Why should you use offsite training rooms or meeting rooms? Professionals and executives employed by medium to large companies will inevitably attend all-day offsite meetings at some point. An offsite meeting brings your team together someplace apart from your usual office to hold a meeting, coordinate a strategy, or deliver training.

A meeting in this format will incur extra expense, and will mean a day spent away from other essential daily tasks. Is it worth it?

Here are 5 good reasons to organise an offsite meeting:

Increased Productivity

An outside meeting has gravitas. People give it greater importance due to the organisation required and the expense incurred. It has a presence on their calendar, and so they think about it more, discuss it and plan it better.

Offsite meetings can revitalise and reenergise employees. Due to the investment in their being invited, employees believe they are important and trust that their contribution matters. Because everyone has made a commitment to leave normal work behind for a day, they are more likely to fully engage with the topic of the meeting and give it more brain-power. This sense of importance also leads to greater motivation and a more engaged group. The impact on productivity of holding an offsite training session should not be downplayed.

Relationship Building

Team building exercises are an important component of many offsite meetings, and for good reason.

There is great value in working together in a different realm. For example, if your team building exercises include physical or mental challenges, the team has to capitalise on people’s logistical minds and physical strengths.

Team members see each other in a different light and abilities emerge that may not be apparent in day-to-day office meetings. Offsite meetings allow people to show different skills, strengths and weaknesses than when you are sitting at a desk or in an office. Making it fun and building camaraderie increase bonds formed and enables better problem solving as a group. it is a significant emotional experience for those involved.

Using the Best Technology

Hiring a training room or a meeting room allows a company to utilise a space that is specifically designed for audio-visual presentations and uses the latest in presentation technology. Leaders can focus on the content of the presentation without worrying about technical glitches. An offsite meeting venue will usually have dedicated staff to attend to any AV or technical requirements for you. This allows you to focus on your team and not your computer!

Avoid Interruptions

An offsite meeting space allows a company to avoid the many daily interruptions that happen in an office space environment. How much time is wasted by meeting attendees arriving late to their office, checking their email, answering their phones, dealing with ad hoc requests for help from other staff, or a dozen other routine office interruptions? By taking the meeting offsite, phone calls and emails can be limited to break times if necessary allowing the participants to focus on the task at hand. Which, you guessed it, increases productivity.

Face to Face Networking

With the advent of online meetings, the lack of face to face interaction is the missing piece in many communications. When it’s critical to understand each other, nothing works like meeting in person. When a group shares the same physical space, you can pick up on non-verbal cues that would be missed over the phone or via video chat.

Hand gestures, facial expressions and body language – especially from team members who don’t have the spotlight – shouldn’t be underestimated. Other nuances that allow colleagues to better relate to one another can only be achieved in face to face meetings. This allows staff to become better acquainted, to learn each others strengths and weaknesses and to form bonds that do not happen with online meetings where distractions abound.

The social interactions that happen in face to face meetings also have long lasting mental health benefits for all involved.

 

The Thrive Network has a range of meeting rooms and training rooms for all occasions including hi-speed fibre wifi, premium AV facilities, dedicated staff, on-site catering and kitchen facilities and breakout areas. Get in touch with us today to organise your next offsite meeting and watch your team reap the benefits!

Coworking Spaces vs Traditional Offices – What is Better for Small and Medium Businesses?

One of the most important, and desirable, benefits of using a coworking space is its flexibility as compared to traditional offices. You don’t have to commit to a long-term lease and everything – including utilities, internet, mail service and reception – is normally covered in your fee. At The Thrive Network all of these things are included in your monthly fee plus so much more – dedicated customer service staff, end of trip facilities, premium AV amenities and fully equipped kitchens.

Flexible lease options provide businesses with the ability to scale – up or down – without incurring extra capital expenditure and provide the ultimate balance of stability and cost-effectiveness.

Small to medium businesses can usually move in straightaway and occupy a space that is fully equipped. Desks, chairs, lockable storage, internet and phone connections are all ready to use. Spaces also come with a variety of amenities and on-demand meeting rooms and conference room arrangements.

What is a Coworking Space?

A coworking space or shared space office, often has an open-plan layout and is shared with a variety of other businesses and individuals who are members of the space. In order to maintain an environment of collaboration and communication, the spaces are typically filled with comfortable furniture, shared technology like printers and wifi and free coffee. Many coworking spaces, including The Thrive Network, also offer private offices and sectioned off team areas for larger businesses or for those who desire a level of privacy.

A good flexible workspace will offer a great environment and culture that is conducive to productivity, fosters creativity and inspiration, and encourages networking and collaboration. Social events for members of a flexible space allow companies to offer these benefits to their employees – community lunches, after work drinks, educational sessions and health and wellness offerings are all part of enjoying being a member of a flexible office or coworking space.

Most businesses will benefit from the countless networking opportunities that shared workspaces provide. Working alongside a varied collection of individuals, businesses, creatives and niches makes it easy to build your network, collaborate and find new clients.

What is a Traditional Office?

A traditional office is typically your own space, whether leased or owned, to be used exclusively for your business. If you’re renting the office, you usually have to commit to a term of at least five years and enter into a contract with the owner of the premises. Building out and furnishing the offices is also your responsibility along with connection of services and all utilities. This includes everything from finding the right internet connection to making sure you always have toilet paper in stock and the bathrooms are clean. Other expensive investments may also include building out meeting rooms and providing staff amenities. This could also involve you having to hire a dedicated person to manage your office.

A traditional office can reflect your branding and culture but at a steep cost – in contrast many coworking spaces will allow you to brand your own area and provide signage for you on their website or at the entrance to their space.

Coworking Space Melbourne

What kind of Amenities are available in a Coworking Space?

Amenities are one of the many benefits of a shared workspace. Coworking spaces provide so many options for the small and medium businesses and independent workers who use the space. Fully equipped kitchens, coffee machines, end of trip facilities including showers and lockers and hi-tech meeting rooms using the latest technology for hybrid meetings (webcams, conference speakers, etc) as well as large screens for screen sharing presentations, whiteboards and pinboards.  Bike storage and dedicated car parking are also available at many coworking spaces to ensure your employees can travel to work without any obstructions. Community managers or reception staff make sure the space is always running smoothly – you don’t need to worry about buying paper for the printer or teabags for the kitchen, it is all done for you!

Cleanliness in coworking spaces is paramount. Cleaning services are included in your monthly fee and cover professional cleaners coming into the space, as well as the dedicated staff at the coworking space continually sanitising and maintaining hygiene protocols in common use areas.

Private Offices vs Open Spaces

Some companies prefer to have a private office space within a coworking space. This could be because they regularly make a lot of private phone calls or need security for their client files. Other companies enjoy the open plan layout coworking spaces offer in their team or individual desk areas.

Private offices are lockable and can be branded with the company marketing materials. The office can normally be altered to suit the business using it and then simply returned to its original form once that company has moved on. A private office can also provide fewer distractions and be a quieter space than an open plan area.

Open plan spaces provide individual desks, team areas and flexible desks for different types of businesses. Many businesses and their staff love the hubbub of an open plan space – the chatter in the kitchen at lunchtime, the casual social interactions across the desks and the common collaboration areas which foster creativity and learning. Despite the desks being open plan, they are often sectioned into groups of 4 or 6 making them perfect for small or growing teams. At The Thrive Network our desks are large enough to provide social distancing whilst still being collaborative and they all include lockable storage and network connections.

What are the Benefits of a Coworking Space?

  • Flexibility
  • Lower Costs
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Atmosphere and Employee Benefits
  • Built-in Office Management
  • Move-In Ready
  • COVIDSafe Workplace
  • Up to date technology and amenities

The rise of the hybrid workforce has made coworking and shared office spaces an attractive option for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The importance of flexibility cannot be overstated in relation to the bottom line of any business, and the mental health and wellness benefits provided by coworking spaces for employees of all businesses is paramount to creating a long lasting and dynamic company culture.

Want to find out more? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Company Culture in the Workplace

Company culture in the workplace has been one of the many things that COVID-19 has changed forever.

We’ve lived through lockdown, travel bans and job loss. Understandably, it’s the workplace where the lifestyle change has been most profound. Office buildings usually alive with activity – that office buzz created by individuals and teams collaborating on projects, sharing ideas or simply chatting – now stand almost empty. Those face to face meetings where you build a rapport and gain trust, have been replaced by zoom calls. Monumental changes to the way we live and work have reinforced our inability to create, and maintain, a solid company culture when everyone is working at home alone.

There’s no denying the global pandemic has changed the workplace landscape. The last time there was a change of this magnitude was in 1926 when the standardisation of the five-day working week was rolled out by Henry Ford. This was done over several years, so it’s no surprise that according to a recent Workforce Survey, 54% of workers say their jobs have become more difficult since COVID-19. And while we’re not out of the woods yet, some countries are slowly opening up and beginning a COVID normal way of life. But instead of rushing back to bustling pre-COVID office buildings, companies around the world are expanding their working from home policies. Survey data reveals that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID. So what does this mean for company culture? And what can be done to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of your employees?

What is Company Culture?

Firstly, what is culture? Culture is a way the company as a whole operates towards fulfilling its goals. There is no published policy or document that can create a corporate culture, or guarantee that people will practice the company’s values each day. It is influenced by how the people, especially the leaders, behave day in and day out. So, culture can make or break your strategy.

If a company was a person, culture would be its personality. Considering its importance, maintaining a positive company culture and getting employees to “buy-in” to a company’s vision is vital. If employees aren’t enthusiastic about the vision, they won’t be enthusiastic about executing a strategy for it.

Every company and culture is different. It’s not something that generally changes quickly, rather it adjusts and morphs slowly over time. Company culture reflects the realities of people working together every day. While some employees admitted to being more productive at home during the pandemic, most miss the impromptu chats, the debriefs in the kitchen and the access to learning from their mentors.

Togetherness unites us and gives us a much needed sense of belonging. This is as important in the office space as it is in our personal life.

How Flexible Space can Re-Build Company Culture

Many companies are embracing a flexible approach of time at home and time in the office. Coworking spaces and flexible office spaces have become even more appealing as companies try to re-establish an internal cohesiveness. Employees will still need a place to come together, connect and build relationships.

Direction, guidance and mentoring are imperative for employee success. They’re also three things that can be difficult to do remotely. Flexibility is also key. By adapting to the change now, companies will be better equipped for the work world of the future and will be able to deliver a more positive working experience.

Flexible office space, regular face-to-face meetings and collaboration are all imperative to maintain culture in this brave new world.

It’s too early to tell what the mid and long term changes to organisational culture will be, but if company culture is the secret sauce that defines the nature of an organisation, coworking spaces may well be the bun that holds it all together.

There’s no doubt that working from home has its benefits. The comfy clothes, lack of commute, readily available snacks. But how long before the shine wears off and you find yourself wanting to see other people in person, join in on a company lunch, or just get an answer to a simple question quickly and not have to wait for an email response? And let’s not get started about Zoom…

We have an easy fix for this – an office space designed for flexibility. A coworking space.

You can come in to the office space whenever you feel like you want to get dressed, see people, use some decent wifi and get free coffee. Or you can commit to a more permanent flexible schedule (that’s a thing now!) where you use a space to work from two to three times a week and spend the rest of your time at home.

Here are the top 10 reasons why working from home doesn’t always work…

1. Isolation –

living alone and being at home on your own all day and then again at night can start to have a serious impact on your mental health and wellbeing. As human beings we are hardwired to be part of a tribe and connect with others. The community and ambience at a coworking space and office space will give you the social interaction you crave to cure your loneliness and make you feel less isolated.

2. Kids –

we love ’em. We do. But not whilst we are trying to write a proposal / meet with a client / get literally anything done during our workday. Having a space away from the offspring is a definite bonus for your productivity.

3. Work / Life Separation –

perhaps you are not commuting to the office anymore, but working from home means you are always at work. Many people have stated that they have worked longer hours since being confined to their homes as they don’t ‘switch off’ at the end of the day. Instead they keep answering emails or doing what would normally be tasks to be done during a standard work day. It’s fine at first right? A few minutes here, a few minutes there; but before you know it it’s 9pm and you’re still on your laptop.

4. Distractions –

SO. MANY. DISTRACTIONS. I’ll just put a load of washing on. Get the dinner started early. Quickly pop to the shops. You’re being distracted to the point of not actually being able to focus on anything properly at all.

5. Lack of Motivation –

working in an office space with people who are focused can give your own productivity and focus a boost. There’s an energy about being around other people who are working that is contagious. Unless you are an incredibly self-motivated person every hour of every day, this is unlikely to translate to working from home.

6. Technology and Connectivity –

do you have lightning fast fibre wifi in your house designed to cope with large files, video conferencing and maintain a certain rate of uploads and downloads? I didn’t think so. One of the many problems of working from home is the patchy internet and the lack of access to the latest technology. A coworking space provides you with the best technology you can get, plus dedicated staff to help you when you have problems.

7. Meetings –

have you lost count of the amount of Zoom meetings you’ve had where you have told at least one person “you’re on mute”? And don’t start with the cameras not being turned on, the calls that drop in and out due to bad wifi, the dogs barking in the background or the poor lighting. Being able to have a face to face meeting with your team in a beautiful environment with premium AV facilities is worth its weight in gold. Scheduling a regular meeting room designed for exactly that purpose will re-energise your team.

8. Coffee –

I bought a coffee machine for home during COVID (like the rest of the planet) but it just isn’t the same as having a beautifully brewed latte at Thrive on demand. Not to mention the chai lattes, hot chocolate and the range of herbal teas that are also available.

9. Snacks –

working from home affords you ready access the pantry AT ALL TIMES. This is neither good for your waistline nor your hip pocket. You find yourself unmotivated and distracted because you’re working from home and you reach for a snack because, well, because you can. Pull yourself together, make yourself some lunch and bring it into your new flexible workspace. Leave the snacks for netflix and chill time.

10. Cost –

not commuting to work, paying for parking or buying your lunch everyday saves money but have you noticed your electricity bills have skyrocketed, your food bill is astronomical (see point 9 about snacks) and you keep running out of paper for the printer. You’re not actually saving money working from home you’re just channelling the funds elsewhere. A good coworking space (like Thrive) will have included all utilities, cleaning, paper, coffee, tea, wifi and more in their fees so you only pay one price and everything else is taken care of. You can even bring your own lunch and store it in our fridge.

Thrive offers a beautiful, clean, COVID safe environment with day passes, punch passes, part-time and full time memberships as well as private office space and meeting rooms. Starting at $25 per day, it’s a cost effective answer to your working from home problems. There are no lock-in contracts and no upfront fees. Come on in and try us out, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Contact us today or read more about our COVID safe policies here.

Finding a home for yourself, your business or your team can be hard work. Researching, negotiating, setup costs and so on. It takes valuable time away from your real job – of running your business. So what are the things you should be looking out for when choosing a workspace?

Does your current space allow you to focus on your business?

If you are constantly working in your business – dealing with internet providers, filling up the printer with paper, buying coffee and paying utility bills instead of working on your business – it might be time to move to a flexible space where all these tasks are done for you and you have the ability to scale up or down without incurring unnecessary costs.

Does your workspace provide you with the technology you need?

To work effectively in the modern era employers and their staff need to be able access up to date technology such as hi-speed fibre internet, video conferencing facilities, printing and security, and the knowledge that there is IT support and backup to fix any problems, allowing seamless connectivity between a company and its clients.

Can you attract top talent into your business?

Eligible talent want more than just an office space. They want a space that supports positivity, wellness and mental stimulation. Quality design in your workspace should include spaces to be productive and collaborate with other team members, areas to have quiet time for serious work and places that encourage socialisation and connection. Light filled areas, plants and premium amenities including kitchens and end of trip facilities are a must.

How convenient is your office location?

Time is money and commuting to the office can take way too long out of everyone’s day. Choose a space that is close to public transport, has available parking and access to airports or major freeways. Having a workspace in a central, easy accessible location offers a level of convenience for your team. Any local amenities nearby such as cafes, restaurants or green areas are also a bonus!

Does your workspace support your business?

Making a home for your business within a shared workspace offers the added benefit of networking and collaboration with other like-minded business owners and individuals. A treasure trove talent pool of people who are dedicated to growing their future, just like you!

The Thrive Network has workspace for individuals, small businesses and larger teams to focus on doing their best work at the best value with flexible spaces, meeting rooms, private offices and collaboration spaces. Contact us today to learn more or organise a tour.

“Good conversation is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.” I don’t know about you, but I love a good quote. A catchy phrase or a few choice words can certainly improve your mood. But even if you prefer a latte, it’s hard to deny the power of a stimulating conversation.

We all know that good communication is an integral element to business success. Studies have shown that when a workplace focuses on good communication there is an increase in productivity and employee engagement. There is something empowering about a productive meeting. A room buzzing with activity, the gentle hum of constant chatter as thoughts are shared and problems solved. From one on one meetings and company gatherings to motivational letter boards, we are surrounded by the spoken and written word on a daily basis.

But could the recent global pandemic have highlighted the true value of not only words, but more crucially, positive words?

Touch has long been regarded as the most profound of connections. Even in the workplace touch is used for validation, celebration and general interaction, but Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives. Social distancing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. When we eventually return, the work environment will look very different. No more hugs, high fives, fist bumps, back pats or shoulder squeezes. Even everyone’s favorite ‘air kiss’ is a thing of the past.

But these ingrained habits are popular for a reason. They trigger the endorphin system in our brains and leave us feeling warm and positive. Human contact helps create a sense of comfort and well-being. In the absence of this, we have words. Moving forward we will need to verbalize a lot more things that we would normally express with touch.

At the beginning of a meeting, instead of slapping a few backs and shaking a few hands before getting down to business, we will rely on eye contact and a warm greeting. Thankfully, science has proven that positive words can actually strengthen our brain’s frontal lobe. A study where individuals read words of ‘loving kindness’ showed increases in self-compassion, mood elevation and reduced anxiety, while scientific research has shown that motivational quotes can make us feel the same as actually accomplishing something. And it’s not just us. Even the office plants benefit from positive words. In a study performed by the Royal Horticultural Society, researchers discovered that talking nicely to your plants helps them to grow faster!

Our ‘new normal’ won’t feel normal to begin with, but words and language used positively within companies, or by individuals working together, can impact morale and motivation, boost confidence and enhance performance. Positive reinforcement isn’t a new concept, but now more than ever, is the time for us to be proactive about creating small moments of happiness in our days. The way we interact with one another has been irrevocably altered. But while face masks and distancing will change the workplace landscape it doesn’t have to be negative. Whether it’s an encouraging comment in the corridor or an inspirational pick-me-up on a letter board, positive words really can make a difference and enable us to thrive.

These anxious and unusual times will bring unforeseen difficulties and while we can’t deny the need for positive communication, for those of us – like me – who will miss air kisses and fist bumps there is a socially distanced alternative. The Vulcan salute, will have to do for now. It worked well for Spock. Live long and prosper.