has been with Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. for 13 years, and currently serves as the Technology Manager.  Jerome oversees all aspects of the technology department including voice and data networks and IT infrastructure at all Barrister locations. Prior to managing all technology at Barrister, Jerome was a Suite Manager and Finance Manager.

Jerome has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UCLA. He resides in Monterey Park with his wife Yvonne and two daughters Krystal and Kirsten.

Jerome has a unique skill set, holding previous positions in sales, finance and information technology during his 20 years in the real estate industry. Prior to joining Barrister, Jerome was a broker with CB Richard Ellis in the Central Los Angeles region.   Jerome and his wife Yvonne serve as Youth Leaders at First Southern Baptist Church of Monterey Park where they mentor high school kids to serve the church and the community.

Jerome is our behind the scenes super star! He jets from one property to another at a moment’s notice. Next time you see him around, be sure to say hi!