3 Ways to Have a More Productive Workspace

co-workers looking at a laptop

Many of us suffer from the occasional Monday blues, but it’s a problem when the Monday blues become the Monday through Friday blues. Although it may seem daunting, ensuring that your employees remain inspired and energized all week long can be done in a few simple ways.

1. Create an Open Culture

A culture that promotes honesty, transparency, and open-mindedness can get your employees back on a productive track. In this type of culture, it’s important for employers to be able to admit when they are wrong and take constructive criticism from their employees. When the entire company feels like a team and no one is trying to maintain their ego, then this will encourage everyone to be a team player, do their best work, and remain inspired.

2. Encourage Risk Taking

When there is a decision that needs to be made that has a 60 percent chance of success and a 40 percent chance of failure, then the employee should take this risk. Company cultures that meet failure with harsh criticism will not be one that takes risk. Why take these risks you may ask? Employees that are able to make risky decisions feel more confident at work and think more innovatively.

3. Acknowledge Good Work

This simple idea of telling your employees “good job” can have a major impact on their overall happiness and productivity at work. The acknowledgment of good work is the positive reinforcement that gives employees that little extra push to keep working hard. This is an easy way to boost productivity in the workplace and requires very little time.

Barrister Executive Suites offers the exceptional service, flexibility, and convenience that their tenants need to run their businesses more efficiently. Barrister’s suites provide clients with a professional and collaborative work environment, while still giving them their own space and privacy. By allowing Barrister staff to handle the day to day operations, tenants can focus their time and energy on revenue generating tasks and growing their business.

Source: Entrepreneur

Signs That it is Time to Switch from a Coworking Space to a Private Office

people sitting at a table during a meeting

There can be many benefits of coworking, such as low costs and flexibility, that allow small start-up businesses to start off strong. Although these benefits exist, there is a time and place for coworking and as your business changes, so should your workplace. If you are currently using a coworking space and are considering switching to a private office, here are some signs that show it’s time to upgrade your workspace.

Your Business is Growing

With business growth comes the need for more employees, time, and space. If your growth has caused you to outgrow your coworking space, it may be time to take your extra revenue and invest it into a private office.

You Need More Privacy

Shared rooms, common rooms, and thin walls do not provide a great amount of privacy. Your business may have confidential client meetings or phone calls containing sensitive information that isn’t meant for everyone’s ears. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider a private office to protect the privacy of your clients and your business.

You Need Less Distractions

With more people comes more noise and distractions. If you and your employees are having a hard time focusing and being productive, it may be due to your work environment. Private offices can give you the peace and quiet your business needs to reach its full potential.

These are just a few signs that show it’s time to switch your workplace location. If you are interested in learning about the full-time office spaces offered at Barrister Executive Suites, visit our website to learn more.

Why Consultants, Startups & Entrepreneurs Choose Virtual Offices

VIRTUAL OFFICE

Leaving a corporate job to start a new business can be one of the most exciting and terrifying career moves a person can make. The barriers to enter an industry as a new player can be intimidating, and an entrepreneur needs to have a thick skin to ride out the first few years. However, starting a business today is not the same as it was before the rise of the internet. There are endless online tools that can support a business at an affordable price, and overhead can be dramatically reduced by taking advantage of them.

Revolutionizing Working from Home

One of the most important tools in an independent consultant, startup, or entrepreneur’s arsenal is a virtual office. When a services-based business is launched, renting office space is not immediately economical or necessary without a big team to collaborate with. Still, there is a need to impress clients and convey a level of professionalism. That is where a virtual office offers the most value: working from home with the benefit of a prestigious address and answering service can help the business appear larger than it is from the onset.

What a Virtual Office Includes

Having services like a professional receptionist answering the phone with the name of your business sends a message to the caller that the business is legitimate and even exclusive, since they aren’t directly contacting the CEO on the first ring. Additionally, virtual offices offer mail handling services where packages can be received in sought-after zip codes.

Time-Savings

Without a long commute in endless traffic, setting up shop in the home is a great way to optimize hours in the day. Not to mention inbound calls won’t slow the business owner down during a busy workday. In more premium virtual office packages, a voicemail notification system can be set up to transcribe messages left throughout the day.

Meeting Clients

When the time comes to wow a potential client, meetings in coffee shops just don’t feel professional. Meeting rooms by the hour and conference room use is a significant perk of having a virtual office. Typically, convenient access to a professional meeting area would cost thousands of dollars in rent each month. With a virtual office, many packages include conference room access at a significantly lower price point.

Finding the right virtual office services for your business can improve your image and elevate your brand. At Barrister Executive Suites, we have hosted hundreds of businesses over the years through our virtual office program. Contact us for more information on the right combination of features to meet your needs.

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How a Virtual Office Can Benefit Your Business

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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

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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?

Employee in the Spotlight: Jacqui White Jansen

Jacqui White Jansen

Assistant Vice President, Barrister Executive Suites, Inc.

Jacqui White Jansen
Assistant Vice President, Barrister Executive Suites, Inc.

 

Meet Jacqui White Jansen!

 

Jacqui has been with Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. for 23 years, and currently serves as the Assistant Vice President.  She’s primarily responsible for the West Los Angeles region, where we recently opened our newest location: 233 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400, Santa Monica.  With 8 locations in the Westside region, Jacqui is kept busy!

Having been born and raised in Manchester England, Jacqui immigrated to the U.S. at age 22. Jacqui has two children, Zoe and Zari, and she lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, Skip.

Jacqui brings valuable knowledge, great energy and experience to everything that she is involved with. While managing the Westside area for Barrister, Jacqui is involved in the local community in many other aspects. She has been volunteering on the Oncology Floor at St. John’s Hospital every week for 6 years, and is a member of LACRA (the Los Angeles Commercial Real Estate Association).  She serves on the Planning Committee for the LACRA Broker Challenge, a day of fun taking place on September 21st, 2015 at the Beach Club in Santa Monica (see our post Calling all Brokers! for more information).

Stop by our newest Santa Monica addition and say hi! We will be hosting our Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Party on November 4th.  Stay tuned for more details.

The Power of Power Couples

Power Couples

The Power of Power Couples

The term “power couple” usually evokes images of wealth, charisma, and glamour, but for many prominent professional couples, life in the dual-career lane can be anything but a smooth ride.

There are many challenges in maintaining a loving relationship and a chaos-free household when both partners work long hours and may often travel. Here are some of their road-tested ideas for making such relationships work:

Put the relationship first.

Marriages require a lot of care, feeding and attention, but, the relationship is unfortunately the thing that tends to get neglected first.  It’s important to be fully present for your spouse as much as possible. Steve Vassallo, a partner at Foundation Capital, uses a metaphor to make this point. “It’s like being in an airplane when the oxygen masks come down,” he says. “You’ve got to make sure that the relationship is healthy before you worry about other things.”

Define your roles.

As a management consultant for Strategy & (formerly Booz & Company), Alex Conrad spent a good deal of her career on the road, while her husband, Parker Conrad, co-founded companies in the Bay Area–most recently Zenefits, a free human-resources platform. Neither Alex nor Parker had much time to focus on home life. So they worked out an arrangement early on: She would handle the tasks that could be done remotely, like paying the bills; he would take care of anything that needed to be done in person. “Just being explicit in advance about what your roles are is really helpful,” Alex says.

Set your limits.

When Hagel was returning to her job at the Boston Consulting Group after earning her MBA in 2012, she knew that her spouse would be traveling a lot, “so one of my non-negotiables was that I didn’t want to be on the road all the time,” she recalls. Similarly, Eva Sage-Gavin turned down several lucrative job offers over the years so that her daughter, an only child, could grow up surrounded by uncles, aunts, and cousins in Northern California. “Without a doubt,” she says, “you’ve got to define what is important to you as a family, and you’ve got to stick to it.”

Outsource whatever you can.

The Vassallos experimented with a variety of caretaking arrangements for their three young children before settling on hiring a nanny who could also serve as a domestic executive assistant. “A big turning point for me was when I realized that it was as cost-effective to hire a nanny in the Bay Area as it is to have two kids in full-time daycare,” Trae says. Besides helping with the children, their nanny does the grocery shopping, child chauffeuring, and other routine errands. “By having logistical things taken care of on the home front, I feel like we’re able to spend real quality time with our kids,” she says.

Have realistic expectations.

People often think they know exactly what they want in a future spouse, including good looks, brains, earning power, and the disposition to be a good parent. But Dennis Gavin cautions against “over-optimization” in that department. “I guarantee there are a bunch of [men] in this room who say, ‘I really want to marry someone who is a brilliant [career person],’ but then when they get married, they also want their spouse to have kids and be a supermom,” he says. It’s critical for dual-career couples to have an open dialogue about their expectations before marriage.

Remember that the laundry really can wait.

Another strategy that is helpful is to lower your “Martha Stewart” standards. Perhaps it’s best to live in a small apartment that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. If the laundry isn’t folded promptly, remember it’s no big deal.

Keep rituals.

While they were dating and attending Stanford GSB, Lindsey Scrase and Theresa Hagel started taking long walks together in the campus foothills. The regular outings gave them the time and space to talk about big agenda issues in their lives–work-life balance, mental and physical health, finances, and relationships with family and friends–before they became problematic. Now married and living in San Francisco, they take walks in the city at least twice a month to check in with each other on the bigger issues.

 

Reference/Source: http://www.inc.com/stanford-business/how-power-couples-balance-work-and-family.html

Managing The Multi-Generational Office

For the first time in modern history, workplace demographics now span four generations!   Today we see 20-year-old new hires working side-by-side with colleagues who are older than they are by 50 years or more.

This rich mix of generations in the workforce is often attributed to labor shortages experienced in many industries along with the rising average age of retirement.  Boomers are also working beyond retirement.  One study finds that eight out of ten Baby Boomers expect to work at least part time in their so-called retirement years. [1] In the meantime, the number of Millennials entering the workforce is only growing!

Figure 1: From AARP:  Leading an Intergenerational Workforce, p. 8 at http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/money/employers/leading_multigenerational_workforce.pdf
Figure 1: From AARP: Leading an Intergenerational Workforce, p. 8 at http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/money/employers/leading_multigenerational_workforce.pdf

An intergenerational workplace must support real communication and understanding across all ages, and it must understand – and build upon – the unique values and strengths of each generation. Businesses that pay attention to intergenerational issues will see an impact on their bottom line in a number of areas including the following:


Communication:
The younger generation has grown up communicating in text messages, tweets, and instant messages. Baby boomers and older Gen Xers tend to prefer phone calls and emails. To further muddle the communication, different generations may use different abbreviations, informal language, and colloquialisms.

Everyone needs to make a concerted effort to communicate in the way each person prefers, especially leaders and employers. Face to face team building exercises and ice breakers may help to break down some of the barriers that can occur with digital communications. [3]

Corporate Culture: Educating employees on generational issues can boost understanding, respect and productivity. One example: younger generations may speak to their employers more casually, which may be interpreted by older generations as lacking respect.

Younger managers and workers may feel that time spent in the office is not as vital as your results and are more open to teleworking. Generation Y may value and expect a more healthy work-life balance, including the time to have a life outside of working. For leaders, it is best to approach the issue by allowing individuals to work in the style that’s best for them and acknowledge the efforts of each team member. [3]

Millennials are the fastest growing cohort, comprising 15 percent of the U.S. workforce.
By 2011, their participation will swell to 25 percent.[2] 

To recruit and retain them, organizations will need to understand and appeal to their perspectives, communication styles, and work ethic.

Recruitment: Recruitment messages geared to each generation will attract talent across the age spectrum.  Targeted recruitment of mature workers gives employers a competitive advantage in acquiring the right talent.  At the same time, knowing how to attract younger workers is crucial to ensuring future business success and leadership.

Also be aware of negative stereotypes. “Lazy”, “entitled”, and “tech obsessed”, are just a few of the terms that may come to mind when older workers think about millennials. Baby boomers may be perceived by their younger peers as stubborn, set in their ways, and difficult to train. Leaders can help the situation by looking for and intervening when there is misunderstanding and generational judgment.

Employee Engagement:  Managers who know what motivates employees of different generations are more effective in keeping them engaged.  Employee satisfaction is higher when they believe that career development opportunities are equal for all, regardless of age.

How Millennial Are You? Take this quiz to find out! 

Also be aware of negative stereotypes. “Lazy”, “entitled”, and “tech obsessed”, are just a few of the terms that may come to mind when older workers think about millennials. Baby boomers may be perceived by their younger peers as stubborn, set in their ways, and difficult to train. Leaders can help the situation by looking for and intervening when there is misunderstanding and generational judgment.

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Retention:  All generations want their contributions to be recognized. Rewards and recognition should reflect each group preferences and priorities. Employee benefits which are geared to the needs of different generations can build loyalty and retention.

Customer Service:  Each generation has unique service preferences. Businesses that understand and adapt to those preferences will attract and retain customers across the age spectrum.

While creating an inter-generational workspace may take more time, customization, and intentionality; there are several benefits to be gained by the whole organization when a multigenerational team works well together.

The team can attract and retain talented people of all ages.

  1. The team is more flexible.
  2. The team can gain and maintain greater market share because its members reflect a multi-generation market.
  3. Decisions are stronger because they’re broad-based with multiple perspectives.
  4. The team is more innovative and creative.
  5. The team can meet the needs of a diverse public and can relate more effectively

As employers strive to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, they should look to attract mature workers and young minds with fresh ideas.  Both are part of a crucial mix. Combined with recruitment practices, the right combination of policies and practices is also key to a productive, engaged, and “age-neutral” workforce.

If you’re looking for an office space that appeals to multiple generations be sure to explore our many Barrister Executive Suites Office Spaces available throughout Southern California. We offer traditional offices as well as virtual offices to meet your team’s diverse needs. Many of our offices are also located around cultural centers with restaurants, fitness centers, theaters and more to assist you with maintaining a work-life balance that’s right for you.

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Learn more about the multi-generational office at http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/money/employers/leading_multigenerational_workforce.pdf

 

[1]  AARP, Baby Boomers Envision Retirement II: Survey of Baby Boomers’ Expectations for Retirement (Washington, DC, September 2004), 24.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics (see chart)

[3] Fallon, N. (2014, June 16). Tackling the Challenges of the Multigenerational Workforce. Retrieved from Business News Daily: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6609-multigenerational-workforce-challenges.html

The Power of the Receptionist!

If you ask someone to name the most important person in their business they’d likely name the CEO, a manager or the top sales representative.  But the most crucial person may actually be the person you wouldn’t expect:  your receptionist!

When clients or visitors enter your business for the first time, the person to greet them is typically not the CEO or sales manager. It is the receptionist.  This is the person who creates the first impression that a client or visitor has of your business and it’s essential to choose the right receptionist for your company’s image.

While many people view the role of the receptionist as minor, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! The role of the receptionist is vital to the smooth operation of any office. Duties often include: acting as an ambassador by welcoming people to your business, screening phone calls, and directing client traffic throughout the work day. Organizational skills are an intrinsic part of the receptionist’s job, as is diplomacy, proper etiquette, and good judgment. Good receptionists will create a welcoming atmosphere for your clients and visitors; they help to keep the staff organized; and they serve as an information center for clients, visitors, and employees.

 

A company’s CEO may set the tone for corporate culture and brand, but it’s the staff that reinforces it with the clients.  Effective company owners know that their customers’ experiences start with the person who answers the phone and greets people at the door.  The receptionist!

Some have suggested there is a trend towards the removal of the receptionist position altogether.  This trend – often seen within start-ups or technology companies –is often a result of financial restraints.  These companies believe a receptionist area is a poor use of real estate and/or they believe a receptionist salary can be better applied to a position they consider more important.  Some of these companies are using various technologies to greet their visitors and while these endeavors can be successful in certain industries, most companies eventually realize the need for a live receptionist.

At Barrister Executive Suites, we offer highly trained and professional receptionists and they are included as a part of our Full Time Office and Virtual Office programs.  Our hiring process for receptionists is very selective; the average length of time that a receptionist has been with us is 5 years!

Learn more about these Barrister Office Programs and discover the right space for you….at the right price…and with the right receptionist!

Virtual Offices and the Changing Landscape of Doing Business

A recent survey found that nearly 2 out of 3 large companies in the U.S. allow occasional telecommuting.  That number is nearly double what it was in 2005. Furthermore, 33% of employers allow for regular telecommuting, a third of all large companies! These numbers show an obvious trend towards virtual offices in the United States.

Barrister Suites Traditional VS Virtual Offices

A small number of businesses are doing away with the traditional office altogether, though this is much rarer. Relying on tools such as Dropbox and Slack, these companies consist mostly of tech companies like Mozilla, Basecamp, Upworthy, and Flexjobs. The list consists of 76 companies, up 50 from last year’s 26… a huge jump! Software startup NodeSource is a 100% virtual company, with no headquarters, and employees working from all over the world. They give their employees Airbnb stipends, and meet up once a year for an annual company retreat. CEO Joe McCann admits he has not met all of his employees in person, which he says is “super weird,” but points out that office communication is not what is used to be. Many people sit at their desks with their headphones on, and communication is done mostly by an instant messaging program… if the same thing can be done from home, then why not? McCann says, “There’s this … myth that you gotta put them in the same room, but they don’t even talk to each other in person.” He continues, saying he tells new employees “Your job is not important–your life is.”

His idea for a 100% virtual company stems from his own experience working abroad in 2010. Arrangements like this rely on trust and open communication. McCann is very pleased with the way things are going, stating “It’s self-elevating because they feel this level of responsibility and autonomy in their lives–the results have been outstanding. My concern is how does that scale. I don’t know. We’re learning as we grow, but that core philosophy, that your life is the most important thing, has worked tremendously well.”

While the companies who started the trend of working partially remote – or fully remote – were tech companies, this business model now works effectively for a variety of companies.  Barrister Executive Suites is a leader in virtual offices and we offer various programs to suit your company’s needs.   Each of our virtual office programs provides all the benefits of a physical office at a fraction of the cost, whether you need an office for a week while traveling, or a conference room for a day.  Learn more about our Barrister Executive Suites Virtual Offices Programs.