How a Smart Meeting Room Can Foster Team Productivity

A meeting has been scheduled with important key players. Unfortunately, one of those key players is sitting in an airport a thousand miles away, because of a delayed flight. Decisions must be made without her input, creativity, and problem-solving skills, or the meeting will have to be re-scheduled, inconveniencing all of the other key participants.

The ultimate impact of this scenario is that productivity is lost and critical decisions must be postponed. The entire organization suffers from this setback.

Other Issues with Traditional Meeting Environments

  1. Lack of Engagement

Members of a workforce often dread meetings. They must report to a “meeting room,” listen to a presentation leader, and then be asked for input, perhaps giving suggestions or solutions that are then placed on a flip chart for discussion. Here are the problems with this:

  • People resent being taken from other tasks to attend what they often see as pointless meetings
  • Many actually fall asleep during these types of meetings
  • Others are on their phones, if they can do so discreetly

The end result? Participation is minimal, the best suggestions/solutions are not achieved, and productivity has just been lacking.

  • Technology Issues

How many of us have been to a meeting where a laptop, containing the agenda, objectives, and activities, has failed to operate and project on a large screen? There is then the scurrying around trying to fix the issue, while participants sit and wait, find things to do on their phones, and while valuable productive time is lost.

  • Inconvenience for Those Not Physically There

Someone is sick; someone is stuck in an airport as previously described. Someone else has a family emergency. They are then responsible for bringing themselves up to date by taking someone else’s time to get filled in or reading what meeting notes there may be.

Sometimes (and much more often in recent years), there are remote workers, either employees or contracted players, who must be informed of decisions made, so that they may modify their tasks accordingly. This information must be transmitted via email, and ensuing conversations must then occur to further clarify questions or issues. This is, again, time wasted, not to mention potential security risks, as sensitive information is transmitted in this manner.

  • Speaking of Security Risks

Attendees at many meetings today bring their own devices into those events, record the session on their devices, or take notes, for future reference. The security of those devices is not known or monitored, and the potential for proprietary information being compromised is increased, especially if bored participants are shopping or accessing questionable sites.

Enter the Smart Meeting Room

There is quite literally no reason for the four issues addressed above. Technology has eliminated them all. And that is what a smart meeting room is all about – using the latest technology to provide a seamless experience for every participant, whether physically present or not, and both simplifying and shortening meeting times, so that everyone can return to their tasks at hand, armed with the important information and key decisions that will impact their own work. Productivity re-captured!

Smart meeting rooms, in short, are all about communication – communication among attendees, remote employees and partners, even vendors, as necessary. And that communication is now visual, not just textual or audio. In fact, video technology serves to enhance interactions among participants, because it provides the visual cues and the “personal touch” that other communication tools do not. Bill Benson, Communications Director for Pick the Writer, says this: “All of our staff members are remote, and we rely heavily on communication among all of us. Traditional methods were slow, cumbersome, and frustrating. Video-conferencing has turned my office into a smart meeting room, and with everyone securely connected through the cloud, we can hold individual, group, and whole team meetings – short, to the point, and productive.”

Smart meeting rooms require equipment that allows the real-time collaboration that teams need, no matter where individual members may be. While it may initially be an expense, the increase in productivity and the higher morale among team members will pay for itself in the long term.

So, let’s look at the improvement of newer technology and equipment over the traditional ways of doing things.

  1. Conference Calls vs. Video Conferencing

Conference calls are audio conversations among participants. Depending upon the size of the participants, it can be difficult to keep the conversation organized and to keep only one person speaking at a time. It will require a leader who controls the conversation. The other downside of conference calling is that only voices, not visual expressions are relayed. The other issue with conference calls is security. Everyone is on a call from their own phones, and security cannot be controlled.

Video conferencing on the other hand allows participants to see one another, to discern facial expressions, and to have a far more human-like interaction. This builds relationships among remote team members. And using secure video conferencing apps allows for much greater protection.

  • Viewing Content

Without all participants in the room, there must be a way for remote access to content that may be visually presented via a digital whiteboard – one that can go through a secure cloud connection and accessed by remote participants on their devices. And many of these whiteboards have additional functions and features that will enhance meetings even more. Here are a few options:

  • Google Jamboard: a digital whiteboard that can be operated through the cloud. This board works with G Suite, meaning it coordinates with Google Docs and Sheets and in real-time.
  • Samsung Flip: One cool feature is embedded search that can locate other projects that are stored within. There are built-in security features to block unauthorized users.
  • Cisco Spark Board: Participants can collaborate through conferencing in the cloud. It has solid encryption features, and connections are wireless.
  • Microsoft Surface Hub:  This is promoted as an all-in-one solution, that provides both digital whiteboard and video conferencing. No more phones, web cameras, and those hideous old overhead projectors.

There are other options as well, but all will serve to shorten meeting times, allow for everyone’s input, and make decisions faster – keys to increasing productivity.

Other Technologies

As smart meeting rooms become more widespread, there are lots of other tools that can be added to enhance meetings. For example, The Meeting Owl is a video camera that can sit in the middle of a conference table and rotate around to each person as s/he speaks. This is especially valuable for remote team members who can see who is speaking. The writing administration team at Supreme Dissertations recommends this, as all of their writers are remote.

Another tool for large enterprises with several smart rooms is JOAN, a tool for scheduling and posting meeting room use and availability. A small interactive screen is posted outside every meeting room with its schedule. Accessing availability via any device can avoid delays in attempting to physically find an empty room for an impromptu or emergency meeting.

You might also want to check out Alexa for Business, or portable cameras like the HuddleCam HD. 

“The Times, They are a’Changin’”

These are the words from a famous song by Bob Dylan, and they can certainly apply to the work place and the work force today. Companies need a high level of efficiency if they are to remain competitive; remote work forces are a given in most all sectors of the economy. Just these two challenges can impact overall productivity. Smart meetings rooms are one important solution to meet these challenges.

What Will Coworking Spaces Look Like in 2020?

Introduction

The growing popularity of coworking spaces is best explained as the method of building a network of professionals without the need to invest in their physical onboarding process. From the workers’ point of view, having the chance to stay in your home town while working for a company located thousands of miles away is a highly welcomed perk. As coworking established itself and took a rising trajectory, it began an evolution process, changing in accord with the needs of both businesses and free professionals.

How will coworking spaces look like in the year ahead of us is an important question for those who seek an opportunity to benefit from this practice. In this article, we are going to inspect some indicators that could reveal the future of coworking and give us a heads-up about what we can expect in 2020.

More locations at lower cost

According to data-infused predictions, more than 75 percent of the workforce is going to include millennials by 2030. The new generation of workers, developed in the age of digital technology, prefers flexible working conditions, ability to work outside headquarters, while a large group of young professionals looks at freelancing as a perfect way to secure income and build up their skill set for future entrepreneurship endeavors.

As the number of freedom-loving workers increases, so does the need for new locations and better conditions. Usually, whenever there’s a growing need for a certain service, there is a larger competition because everyone wants a piece of the cake. With the larger competition on the market, membership prices should be expected to go lower and the provided features should increase in both the quality and quantity.

From the employers’ perspective, hiring a group of professionals that live abroad or far away from the company HQ is cost-effective and broadens the pool of potential talents that they can acquire. This is especially practical for online business, assignment help agencies, and small business startups that need extra hands on deck for a while. Instead of building extra office space, paying for home or travel expenses, business owners can even save up some money to hire better workers or invest in future projects.

If we take a look at what large coworking space providers are doing, we can notice that the expansion of low-cost, hi-tech coworking venues is growing with plans for further expansion. Along with everything we’ve said, this trend is setting a firm foundation to the idea that in 2020 we’ll have more low-cost places for remote work with loads of features to attract the growing millennial workforce.

Specialized coworking spaces

A lot of startups require specific working conditions that aren’t cheap to set up, especially not for young entrepreneurs that are just looking for a way to promote their idea and build a name for themselves. Regular remote working spaces don’t offer all the necessary conditions needed for product testing, for example. Moreover, food industry requirements are not easy to fulfill, which is why there aren’t too many coworking spaces that provide the resources to set up a shop.

Industry-oriented spaces, built to provide all the necessary gear for businesses that require more than just a cozy setting and a fast Wi-Fi connection, will surely rise in the following year. The IoT market alone is worth billions but it requires testing room for product development and upgrades. It’s only reasonable to expect that in 2020, there will be more room for these types of industries, especially those that have a large impact on the market.

More room for corporate innovation groups

Sometimes, when a large company wants to start up a new line of products or expand its market reach, they startup an innovation group, which is a group of professionals that work on research and development. What separates an innovation group from your everyday R&D team is that these people are not working directly for the corporation but perform independently, using the funds provided by the HQ.

Taking into account that innovation groups mainly consist of freelancers, large corporations can benefit from coworking spaces because it reduces the cost of the project. In other words, if the project fails the company has reduced losses to a minimum. If the project succeeds, the investments were minimal, which is always good.

Working in an R&D team is all but impossible if you’re on your own at home, especially if your team is working on a physical product. Furthermore, the best ideas are usually a team effort and a consequence of exchanging ideas with like-minded individuals. Providing room for these people is one of the largest concerns that coworking space providers should have in the New Year.

Conclusion

Cost-effective, practical, and marketable, coworking spaces are more than just a trend. With large players looking to expand and new brands trying to get into the game, we can expect nothing but the growth of this industry. We hope this article has revealed at least a small fraction of what the future is holding for us and that you can see your chance in this future.

Justin Osborne is a writer at assignment writing and resume help, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at grademiners review and  essay writing service.

The First Steps of Building a Top-Notch Space for Your Home-Based Business

Running a home-based business allows you to cut all kinds of costs, as well as daily commute time, which are the primary reasons why so many people are going this route these days. But another benefit of working from home is that you can build your own workspace that specifically meets your needs. By eliminating the restrictions that come with a conventional office, a home office allows you to work when, where, and how you wish. And you can design it to your liking so that you can work comfortably and productively.

If you’re planning to build your own home office, here are some tips for the beginning stages:

Look at foreclosed homes.

If you need to buy a home in order to fit your home business, look into foreclosed homes—or homes owned by the bank—before anything else. Oftentimes, you can get amazing deals on foreclosed homes, which will leave you with more funds to put toward building your business. If you decide to go this route, here are a few guidelines to consider:

  • Hire a real estate agent with expertise in foreclosures.
  • Get a home inspection done on any home you’re considering.
  • Factor in the fact that you are buying a foreclosed home as-is.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

Get your equipment.

One of the most important parts of building a home office is ensuring you have the right equipment. First of all, get a high-quality, comfortable chair. You will likely spend most of the workday sitting in this chair, so consider investing what is necessary.

Your desk is another important factor. Find a desk that will fit the room nicely, and make sure it provides enough surface for you to work comfortably. Many people are choosing standing desks for their offices—using them either solely or in conjunction with a sitting desk. If you need help with focus and productivity, standing desks are worth considering.

Moreover, you will want to make sure you have all the tech equipment you need, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, extra monitors, speakers, printer, fax machine, and so on. And make sure your workspace has internet, whether that means wiring it from scratch, extending your home’s Wi-Fi, or getting a hotspot device.

Paint it your way.

The color of the walls will make a big difference in the appeal and comfort of your home office. And one of the advantages of working from home is that you can create an office exactly how you wish. Think about what you want from your workspace when considering colors. For instance, a blue-gray tone represents a more professional environment. A yellow scheme can promote happiness and spark creativity. Light blue can make the office feel calm and peaceful.

Boost the lighting.

Then there’s the lighting. If you have windows in your home office, position your workstation(s) to catch the sunlight that comes through. Natural light not only can do wonders for your productivity, it can also provide you with a good daily amount of vitamin D and yield many other health benefits.

Having other lighting is important as well, especially for working at nighttime. Get a quality desk lamp, and add any other lamps (e.g., floor, overhead, etc.) necessary to increase visibility.

If you run a home business, it’s essential to build a home office that you love. Remember to consider foreclosures if you’re buying a new home. Outfit your workspace with all the right equipment, be intentional in how you paint the walls, and make sure the office has plenty of natural and artificial light. Then, you’ll be ready to furnish and decorate your home office to truly make it your own.

Image via Burst

Six Questions Retirees Should Ask Themselves Before Starting a Business

Baby boomers are changing the meaning of retirement. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of new entrepreneurs is increasing — in 1996, 14.8 percent of new entrepreneurs were aged between 55 and 64, but in 2015 that figure had increased to 25 percent. This makes a lot of sense — retirees have a lifetime of experience, skills and connection to draw upon — all key qualities for a new business owner. Entrepreneurship can be a challenge, so here are a few questions to help you learn if this is for you.

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Among the personality traits of a business owner are passion, tenacity, resourcefulness, open-mindedness and a sponge-like nature to learn new things. Starting a successful business is different from a standard 9-5. Most businesses require a lot of time, and there will be difficulties — these traits are what will pull you through. Do you possess them?

Are You Fully Informed?

Don’t dive into this blindly – put that sponge-like nature to the test and get educated! Seek out people in the same line of work and find out how much time, effort and capital they needed. Look for sources of support including the Small Business Administration as a great start, and there may be local meet-up groups or training courses you can attend at low or no cost. Try to build a “master mind” — a group of advisors and mentors you can contact for support and advice. Above all, if your business has any significant capital costs, make sure you do your market research and you know there’s a market for what you’re selling.

Is a Low-Risk, Bootstrapped Business a Better Option?

As a retiree, you have a massive advantage over the young folk — a stable source of income that requires none of your time. This is ideal for low-risk businesses with low upfront capital costs. You don’t have to worry about making enough to pay the bills, and you’re free to reinvest all your profit back into the business. For example, imagine that you make handmade craft goods. Instead of renting a brick-and-mortar store, you could sell through your own website or sites such as Etsy, or eBay. This costs very little to set up, and if you start to make money, you can think about expansion — maybe through hiring someone to help create the products, or getting a stall at a local market.

Can You Protect Your Assets?

The last thing you want is to be personally liable for costs incurred by your business, which could eat into your retirement funds and jeopardize your income. Make sure you structure your business in such a way as to protect your personal assets. Usually, you do this by setting up a corporation. There are different types of corporations (as well as other asset-protection strategies), and the exact type of company you can form depends on your location. This Investopedia article features an overview of your options, and if you’re unsure what to do, leave it to the professionals and seek legal advice.

Can You Embrace Technology?

A survey by Bright Local found that 61 percent of people are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile site. This is the digital age, and today the vast majority of businesses need an online presence to thrive. This applies even if you don’t actually use the Internet to sell your products. If you’re a life coach, a hairdresser, or you run a cafe, people will still find you through their phones and their computers. You don’t have to be a tech genius to start a website or get set up on social media – a lot of services are very plug-and-play. However, you do need to be willing to embrace technology and keep up with the changing online landscape.

Do You Have an Exit Strategy?

You might have the passion, drive and commitment to start a restaurant at the age of 65, but will that drive still be there at 75? Or, 85? Maybe you plan to keep working indefinitely, but if not, you need an exit strategy, especially if you have business assets that you will need to deal with. Will you pass on the business to a family member? Or, will you liquidate and sell off the assets? Circumstances can change quickly, so it’s prudent to plan ahead.

Many of today’s retirees feel a huge void after the end of their working life, and they look for something engaging to fill that gap. Starting a business is an exciting, challenging and rewarding way to do that. Just think your business idea though carefully, and don’t jump in without a plan and you’ll have great odds of success. Good luck!

This article is brought to you by BootUP Ventures: The Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. BootUP specializes in providing your startup with everything it might need from funding, to mentorship to office space and much more. For more information contact us at info@bootupventures.com.

Photo: Pexels

Social Media Stories – A New Way to Jump-Start a Business

There is a common saying; a human being is a social animal. Talking about the social animal, we are living in a world of social media. One thing that everyone goes checking early in the morning before even a shower is social media.

Social media found its place by evolving from MySpace to Facebook and Instagram. With the invention of blogging, posts, chats, etc. social media now seems to be a part of every industry.

The local business competition evolved and shifted online, targeting larger audiences. In a desire to achieve the goals, even small businesses explore new tech trends to engage with more users.

From all the latest tech trends, social media stories are grabbing the attention of the audiences on a larger scale.

Impact of social media stories

In an interactive chain of events, social media stories are attracting trendy lifestyles of social media users. Instagram and Snapchat influencers help other businesses to create brand awareness. It creates a different impact on the users, and the factor of relatability also grabs more relevant audiences/customers.

According to the survey, Facebook stories succeeded in creating a huge difference in promoting business. It is said to be 23% impactful as it is used by 300million people/day.

Still asking about the benefit? Well, it creates trust and builds up brands of the future, and margins of engagement also increase.

Clever ways to use social media stories for branding

There is no denying that; the content is the king. Your social media story is also content that can make people learn about the latest happenings in your organizations.

Therefore, it needs to be engaging, and one must learn some clever ways to make your content go viral on social media.

One way to improve the content is to use the tips or services of Assignment writing service for better results. Then, Grammarly is another tool boosting the brand through promotional stories.

You can learn more tactics and tips to increase content engagement by following the ways given below:

·      Polls

An interactive poll feature for the stories jumps up the height of user engagement. Within little time it proved to attract the attention of the audience. Poll questions can relate to any niche or even personal question related to the daily lives of the user.

It creates a sense of affiliation. To use this tool, you can go for the A/B testing tool (asking for their preference). Also, it helps you to create a fad trend to test a theory before the product launch.

·      Links

YouTube bloggers have hit the market with the latest trends of using links. The tutorial video seems a good strategy to promote the product. The bloggers also add links (for subscription or otherwise) in the product reviews.

Adding links to stories is a good tactic to increase sales and boost website traffic. For improved results, you can use another strategic tool; such as URL shortener (Goo.gl, etc.), to shorten links, so it covers less space.

·      Location tags

One of the easiest ways to locate a business is through using location tags. It’s a great way to promote your business location if you are planning to target niche according to area-segment.

For instance, Snapchat geo-filters are accessible in the current location of its user. It’s quite like a digital sticker with a location tag to accessorize the post.

·      Mention your users

On a story, you can mention your users as well. You pay a blogger to promote the product, but it’s a two-way ticket. Tag your user (influencer), and you can increase their followers, and that is one of the trendiest tactics these days. It’s like a digital form of tagging.

·      Live video

Live broadcasts give an authentic feel to the users. You can see the reactions and comments online and provide live feedback too. Building trust matters to the users, and you can relate your experiences in a more personal way.

It suffices to say it’s one of the most interactive formats of live viewership. For instance, one must learn ways to utilize Facebook stories to promote their brand. It creates a huge market segment of niche audiences when Facebook influencers share the live feed.

·      Invite your visitors

A little tease is an excellent way to engage users actively.

Adding some Call-to-action is a way to increase its ratings. Add images with engaging and content-focused taglines. As it will urge the user to become curious, open the story, and click on the URL link given alongside.

Besides, guests tagging other users and even brands are one of the helpful strategies. The concept is like TV commercials, where a brand ambassador promotes the brand. Invite bloggers with huge followers.

Offer a special viewership or giveaways, so once they use your product, they will sell it out by giving a product review. Ask them to upload their social media stories on their profile and embed the link to the brand.

·      BTS (behind the scene) videos

Sharing the curtain view is another of the engaging scenes. Certain brands are using behind the scene storytelling views. One of the emotional leverages a business can have over the user is to share what happens when the cameras are off. These consist of a short series of videos or funny GIFs. Once again, you can directly engage more by doing life behind the scene video.

·      Leveraging influencers

Influencers, no doubt, bring a distinct edge to your brand. But if you need to influence the influencer before they can help you promote your business. By offering them the best co-working spaces as an offer to work with you.

Always look for an authentic influencer. Yes, the number of followers gives away how much the person is in good books of the followers. The right marketing strategy also affects a good storyline.

Use the perfect strategy to leverage influencer on social media inconclusive way.  It will promote not only the brand but also will create affection.

How to produce engaging social media story content

Some of the best co-working spaces have helped boost businesses overnight by saving costs on maintenance. Business needs to work smart; likewise, some tools are more useful than any other such as:

  • The use of Grammarly is the best way to make sure social media story content is precise, and with the Australian Master, you can get a quick copy. Not only this will help you learn, but to also produce more engaging content.
  • The use of Copyscape to avoid plagiarism is the most VITAL tool when it comes to producing engaging content. Be creative in content curation. Sometimes, it comes as easy as a piece of cake and sometimes not.
  • You can increase your readability scores. Such as using ReadablePro, It enables you to assess the readability criteria of your content.
  • Another way is to make sure the word count doesn’t variate than necessary. You need to produce content for social media stories with short taglines. Do it to the point, a phrase that would give a certain edge to your story. King Essay can be the guidance tool for making accurate content without exceeding the word count.

Famous brands that are crushing it with stories

Some of the famous brands chose a smart way. They made the right decision at the right time. They engage with their users by productively using social media stories. Some of the popular brands are mentioned below:

  • Starbucks – they arepromoting their Unicorn Frappuccino by using a fruity and bright color promoting the theme of the beverage.
  • IHop – they changed its brand name to IHob (with a “b”) questioning users to guess what it stands for.
  • Wix – theyused stories to promote video features during the Super Bowl campaign.
  • Airbnb used its Facebook story live feature to promote the travel experience, etc.

Your brand can also be on the list if you apply the tactics and tricks we discussed in the article. Tips given in the articles are recommendations from the experts. You can make use of the given tools to achieve efficiency, productivity, and accuracy, along with the engagement of the content.

Conclusion

Stories are bringing new moves on the table. Therefore, brands need to work in the right manner to engage their audience. Give your brand a twist of latest strategies by making the social media stories of your page more engaging and eye-catching. Your new business idea is ready to launch if you understand the tactics of marketing.

Author bio:

Stella Lincoln is a compulsive and hardworking business executive, currently working at Academist Help. She owns the website Educator House to share her perspective and learning. Stella is also an active member of the social media community herself. People follows Stella due to her great sense of humor.