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Productivity Hacks for Coworking Spaces

By Ken Narita|Tuesday September 17, 2019

Coworking and shared office spaces are growing in popularity thanks to two big changes: Rising rents and a changing workforce. There are now 60 million freelance workers, and by 2027 it’s predicted that a majority of workers in the U.S. will be contractors, reports CNBC

Analysis from Statista found that coworking spaces have expanded 19 fold from just 1,130 spaces in 2011 to 22,400 in 2019. 

Here is how the number of coworking locations has grown through the years:

  • 2010: 600
  • 2011: 1,130
  • 2012: 2,070
  • 2013: 3,400
  • 2014: 5,780
  • 2015: 8,900
  • 2016: 12,100
  • 2017: 15,500
  • 2018: 18,700
  • 2019: 22,400

And they’re not all independent real estate locations. Companies like WeWork and Regus have thousands of locations all over the world that provide consistent office standards like office phone systems for small businesses, super-fast VoIP phone services, spacious common areas and plenty of networking opportunities. 

We all know that coworking spaces have many advantages, though they also present some challenges when it comes to productivity. Whether you’re easily distracted or prone to productivity, let’s look at how you can get the most out of your coworking workday.

The Sound of Productivity

Noise is the chief complaint in open-plan offices. Whether it’s digital sounds like ringing phones or computer notifications, or it’s human sounds of coughing or sneezing, the ambient sounds of coworking spaces can be distracting.

Headphones are the #1 recommendation people give for staying productive. If, for you, productivity sounds like silence, then wear noise-canceling headphones. But if you have a favorite work soundtrack that is keeping you focused, you’re not alone. One study found that workers who listened to music completed their tasks quicker and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t. Just be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level so the music that’s keeping you focused isn’t a distraction for someone else.

Author Michael Lewis, who wrote “Moneyball,” “The Blind Side” and “The Big Short,” says, “I write with headphones on that just plays on a loop the same playlist that I’ve built for whatever book I’m writing.” It becomes Pavlovian. He hears those songs and starts typing.

Working at office desk.

Visual Quiet Is Important Too

Similar to distracting sounds, visual noise can also pull you off your task. “You need to create a visual cocoon for yourself,” said author Julie Morgenstern.

Related: Business in the Cloud

It’s good practice to avoid views that are cluttered or chaotic, like trash cans, hallways or kitchens. In fact, some suggest that facing your chair towards the wall can help keep you focused. This is in alignment with the Zen tradition, where meditators face the wall for the same reason: “There’s nothing you can make of a wall but a wall. It’s obstinately resistive to imagination.”

Managing Your Time

The results of effective time management prove that you don’t need longer hours to get more done. The first step is to prioritize your tasks. Acknowledge that inbox zero may be unattainable and work on the most important things first. Try muting unnecessary notifications so you don’t jump into lower-priority tasks.

Additionally, look at how to best structure your time to keep you focused on your work. Experts have determined that a maximum productivity cycle starts with 52 minutes of work, followed by a 17-minute break. Notably, this break is not checking email or Facebook but rather taking a walk or having a conversation. Set timers for how long you’re going to work, and use the rhythm of intense focus and breaks to keep your workday on track.

Coworking spaces have been proven to promote worker productivity. In fact, 64% of coworkers are better able to complete tasks on time.

Procrastination and the 2-Minute Rule

The rules states that if a task can be done in two minutes or less, then do it immediately. This is a hard rule to follow for anyone who tends to procrastinate. However, postponing the task and returning to it later will use more of your time.

In a series of satirical email responses about belated emails, The New Yorker wrote this email message that we all want to avoid: “Sorry for the delay! I put off answering your email until I had an even more tedious task that I wanted to avoid. Thanks!”

Work life balance.

Work-Life Harmony

While it may seem easier to work from a home office or run business from your mobile, separating work and life can be beneficial for both.

Working from home blurs the line between your work and regular life, which means you stay on the clock longer and work when you could instead spend time with your family or relax. 

If you can’t afford to turn a spare room into a dedicated office, or you have a lot of people coming in and out of your home during the day, this can affect both your work and your relationships with family. Thus, a clear separation is best. 

In fact, workers who chose a coworking space said their home life improved after making the switch. Since coworking, they were 60% more relaxed at home and had 91% better personal interactions.

Related: PBX system for small business

Coworking also helped them during the workday. While coworking, 68% had better focus and 50% produced higher earnings after coworking.

 

Go to Geek Prank and try the online Windows XP simulator, play with the classic Minesweeper and Tetris games or listen to some music.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.