Return-to-Work Guide for Employees During COVID-19

Image courtesy of Kate Trifo from Pexels

 

Months after the world was struck by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coronavirus still poses major health, social, and economic risks. Businesses around the world are slowly getting back up on their feet amidst the unfavorable prevailing situation. Most companies have asked their employees to continue working from home, especially those who are comfortable and do not have any issues with collaboration and productivity.

As cities have begun to lift lockdown restrictions in the last few weeks, companies find it very essential to impose effective safety and health precautions before they allow their teams to return to the workplace. For employees, leaving the comfort of their home is a tough choice while the virus is still out there.

While businesses are taking precautionary measures to protect your health and well-being, you have to make sure you are doing your part by adhering to the policies and strategies in place. Look out for yourself and your loved ones by making a few changes to your office routine to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Face Mask - Safety Tips for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Before You Head Out

We have to admit that our usual outfit of the day or #ootd will no longer be the same. Before you leave home, check your local government and health authorities’ official website for possible travel restrictions that are aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 among cities. Be sure to check your temperature twice a day and be on the lookout for respiratory symptoms. If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible and isolate yourself for two weeks.

  • Leave jewelry and other nonessential accessories at home.
  • If you have long hair, keep it pulled back and securely fastened.
  • Instead of contact lenses, consider wearing glasses to avoid touching your face. Eyeglasses also serve as protection against droplets of sneeze or cough that may contain the virus.
  • Prepare clean clothes and shoes you can change into after work. If possible, bring them to the office.
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within reach.
  • If you are bringing your own car, get rid of nonessential items and instead, have disinfecting wipes available to wipe down high-touch surfaces.
  • Make sure that you sanitize your driving wheel and door latch regularly.
  • Wear a face mask.

COVID-19 Public Transportation - Safety Tips for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog- ARCH Offices

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In Transit

While traveling, it is important to remember that maintaining a 6-foot distance away from other people decreases your chances of getting infected and infecting others. Everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves and others safe from the virus. Always take into account the risks associated with different types of travel. You will be fine if you keep your distance and take all the necessary precautions.

  • Avoid frequent touchpoints.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Use your shoulder to push doors open.
  • Avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after touching potentially contaminated surfaces such as door latches or railings.
  • Steer clear of crowded public transports such as buses and jeepneys, especially if they are not following safety protocols.
  • If at all possible, switch to e-payments for using public transport.

ARCH Offices - Working Bar - Safety Tips for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog - ARCH Offices

ARCH Offices – NEX Tower

At Work

Make sure you are well aware of all the COVID-19 policies at your workplace and keep track of daily updates from your immediate supervisor or team leader. Should you feel that your safety is compromised due to violation of physical distancing rules or lack of safety measures, inform the administration right away.

  • As soon as you arrive in the office, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering every surface of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Always keep your face mask on.
  • Avoid handshakes, high-fives, hugs, or any other physical contact with your colleagues. Stick to contactless greetings.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow if in case you are not wearing a face mask.
  • When eating, place your mask on a clean paper towel then store it in a clean paper bag.
  • If you must use the elevator, maintain physical distance and keep a toothpick handy to push the buttons. Discard immediately after use.
  • Avoid sitting in cramped spaces like meeting rooms or the cafeteria with your colleagues.
  • When using office utilities such as the coffee machine or the printer, make sure you sanitize your hands before and after use.
  • Sanitize or wash your hands before and after using the comfort room.
  • If a colleague is feeling unwell, inform your immediate supervisor or team leader right away.

Washing Hands - Safety Tips for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Burst from Pexels

Upon Arriving Home

While it is critical to follow safety measures at work, it is equally important to eliminate any risk of transmission upon returning home. Think about any possible risk you may have encountered throughout the day. Did you come in contact with some people during your commute? Always bear in mind the safety precautions you can take to protect your family and reduce your chances of being infected.

  • Take off your shoes outside your home. Clean them with disinfecting wipes.
  • Dispose of your mask properly. If it is made of cloth, wash it thoroughly with warm water and bleach solution. Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
  • Disinfect your phone, wallet, eyeglasses, and any work supplies. Leave what you can at work.
  • Wash your hands and arms thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds before you touch anyone or anything.
  • Put your used clothes in a separate laundry basket or directly into the washing machine.
  • If you are working in a high-risk environment or you think you may have come in contact with a COVID-19 suspect, take a bath as soon as you reach home.
  • Disinfect and sanitize high-touch surfaces in your home regularly such as doorknobs, light switches, tables, handles, counter tops, faucets, appliances, etc.

 

The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 is to avoid exposure, maintain physical distancing, and wash your hands regularly. If you start feeling unwell and believe you might have contracted the virus, isolate yourself from your family and call your local healthcare provider immediately. Always be cautions and follow these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe despite the threat of coronavirus.

Maintaining a Safe Workplace for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Now that cities around the world are beginning to lift lockdown restrictions, it has become important for businesses to adopt new strategies and safety precautions before their employees go back to the office. As per global health authorities, evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces, which suggests the need for organizations to administer sanitary regulations and contemplate on the possibility of hands-free technology as part of their workplace reopening strategies.

Workplace safety extends not only to disinfecting and sanitizing the office, but to good communication and healthy office culture as well. It does not stop after disinfection and sanitation; it also extends to good communication and healthy office culture.

These guidelines will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its impact on your employees as you navigate through this crisis and enter the new normal.

Clean and Disinfect Work Areas Regularly

Know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Keeping surfaces clean is essential in mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These include laptops, keyboards, desks, keyboards, doorknobs, handles, light switches, faucets, and smartphones. In addition to regular cleaning using soap, water, and cloth, you can also use bleach and hydrogen peroxide but remember to follow all necessary dilution and protection practices according to the label.

Maintaining a Safe Workplace for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Freepik

Increase Safety and Security Measures

Research shows that the virus does not spread as easily in the outdoors or areas with good ventilation. Installing high-efficiency air filters and better HVACs (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems) will help you lessen the viral load in your office interior.

Employee screening is also highly recommended to better track potential carriers of the virus and it should be done by an official COVID-19 testing personnel. If Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not available, no testing should take place.

 See guidelines below for COVID-19 testing personnel:

  • Screening shall be conducted at the office entrance using thermal scanners requiring no skin contact.
  • Stand behind a plastic or glass partition to avoid respiratory droplets that may be produced when employees talk, cough, or sneeze.
  • Wear a face shield, a pair of disposable gloves, and a gown if you expect to have extensive contact with the employee.
  • Check for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks or fatigue.
  • See if there is coughing or shortness of breath.
  • Check the temperature by reaching through an opening in the partition. Always keep your face behind the barrier.
  • Reusable thermometers must be cleaned between every check.
  • After screening the last employee, remove and discard PPE and gloves, and then clean your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • If the employee’s temperature is equal to or in excess of 37.4 degrees Celsius, he or she should not be allowed to enter the premises to commence work.

Always remind your employees to wear a face mask when inside the office premises, except only when drinking or eating. Doing so will help them protect themselves especially when it is difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance.

Maintaining a Safe Workplace for Returning Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Blog - ARCH Offices

Image Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Observe Physical Distancing

Keep the transmission of COVID-19 under control by maintaining a safe distance of at least six (6) feet or two (2) meters from one another when possible. Workstations may have to be adjusted and rewiring may have to be done to widen the gap between employees.

Consider the following distancing strategies:

  • Increase physical space between employees’ workstations to ensure six (6) feet of distance.
  • Enable one-way traffic flow through hallways and aisles.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements. This method will lead to fewer people in the office as well as less face-to-face meetings. But before you plunge into a remote work set-up, you must make sure that your team’s IT infrastructure and laptops are well equipped and configured with the best technology for remote collaboration.
  • Arrange work schedules to decrease the number of people in an area at a time. Have some of your team members work remotely for a week, then have them come into the office the next week. Ensure that meticulous sanitation procedures are done between shifts.

Practice Proper Waste Management

Employers should conduct a thorough assessment of the hazards to which their employees may be exposed, then implement good waste disposal measures to avoid the risk of exposure.

  • Provide trash bins lined with a plastic bag for easier and contactless waste segregation.
  • Avoid touching used tissues and other waste when emptying trash bins.
  • Provide your employees with all necessary PPE once risk of infection is identified. Have the COVID-19 testing personnel train them on how to correctly use PPE and make sure that they follow the guidance available.
  • Dispose of items used to clean surfaces immediately.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.

Develop an Effective Communication Strategy

Developing an integrated communication strategy is critical as you and your team navigate through these uncertain times. Now more than ever, it is important to reassure and support your employees who may be going through some challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Below are some of the best practices to consider when communicating with your team members amid the crisis, whether in-house or remote:

  • Give regular and concise updates that are relevant to your industry, business, and workplace.
  • Create an internal communication channel intended for posting company updates.
  • Put together a Communications team that is dedicated to answering questions and disseminating information across all departments.
  • Provide another communication channel where your employees can reach out for any concerns or issues that may arise.
  • Display signage throughout the entire office premises that will keep everyone mindful of safety: physical distancing, proper hygiene, wearing of face mask, cleaning recommendations, room etiquette, and symptom checks.
  • Encourage virtual meetings through video conferencing towards the end of a workday such as team snacks or happy hours, especially for those who are working remotely.

It is essential for leaders to keep your communication lines open and check in regularly with your team as it is easy for collaboration to dwindle without face-to-face interaction, particularly in the case of remote teams. Moreover, tell them how much you appreciate them and reassure them of the continuity of your operations as well as your core mission and values.

 

While timelines for reopening offices and resuming business activity remain fluid, businesses are expected to bring employees back to work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As an employer and leader, it is your responsibility to prioritize the health and safety of your employees. Adopting a shift in workplace policies during this crisis may seem daunting, but approaching these efforts with an abundance of caution can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and ensure both your employees and facilities are prepared for the new normal after this pandemic.

7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected

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In the past couple of months, remote work has been on the rise because of how the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adapt to enable continuity of operations. This global health crisis has likewise led to organizations being accustomed to different schedules and habits that make remote work both manageable and productive. While this work arrangement can spur a great deal of difficulty at first, it also opens up an avenue for positive changes and increased collaboration among remote teams.

Now that you have adopted remote work policies and a remote workforce in place, how can you effectively communicate and collaborate with them especially during a crisis? Some challenges that remote work poses include time zones, technological differences, cultural differences, and language barriers, among others.

Apart from these unique threats, you also have all these common struggles associated with remote work to overcome:

Struggles of Remote Work - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: State of Remote Report, 2019

Managing a remote team is becoming the need of the hour. As a leader, it is your responsibility to set up the path for your team’s success. And these digital tools can significantly improve your remote work processes and help you stay on top of things while operating from your home office, a coworking space, or anywhere else in the world.

Slack - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Slack

For Quick Messaging and Chatting – Slack

Slack is a messaging remote work tool that helps in team communication, allowing you and your team to exchange ideas and give comments in real time. It has great team management features for planning, running projects, assigning teams, as well as playing games and activities. It is also an efficient platform for company-wide announcements and is available for both iOS and Android to give you complete functionality.

Other Best Features:

  • Different channels for multiple teams and projects
  • File sharing
  • Archived messages with a search feature
  • Third-party app integrations
  • Voice and video calls

Alternatives:

  • Google Hangout
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype
  • Flock
  • Wire
  • Mattermost

Zoom - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Zoom

For Video Conferencing – Zoom

Zoom is a video conferencing and communication tool designed for remote teams, virtual business conferences, webinars, virtual meetings, and other corporate purposes. Many business leaders regard Zoom as one of the best remote collaboration tools because it replicates face-to-face interactions and in-office meetings. You can see how your team reacts to a suggestion or an idea. You can even share your screen with other team members for a collaborative discussion when you are presenting. This is an effective feature especially if you are teaching someone how to use a new app or you want to display a document for the team. If you are a digital product seller, you can easily show them a demo without having to guess their genuine reactions. No wonder Zoom is one of the top market winners during this COVID-19 crisis.

Other Best Features:

  • Join as a view-only attendee
  • Built-in security measures like password protection
  • Instant or scheduled meeting setups
  • Fullscreen and gallery view
  • Voice sharing

Alternatives:

  • Google Hangouts Meet
  • join.me
  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • GoToMeeting
  • BlueJeans

Toggl - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Toggl

For Time Management – Toggl

Toggl is an easy-to-use time tracking app that can give you an overview of time spent on various tasks. It was designed to accurately track how long it takes to accomplish a project and was originally intended for freelancers to ensure accurate invoicing and fair payments. The app’s data visualizations can help you compare profits against time spent on tasks and labor costs, allowing you to see which projects and clients are most profitable. Toggl is web-based but also offers native apps for desktop, iOS, and Android that sync together in real time. Furthermore, the app can be used both online and offline for continued productivity.

Other Best Features:

  • Charts
  • Day-by-day breakdown
  • Full reports
  • One-click time tracking
  • Reports sharing

Alternatives:

  • DeskTime
  • Everhour
  • Paymo
  • FreshBooks
  • RescueTime
  • Hubstaff

Evernote - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Microsoft

For Project Management – Evernote

Evernote works on all platforms, including smartphones and tablets, which makes it an ideal project management tool for you and your remote team. Sync your notes and files with ease across all your devices. This app serves as your personal digital assistant, task organizer, to-do-list, and pocket notebook. It can help you focus on what really matters and give you access to information when you most need it.

Other Best Features:

  • Editorial content calendar
  • Faster image recognition
  • Mobile offline notes
  • Business card scanning
  • Presentation mode
  • PDF annotation

Alternatives:

  • Trello
  • Google Sheets/Excel
  • Basecamp
  • Asana

Google Drive - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: PCMag

For Cloud Storage and File Sharing – Google Drive

Imagine your Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and even images and videos in one convenient location that is accessible to your remote team—that is Google Drive for you. With this digital tool, your team members can also collaborate on a particular document, leave comments, and make real-time changes. You can grant other people access to certain files and allow them to view or make edits as you wish. Moreover, Google Drive comes with a free 15g storage space.

Other Best Features:

  • Convert PDF files to Docs
  • Scan documents
  • Filter searches
  • One-tap phone backup
  • Set up offline access

Alternatives:

  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • pCloud
  • Sync
  • Canto

Zapier - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Zapier

For Workflow Automation – Zapier

Simply put, Zapier can automate almost any type of business process. This workflow automation software has the ability to share data with and connect to over 1,000 web apps such as Facebook, Google Drive, and Slack, among others. Just build a workflow in their editor, select the apps you want to integrate into your workflow, and then design it. Zapier lets you create what they call “Zaps,” which allow you to build entire workflows using over 500 integrations from document sharing and social media to project management and email marketing.

Other Best Features:

  • Connect over 1,500 apps
  • User-friendly workflow editor
  • Multi-step workflows and conditioning logic
  • Collaboration tools for teams and organizations

Alternatives:

  • Automate
  • Zoho Creator
  • Microsoft Flow
  • Integrify
  • KiSSFLOW

Dashlane - 7 Best Digital Tools to Keep Your Remote Team Connected - Blog - ARCH Offices

Source: Dashlane

For Password Management – Dashlane

Having several passwords can be challenging, but a structured and secure password management tool will bear the burden for you. With just a few clicks, Dashlane can remember your login details. It is encrypted and easy to use especially for first-time users. This tool also has the capability to store logins for up to 50 accounts in a secure vault with multi-factor authentication. Should you opt for Dashlane’s premium service, you can monitor the dark web for data breaches and receive personalized alerts if any of your personal information appears in stolen data.

Other Best Features:

  • Easy syncing between devices
  • Includes VPN
  • Secure document storage
  • Extension that supports Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

Alternatives:

  • LastPass
  • Keeper Password Manager
  • RoboForm
  • True Key
  • Enpass

The COVID-19 pandemic forced a lot of businesses to enable remote work. This work arrangement can be challenging, especially when it is sudden and uncalled for. But with the right digital tools in place, you can maximize productivity and establish collaborative workflows among your team members, wherever they may be in the world.

5 Best Practices to Effectively Hold Virtual Meetings

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the way people work across the world, most businesses have adopted work-from-home policies as quickly and effectively as possible to allow for continuity of operations. During this difficult time, the challenge for employers is to help their teams adjust to this new reality while ensuring morale and productivity are affected as little as possible.

In reality, most organizations cannot just simply shift their in-office meeting structure to video conferencing and expect the same exact results. Thankfully, modern technology allows us to hold face-to-face meetings without having to be in the same location, let alone in the same room. Though there may be big differences between office-based and online meetings, becoming accustomed to this new paradigm is paramount to your business. Here are tips to help you put your best foot forward and ensure your virtual meetings run productively.

Choose the Right Meeting Tools

Picking the right tools for your virtual meetings can be daunting, what with the abundance of technology that makes the process faster, easier, and more collaborative. It is important to know the key functionality you will be needing for the meeting to be successful. Do you need to see your teammates’ reactions as you talk about your weekly tasks or achievements? Try a video conferencing software like Skype. Are you going to work on a file that should be accessible to and editable by others? Google Docs would be there perfect choice. Do you need everyone to watch a video or PowerPoint presentation in real time? Then a screen-sharing software like Zoom is a must.

Set an Agenda

If you want your virtual meetings to be successful, you need to plan your agenda prior to the meeting itself. The best remote meetings have an agenda set beforehand so attendees can come in knowing what they will be discussing. Expectations must also be set ahead of time. When leading a meeting, establish basic ground rules—ask attendees to join the call on time, close out email and other browsers during the meeting, as well as to always keep their video on and mute the audio when they are not speaking.

It is worth noting to include the following on your agenda:
  • Key talking points
  • Structure
  • Team members in attendance
  • Any relevant files or documents

Creating a clear agenda and a series of guidelines will help ensure that your team is on the same page before the virtual meeting takes place.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

Before starting the meeting, make sure that you have a quiet place so you can focus without any distractions. Check if your workstation is in tip-top shape and everything is organized—from documents you will be needing to how your home office looks in front of the camera. If your boss or teammate asks for a specific file or information that has a physical copy, you should be able to present it right away. You should also let your family members know that you are on a call and would appreciate extremely limited to no interruptions.

Practice Proper Virtual Meeting Etiquette

It can be easy to fall victim to some major meeting faux pas, but this can be avoided to keep your meetings efficient and professional. Online meetings are like a whole new ball game compared to office meetings because of our current situation, and let us assume this could be the new normal for the months or years to come. Keep in mind the following codes of conduct and behavior during the actual virtual meeting with your team:

  • Turn off all notifications and make sure your cell phone is on silent.
  • Make sure all team members are in a quiet area free from unnecessary distractions.
  • Give everyone a chance to speak and contribute.
  • Do not stare at your phone while other people are presenting.
  • Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking.
  • Do not work on other tasks, like checking email or other websites, during the virtual meeting.

Plain and simple, just practice common courtesy. People want to be heard, seen, and respected during an online meeting—just like they do everywhere else.

Keep Your Team Engaged

From setting an agenda to practicing proper etiquette, these important guidelines in getting a virtual meeting up and running would be useless if your team is not engaged. It is important to start the meeting with a casual conversation or an “ice breaker” to lighten up the mood. Catch up with your teammates especially in these trying times. Ask them about their families and how they get by every day. Showing them empathy and compassion makes them feel that they are cared for, which enables them to open up and be comfortable. Moreover, come up with several interactive online activities that are fun and engaging to avoid dull meetings. In virtual settings, you do not have that face-to-face interaction, so you have to work hard to gain their trust and build rapport.

 

Successfully holding a virtual meeting can feel overwhelming especially during this time, but it really does not have to be. When you follow these tips, it will not matter whether you are working with a team of five, or even more than ten, and even if they are miles away from where you are—you will have everything you need to be productive and to run online meetings smoothly as you would do in a regular office one.

7 Ways to Work From Home Efficiently During the COVID-19 Crisis

ARCH Ways to Work From Home Infographic - ARCH Offices - Blog

As the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a global health crisis, businesses across the world have been temporarily closing offices, prohibiting non-essential travel, and adopting work-from-home policies. Many situations such as disease outbreaks and natural disasters can disrupt people’s lives, mobility, and ability to get things done. With a remote access solution on hand for businesses, those working from home will be able to accomplish their tasks and collaborate with their teammates.

But how can you effectively deliver results if it is your first time to work away from the office? Here are optimal practices you can adopt to stay focused on the job and mentally healthy while working from home:

Establish Your Space

Setting up your personal workspace at home is crucial, especially if you share the house with a spouse, your children, or your siblings. Ideally, it should be in a quiet area with some privacy. A spare room can help reduce noise and avoid distractions from other people if you will be on the phone frequently. You might also need a dedicated space for your design or tech equipment, one that is separate from the rest of your other stuff. Place a filing cabinet beside your desk where you can store confidential files. If you have children or younger siblings, keeping important things within their reach could be a problem. Make sure to also keep your workstation clean and sanitized every now and then, if at all possible, twice a day.

Start Early and Track Everything

Research says that if you get up early, you will be more creative and efficient throughout the day. However, it is important to understand how your body clock works as it will help you find your most productive times, lowest energy dips during the day, and best hours for sleeping. If you are a morning person, you should set aside your morning hours for focused, uninterrupted work time. Furthermore, tracking time will also encourage you to break down your workday effectively, from the most important tasks to those you can accomplish later on. People working remotely are more likely to overwork than those in the office. By tracking time, you will be able to maintain regular work hours. Although you are working from home, there still comes a time when you have to call it a day and spend some time with your loved ones.

Pretend You Are Actually Going into the Office

Structure is important in adjusting to a new work environment. Beyond the essential tools required to accomplish your tasks, experts say that the most effective way to stay productive is to replicate your office environment at home. While it is necessary to create a sense of structure and social stimulation like that of your office environment, it is worth noting that you cannot entirely replicate your work model in the office. What could make you more efficient is preparing for work as if you are coming into the office. Set your alarm, drink your morning coffee, and wear nice clothes, even when you are just at home. That mindset can boost your productivity and help you create a positive outlook when working.

Prepare and Update Your To-Do List

It can be challenging to keep track of what you have to finish throughout your workday especially when you are working from the comfort of your home. It is easy to overlook tasks, priorities, and deadlines. When you create a to-do list, make sure you stick to it. After you complete a certain task, cross it off the list. Not only is this simple technique effective, it is also fulfilling as it helps you build momentum to power through the rest of the day. Get into the habit of using a planner to keep track of deadlines and meetings. In fact, there are different task management tools such as Zoho Projects and Trello that make working from home a cakewalk. By organizing your tasks, you can accomplish them one at a time and with a dedicated focus.

Apply the Pomodoro Technique

How the Pomodoro Technique works is surprisingly simple. Just list down a set of tasks and set a timer for 25 minutes per item. At the end of every 25 minutes, you take a quick break. Five to ten minutes should do. Once you have completed four of these blocks, or “pomodoros,” that is when you take a longer break. Somewhere around 20 minutes to a half hour works well. Repeat these series of 25-minute blocks throughout your workday, with short periods of time to eat or grab a snack. As the timer instills a sense of urgency, you will not feel like you have endless time to get things done, thus avoiding wasting precious hours on distractions. Because you know you only have 25 minutes, you strive to make as much progress on a task as possible.

Set Timeframes for Social Media Use

Unless your line of work highly involves social media, checking your accounts from time to time can be detrimental to the quality of your output. If you are not careful, you can easily get lost in your screen—tapping from app to app and scrolling through social feeds for a good two hours. The most sensible thing to do is to close your social media apps and limit checking to just twice during your entire working schedule. Many mobile apps now reveal to users how much time they spend in each app. The result is eye-opening, especially for casual social media users. Avoid mindless use of social media and you would be surprised how much you can accomplish. It would also be best to have a dedicated spot where you can store your smartphone, tablet, and other gadgets, at least for a while until you reach your targets for the day.

Eat Healthy Food

You do not want to overdo it with snacking, but you also do not want to starve yourself. Once you hit the ground running, it can be difficult to take a break just to grab something to eat. Nevertheless, it is necessary that you know your hunger signs and understand that not eating can affect your productivity and alertness. What you eat will impact your mood and energy level. It is also worth mentioning that balanced, nutritious food keeps us fuller longer and helps us concentrate better. Focus on protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. Preparing your meals ahead of time, just like you would on days you go to the office, will make it easier to avoid noshing on whatever looks tastiest in the moment.

 

Working from home is full of temptation in the form of countless distractions. You have to fight off the effects of sitting too long in front of your laptop and wake up your brain if you are feeling a bit sluggish. Remote working is a double-edge sword—you get to work on your tasks comfortably, but it can be harder to maintain focus. While no boss or colleague is physically watching your every move while you are working, you have to do your part, perform at your best, and deliver awesome results at the end of the day. After all, not everyone has the luxury of staying home and making a living at the same time.

Workplace Trends for Boosting Employee Engagement

Workplace trends are continuously evolving to cater to the needs of a younger technological workforce, as well as to improve employee engagement and retention. Cubicle walls that hinder communication and the sharing of ideas among teammates are finally going down. This radical change in work environments is seen as an opportunity to promote teamwork and tear down social barriers, so to speak. People now refuse to be constrained by congested stalls; they want to work in open workspaces where ideas can flow freely.

Employers, realizing this trend, embraced a workplace makeover accordingly, also taking into account the tight competition for top talent. The key now is to know which modern office design can stimulate collaboration and engage people. The following trends can help you decide on which designs and themes to put into effect in your next office space.

Health and Well-being

Needless to say, the environment we work in affects our health. The top priority of employers nowadays is the well-being of their employees, so they pull out all the stops to create a happy and healthy workplace. Apart from wellness programs aimed at fitness and diet, plants in the office are now an emerging trend as well. Other elements such as natural light and the use of natural colors and materials are also in the mix of things to improve health and productivity.

Well-being

Millennial-friendly

Millennials are currently dominating the workforce, and they are seeking workplaces that support their lifestyle. This includes roles with inspiring, cool, and fun facilities. Breakout rooms, recreational spaces, and even indoor gyms are just some of the hip and stylish amenities that entice job applicants. Modern furnishings and trendy interior designs, when combined with said amenities, can make all the difference in employee engagement and retention.

 

Flexible and Innovative

Flexible workspaces are one of the solutions to the dynamic challenges of the business world. Fully functioning serviced offices with minimal set-up or transformation time are a convenient and viable option for businesses with fast-paced environments. Adaptable workspaces make it easy to take on additional manpower and integrate new technology, increasing the longevity of workplace investments. What’s more, portable furniture and equipment enable a more vibrant and interactive setting.

Activity-based

Young and energetic talents thrive in social and collaborative environments. However, they still need private offices where they can work without any distractions. This is where serviced offices come in. They offer a mix of private, semi-private, and open workspaces that can accommodate teams of any size. Serviced offices define spaces for specific work styles and tasks. Think about meeting pods, communal tables, and brainstorming areas that can be used for different functions in a heartbeat. Hot desking, which is a growing trend in the co-working industry, is another way of knocking down restrictions to allow people to collaborate with other like-minded and talented individuals.

Integrating Technology

Technology and workplace design always go hand in hand. Technology has always been integral to the functionality of most offices that it affects almost every decision throughout the designing and building process. With it comes an increasingly diversified set of responsibilities for each employee, resulting in customized workspaces for each specific role. Flexibility must be planned into every workstation so that the office does not have to be revamped every time there is new equipment or hardware to be installed or there is a change in functional roles.

 

Still mulling it over? We can help you come up with a flexible workspace best suited for your team’s needs. Let them reach their fullest potential through the spaces we create. Send us an email at hello@archoffices.com for inquiries.

Choosing the Right Office Space and Location for your Business

Office space and location are two aspects in the business that should not be overlooked.  Countless studies have proven that there is a correlation among the two components, business performance metrics, employee productivity, as well as your company culture and brand. Choosing the right office space and location for your business is another way of effectively communicating your culture to clients, investors, and future employees. Furthermore, your team is going to need a space where they can focus, collaborate, and learn.

The ideal office space and location speak volumes about the type of business you are running, so it is crucial to consider everything down to the very last detail as these will have a longstanding impact on your team and organization.

·        Reputation

        Having your office space in a location that has a sophisticated reputation can reflect on your business. If it is a neighborhood that has been seeing growth for the past few years, prospective clients may see your company in a more positive light, giving them a glimpse of your culture and setting crystal-clear expectations. 

·        Accessibility and Brand Visibility 

        The perfect location can attract new customers. How you are going to pick a building is critical, so is choosing the vicinity where it is situated. You also have to look out for major roads and infrastructures that surround your office as these are important factors that people consider. Being in a prominent position lets your target market know that you exist.

·        Room for Growth

        Every office space has a certain character, and each one can affect the way people perceive the culture that your company is upholding. Your space must be flexible and scalable in a way that will allow your team to discover areas where they can improve and create a positive impact on the business.

·        Convenience

        It is important to make sure that there is a large parking space within close proximity of the location you are choosing for other people to get to you with ease. With safe parking areas and not having to worry too much about security, your team can concentrate on their productivity and performance, and your clients can focus on their own business. Neighboring commercial businesses and restaurants can also help them worry less about other necessities.

·        Network Expansion

        Having a network of connected businesses could give your company access to a bigger talent pool, economies of scale, and more investors. Being situated in a region where other businesses thrive is an indicator that there are tons of opportunities for growth, attracting potential employees and customers alike.

·        Improved Employee and Client Retention

        Increasing efficiency in the workplace centers around the motivation and mindset of the employees, and a driving force that affects both is the kind of work environment that you foster. With the right office space, expect continued collaboration and productivity among your team members, as well as an influx of clients seeking a company that cultivates growth within the workplace.

Whether you need a desk, office suite, or entire HQ, our serviced offices in Makati are all designed for productivity and collaboration, and are ideal for both small and large groups, startups, client meetings, and the in-betweens. Let your team reach their fullest potential through the workspaces we create. Send us an email at hello@archoffices.com for inquiries and reservations.

 

Things to Consider When Looking For A New Office Space

An office space is as essential to the business as your team members. Not only does it affect your day-to-day operations, it also affects your brand image. The effort you will need to put into searching for your new office space should not be taken too lightly. There is a lot at stake, as choosing the right workspace for your business can make all the difference when it comes to recruitment, retention, productivity, and even your team’s well-being.

The most important thing to take into consideration is that you must know exactly what the needs of your business are. Does your team have enough wiggle room to move about and pace around? Are there enough meeting rooms? Are they spacious enough to accommodate your team? Does it have an open space for a lounge or a receiving area? Asking yourself these questions before you make a final decision is crucial. The following aspects can help you ease your mind with regards to the ideal office space to get for your business.

Location and Accessibility

The importance of location in the success of a business cannot be understated. It also helps create your brand image as every part of a certain town or city carries a reputation, be it for simple or for luxurious living. Setting up your business in a place that reflects your brand and services can significantly affect your growth and success. Location can also impact the total operational cost and the capability of a business to market itself. An office space near transportation hubs and major thoroughfares is a great sigh of relief to your team members who are taking the commute every day to work. Also keep in mind nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores that everyone will surely appreciate.

Cost

Strike the balance between the location, office size, and lease type to reach a fair market price. Before anything else, spend ample time to research on average business rates including rent, taxes, and utility bills to make sure you can afford the office space. Hidden charges such as deposits or parking tickets must also be considered before signing any contracts. Create a cost estimate of the location to avoid financial commitments outside your means.

Security

Crime can undesirably affect the long-term growth projections of a business. When inspecting the premises, you should immediately check for security cameras and alarm systems. They add safety to the office space and serve as deterrents to criminals. These security aspects are also critical in safeguarding business assets, valuable information, and people from any kind of loss or damage. A robust security environment reduces liabilities, insurance, compensation, and other social security expenses.

Competition

Competition is inevitable for any kind of business. While it could hinder the success of your organization, it can be an effective tool for growth and improvement. You can also identify where your competitors are falling short, and with that, be the one to fill that void and satisfy the need. However, too much competition in the vicinity can be a warning sign to look for an office space elsewhere.

Vibe

Your ideal office space should resonate with your company and the culture you want to build. Your team is going to need a positive work environment for them to reach their fullest potential and accomplish their tasks on time. It is also important for everyone to feel at home in the workplace to achieve a sense of belongingness and comfort. The space alone should emulate an innovative and spirited vibe that appeals to the people. But it is up to you and the designers to make it more engaging and create a reflection of your company’s vision for the future.

 

Our serviced offices in Makati are perfect for teams of any size. Get the workspace that your team deserves. Get in touch via email at hello@archoffices.com for more information.

Should You Get A Coworking Space Or Lease A Serviced Office?

Whether you’re starting a new business or simply expanding your horizons, it is important to choose a workspace that will help your business grow and reach its maximum potential.  While looking for an office space for rent is still viable for many businesses, shared workspaces have provided businesses with a more flexible and cost-effective option.

In the recent years, more and more companies are opting for solutions like serviced offices and coworking spaces. The phenomenon of collaborative workspaces is a fast-rising trend that has now become an attractive alternative to conventional office space leasing. With fully-furnished yet affordable workspaces situated in prime business locations, shared offices allow growing organizations to allocate their costs on core business functions.

Unlike the traditional office setup, shared workspaces allow working professionals to be productive in a casual and flexible work environment at their own pace and style. This kind of work areas not only provide businesses with affordable and efficient business operations, it also promotes a sense of community and a dynamic atmosphere.

With the emergence of various options nowadays, it has become easier to find the ideal workspace for your business. Two of the most effective options today are coworking spaces and serviced offices. But which approach is best for your organization?

 

WHAT IS A SERVICED OFFICE?

A serviced office is a workspace that is fully furnished and equipped with all the facilities necessary to operate business functions. To make the set up as seamless as possible, serviced offices typically comprise of desks, chairs, computers, and other vital amenities like a reliable internet connection, telephone access, and mailing services. This allows entrepreneurs to “plug and play” and transition into the new office space easily.

 

Here are some key advantages of leasing a serviced office:

It provides a fully furnished workspace that is ready for occupancy.

Serviced offices are ready made workstations equipped with modern technology and amenities. A typical serviced office provides reliable internet, good office infrastructure, and state of the art facilities.

It is extremely cost-effective.

Serviced offices reduce expenses due to the all-inclusive cost of lease. You won’t have to shell out a budget for office equipment and furnishing, as well as other necessary office services. Instead, you can allot the money to the expanding needs of your business.

It offers flexible working setup for your business.

Serviced offices operate 24/7 which allows your business to run operations on your own terms and preferences. It also improves focus and workflow as you will have your own space where your team can discuss important matters without being disrupted or overheard.

 

WHAT IS A COWORKING SPACE?

Coworking spaces provide working professionals with a sharing office space along with other vital office equipment such as desks, printers and copy machines, as well as internet connection and phone access. This type of setup encourages a collaborative environment and promotes an innovative work culture. Coworking spaces provide greater opportunities to build connections and exchange ideas within a community of passion-driven individuals.

 

Here are some key advantages of getting a coworking space:

It promotes collaboration and community building.

Coworking spaces are highly social and collaborative. It promotes a friendly and dynamic work environment that also enables individuals from similar or different fields of work to enhance networking connections.

It inspires and increases productivity through more direct communication.

Because coworkers work alongside each other, team members can discuss and share ideas faster and more effectively. This kind of setup promotes better workflow and business processes.

It is affordable, and it offers lease flexibility.

For startup entrepreneurs and freelancers, it is always important to consider the cost of resources. Coworking spaces are more affordable than renting an office space traditionally and they also offer lease flexibility since businesses are not bound by long-term contracts.

 

The Difference Between Serviced Offices and Coworking Spaces

Both serviced offices and coworking spaces offer organizations with the chance to operate business functions without the extra load that traditional leasehold brings. Both options provide startup companies with a lot of advantages when it comes to reducing costs and scalability. While there are a lot of common denominators in terms of benefits, there are also some significant differences between the two.

Coworking spaces typically offer flexible arrangements of desks predominantly utilized by startup businesses, sometimes even individual freelancers. Whereas, a serviced office is more ideal for businesses who have growing needs since this option provides them with the infrastructure needed in order to run day to day operations in a more private and management-centric setting. While serviced offices enable occupants to focus on their work without any disruptions, the best thing about coworking spaces is the environment that promotes collaboration and innovation.

 

Which Office Space is Right For You?

There are many factors to consider when finding a home for your businesses. It is important to keep in mind that your decision should depend on your company’s growth and development plan. Choose the workspace that will cater to your business requirements and help you operate efficiently. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your business’ own unique needs and circumstances.

By now, you have a clear idea of the differences between serviced offices and coworking. If you’re still not sure which is the right choice for you and your business, consider the following questions:

  • How much space will you be needing?
  • How often do you need office space?
  • How long do you need the space for?
  • What kind of amenities do you need?
  • What’s in your budget right now?

 

Before making any decisions of what would work best for your business, spend the time considering what you and your team need and researching the options available to you. We know that the process can be tedious and frustrating at times and we can always help provide expert advice on the office spaces the fit your business requirements. If you would like to find out which services are available you can reach out to us at hello@archoffices.com

 

 

5 Tips On How To Decorate Your Office Space This Christmas

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. While most companies organize huge corporate events for the holidays, business owners and freelancers are not obliged to participate in these kinds of gathering. However, there are still other ways to celebrate the Yuletide season in private office spaces. The simplest way to commemorate Christmas is by decorating your workspace. Put up Christmas decorations to set the holiday vibe. You may start by decorating your own desk. Turn the corners into something more festive. It does not have to be over the top. In fact, you can even make your own decors.

If you are looking for hassle-free ideas on how to decorate your private office without breaking your budget, here are some tips for you:

1.  Hang Wreaths

A wreath is one of the daintiest ways to set the Christmas mood. You may buy one for a very affordable price or if you love crafting, a DIY wreath is also a great idea. You can design your own and add some floral elements. Add a ribbon for the finishing touch. You may hang the wreath on your door or at an empty wall in your office.

2.  Put Up Garlands

Add festive cheer to your office walls by dangling garlands. You may go with the classic greens or you may also try putting up colorful paper garlands. Paper garlands are very easy to make. A DIY garland can actually look better than store-bought one if you unleash your creative side. Experiment with whatever you already have like colored papers or paper clips. Hang the garlands on your walls to add Christmas spirit to your office.

3. Display Christmas Ornaments

Deck the halls with Christmas decorations! Holiday decors come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. There are a lot of decorations to choose from—Christmas stockings, candy canes, Santa hats. You can also light candles to add holiday warmth to your workspace. However, the best way to decorate your office is to think of a theme and stick to it. For example, if you prefer “Winter Wonderland”, you may hang snowflake ornaments and put up a cute little snowman.

4. Have An Advent Calendar

If you’re the kind of person who really looks forward to Christmas, you may also put up an advent calendar in your office. An advent calendar is basically a countdown until Christmas day. You may simply print your own design and display it on your desk. If you want, you can also write your everyday tasks on the calendar. It is surely a fun and exciting way to pass the days until Christmas.

5. Create Your Own Christmas Tree

Nothing says Christmas more than a well-decorated Christmas tree. For office spaces that couldn’t fit an actual tree, a DIY Christmas tree is the best and most affordable solution. The good thing is you can pick the size and style of your own tree. You may opt for the traditional colors and design, but you can also go with literally anything you like because you can create a Christmas tree out of anything. Hang accessories that complement your office’s theme. You can make a mini tree that is perfect for your desk or you can also create something that you can put in your favorite corner of the office.

Business owners and freelancers tend to ignore festivities and take advantage of this season to catch up on work. But keep in mind that the holiday season is also the perfect time to wind down and recharge for another year of work that’s ahead of you and your business. Use this time to plan for the upcoming year. ‘Tis the season to reflect on what a fruitful year it has been for your business. It is always a good idea to look back on individual and business accomplishments as a reminder of how far you have come. While it’s true that working in a private office does not require you to make a big deal out of the holidays, it does not mean you cannot commemorate it in your office space. All it takes is a bit of creativity and imagination. This year, celebrate and enjoy the holiday season!

From all of us at Arch Offices, we wish you a happy Christmas and a prosperous year ahead!