Sunday, April 16, 2017

Does Open Office Environment Really Work in Business?

Open office environment has been talk of the town these days. If you visit offices of start-ups n Silicon Valley or even in well established companies the leaders are tearing down the walls of cubicles and putting up open desks. According to International Facility Management Association, nearly 70 percent of companies have open office environment.

The open offices take various shapes in different companies. Some have just long table and chairs along it so employees are sitting side by side. In other places they still keep the cubicle walls, but the height is reduced so that employees can see each other without having to get up. In some other offices you will also find open spaces where employees can gather to discuss.

Collaboration is the primary benefit being touted for creating open office environment. The argument is that when employees are sitting in close proximity without any walls they are able to have impromptu meetings and brainstorming sessions. This in turn leads to quick resolution or even new ideas. But the question is – does open office environment really work? There have been several studies done recently that make the case that it does not help. On the contrary it hurts employee productivity and even collaboration. According to the study conducted by Science Direct majority of 42,000 participants in their study were dissatisfied with the open offices.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

5 Important Areas to Outsource When Starting a Business

When you decide the time is right to start your own business, there are many factors and areas you need to consider. Will you run your company from your own home? Will you take on staff at first? How will you fund the business to begin with?

You could spend a considerable amount of time working everything out before your business takes off. And rightly so. If you do not think things through thoroughly, you could run into major problems once you have already started operating. So it is better to iron out any potential problems before you get started with your company.

One way to ensure you don’t run into any initial problems is to outsource certain areas of your business. This is an especially good idea if you are starting out as a sole trader. When you are running a business on your own, you will have a lot to on your plate, which could lead to a lot of stress. So rather than have to think about a lot of extra administrative tasks, you’ll be better off outsourcing these tasks to a virtual assistant.

What is a virtual assistant? They are freelancers who work for companies and specialize in different areas. There are many benefits of hiring freelancers rather than full-time staff. Mainly to do with money. You won’t have to pay contractors sick leave, holiday pay or provide them insurance. And it also saves a lot of office space!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Comprehensive Guide to Conduct Effective and Efficient Business Meetings

Here is a startling fact that you may not know – Businesses in U.S. lose approximately $37 billion in salary cost as a result of meetings! This is equivalent of annual revenue of some of the largest companies in the U.S. Imagine the money that companies can save just by avoiding, or at least being effective in, those meetings. Ask any professional about his opinion on the meetings he has to attend as part of his job and more than likely you will hear lots of complaints. According to Atlassian, employees on an average attend 62 meetings per month. Nearly 50% of those meetings are considered waste of time by employees attending those meetings!

So what is wrong with the way in which businesses conduct meetings? Majority of them are organized without a pre-planned agenda and most of them end without having made any decision. The complaints about meeting fall into these categories:
Inconclusive or no decisions made
  • Poor preparation
  • Disorganization
  • Domination by individuals
  • No published results

So, if the meetings are loathed universally by nearly everyone is there anything that can be done to improve them and avoid wasting time and money? Below are some guidelines to conduct effective and efficient meetings.