Managing a Co-Working Space for Easy Collaboration

Sep 15, 2019

Co-working spaces are hubs for highly skilled and creative people. From developers to designers, writers, business lawyers, assistants, and so much more, there’s usually a mix of skills and industries working out of one office. So how do you, as a co-working space manager, ensure that these people discover the potential in choosing to collaborate with their hub members?

70% of co-working space members choose to collaborate. Which is no surprise as more than half of a survey population say that they use co-working spaces to meet like-minded people. Here are some tips to ensure that your working space is designed and optimized for collaboration among members.

How to Encourage Collaboration in your Co-Working Space

Use on-site facilities to build a collaboration culture

People often want to share their ideas, talk about their latest projects, or gain knowledge from others. Most of these discussions happen during breaks or as the day winds down. Use on-site facilities to move these discussions from small talk to potential projects. A member could be struggling with a problem to which another could proffer a solution. You need to get them talking.

You may choose to host work lunches where people can relax and interact. Choose a day and time frame that will be most convenient for all. You can also pledge some office resources towards supporting ideas that are born in the office.

Design for a diverse group of workers

Even with substantial marketing efforts, co-working spaces are often found through word-of-mouth and recommendations. For this reason, you could quickly discover that your office is being filled with the same type of people e.g., developers. While their business is welcome, you also want to attract people with other skills from diverse industries.

Ensure that your office is not designed to attract just one type of worker (if it’s not a niche office). Provision should be made for people who like to work in absolute silence, people who take phone calls all day, people who want to walk around while thinking, and so on. You don’t need a lot of office space, just some creative arrangement. Ask your members for suggestions and their collaborative help if required.

Nip conflicts before they grow

Members share the same facilities day in, day out. While it’s not common, there are several ways conflict could arise. As the manager, you should seek to resolve any issues before they grow into something bigger. The culture of your working space contributes to how easily people will interact with each other. No one wants to come into a tense room and try to strike up a conversation. Even if you have to let a few people go, that’s a better option for your office culture in the long run.

Provide easy access to meeting rooms

While you want people to collaborate, their work should not cause a distraction to others. Give your members easy access to meeting rooms where they can discuss their ideas. Everyone should be provided equal access, and this can be maintained using the Meeting Room 2 app. It’s a scheduling and management system that helps users book meeting rooms for their work needs. It also provides an overview of the free and booked meeting room hours, so members can schedule their meetings efficiently.

Conclusion

Co-working spaces are here to stay, but members don’t have to work alone. Build a community that encourages interaction, innovation, and collaboration for a better quality of work.

Explore the Meeting Room 2 app here.


How to Maintain Balance in an Open-Plan Office

Sep 14, 2019

While some people rave about the benefits of an open-plan office, not everyone is excited about them. If your company uses the open plan model, chances are, some of your employees may struggle to get work done. A Harvard study shows that the open-plan concept could lead to a 70% drop in face-to-face communication and a reduction in productivity output.

As office manager, you can’t wave a magic stick and give everyone the workspace they truly want. What you can do is to ensure that the work environment is suitable enough for everyone to get their work done, comfortably. Here’s how.

Maintain Balance in an Open-Plan Office

Create quiet zones

Employees need spaces where they can think, create, and even relax with no distraction. These places should be different from break rooms where people are encouraged to engage in small talk. Outfit your quiet zones with comfortable furniture and as much privacy as possible.

If there’s no available room to designate, you can still make do with what is possible. Set apart a corner in a workroom and redesign it. Cut it off from the rest of the room with large plants or large bookshelves. Hang up “No Talking/No Noise” signs to remind users of the purpose of that space.

Give employees some control

An open space with shared desks could give the misconception that everyone can be interrupted at any time. But this is not the work culture for everyone. Some people, especially creatives, rely heavily on deep work. This is the ability to work for long, uninterrupted periods with no distractions. Ensure that your employees know that they have some control over their availability.

One method is to provide ‘Busy’ cards for everyone. Similar to the table placeholders used at restaurants. Once an employee puts it up, others know that that person is going into deep work and does not wish to be interrupted.

Encourage people to take their meetings and collaborations away from the shared workspace

One conversation is all it takes to distract everyone sitting at a work desk. To ensure that this doesn’t often happen, encourage people to take their discussions elsewhere. If there’s a need for consultation, they can use a break room or meeting room. You can also put up signs around the workspace to remind people that they should be quiet.

Meeting rooms should be easy to book. Employees should be able to take their meetings privately when needed. An internal booking software, such as Meeting Room 2, is highly recommended. It shows employees the available hours on each office meeting room and can be used to make instant bookings.

Stay open to suggestions

While you try to provide ways to make an open office plan comfortable for everyone, stay tuned to what employees think. Make it clear that the company is open to suggestions about the working situation. These employees know what they enjoy and dislike about their workspaces. They are in the best position to make helpful suggestions for a better workspace. Also, try to consult them and get their opinion before making any significant changes to their work environment.

Interested in the Meeting Room 2 app? Explore its features and functionalities here.


3 Practices of a Growth-Minded CTO

Sep 13, 2019

The tech world is increasingly competitive, and managing software engineers is no small feat. To keep up with the fast pace, you need to become a growth-minded CTO.

The growth mindset, first explained by Carol Dweck, is the belief that you can achieve any outcome with the right effort and enough persistence. In this case, we’re referring to your ability to leave behind some of the practices that are “expected”. Instead, exploring new, dynamic practices that can push your team towards the results being pursued.

Here are some practices you can integrate into your management approach to help you become a growth-minded CTO.

Become a Growth-Minded CTO

Bring individual expertise to surface

Working with engineers provides you with a wide variety of skills at your disposal. Engineers are often trained for more than the primary tasks given to them, providing a high level of competency to their teams. You can maximize their expertise and apply them to client’s projects as needed.

Create a clear outline of the comprehensive skills of each member of your team. Put this information in one database where it can be accessed easily. Whenever you have a task or client requirement at hand, you can easily decide the competency of your department to handle such. You also know the exact people to assign to that team.

The advantages of this practice are not just for your company alone. Your software engineers also get the opportunity to use their skills, further strengthening their experience. They could also gain some control over their career directions. Engineers and developers can further decide if they want to grow in their current roles or move in a new direction. Both options could be beneficial to your company in the long run.

Regularly integrate new talent to your team

Don't underestimate the benefits of bringing fresh, inexperienced members to your team. They are more likely to make suggestions that your veteran members would quickly rule off as “impossible”. They also look at problems with fresh eyes, from a fresh perspective. Trainee programs help junior level engineers learn from experienced team members. But the experienced engineers could also learn from the new blood.

That being said, ensure that you recruit promising trainees. They should display the ability to learn quickly and manage with the pace of your teams. Trainees should be a positive addition to your teams, regardless of their inexperience.

Encourage divergent brainstorming sessions

Brainstorming is essential to the output of technical teams. It’s how problems are identified, solutions are preferred, and skills are integrated. But how brainstorming happens is also important.

Beyond the identified problems regarding internal issues or client requests, encourage your teams to take the initiative. They can develop their interests in areas that they are passionate about. But they have to share with their teams and potentially, in cross-teams. Their potential ideas will eventually have some benefit to your company, whether in improved skills or direct solutions to in-house problems.

With all the team and cross-team activities happening, your management should ensure that everyone has equal access to the facilities provided. Meeting Room 2 is the meeting room scheduling app for the job. It shows the availability of meeting rooms in the office and is used to reserve spaces for teams to work and collaborate efficiently. Check our Meeting Room 2 here.