Tag Archives: office space

Your customers can feel if your workplace is unhealthy

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There are many reasons why a workplace could be “unhealthy.” An unhealthy workplace have too many people cramped in a small space. There might not be enough windows. The windows in offices generally don’t open which is why I don’t work in that type of environment. You might have argumentative people, or mean bosses. There could be office politics, overly long work days or other things to create an unhealthy environment.

Customers pick up on your office environment.
Customers enjoy working with pleasant businesses who get the job done with a smile. Most companies out there do not do their work correctly, have managers running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and workers who are either incompetent or don’t care — or both. Add stress and vindictive office relationships to the mix, and you’ve got a really unhealthy office environment.

Your Vision
The solution to this problem all starts with a vision. There have been cool companies in America that had a cool vision. Cliffbar has upbeat staff creating healthy food products. Starbucks created a pleasant environment with happy staff that the public can’t stay away from. Google creates workplaces that are customized for innovative collaboration. But, most other companies just don’t even start to think about optimizing their environment. Do you want to create a wonderful work environment, or do you prefer to take the easy way out and keep things the same? Maybe it’s easier if you can’t stand your environment, but are forced to stay and work in it. Then, you would have to change it or risk going insane.

Solutions to an unhealthy work place
Changing around the office space or getting a new office that is more appealing might be a good start. Aspiring to create a company culture of upbeat people would help a lot. Getting rid of sour employees who ruin everyone else’s day could be a life saver. Hiring a few people with bubbly personalities might add joy to the other people’s lives even if the bubbly folks were not good workers themselves. Having plants in your office might create some oxygen and lower stress. But, what about animals? I have seen offices in Hollywood allow people to bring their dogs and cats to work. It was a little unusual, but since their dogs were quiet, it worked out.

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Compilation of posts about offices

Picking a 4000 foot BPO office before you have the clients!

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Yes, one of my clients on 123outsource.net did exactly this. He was an American who never expected that he would end up in the Call Center business. He went to India and he just knew that if he got a large call center, the customers would come. His attitude was just like in Dubai: build it and they will come. Come they did, but not at the rate that he expected. His philosophy changed. Now he believes you should have the customers first and then get a large office. But, that is not so easy either.

It’s either too big or too small
No office is just right. It is either too big or too small, unless your office is made of rubber. If you are lucky, you can rent a trailer and create office spaces in those. That way you can rent by the week when you need elasticity. Or you can outsource to people who work at home. In India, they prefer squeezing people. Indians are born in cramped compartments. In actuality, if you had a huge room and twenty Indians, they will likely all put their desks crammed together in one corner of the room rather than spreading out. It is habitually engrained in their culture. Even with web forms, Indian programmers make the boxes two inches wide — it is so small, you can’t even see what you wrote in the box!

Being versatile
But, if you can be versatile and adaptable, you can deal with changing office situations more easily. If you had a team of twenty, and all of the team works from home one day a week, if you run out of space, just have everyone work from home two days a week! Or have everyone squeeze. On the other hand, you could have people work different shifts so you are not all on top of each other. In call center work, people are expected to be in the office, but some people do work from home if their home is quiet enough.

What would Google do?
Google invented a tiny work-pod. You get in and it is only a few feet wide, and circular of all shapes. You can space them out or squeeze them together. Many companies have workers work at huge tables in open workspaces that have no walls. Personally, I need my space and can’t stand noise, so that business model is out for me. But, others thrive in this environment. Having an overflow strategy is critical. If you can get some space in the building next door when you need it, that is perfect. Then, there are places that rent office spaces by the week as well. Renting a cubicle by the week is a great way to meet new and exciting people. I actually rented an office space by the afternoon twice and loved it. But, I went during the weekend when it was quiet which I loved all the more!

My advice?
Think positively in your business. Assume you’ll grow even if you have no reason to assume that. Our thoughts seem to precede reality according to the yogis, and I have found this to be true. However, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Perhaps get an office that is 25% more than what you need. If your business is slow, then you will have comfort, if you grow, you will have a year or so to find some extra space or move the entire operation. The trick is to have the exact amount of extra margin — know where to draw the line! Or you could visit Japan and see how cramped their life is. Once you return to your country, however much space you have will seem like an unheard of luxury.

Other than that, have fun and enjoy your work!

Three ways for startups to save on office space

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If you are creating a small start-up, you may want to find ways to save money on office space. Still, it is always better to have an office than to work out of your home. Companies with offices are seen as more reliable…and in our experience, companies with an office do a better job somehow. Interesting. Here are three ways to get less expensive or free office space:

1) Find a big company that has extra office space and is willing to make a deal with you: this could be a company that trades you office space for work (IT, design, phone work, or admin work of some kind). If you have a few connections, try asking around. One young woman we know was pleasantly surprised that several business owners she knew were enthusiastic about the idea. She made a deal: she did marketing and social media work for the company two days a week to ‘pay’ for the office space, a 12′ x 12′ area that was used as storage for old file cabinets and separated from the larger office with a fold-out partition. Within 8 months, she had enough clients to move her office–but chose to stay at the same location for a monthly fee…and a better space. Her company eventually provided the company she rented from with all kinds of services, and they had an excellent working relationship that referred her several other big clients. She eventually moved her office across the hall and now has several employees.

2) Rent an office by the hour or the day: depending on what type of business you have and whether or not you have employees, you may not need an office 24 hours a day. If you need one only a few times a month to meet with sub-contractors and clients, you can easily find such offices. Companies like metroffice.com in the Washington, D.C. area will rent you space in different parts of the city or the region depending on where you need to have client meetings. Every city has office rental companies that will rent you space by the hour, take phone messages for you, and give you a phone number and an address for your mail. You can gradually build your business and get a permanent office when your company has a solid income.

3) Check out your local government offices: city government is downsizing, and depending on where the office is, you may be able to get space there. Again, you can offer to trade your skills to get the space you need. Keep talking to them, find the decision maker, and go meet with him or her and convince them that you are someone they want around. Find out what they really need (someone to answer the phones?) Then, if you like the space, make them an offer that will help them fulfill that need. One young marketing entrepreneur ended up supervising and training a group of callers one day a week, and later offered free weekend classes in telemarketing in exchange for the space. He was adept at making all sorts of calls, and he was good at explaining the whole calling process to others. He discovered that training people to answer the phone and training telemarketers was actually a great niche for him in his area, and these trainings became popular and started a whole new business for him. He is in part responsible for developing the call-center industry in his area of South Carolina.

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Office space prices and outsourcing

Office Prices and Outsourcing

Categories: Outsourcing Articles | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Office Prices and the Outsourcing Industry

India’s main problem with outsourcing is that the rents are getting so high, that Indian outsourcing companies must raise their rate for outsourced work to be able to cover their costs. Looking at a list of global office occupancy costs worldwide from scribd.com, I can share some of this information with you.

PSF – costs in dollars per square foot for office space in 2010.
Numbers have been rounded to the nearest dollar

Hong Kong 161
London 130 (West End)
Tokyo 101
London 62 (Docklands)
Mumbai 60
Delhi 59
Singapore 59
New York 42 (Midtown)
Los Angeles 39
Madrid 37

The irony is that in places like New York where incomes are roughly five times what they are in Mumbai for similar work, the price is 43% higher in Mumbai for office space. In the long run, America has many advantages that lead to national economic stability. We have endless land, and fast roads and airports that connect every single corner of the country conveniently to each other part of the country. There very few strikes effecting transportation, and political stability is something we take for granted. India has none of these advantages. It will take India 40 years of hard work to catch up to Western countries in terms of infrastructure.

One aspect that doesn’t show up in the above quoted statistics is that the data is for certain neighborhoods where offices are generally located. There are other parts of the above metros further away from the downtown that have less expensive prices. For example, in Delhi, it is $59 psp in the business district, but I’m looking at an ad in Noida where 1500 sf of office / factory space are being offered for rps35,000 / month which translates into less than one dollar per square foot per month. So, prices can vary tremendously within the same metro area depending on conditions.

High office prices have run many call center outsourcing businesses out of Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai, leading them to outskirts of Delhi, Assam and other areas where land is plentiful. Mumbai is on a peninsula, making land a scarce commodity, especially with the lack of skyscrapers which help to conserve land. Bangalore is surrounded by hills and mountains making growth difficult. Chennai is bordered by an ocean on one side making expansion possible only to the West. But Delhi has land around it and remote parts of India still have cheap land to expand to. So the future of Indian outsourcing work seems to keep migrating further and further away to where the cheap land and labor is. In another few decades, much of the outsourcing work will be redirected out of India entirely, perhaps to Africa, Bangladesh, and other areas.

Running out of office space? Create a virtual office by outsourcing?

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If only we lived in a perfect world, you could just add another cubical to your cramped office space. It could extend out the window and make a little protruding chunk hanging over the sidewalk. But, in real life you can’t do that unless you own an R.V. with a living room that extends outward (actually very affordable.)

Moving your office to another location so that you can accommodate that 9th worker could cost thousands and might be a decision you need to reverse later on. Squeezing that 9th guy in might be very uncomfortable as well. It might be better to create a virtual office by outsourcing. You can get virtual help in countries all around the world these days. There are also freelancers right here in the USA who can work from home. That way you get labor when you need it, but don’t have to commit to office space.

Shared offices are another alternative. You might have your main office in one location, but a few blocks away rent a room or two in a shared office. That way, you know where your people are, and don’t have to commit to a two year commercial lease!

Virtual assistants are a popular type of person to outsource to. Most call centers can give you someone to do phone work for you. Many will let you lease an employee for as little as eight hours a week! Imagine if you only need half an employee, rather than sawing them in half, just hire a virtual assistant in Makati City, and you have it made!