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What you need to know about working in a co-working space

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With many companies moving to a hybrid working model, here’s you need to know about a co-working space, according to Hays’ Jane McNeill.

At a time when flexibility has never been greater, some people are moving towards co-working spaces. However, co-working isn’t for everyone, so before you make a decision, it’s important to fully understand what the advantages and disadvantages are.

There’s been a huge amount of research and commentary about the pros and cons of working in a co-working space – so let’s start with the pros.

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Interaction with people

According to researchers at the University of Michigan, the most common reasons for people seeking co-working spaces are interaction with people (84pc), random discoveries and opportunities (82pc) and knowledge sharing (77pc). It’s a similar situation as far as corporate co-workers are concerned.

If you are able to work from home, but miss in-person interactions, a co-working space could be a solution.

More flexibility

This Harvard Business Review article also explains how co-working space can give you the flexibility that you want and need. Co-working spaces are normally accessible on a true 24/7 basis, for example, so people can take their pick between putting in a long day when they have a deadline looming or need to make progress and taking an extra break in the middle of the day to attend the gym.

Increased control over your space

In the words of Harvard Business Review writers Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett, users of co-working spaces can also “choose whether they want to work in a quiet space so they can focus, or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is encouraged.”

Creative freedom and the opportunity to upskill

Another great advantage of co-working is the opportunity that it gives you to fuel your creativity and upskill. A change of environment can be energising, while working with different people from inside and outside your organisation can spark creativity and innovative thinking. Sure enough, 68pc of co-workers report improvements to their existing skillset.

Innovative thinking

However, one of the biggest co-working benefits of all is improved innovation, as people in a co-working space collectively share ideas and experience greater diversity of thought due to the variety of people from multiple organisations and industries that are all working in one space. It’s a mode of working that exposes you to ideas and best practice from other industries that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter in your current role if you were siloed in your office.

Productivity

Other cited benefits of co-working include heightened productivity, as well as the fact that 84pc of individuals surveyed in a 2015 global study reported they were more engaged and motivated since joining their co-working community, with 89pc of respondents conveying a higher degree of happiness.

A sense of community

That word, ‘community’, is certainly a strong one in the world of co-working. A 2014 survey of more than 200 US co-workers conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business confirmed that belonging to a community was the most common reason for people to seek out a co-working space.

This sense of community can help to improve your problem-solving skills and the users of a co-working space are often more than happy to help fellow co-workers to tackle a challenge.

With even the likes of cafés and gyms potentially serving as amazing co-working spaces, it’s fair to say that the co-working culture has taken a strong hold across the world – bringing with it all of the aforementioned benefits.

Click here to check out more on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

Are there any cons of co-working spaces?

While co-working can clearly provide many benefits, it can also present several challenges. It’s hardly the most private way of working, for instance, which also potentially means a lot of distractions. Someone simply slurping their coffee could drive you crazy if you’re already stressed out and trying to concentrate on an assignment with a tight deadline amid all of the other noise surrounding you – but having said this, such distractions are also common in a conventional office.

Linked to this lack of privacy is a greater scope for personality clashes, a dilemma that anyone who has ever flat-shared will recognise. Any situation that places many people in close proximity to each other heightens the risk of such conflict and it’s not as if there’s a HR department to formally resolve any disputes arising between the users of a co-working space.

How to transition to a co-working space

If you are confident that you can overcome these cons and think co-working might be for you, or indeed, have just accepted a position that is based in a co-working space, these tips will help you make the transition seamlessly.

  • Make the effort to introduce yourself to your fellow co-workers – first impressions count.
  • Set a routine as quickly as you can. You will have more flexibility in a co-working space, so it’s important that you are diligent and mindful of your time – otherwise, your productivity could suffer.
  • Make the most of the opportunity to work with different people each day to build your network, upskill and make new contacts. Many co-working spaces run regular networking and office events, so head along to these wherever possible.
  • Make your desk feel like home – experiment with different areas of the shared working space and see what works best for you.
  • Get to know the office or community manager. Having a good relationship with them will make it easier to get help from them if the printer breaks or the Wi-Fi goes down.
  • Move to a quieter space if you know you are going to be on a long conference call that could be distracting for your co-workers.
  • Learn how to deal with distractions – you could purchase some headphones, for instance.
  • If you are working for a brand, keep your employer front of mind, rather than the culture of the office space you’re working in. It can be easy to feel detached, but regular communications and face-to-face meetings should help.
  • Eat away from your desk and take breaks out of the office. In many co-working spaces, everything is under one roof, so it can feel like there’s no need to get out, but the truth is that you do need to get out for your own wellbeing.
  • Prioritise face-to-face communication. Research has found that in open plan offices, which is what many co-working spaces are, the number of instant messages sent increased by 67pc, while employees also spent 72pc less time interacting in person in an open space.

If co-working is a mode of working that suits you, and you handle it in the right way, a wide range of benefits could result.

By Jane McNeill

Jane McNeill is director of Hays Australia. A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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Government plans €10m in funding for green and digital business projects

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The Government and Enterprise Ireland are providing two funds to regional Irish businesses in a bid to help them transition to a greener, digital economy.

The Government has today (29 July ) announced it will provide €10m in funding through Enterprise Ireland to projects supporting digitalisation and the transition to a green economy.

The Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme, worth €9.5m, will provide grant funding to regional and community-based projects focused on helping enterprises to adapt to the changing economic landscape due to Covid-19 and Brexit.

Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “The Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme is aimed at supporting regional development and the regional business eco-system, helping to create and sustain jobs in the regions impacted by Covid-19.”

Grants of up to €1.8m or 80pc of project cost are available to businesses. The projects should aim to address the impact of Covid-19 and improve the capability and competitiveness of regional enterprises.

The call for the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme will close on 8 September 2021. The successful projects will be announced in October and all funding will be provided to the successful applicants before the end of the year.

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A separate funding scheme, the €500,000 Feasibility Study fund, will provide financial support to early-stage regional enterprise development projects.

Launching the funding schemes, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD said the funds would “help stimulate transformational regional projects to support enterprises embrace the opportunities of digitalisation, the green economy as well as navigate the changed landscape arising from Covid-19.”

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD commented at the launch that the funds would help “build Covid-19 and Brexit resilience and enable applicants to support enterprises and SMEs to respond to recent economic and market challenges which also includes the transition to a low carbon economy, digital transformation and smart specialisation.”

The Feasibility Fund is open to new projects, with grants available of up to €50,000 or 50pc of project cost and will allow promoters to test their project concept and deliver virtual or site-based solutions to their target audience.

Applications for the Feasibility Fund close on 1st October 2021.

For more information and details on how to apply for the funds, see here and here.

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CEOs told to ‘think before they tweet’ after Just Eat spat with Uber | Twitter

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Chief executives are being warned to “think twice before they tweet” after the boss of takeaway company Just Eat Takeaway was told his Twitter spat with Uber threatened to undermine the firm’s reputation.

Jitse Groen this week became the latest in a growing list of chief executives to be rebuked by customers, investors and even regulators over ill-judged tweets.

Cat Rock Capital Management, an activist investor which has a 4.7% stake in Just Eat, highlighted Groen’s Twitter battle with Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi as an example of outbursts that damaged the brand. The investor said Groen’s tweets had partly led to the firm being “deeply undervalued and vulnerable to takeover bids at far below its intrinsic value”.

Earlier this year Groen had a rant at financial analysts on Twitter, claiming that “some can’t even do basic maths”. He tweeted that he was “amazed how bad these analysts have become … All of them mix up definitions. It’s unbelievable.”

Brand and marketing expert Mark Borkowski said Groen’s case highlighted the difficulty executives face when trying to engage with customers on the platform.

“Everyone sees Twitter as a huge marketing opportunity that can drive a business forward, and it really can,” Borkowski said. “But these bosses must stop and think twice before they tweet, as just one misjudged tweet can send their share price plunging.”

Possibly the most expensive tweets ever sent were posted by Elon Musk, the maverick boss of electric car company Tesla, in 2018. The US Securities and Exchange Commission fined Musk and Tesla $20m each after he tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take the company private at $420 a share. The regulator said the tweet, which sent Tesla’s share price up by as much as 13%, violated securities law. As part of the settlement, Musk was ordered to step down as Tesla’s chairman.

Musk’s tweets continued to anger some investors. Pirc, an influential adviser to shareholders including the UK’s local authority pension funds, last year recommended that investors voted against Musk’s re-election to the Tesla board because his tweets posed “a serious risk of reputational harm to the company and its shareholders”.

Pirc said his controversial outbursts on Twitter had cost Tesla millions of dollars in settlements, but Musk easily won the vote, and has continued to tweet several times a day to his 59 million followers.

“Twitter is all about personality,” Borkowski said. “While Musk’s tweets can be very controversial, they fit with his brand. Twitter is perfect for renegades, mavericks and disruptor brands. It’s much harder for well-established brands with solid reputations, if something goes wrong for them they risk damage to their hard-earned brand.

“People now think that to run a successful business, you have to be on social media and every brand has to have a Twitter account,” he said. “The chief executives see that the bosses of their rivals have a Twitter profile, and they feel they have to have one too.”

Borkowski said some bosses have been very successful at building a presence and personality on Twitter, and using their platforms to promote social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and the Black Lives Matter movement (as well as promote their brand and products).

James Timpson, the chief executive of cobbler Timpson, this week celebrated passing 100,000 followers on his account on which he weaves photos of his colleagues working in shops with posts tackling tax avoidance and prisoner reform.

This week, he responded to Boris Johnson’s proposal to create “fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs” of people found guilty of antisocial behaviour with a tweet suggesting offenders should be helped into work instead.

Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, has won praise for using Twitter to successfully pressure the governor of Indiana into revising proposed legislation that had threatened to allow discrimination against gay people on religious grounds.

Researchers at Harvard Business School and Duke University said Cook “effectively framed the debate using social media at a time when opinions were being formed and the impact went beyond the political”.

Borkowski suggested that before chief executives tweet they should “consider whether they have the personality and temperament to get the tone right each time”.

“There is nothing more inelegant than a chief executive going after rivals publicly on Twitter,” he said.

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It was exactly that sort of behaviour that Cat Rock had accused Groen of undertaking. When Uber Eats announced earlier this year that it would take on Just Eat in Germany, Groen lashed out in a tweet directed at Khosrowshahi, accusing him of “trying to depress our share price”.

Khosrowshahi replied that perhaps Groen should “pay a little less attention to your short term stock price and more attention to your Tech and Ops”. That sparked Groen to reply “thank you for the advice, and then if I may .. Start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business”.

Alex Captain, Cat Rock’s founder, said: “The response should not happen on Twitter. It should happen on a credible forum with the facts, data, and analysis that the company has at its disposal.”

A Just Eat spokesperson said: “Just Eat Takeaway.com has a regular dialogue with all its shareholders and we take all their views very seriously.”



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AWS to retire classic EC2 – the compute service that started the IaaS rush • The Register

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Comment Amazon Web Services has announced the retirement of its third cloud service: the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, aka EC2 Classic.

A July 28 post by AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr explains that the service was superseded in 2009 by Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, then again by Virtual Private Clouds for Everyone in 2013.

Barr’s post explains that customers who signed up with AWS since December 4, 2013, couldn’t use EC2 Classic unless they specifically requested it. The bulk of AWS customers will not, therefore, be inconvenienced by the service’s retirement.

Those that do use the service need to be on their toes, because AWS has set a deadline of August 15, 2022 – after which it expects “no remaining EC2 Classic resources present in any AWS account,” and all migrations to something else will be complete.

As a reminder, on October 31, 2021, AWS will disable EC2 Classic for accounts that don’t use the service and stop selling reserved instances. Barr writes that AWS will work with customers to make those migrations as easy as can be.

“We don’t plan to disrupt any workloads and will do our best to help you to meet these dates,” Barr explains.

The AWS man also reminisces about how EC2 became a big hit, fast. “We helped Animoto to scale to a then-amazing 3,400 instances when their Facebook app went viral,” he writes.

AWS has scaled things rather higher since: in 40th place on the June 2021 update to the Top 500 list of Earth’s mightiest supercomputers was a 172,692-core machine that ran for just 24 minutes in the Amazonian cloud.

EC2 was AWS’s third service. It debuted in August 2006, after the March 2006 debut of the Simple Storage Service and the July arrival of Simple Queue Service.

That all three sparked a vast and important change in business computing is not in dispute. Service providers had previously rented remotely-located compute and storage, but AWS made them more accessible and scalable than predecessors. AWS prices were also shockingly low – in a good way – and its services took off.

The Register cannot think of an enterprise computing product or vendor that has not been influenced by AWS and EC2. Makers of on-prem IT have all striven to become more cloud-like ever since EC2 debuted – both in terms of the user experience and by charging for consumption rather than up-front. Whole new software development and deployment practices have emerged to take advantage of elastic resources sold as-a-service.

EC2 has also left a cultural footprint, as the likes of Netflix realized that cloud computing offered previously unavailable possibilities.

AWS brings in more than $50bn of annual revenue, and is widely regarded as the dominant force in cloud computing.

Barr’s post states that AWS will give EC2 Classic “a gold watch and a well-deserved sendoff!”

The service deserves that, and more. ®

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