The Inclusion Revolution: Embracing Diversity in Professional Office Environments

Creating Equitable and Empowering Workspaces

The rise of hybrid work has been one of the most significant changes in the professional world since the COVID-19 pandemic. Hybrid work involves employees spending part of their time working on-site and part of their time working remotely. According to Gallup, about 40% of remote-capable employees have shifted from fully on-site work to either a hybrid or exclusively remote arrangement.

The definition of hybrid work has become more fluid in recent years, incorporating coworking spaces, shared offices, and flexible arrangements. In 2015, approximately 331,000 people in North America used hybrid workspaces. By the end of 2022, that number had surged to 1.08 million in the North America and 3.1 million globally, according to NorthOne.

As hybrid work styles gain popularity, it’s essential to explore the concept of inclusion and recognize the diversity within the workforce. Inclusion in the workplace goes beyond just being physically present; it encompasses accessibility, neurodiversity, cultural diversity, and a welcoming environment for all identities.

Defining Inclusion: Accessibility, Neurodiversity, and Cultural Differences in Workspaces

Hybrid workspaces are known for fostering collaboration, innovation, and community among diverse professionals. People from different backgrounds, industries, cultures, identities, and demographics come together to work, share ideas, and create a dynamic working environment.


Accessibility often has a physical connotation, which is crucial for ensuring safe and harmonious work environments. This includes installing lifts and ramps, widening entrances for wheelchair access, and ensuring that workstations have ample space. Light switches, door handles, bathroom facilities, and parking spaces must be accessible to differently-abled individuals.

However, not all disabilities are visible. Some people may have vision or hearing impairments or learning disabilities. Ivanne Poussier describes “situational disability” as how “accessibility can be considered from both a permanent and temporary point of view.” Ensuring accessibility empowers individuals, making them feel welcomed and supported in their workspaces.


Neurodiversity refers to the different ways people think, act, and behave. About 15-20% of the global population is neurodivergent, including those with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. Encouraging neurodivergent individuals within the workspace enhances diversity and contributes to a richer talent pool, driving overall success.

Hybrid workspaces benefit neurodivergent individuals by offering various workstations that encourage movement, quiet zones, smaller workspaces, and wellness pods. A neurodivergent-friendly environment not only supports these individuals but also fosters a culture of acceptance and innovation.

Cultural Differences

Cultural diversity encompasses race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. Workspaces can embrace cultural diversity through multilingual support, cultural competency workshops, and events celebrating various traditions. Gender-neutral facilities and amenities also create a welcoming environment for all.

Language Inclusivity

One of the key aspects of cultural inclusivity is language support. Offering resources and services in multiple languages ensures that all members can access the same information. Language exchange programs can promote cross-cultural understanding and integration within the shared space, fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Celebrating Cultural Traditions

Hosting events that highlight various cultural celebrations and traditions can foster a sense of respect and belonging. These events not only educate members about different cultures but also provide opportunities for networking and collaboration across diverse groups.

Cultural Competency Workshops

Providing cultural competency workshops allows members to learn about different cultures and develop skills to interact respectfully and effectively with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. These workshops can cover topics such as communication styles, cultural norms, and conflict resolution, enhancing the overall inclusivity of the workspace.

Digital Coworking

Digital tools, including chat apps and communication channels, enable virtual community connections, allowing individuals with physical or mental limitations to participate in coworking environments. Extended hours and quiet periods can accommodate those who need more time to complete tasks. This digital inclusion ensures that all members can engage with the community, regardless of their physical presence.

How Inclusion Benefits Everyone in Hybrid Workspaces

Inclusive spaces enhance productivity and foster a positive environment for all members. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Inclusive Design: Consider the specific needs of all members, including those with physical or invisible disabilities and varying gender identities. Features such as wider entrances, adjustable workstations, and gender-neutral bathrooms create a more welcoming environment.
  2. Infrastructure Support: Provide high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and administrative facilities to support startups, small businesses, and freelancers. These amenities ensure that all members have the resources they need to succeed.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Facilitate interactions among professionals through events, seminars, workshops, and brainstorming sessions. These activities encourage collaboration and the formation of new partnerships, fostering a vibrant professional community.
  4. Reduced Isolation: Combat feelings of exclusion and isolation among freelancers and remote workers by offering a community atmosphere. Shared office spaces provide a sense of belonging and support that can significantly improve mental well-being.
  5. Affordability: Offer cost-effective solutions by charging for the space and time used, appealing to freelancers, startups, and small entrepreneurs. This flexibility makes hybrid workspaces an attractive option for a wide range of professionals.
  6. Mentorship Opportunities: Provide mentorship programs to support industry newcomers or those facing career challenges. Mentorship can help individuals navigate their careers, develop new skills, and build professional networks.
  7. Flexible Working: Accommodate various professional needs with part-time memberships and flexible work arrangements. This flexibility is especially beneficial for working parents, caregivers, and those with diverse schedules.

Creating an Equal and Empowering Environment

Companies can implement inclusive concepts in their work environment through the following strategies:

Cultivate a Welcoming Culture

Make the celebration of differences the foundation of the work culture. This can be done through the use of inclusive policies, training programs, and awareness campaigns that promote respect and empathy. By fostering an environment where everyone feels valued, companies can enhance employee satisfaction and retention.

Ensure Accessibility

Prioritize making locations, amenities, and technologies accessible to all. This includes physical accessibility features, as well as accommodations for those with invisible disabilities. Providing accessible technology and tools ensures that all members can fully participate in the work environment.

Embrace Flexible Work Arrangements

Recognize that diversity extends beyond race and gender. Workspaces should embrace various work arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles and needs. This can include providing options for remote work, flexible schedules, and parental leave policies. Flexibility supports work-life balance and helps attract a diverse workforce.

Address Unconscious Bias

Provide training programs to raise awareness of unconscious bias and encourage fair treatment and decision-making. Educate members about their inherent biases and provide tools to challenge them. This will foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

Encourage Collaboration

Foster creativity and a sense of belonging through networking events and interdisciplinary projects. By bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, workspaces can facilitate the exchange of ideas and perspectives, leading to innovation and growth.

Supportive Policies and Resources

Offer resources and support for underrepresented groups, including mentorship programs and educational initiatives. Providing targeted support can help create a space where everyone feels safe and empowered. This includes mental health resources, professional development opportunities, and advocacy for underrepresented groups.

The Future of Inclusive Workspaces

As the workforce continues to evolve, the importance of inclusion in workspaces will only grow. Here are some trends and strategies to watch for in the future:

Technological Integration

The integration of advanced technologies, such as AI and VR, can enhance the inclusivity of workspaces. AI-driven tools can provide personalized support and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Virtual reality can create immersive environments that simulate physical workspaces, allowing remote workers to engage more fully with their colleagues.

Sustainable Practices

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in hybrid workspaces. Incorporating eco-friendly practices, such as green building designs and energy-efficient technologies, can create a more inclusive environment. Sustainable practices demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility and attract environmentally conscious professionals.

Community Engagement

Building strong connections with the local community can enhance the inclusivity of workspaces. Partnering with local organizations, hosting community events, and supporting local businesses can create a sense of belonging and engagement. Community involvement also provides opportunities for members to give back and make a positive impact.

Health and Wellness Focus

Prioritizing health and wellness is essential for creating inclusive workspaces. Offering wellness programs, such as fitness classes, mental health support, and healthy food options, can improve overall well-being. Creating a healthy work environment supports productivity and helps members thrive both personally and professionally.

Inclusion in professional workspaces is not just a moral choice but also a strategic advantage. By fostering creative collaboration and acceptance, workspaces can help individuals thrive and, in turn, support the success of the organization. Implementing inclusive practices, supporting diversity, and creating welcoming environments will shape the future of work and drive innovation and growth in the professional world.

Ready to elevate your team’s own work experience? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions that blend form with function, crafted for your success and inclusivity.


Embracing Sustainability: Green Innovations in the Workplace

Enhancing Productivity and Well-being Through Eco-Friendly Spaces

The concept of Going Green is not new for business owners. It encompasses practices aimed at making spaces more sustainable for the earth and its inhabitants. The goal is to live harmoniously with Mother Nature, causing minimal to zero harm.

With an increasing societal consciousness about climate change and environmental destruction, many companies are now choosing spaces that align with a fluid design concept, blending seamlessly with an Eco-friendly mindset. The application of this green way of thinking has consistently shown how it elevates our well-being.

For instance, a 2017 study at Harvard University found that design significantly impacts our professional lives. Researchers examined 10 high-performing buildings across five US cities to study the relationship between building conditions and productivity and well-being. It revealed that working in green-certified offices resulted in a 26% boost in cognition and 30% fewer sickness-related absences. Similarly, workspaces built with sustainability in mind have shown similar rates of productivity and overall work wellness.

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it’s crucial for organizational success and the continued preservation of our planet.


What Does Going Green Look Like?

Going green is no longer loosely defined. For spaces to be considered green, they must earn a Green Certification. One of the most renowned organizations globally is LEED: Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design

Eco-consciousness revolves around three fundamental factors: design, construction, and daily operations, all under an environmentally aware umbrella.

Here’s how these factors contribute to environmental sustainability:

  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Eco-conscious office spaces prioritize energy conservation through efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • WASTE REDUCTION: Implementing recycling and composting programs and using sustainable water conservation practices help maintain an Eco-friendly office space.
  • SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS: Using eco-friendly materials like recycled or locally sourced building materials minimizes environmental footprint and promotes responsible resource management.
  • INDOOR AIR QUALITY: Ensuring healthy indoor air quality with proper ventilation systems and non-toxic materials is essential for a comfortable and productive environment.

Now, let’s explore the myriad ways organizations can incorporate sustainable design elements in green coworking spaces. This section focuses on the design and visual elements of going green and how they seamlessly enhance productivity and well-being:

  • NATURAL VENTILATION: Maximizing airflow and reducing reliance on air conditioning by incorporating windows and ventilation for fresh air.
  • OPTIMIZING NATURAL LIGHT: Architectural planning to maximize exposure to natural light, such as using glass partitions and skylights.
  • GREEN ROOFS AND WALLS: Utilizing rooftop gardens or green walls for insulation and improved air quality.
  • FLEXIBLE AND MODULAR FURNITURE: Using furniture made from responsibly sourced materials with modular designs to accommodate changing spatial needs and reduce waste.
  • DAYLIGHT HARVESTING TECHNOLOGY: Systems that adjust lighting based on natural light levels to complement available daylight.


Integrating Nature for Improved Mental Health

Research has shown a direct correlation between environmentally sustainable workspaces and overall mental well-being. Recent studies also highlight the profound connection between a person’s mental health and their exposure to nature. Consequently, many sustainable workspaces are integrating elements of nature into the workplace to positively influence employees.

Here are some ways they’re doing it:

  • BIOPHILIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES: Introducing natural elements like plants and water features into spaces with designs that mimic natural patterns and textures.
  • INDOOR PLANTS AND GREENERY: Strategic placement of indoor plants improves air quality and provides a sense of serenity, along with vertical gardens or living walls.
  • NATURAL LIGHT: Maximizing natural light contributes to a contented workplace.
  • OUTDOOR WORKSPACES: Creating outdoor areas with seating provides a refreshing alternative to indoor settings, often extending to green roofs or rooftop gardens.
  • NATURE-INSPIRED ART AND DECOR: Displaying artwork and decor featuring natural landscapes and earth tones to make the workspace feel less sterile.
  • WATER FEATURES AND SOUNDSCAPES: Incorporating flowing water and nature-inspired sounds evokes a sense of calm and tranquility.
  • RESTORATIVE SPACES: Providing quiet areas for individuals to relax and rejuvenate, with comfortable seating arranged to encourage calm.
  • WALKING PATHS AND GREEN CORRIDORS: Integrating walking paths or green corridors within the workspace layout to blend nature and productivity, encouraging movement and short breaks.


The Benefits to Us and the Planet

Implementing Eco-conscious practices within office spaces yields numerous benefits, falling under three main categories:


  • Reduces carbon footprint.
  • Conserves natural resources.
  • Protects natural ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.


  • Low operating costs due to reduced energy and resource consumption.
  • Increased property values and marketability.
  • Attracts Eco-conscious customers and investors.


  • Enhanced air quality and natural light improve health and mental well-being, leading to increased productivity.
  • Comfortable and aesthetically pleasing workspaces contribute to higher job satisfaction.
  • A sustainability atmosphere fosters a sense of purpose and pride among employees.


The Professional Centre’s Alignment with Green Solutions

Choosing a workspace that operates sustainably is essential for modern businesses. The Professional Centre’s property has earned a Gold Rating in the LEED-EBOM system, which measures operations, improvements, and maintenance to maximize efficacy and minimize environmental impact.

Facilities that achieve such certification excel in areas like Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), and Innovation in Operations.

TPC’s office location is also certified by BOMA BEST to the Gold level, recognizing excellence in energy and environmental management in commercial real estate. This offers our members various green-friendly amenities like electric vehicle charging stations, outdoor areas, and close (connected) walking proximity to an expansive plaza to save on other forms of transportation around Toronto city central.

In our technologically advanced world, it is crucial to find ways to thrive while enhancing the earth’s richness—a responsibility we all share. By working together, we can ensure our planet remains healthy and safe, just as it sustains us. 


Ready to elevate your work experience? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions that blend form with function, crafted for your success and the well-being of our world. 

Embrace the benefits of green spaces that not only contribute to the planet but also enhance your own productivity and mental health—a true win-win scenario.



Designing for Success: Blending Aesthetics with Functionality in Modern Workspaces

How Professional Coworking Has Evolved

For many reasons, the motive behind creating shared workspaces has evolved rapidly over the last few years. Nowadays, it is available everywhere, a sign of modern times. But where did the idea come from?

The concept was first introduced in the 1990s, driven by the desire for more worker collaboration. A brief overview of the evolution of this flexible approach to work goes like this:

  • The first coworking space was founded by hackers in Berlin and was called c-base and/or Hackerspace. The idea was to share space and knowledge to work on coding projects together. They started adding seminars and social events, which made it more mainstream. By the end of 1995, there were Hackerspace’s in San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Brooklyn.
  • The word coworking was first used by Bernard DeKoven, who referred to it as “working together as equals.” Initially, ‘coworking’ referred to collaboration rather than the space itself.
  • One of the earliest examples of what we consider a coworking space today was displayed in 2002 in Austria. “The mother of coworking spaces”, Schraubenfabrik was built in an old factory in Vienna as a so-called entrepreneurial center that sought to have entrepreneurs and creatives work together, and thrive. 
  • Skipping to 2011, the first Coworking Conference was held in Austin, Texas. Larger companies began exploring different options for coworking spaces, with an emphasis on space design and community. 
  • The New York Times wrote about combining coworking with travel in 2015, thus birthing the concept of the ‘surf office’. This idea spread to many freelance workers worldwide, creating space in the workforce for travelling knowledge workers, now known as digital nomads.
  • Coworking began to bloom and expanded. In 2017 WeWork coworking company grew to become one of the most valuable ‘tech’ companies in the world, alongside Uber and Airbnb. 
  • 2020: The global pandemic hit, removing many workers from their permanent offices. Temporary spaces were also affected as public and private gatherings were limited. With an uncertain future head, many companies began considering cutting costs on permanent offices and replacing them with coworking spaces.
  • The coworking space industry’s adaptability flourished as the pandemic’s ongoing challenges were considered, leading to many notable global expansions of spaces by more than 28% in 2021. 
  • A broader shift in the global workforce due to the pandemic exemplified the need for more decentralized work environments and flexible spaces. Today, it is uniquely relevant to have a workplace that is not only focused on productivity but also on many new elements that fulfill the needs of a modern workforce.


Impact on Work Culture: How Design Influences Productivity and Creativity

The question to ask is how and why. How does design influence productivity? Why does great design lead to greater creativity?

The aesthetics of office spaces have proven to have an effect. How your office is set up right now is likely to either curb or encourage your productivity. Style and design affect our mood in ways we are not usually mindful of.

Creating, organizing, and maintaining an office that supports performance, collaboration, and safety is the foundation of good workspace design. Here is a summary of what to consider when selecting office space and how it influences productivity, according to PeopleKeep:

  • Noise: Choosing a new workspace layout means considering the noise level within the space. Some employees prefer background noise, while others do not. If one runs a company where phones are constantly ringing or multimedia content like podcasts and videos are being recorded, a quiet place is likely required for those who prefer silence. 
  • Privacy: Some employees are more productive when in open-plan offices, while others are not. Some feel uneasy about the lack of privacy within partitionless office environments. This can lead to far less productive interactions with their coworkers. According to a recent survey conducted by, 52% of employees favour more traditional private offices, while 28% prefer open-plan offices. Striking a balance between the two is the art of good coworking design with concepts like transparent glass barriers between offices, which create private spaces while feeling open, as well as strategically placed barriers, furniture or plants to create natural privacy. 
  • Flexibility: Giving employees a sense of freedom and flexibility is one of the most surefire ways to boost productivity. You can nurture a workplace environment that prioritizes employee well-being and boosts staff satisfaction by providing adjustable and ergonomic furniture, lighting and temperature control options, and an option of open or private workspace.

Here is the further impact of design on productivity according to Space Matrix:

  • Boosts Creativity: An aesthetically appealing office can stimulate the mind and inspire new ideas; including bright colours, unique artwork, and sleek, modern designs  can encourage employees to think outside the box. Stanza Living is a leader in co-living spaces and has created a startup space with a running ticker that displays real-time milestone achievements in a central location for maximum visibility. This approach no doubt inspires employees. 
  • Enhances Mood: A good or bad mood can make or break a work day. Dull workspaces create a dull mood. An appealing space can uplift employees and increase their energy.  
  • Increases Focus: Distractions are a common workplace problem, reducing productivity and job satisfaction. An aesthetically appealing, uncluttered workspace helps workers stay focused and engaged. Here at The Professional Centre (TPC), we provide a combination of linear and agile workstations, which include open breakout spaces and movable furniture for formal and informal meetings. The various options allow company members to focus on whatever environment suits them best. 
  • Improves Employee Satisfaction: Employee satisfaction is vital for productivity. Positive and engaging environments can be created through smart, inspired design.


The Design Philosophy Behind TPC

The interplay between a space’s design and its functionality is crucial, especially in a workspace. As we’ve touched on before, the demand for coworking spaces—by SMBs, large remote companies, startups, and freelancers—is on the rise. These diverse groups require environments that not only support their work but enhance it, transforming potential friction points into seamless, fluid experiences. Whether it’s the solitary worker who finds solace in silence or the dynamic individual who draws energy from the ambient hum of an open-plan setting, top-tier coworking spaces like ours are designed to cater to every preference.

Here’s a glimpse into how TPC marries efficiency and functionality with an ambiance that’s both sophisticated and inviting:

Features Spotlight: Unique design elements in our spaces

  1. Private Offices
    Thoughtfully considered details are at the core of the private suites. Style, space, and privacy have been shown to enhance productivity. Natural light, along with state-of-the-art technical equipment and ergonomic, comfortable seating. While renting the private offices, the clients are privileged to on-demand services and use of amenities, including meeting rooms, collaboration zones, and a spacious business longue, all infused with flexible accommodations. All executive suites can be customized to suit a client’s unique requirements.
  2. Meeting Rooms
    Like private offices, there is an assortment of meeting room options, ranging from various quantities of seating, display options, table shapes, and room sizes. Prices will vary, with available wifi, natural light, whiteboards, flip charts, and a 50-inch TV monitor available, depending upon the selection.
  3. On-Demand Offices
    On-demand offices are offered on a pay-as-you-need basis that aids freelance workers and companies in escaping from working from home without a long-term commitment. Days or weeks can be booked, with fully furnished rooms, accommodations like fully stocked kitchens, and a professional on-site staff that can aid in administrative and technical support.
  4. Virtual Offices
    The benefits of TPC can still be enjoyed by booking virtual offices. Those who work remotely or run an online business can use the Downton Toronto mailing address and professional telephone searches. These services include a 416 number and voicemail, personalized telephone answer, after-hours answering services, and transfer of calls to a remote number.


Looking Forward: The Next Wave of Design Innovations in Coworking Spaces

The horizon for design innovation within coworking spaces is not only bright but perpetually dynamic. These advancements are inextricably linked to the pioneering efforts of architects and interior designers, who are at the forefront of creating environments that seamlessly marry comfort with productivity. 

The emphasis is increasingly on incorporating ergonomic furniture, optimizing lighting, managing noise levels, and curating aesthetically appealing spaces. Here are several forward-thinking strategies employed to infuse modern design elements into collaborative workspaces:

  1. Embracing Nature: The tranquillity nature brings to the mind is undeniable, significantly boosting long-term productivity. Introducing elements like indoor plants, fresh flowers, or serene water features can create an atmosphere that not only soothes but also enhances a brand’s overall vibe.
  2. Strategic Color Use: The psychological impact of colours on mood is well-documented, making colour strategy essential in workspace design. Employing colours that inspire — such as the calming influence of blue to foster concentration, or the energizing effect of yellow to spur creativity — can transform the work environment.
  3. Incorporating Art: Art has the power to personalize and deinstitutionalize a workspace, making it feel more inviting and less mechanical. Opting for art that aligns with the company’s culture and values — be it through vibrant murals, inspiring sculptures, or thought-provoking paintings — adds depth and character.
  4. Innovative Lighting Solutions: Lighting’s impact on mood and productivity cannot be overstated. Investing in a mix of bright and soft lighting that harmonizes with both the natural and built environment of the workspace is crucial. The right lighting strategy can significantly uplift an employee’s mood and, by extension, enhance their productivity levels.

These design innovations represent just the beginning. They underscore a commitment to not only meet the evolving needs of coworking members but also exceed them, setting new standards for what a productive, comfortable, and inspiring workspace can be.

Professional coworking has undergone a remarkable evolution, proving that spaces designed with both beauty and practicality in mind are essential for inspiring innovation and fostering community. So, as we embrace this new era of workplace design, let’s commit to creating environments that empower, engage, and elevate us all.

Ready to elevate your workday? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions that blend form with function, crafted for your success.

Coworking Community Building: A Blueprint for Professional Collaboration and Networking in 2024

Unveiling Innovative Strategies for Nurturing Dynamic Workplace Communities

There is a reason that coworking spaces continue to focus more and more on the community element. Community is in many ways, vital to the success of a workplace space. There are many ways in which this has been shown, where individuals contributing to a work task not only thrive within the company as a whole but also within their own goals. Here are some of the most obvious benefits:

  • Networking Opportunities: Coworking spaces bring different professionals together, all of whom are a small portion of diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and industries. These spaces allow people to meet others with different interests and skills, thus expanding the potential for professional relationships. They can also connect with others who can provide assistance and advice. Learning from each other is a key benefit to operating within a community-driven space. 
  • Support Systems: Everyone needs a support system to encourage them through tough times, and that includes within the professional realm. Support systems within coworking spaces can create a sense of belonging, especially with like-minded people who are pursuing similar goals. 
  • Community Events: Often hosting community events that enhance networking opportunities. These events help freelance and independent professionals connect, learn, and grow from others who are similar or even dissimilar from themselves. Social events create a sense of belonging and are good for those who are used to working alone, curating a fun, enjoyable environment. 
  • Collaboration: There is a plethora of opportunities for collaboration, whether it be formally, or informally collaboration leads to new ideas and even newer possible business opportunities. Various fields can combine their differing skills and create fresh ideas that may not have existed outside the coworking community zone. 
  • Flexibility: Coworking spaces, compared to traditional office spaces, allow much more flexibility concerning when, how, and where individuals work. Flexibility is beneficial for those working a non-traditional job or schedule. This makes for an appealing option for growing businesses or small teams. 

Based on historical data from 2018 through 2022, the total number of coworking spaces is set to reach nearly 42,000 worldwide by the end of 2024. The coworking industry is flourishing, but the ones that stick around place a sense of community at the top of their list. 


Innovative Strategies: Workshops, Networking Events, and Collaborative Projects

There are many ways that a member company can begin growing its individualized sense of community within a flexible shared workspace. But you might not know exactly where to start, outside finding a space that is intuitively collaborative, so here are some tips: 

  1. Introduce New Members: Send out welcoming packets, plan introductory coffee sessions, create a buddy system with a seasoned member for a week, or create a community wall where new members’ photos and a short bio are displayed. Remember, some people take a bit to open up, while some are outgoing from the get-go. Be patient, and offer a multitude of welcoming gestures that make each individual feel uniquely appreciated and comfortable.
  2. Organize Events: Planning events like workshops, yoga sessions, and Friday night music jams is an additional step in drawing members together. Flexible Workspaces often offer to manage several of these events for member companies and you can also host your own events within the space dedicated to your team privately. Best of all the space can usually help you manage your own private events so ask! 
  3. Share Brand Stories: Every brand has a unique origin story—share yours with both your new staff and your extended workspace member community, inviting them into your world. Tactical examples include hosting brand-themed storytelling events becoming the community host, or initiating the building of an interactive visual narrative for all members on a dedicated wall in the space.
  4. Connect People: Match together people who you think can create magic together tapping into the broader talent pool from other member companies. Use coffee breaks, lunches, or even during a networking event to introduce an individual who you think could benefit from the introduction. Of course, this is also a benefit you can personally enjoy. Use access to the member directly to full advantage in order to discover natural alliances, sales opportunities, partnerships or friendships. 
  5. Balance Needs and Expectations: People are inherently different. Companies are figuring out that key differences between workers mean that the management style and approach toward maintaining a healthy work environment is going to differ from person to person. That is what makes coworking spaces so valuable; their flexibility with environment, amenities, recreation, lighting, climate control, and ergonomic comfort. For your own company also stay flexible and avoid applying a one-size-fits-all approach to leverage the space to your company’s advantage. 


Future Trends: Predictions for Coworking Communities

The future of coworking looks exceedingly bright. Here are a few predictions for 2024 and beyond, according to workplace solutions:

  1. Go Green, Stay Green: Sustainability isn’t just a trend anymore; it is the way of the future, as is the addition of wellness initiatives. Mediation rooms, fitness corners, and access to nearby parks will become the norm, along with composting facilities, solar panels, and rainwater harvesting.
  2. Hospitality Hubs: Providing up-to-date amenities has already proven to enhance worker satisfaction, and premium coworking spaces are going to continue to innovate, leading the industry. Gourmet coffee and tea, artisanal snacks, onsite gyms with fitness classes, childcare, and even pet-friendly zones are becoming more common.
  3. AI Presence, but not Takeover: Technology will continue to advance, with automated booking systems and AI-powered meeting assistants that take notes while humans brainstorm. That being said a human, genuine connection continues to be wanted and needed.
  4. No More Niche: A one-size-fits-all approach is gone. Coworking spaces are more than willing to tailor to specific industries, like fashion designers who need on-site garment racks, or music producers who need soundproof recording studios. 
  5. Creativity Soars: Vibrant coworking spaces are now being curated to aid in enhancing creativity. This means capturing client’s attention and imagination – think in-house chefs, pop-up art galleries, and rooftop yoga!
  6. Flexibility First: As we have seen, flexibility is the way of the future when it comes to shared workspace. The pandemic was the catylist and we work is forever changed. Flexible design for a modern hybrid workforce will only continue to thrive.
  7. Tech Up: Spaces continue to invest in cutting-edge, like temperature sensors that adjust automatically, noise-canceling booths for those who need more focus, and even AR/VR waiting rooms to entertain members and their guests. Holograms are no longer science-fiction and have become science-fact.


The Professional Centre’s Approach: Tailoring Community-Building to Professionals

Unlike a traditional office space, which was often closed off with limited interaction between workers, The Professional Centre is designed with a mix of sophisticated private and open layouts for maximum customization and access to a suite of amenities. Sophisticated suites with natural sunlight and varying options in workspaces. A summary of the spaces we offer, as well as the amenities that contribute to the sense of community, are as follows:

  • Private Offices: While prioritizing privacy, access to private offices for solo work also includes tastefully sleek and designed meeting rooms and collaboration zones. 
  • Meeting Rooms: Inspiring meeting rooms that range in various sizes, all with a dynamic setup designed with collaboration and relationship building in mind. Sleek and modernly ergonomic furniture creates a soft and welcoming ambiance that accommodates working styles. 
  • Enterprise Offices: Entire offices can be booked and tailored to specific company needs, all with community and collaboration in mind. Pick from three separate options that blend private offices with transparent dividers, coworking spaces, executer window offices, and optimally open meeting rooms. 
  • On-Demand Offices: On-demand offices at TPC offer the flexibility previously mentioned that enhances the notion of community and collaboration. Pay-as-you-need offices release the stress of permanent office maintenance, whether it is required for a day, a week, or even a month. 
  • Community Amenities & Concierge Support: From a fully stocked up and snacked-out kitchen, to quiet meditation or prayer spaces, to spacious lounges, to an experienced technical and administrative team, TPC acts as a muse for businesses looking to enhance their sense of community. 


Here are a few success stories and testimonials from companies who have found The Professional Centre’s community coworking space to be conducive to their company mandate:

“It’s a complete turnkey solution. The Professional Centre provides everything that we need to run our office and also gives us access to the kind of equipment that we could never afford to have on our own.”
Stephen Griggs, Executive Director – Canadian Coalition for Good Governance

“Whether it is the phone answering service that creates the presence of Iomega as a credible entity to its customers; the professional administrative support that is provided on an ongoing basis, or the tastefully designed and well-provisioned boardrooms, which have been instrumental in cementing contracts and relationships — all contribute to a truly professional atmosphere and pleasurable working environment.” Wally Schmidt, Manager – Canada Iomega

“Nikki and the team at The Professional Centre have been incredible in helping us get our Toronto team started. The tenure of her support team and their expertise has helped us win both clients and hire the best senior individuals. The fact that The Professional Centre also has a very long tenure of tenants/clients shows that the level and quality of service has remained high for many years.”
Sheldon North, Corporate Affairs – BGC Engineering Inc.

Located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown financial district, The Professional Centre (TPC), is committed to aligning with evolving work dynamics with high performance professionals.  Take advantage of our location to lower your operational costs while enjoying the vibrancy of a community that thrives on innovation and collaboration. 

Explore TPC’s flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions here. 

Balancing Work and Wellness

Integrating Wellness into the Modern Workspace

Many people spend most of their day at work, meaning that the workplace significantly impacts their physical and mental health. If the environment is unhealthy, it can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. This is often due to poor management, outdated policies, and damaging work culture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment. They can also promote individual health and wellness. Unhealthy work environments can cause absenteeism, job dissatisfaction, and poor performance. A toxic workplace can reduce productivity by up to 40% and has a 50% higher turnover rate than a healthy workspace

A survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 25% of employees feel undervalued, and 50% are unsatisfied with their job. 41% of employees experience adverse health effects due to workplace stress, leading to burnout and other psychological issues. A survey by Comparably found that 71% of employees who worked in a hostile environment reported being less productive. The Professional Centre is committed to creating a healthy work environment. Our health-focused features help individuals balance work and wellness. A supportive and healthy workplace leads to happier, healthier, and more productive employees.

It is then incredibly vital that workplaces integrative wellness programs that support their employees and thus encourage enhancement in work performance and positive workplace culture overall. The key to transforming a toxic work environment into one that is wellness-centred is identifying the common signs that managers and bosses can easily observe, according to Michaela Luyt:

  • High levels of stress among employees 
  • Increased absenteeism and turnover rates 
  • Low employee morale and job satisfaction 
  • Unhealthy competition among employees 
  • Poor communication between employees and management 
  • Lack of recognition and appreciation for employees’ efforts and achievements 
  • Micromanagement and lack of trust in employees 
  • Discrimination and harassment 

The next step in applying change is to address the various problems and to create encouraging and helpful new policies. The rest of this article will explore how wellness-focused programs and initiatives prioritize their workers and thus cultivate an environment rich in opportunities rather than limitations. We will also examine how the Professional Centre nurtures this incentive within their coworking spaces. 


Wellness at Work: Health-focused amenities and programs at The Professional Centre

A healthy worker is a productive worker. The Professional Centre knows that and works hard to fulfill the needs of the workers who have rented their spaces full-time, part-time, within a meeting room, and even on demand. Their reputation thrives on professionalism and human response to fundamental human needs while being profoundly aware that their offices act as the fertile ground for success. The Professional Centre believes it is crucial to reduce overall stress, which encourages the workers to be accessible to apply their form of creativity and productivity and, thus, increases profitability. Here are some of the amenities freelancers or small companies can look forward to when renting at TPC:



A smooth application of workplace technology will help workers get work done. The fastest internet, hardware upgrades, wireless charging, and access to knowledgeable and practical IT support are the best ways to ensure that. Choice and flexibility are essential for modern workers—millennials and Gen Z benefit most from a tech-forward workplace. 



A survey done in 2016 called The Deloitte Millennial revealed that millennials expect their work to focus less on profits and more on purpose. Workspaces tailored to have a low effect on the environment in general and high social impact are generally more favoured. A sustainability program is a great way to enhance a worker’s desire for something meaningful, enhancing their work consciousness and productivity. 


Accessible Food Options

According to Nielsen research, Gen Z and the millennials prioritize healthy foods within the workplace more than any other region. A variety of food options and amenities to help prepare sed food will aid the workers in keeping in good health and good spirits. 


Purpose Driven Events

The modern worker values meaningful work, whereas older generations were more likely to apply the keep-your-head-down-and-get-home thinking. A purpose-driven workplace will positively impact the employee-worker experience and their sense of satisfaction. LinkedIn’s Purpose at Work Global Report stated that 73% of purpose-driven professionals are satisfied with their jobs.


Wellness Initiatives 

Applying wellness programs and initiatives is an integrative approach to overall workplace health. Some examples of this interaction are weight management programs, medical screening, health education, coaching, and more. The following section will dive deeper into the holistic approach of initiatives. 


Holistic Approach: Physical, mental, and emotional wellness initiatives

Essentially, instituting a wellness initiative integrates a company’s employees’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Employers are now aware that there are more problems for an employee to deal with outside of physical limitations, like financial strain, mental health problems, and relationship issues. The holistic approach doesn’t necessarily seek to remedy all of these issues within the workplace but is applied with the awareness that if a worker is well, they will perform well.

Here are some examples of employee wellness programs that have successfully boosted employee satisfaction and well-being:

  • Flexible Work Hours: Everyone has something going on in their lives, whether it’s parenthood, a sick parent, debt payment problems, etc. Younger companies have realized that the old 40-hour workweek isn’t the standard anymore, as it is no longer sustainable. Accepting flexible working hours allows employees to work around their lives so they are not exhausted. It makes more sense statistically that a calm and collected worker will be more productive than one who is not. Raytheon, a defence contractor and cybersecurity company, recognized their employees were concerned about work-life balance. They began to apply the modified workweek, allowing their workers to work hours that fit their schedules. 
  • Remote Working Arrangements: Most organizations have some roles that can be handled remotely. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that remote work can be successful, and it is because of this that various studies observed high employee happiness rates. People are less likely to spread illness at work or miss work due to bad weather. That means less stress, and we know now that less stress means more productivity from the workers. Anthem, a health insurance company, has a long-standing remote work program. They have found that remote work attracts and retains the most consistent and quality workers. 
  • Financial Education: Financial stress is a burden and a very common one. Providing financial education helps ease this stress. This will aid people of all ages as they learn to budget and plan for retirement. Wegmans is a US-based east-coast supermarket chain that offers assistance programs that help plan for dependent and elder care costs. 
  • Give Autonomy: Giving employees decision-making power empowers them and encourages critical thinking. Staff being trained on how to take initiative will continue to do so and, thus, enhance the experience at work. The Ritz-Carlton allows team members the authority to spend up to 2,000 dollars per guest to resolve customer problems. This will empower them to continue making self-directed decisions within the job. 
  • Require Work-Life Balance: Workers obsessed with work are less beneficial than they once more. Skipping lunch, fogging vacations, and not taking breaks are bad habits and can quickly brew resentment against employers. Making work-life balance a priority lets workers know that they have value outside the office—guilting them to have a life outside of work will always backfire. Complete Contact, an app developer, has an unlimited vacation policy and encourages workers to take time off when needed. They are so dedicated to helping a work-life balance flourish that they offer a $7,500 bonus for taking time away from work.
  • Celebrate Employee’s Successes: Meeting a company’s goals should be a cause for celebration. Acknowledging achievement will incentivize workers to work harder on the next project. No acknowledgment will do the opposite. Celebrations can be parities, local outings, monthly newsletters shout-outs, or press releases. Cisco has a fun fund, where money is allotted for parties and other activities in the name of positive milestones. 
  • Offer on-site Fitness Accommodations: Let’s face it, the gym is expensive. So are weights and other machines. Companies in the past would offer discounts at local gyms, but this was only problem moderately successful because most employees had a membership. Offering gym amenities on-site will encourage physical fitness, which aids in decreasing stress and enhances general physical wellness. Give employees time during work hours with policies where they can work out during the day rather than driving somewhere else after work. Finish Line, the athletic apparel retailer, offers an onsite gym, some even with a basketball court.
  • Add Collaborative Workspaces: The act of working in close physical proximity to others has been proven to foster engagement and creativity. Allowing a team space to move out of their isolated cubicles to work in an open space and changing their surroundings is suitable for their mental health. Giving options helps, as some workers need to work better in collaborative spaces; the choice is vital. Citibank has started using collaborative workspaces, as does Google, when working on shared tasks. 
  • De-Stress Activities: Reducing stress means finding a way to release that dress healthily. Classes in yoga, meditation, tai chi, and even deep breathing are ways to boost engagement and reduce stress all at once within the workplace. Hopefully, the work environment doesn’t stress out the employees, but some parts of their lives are likely stressful. Prioritizing mindfulness and these de-stressing techniques shows employees that their company cares—Wegman’s offers on-site health and wellness screenings and customized yoga plans that are available to all members. 
  • Parent Coaching and Support: Parenting is stressful. Offering parent coaching keeps employees happy in their home lives, which will make them more engaged and content within the workplace. Culture Amp has an ERG camp called Camp Carebears, which empowers employees with caregiving responsibilities. 


Future of Wellness: Expanding Health Initiatives in Coworking Spaces

The future wellness resides within the coworking spaces as hybrid and completely remote companies seek out spaces for their workers to collaborate. Taking care of your mental and physical health is becoming more accessible as companies, including coworking spaces, prioritize the well-being of people renting their spaces. The global wellness market is worth over $4.5 trillion, according to Optix. 

While permanent offices and workspaces may offer onsite amenities, so do your coworking spaces. These spaces, such as The Professional Centre, will either incorporate elements of health and wellness into their offerings or at an additional cost. Here are some examples of some of the most popular coworking amenities that are offered within these spaces:

Incorporated offerings in the space (included as part of a membership and incorporated into the cost)

  • Standing desks
  • Lots of natural light
  • Air-filtering plants
  • Filtered water on tap
  • Alpha wave soundtracks or soothing music
  • Complimentary healthy food and drinks

Wellness offerings are available at an additional cost

  • Morning yoga or fitness classes
  • Registered massage therapist on-site
  • Mental health counselling on-site
  • Infrared sauna booking is available
  • Health and wellness-focused events
  • Smoothie bar or vegan café on-site

Creating a wellness-focused workspace is a business-savvy choice, whether you are in a coworking space or a full-time office. There are several ways that business owners and entrepreneurs can benefit from choosing a wellness model: 

  1. Differentiate yourself from other spaces
  2. Develop a community of like-minded individuals who share similar values
  3. Create additional revenue streams with add-on amenities
  4. Charge a premium for pricing of incorporated offerings
  5. Create a space that is on-trend and in-demand
  6. Improve member retention

Centering wellness within the workplace is a modern approach, but it has been proven to be maximally beneficial to both employers and employees alike. According to Gitnux, companies with workplace wellness programs report a 66% productivity increase, a 67% increase in employee satisfaction, a 63% increase in financial stability, and a 50% decrease in absenteeism. The choice, then, seems obvious. 

Located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown financial district, The Professional Centre (TPC), is committed to aligning evolving work dynamics with high performance teams and professionals.  Become a member at TPC to increase employee performance, wellness and satisfaction while enjoying the vibrancy of a community that thrives on innovation and collaboration. Explore TPC’s holistically designed and flexible workspace solutions here. 


Bridging Minds: Navigating Mental Health in a Digitally Evolved Workplace

The Interplay of Mental Health, Public Speaking Fears, and New Work Dynamics in the Post-Pandemic Era

In March of 2020, the entire world was put on pause. Something unprecedented happened, and we were all forced to move into our homes 24/7 due to a worldwide health emergency. It was a source of great anxiety due to job uncertainty, anticipatory grief, and increased depressive episodes. Even before the pandemic hit, at least 500,000 Canadians were missing work due to mental illness each week, and it was the leading cause of disability in the country. 

The prevalence of the two most common mental health issues (anxiety and depression) continues as of 2023. Specific populations felt the sting more, such as those experiencing job loss, who reported symptoms of anxiety/depression at a 53% increase. An unpredictable future brought on a new wave of mental health issues, for both adults and children alike. The COVID-19 sickness and accompanying strains also gave people psychological symptoms, such as brain fog, anxiety, and depression, and are on rare occasions, seizures and suicidal behaviour. This also goes for long-term health complications from COVID-19 (long COVID) and post-traumatic symptoms of dealing with COVID-19 in hospital settings. 

With mental health issues having steadily risen since 2020, the workforce continues to be altered and affected we are left with one crucial question: what now? And what kind of impact will these mental health issues have on the workplace?

It is vital now to realize that when it comes to the workplace and mental health during the pandemic, everyone carries a heavy burden of personal memories associated with it. It is an aspect of a worker’s life that can no longer be ignored. All organizations must approach a mental health policy with empathy, flexibility, and support. New mental health challenges compounded by the turmoil of COVID-19 have “rewritten the rules about how, where, and when we work” writes Christina McCarthy, executive director at One Mind at Work in a recent Medium article. “There can be no “back to normal” that disregards employee mental health.”

What that will look like for each industry and organization depends upon many factors. Experts encourage companies, whether remote, entirely in the office, or a hybrid of the two, to embrace the challenges that life after COVID will present. Start with mental health initiatives and open a dialogue with your workers, allowing them to feel more comfortable expressing themselves when anxiety and depression arise.

And, all of these post-pandemic anxiety and mental health issues will connect to one of the most common fears worldwide: the fear of public speaking. 

Many jobs will ask you to present information and/or findings, whether it be in person or over Zoom. For many people, being the sole person speaking and presenting ideas is a massive source of anxiety. A study posted in September of 2023 in fact, stated that around 15 million people deal with glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. 75% of the population of the United States has some kind of fear of public speaking, which means that nearly 200 million people in the US feel nervous when speaking in front of others.  And those with social anxiety, which is 89.4$ of the population, report some kind of fear of public speaking. 

These numbers are relatively high, and it is safe to hypothesize that one of the most common fears in the world increased due to the pandemic. Not only do most workers have new expectations about remote vs. in-person work and have adopted a different work-life balance, but they have also experienced acute mental and behavioural problems. Employers simply have no choice but to respond with empathy, thus altering decades of stigma.

Before 2020, public speaking skills were largely centered around the physical elements of delivery–maintaining eye contact with your audience, taking up space on the stage, and adapting your content in accordance with the response of the listeners. The physical space became, quite literally, virtually stolen away from us once the pandemic hit.  We could no longer physically reply to the cues of those listening to us. We were forced to adapt to a world of meetings that were virtual; the entire landscape of public speaking changed right before our eyes. 

Now, three years later, we find ourselves having to do presentations physically once again, or, continuing to adjust to a more hybrid working lifestyle, where presentations are continuously done through Zoom or other online platforms. Having to return to work in person has caused an increase in social anxiety for many people, some of whom had the disorder before the pandemic, and many of whom did not. 

Let’s talk about the difference between in-person presentations and Zoom presentations. As we have stated, and you likely know personally yourself, being able to present information from the comfort of your own home, versus needing to do it in front of people in person is vastly different. Let’s explore the ways that each can manifest in presentation anxiety.


Zoom Performance Anxiety: A Modern Anxiety Problem

According to Eleni Kelakos, who wrote an article about the growing commonality of Zoom Performance Anxiety (ZPA), several presentations and executive presence leadership coaching clients, old and new, confessed to the off-putting fear of speaking while using online platforms like Zoom. Most clients will say that they experience ZPA when they are given virtual training and featured as the main speaker. They also say that they are hit with anxiety like a ton of bricks when they are asked to unmute themselves to answer a question. All eyes, virtually, are on them; they tend to freeze in the face of it; shutting down emotionally and physically.

All of this makes sense, because Zoom, and communicating virtually, isn’t very natural. Think about it, remember it—most of us have had an experience where technology goes awry while adjusting to communication through a screen or felt strange about speaking to a collection of thumbnail faces, all silent in their responses and challenging to read, any body language. We typically sit at our desks, kitchen tables, and beds, shoo away our children or pets, and try to interact with people who aren’t in the room. That can sound off-putting, even to the most confident person you have ever known. 

So, if you are someone who works from home, or occasionally works from home and still has to do presentations via Zoom, here are five ways you can beat your Zoom Performance Anxiety: 

  1. Get Loose: It’s easy to get self-conscious when the camera is on us. And our bodies are more likely to freeze up once we become aware of ourselves being looked at in a way, that as we said before, isn’t natural. It takes work to communicate in a body that is shut down, so you must ensure your body is relaxed before you even begin. Try playing music, dancing around, doing yoga, or stretching. Shake your arms and hands, roll your head around your neck, and tense and release your feet, hands, and hips. Once this is finished, commit to staying loose through the session—some things you can do that are out of the camera frame are tensing and releasing your feet, and gently rotating your hips.
  2. Use your Breath to Stay Centered: Your breath is the primary tool to keep your mind from worrying. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to keep yourself centered, through the simple act of breathing. You can start before the Zoom call, after loosening up your body, by closing your eyes and watching (mentally) your belly rise and fall. Mentally, or even aloud, say, ‘breathe in, breathe out.’ Do this until you feel settled. You can also do this during the Zoom call, by pausing and taking a deep breath. 
  3. The Camera is Your Friend: We feel that whatever we say or do is being overly analyzed when we speak into a camera, in a very robotic way. To counter this, practice when you aren’t on a call, and look into the camera; not at the screen where you can see yourself, but at the camera itself. Talking to it, like it is your best friend. If you talk to the camera as if it is one person, the entire audience will feel intimate, and at home with your presentation. The more you practice, the more comfortable you are going to become.
  4. Invite Active Interaction: This may feel counterproductive, but try it out for one session. Encourage people to stay unmuted and visible. That makes it feel more like an in-person conversation. Break down the fourth wall of the screen by keeping people talking, so you don’t feel like you’re talking to yourself the whole time. 
  5. Let go Of the Need to Be Perfect: Many anxious people think they must be perfect, especially when presenting. It is nearly an impossible task to be utterly flawless in every single thing that we do. So, if you want less performance anxiety, know it will be easier to let go of trying to be perfect. It is always going to be a little strange. It feels different, because it is, different. The more authentic you are, the more people are likely to listen.


Now, let’s talk about improving your public speaking in person after years of doing it over Zoom. It is an extreme change, so give yourself some wiggle room. Employers will likely know about your fears, as most, if not all, will feel it as they adjust to an in-person setting (or a hybrid version of it). Stay open and honest with them about it, and you will surely start to feel better about your new reality:

  1. Shift your Mindset: The way that we think is going to affect how we feel. That is a proven, scientific fact. Thoughts about how terrible you feel about the presentation, and how uncomfortable you are, will only snowball the anxious feeling. Try to replace these thoughts with more positive affirmations, like “I know what I’m talking about,” “I’m more capable than I think,” etc. Physical power poses in conjunction with this self-talk have proven effects as well.  (A power pose is a certain stance that athletes and professional presenters take that changes one’s body chemistry, inhibits cortisol, the stress hormone, and releases testosterone, which increases confidence.) 
  2. Practice Positive Visualization: Visualization is a mindfulness method of seeing the entire presentation going well from start to finish. See yourself entering the room with confidence, taking some time to pause before you start speaking, greeting your audience with firm handshakes, warm eyes, and smiles, and speaking with articulation and passion. When you visualize how things should go in your mind, you are setting up a neural network in your brain that will trigger the moment you step into the situation physically. Practice settling your nerves with deep breathing as you imagine the situation. Then, you can easily apply it when you have to do the real thing. 
  3. Take up Space: Get your body feeling confident if you feel small and subdued. There’s a part of your brain called Broca’s area that helps formulate speech and lights up when you use gestures. So start freeing your body, and you will encourage your brain to think of the right words. You can try holding your hands at the start near your navel, rather than by your sides; this will allow the gestures to flow more freely and naturally from the outset. 
  4. Read the Room: Reading the room is easier in person than over Zoom. You can see people’s body language when you are in the room, and it can help build rapport. Apply active listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and responding with enthusiasm and curiosity. This will show that you care, and if you show you care, they will show they care about you.
  5. Record Yourself Speaking: Practicing for a speech will help you get into the rhythm easier than if you don’t practice. Practice aloud, and stick to a timeframe. Watch yourself back if you can, so you can see the reality of how you look, rather than how you perceive how you look. This may mean slowing down, moving around more, or taking more pauses when you need to. 


The bottom line is that mental health needs are at an all-time high, and there are good reasons for that. Don’t feel alone in your suffering or anxiety about presentations; make it known, and expect more from your employers. Your mental health deserves it!

At The Professional Centre (TPC), we prioritize creating an environment where mental health is acknowledged and nurtured. Our facilities are equipped with serene mindfulness zones and state-of-the-art digital communication tools to ease the anxiety around public speaking and foster mental well-being.

Nestled in the bustling downtown Toronto core, TPC offers a sanctuary for professionals to tackle the challenges posed by the digital evolution of the workplace. With the provision to avail tax deductions on rental fees, we provide a financially viable solution for companies and self-employed professionals alike.

Is the digital anxiety of the modern workplace affecting you or your team? Explore our holistic workspace solutions designed to navigate the interplay of mental health and new work dynamics, offering a sanctuary for growth, connection, and overcoming public speaking fears in this digitally evolved era.

Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions.


Hybrid Horizons – Exploring Fluid Work Dynamics

Merging the Conventional Office Sphere with Remote Work

The presence of COVID has in one way or another changed everyone’s lives. The concept of the traditional work environment was flipped on its head, exchanged for a delicate balance between what became colloquially known as the hybrid work model. This means that there aren’t many big enterprises that apply a single model anymore. While some companies continue to thrive under complete remote work after migrating there during the pandemic, you will have difficulty finding an organization that once worked exclusively under an office setting pre-COVID that has fully returned as of 2023. 

The monthly online Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes reported that less than 5% of days were worked at home before the pandemic, rising to a high watermark on May 1, 2020, with fully 61.5% of full-paid working days worked at home, then a decline to 37% by the end of the year and 29.5% by August 2022, holding steady since. There have been changes to work dynamics and culture ever since COVID hit, making both employers and employees reconsider the financial climate around keeping workers remote, moving back to the office, or finding a way to fuse both in harmony. 

The only option left really, is the blending of the two. A workforce where some higher-ups come onto campus a certain amount of days a week, others fewer days a week, while some stay completely remote, means that both a virtual and in-person approach must be applied. Businesses have to adapt to the concept of the physical space as well, which will sometimes host a certain amount of workers, and will sometimes host more for weekly, even monthly meetings. These spaces have to be fluid, adaptable, and cost-effective.

If you are wondering what kind of hybrid options would best suit your operating scheme for your business, you are in the right place. According to Tango Analytics, Let’s review the various forms of the most popular and trending workspace models.


First, all hybrid workplaces will have virtual and in-person options. But there are various ways in which your business can structure that. You may want greater control over how your space gets used to optimize use and/or flexibility to maintain employee satisfaction. That again, depends upon your company, the number of people you have employed, and your work-from-home policy. Make sure you always have enough support of space whether the demand is one single number or it flutters throughout time. All of these differences are defined within the boundaries of either a fixed or flexible hybrid mode:



A fixed model of the hybrid model is where you decide who works remotely and when. Your virtual employees may have a schedule for when they work remotely, and when they may need to come into an office setting. There also may be workers who are always on-site. This is more common for companies where roles aren’t able to be delegated to a work-from-home setting, or the workforce is more evenly distributed.


A flexible hybrid work environment gives employees more control over their own setting. They may have a number of days to work remotely each week or month, or they have complete freedom to decide what days they come in. It is possible too that they don’t come in at all, due to their own choices. Workers can also set their own hours. This level of work involves quite an amount of variance, as each day will be different in relation to the number of people present in the office.

So now since you know what model you are personally working with it is time to see what options are available as a flexible office workspace. We will dive deep into the various definitions and the physical aesthetics of said workplace, to allow you to explore the options that will be best suited for a free-flowing and conducive environment for productive working.


Flexible Workspace Options and Definitions

You have encountered various words and definitions if you have researched flexible office spaces. Some may sound confusing at first, and oddly similar, but we are here to lay them out for you. First of all, there are three general definitions of the flexible off spaces that each set of aesthetically defined areas will fall under: 

  1. Coworking Office Centre: This option offers a creative and collaborative atmosphere. It usually has an open workspace with well-distributed desks, where each desk or group of desks is rented to its own business. Flex work centers can also offer a lounge area and access to meeting rooms and private office spaces, giving employees privacy and autonomy.
  2. Serviced Office Centre: This space has open-plan workstations and break areas, but most of the space is usually used as individual offices, meeting rooms, and boardrooms. A serviced office also includes a reception team, support services, and IT, which makes it attractive to companies looking for seamless workplace management without having to commit to renting a permanent space.
  3. The Shared Office: This space offers a shared arrangement, where one company rents out its spare desks and offices to other companies, who will benefit from the optics of having a commercial office address. This is the most affordable office center because you only pay a portion of the rent. It is also ideal for businesses needing space to set up and work in a professional-looking environment.


Now, here are the specific individual workstations that fall under the umbrella of the previously explored workspaces:

—Dedicated Desk: This is a workspace that is just for you. If it is an open area, you will share the common areas with other members, but the desk and chair are exclusively for you. It will also usually come with a lockable cabinet you can use throughout the day and the amount of time dedicated to that specific workspace. This will make the desk a bit more expensive than a hot desk.

—Hot Desk: A hot desk is similar to a fixed desk, except you don’t have an assigned workstation. When you rent one of these or a group of desks in an open space, that space can change daily. You will always have a space to sit and do your work, continuing to use the on-site amenities like the meeting rooms, the kitchen, and break areas. Your area will change daily, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

—Private Office: This office is exactly the opposite of the one described above. A private office can range from a single room/office to an entire floor of multiple offices, depending on your needs. It is lockable, and only you as the renter can access it. Private office space is great for confidentiality and security. You can include additional services like mail handling, phone answering, and other administrative support should it be a requirement for your organization.

—Virtual Office: A virtual office provides business support and a reputable address without needing a physical office space. These are great for small businesses needing an address at a cost-effective price. They also work for businesses expanding into new markets, as the address can help build trust with locals.

Now that you know the difference between the definitions of various workspaces, let’s talk about the physical elements of each area and how/who it would benefit most without your company. 


Flexible Workspace Designs

Shared Resources: Shared resources have the greatest impact on satisfaction within these office spaces. The resources may include fully stocked cafes, comfortable lounges, and open areas where employees can stretch and move around. Regardless of who works where, everyone must be able to have access to them. 

—Breakout Spaces: The collaborative nature of these flexible offices is intentional, but despite that, employees still need the ability to work in smaller groups or work alone. For company morale and mental health, they also need to be able to take a break, away from generally noisy, fast-paced, agile environments. Quiet zones are necessary, allowing privacy for focused thinking and rest.

—Mobility Support: Your employees should be able to work from anywhere, not just their desks. Make sure there is reliable wireless connectivity throughout the building you are using. It would be a bonus if the chairs the workers are using have a power source or a power source nearby so they can charge their devices.

—Activity-Based Workstations: The most effective office spaces are designed to meet the varying desires and physical needs of their employees. Everyone is different.Some may need a simple desk and ergonomic chair with back support, while others like to stand and improve circulation, avoiding sedentary work.

—Flexible Furniture: Furniture that is flexible and movable greatly encourages collaborations. They are more likely to collaborate and brainstorm if they can quickly move their chairs and tables. Look for modular sofas, stools, and a large table that can be used for games during lunch breaks.

—Open Plan Layouts: Flexible workspaces usually feature a basic open connect. On the other hand, long tables with people packed in close is not ideal, especially after the pandemic. Noise pollution leads to work not being done and employees getting distracted more easily. That will ultimately cost your company money. Look for open-space offices with workstations for two to four people, depending on how many employees you have.


The Future of Work Report Findings: Preferences and Challenges

Tango Analytics dug into what matters to the modern office worker in a report published in early 2023. Workplaces worldwide have embraced the remote worker due to a global emergency, which continues today when most of the pandemic restrictions have gone. Productivity increased while work-life balance was of the utmost importance. This concept filled an ongoing conversation about the relevance of the physical workspace and how much it really contributes to workflow.

Here is a summary of the most common preferences and challenges that come from applying a seamless hybrid model of working in 2023:

Preferences: The conflict between employee and employer preferences was explored in a study that Tango overlooked. They asked about how appealing remote work was to entirely in-person employees, how appealing access to company office space was to remote and hybrid employees, and how often employees would ideally like on-site working. Here are the results in summary: 

—All three groups wanted their employer to provide access to an office

—Most employees claimed hybrid work is their ideal model

Challenges: An office is optimized for work, whereas a home or office isn’t. So, a common thread against the argument for office space is that working remotely would only amplify common workplace challenges. Tango asked fully remote and entirely in-person employees to rate common workplace challenges on a scale of one to seven, with one indicating that it was not at all challenging and seven indicating that it was very challenging. Here are the results in summary:

—In-person employees reported having more interruptions and less privacy than remote workers.

—Remote workers reported having a (slightly) easier time connecting with coworkers.

—Remote workers found other workplace challenges less difficult than entirely in-person workers.

It is clear that whether they are shared or private office spaces there is a benefit to the hybrid model of work structure. It is the way of the future and is not going away anytime soon. So, embrace and tailor it to your workers, mission mandate, and industry standards. 

At The Professional Centre (TPC), we are committed to aligning with the evolving hybrid work dynamics. Our spaces are meticulously designed to offer both the structure of a traditional office and the freedom of remote work. From high-speed WiFi to a variety of private suite and open floor designs, we ensure a seamless transition between different work modalities.

Located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown financial district, TPC provides a conducive work environment and opens the gateway for networking with like-minded professionals. Take advantage of our location to lower your operational costs while enjoying the vibrancy of a community that thrives on innovation and collaboration.

Is your organization ready to explore the hybrid work horizon? Embark on a journey of discovery with our tailored workspace solutions that bridge the conventional and the remote, enabling a fluid work dynamic that propels you toward success.Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions.



Work From Home Tax Credit: Everything You Need To Know To Save

How’s that saying go again? Nothing Is certain except for death and taxes? Well as it seems Canadians are no exception to this rule, which is probably why you are here reading this. While the COVID Pandemic brought a lot of negatives there were some positives, one of the notable ones being the shift to a work from home culture that hundreds of thousands of businesses have adopted. This cultural shift has inspired change from a policy standpoint, encouraging the government to implement tax credits and breaks tailored to the modern day work from home professional. So if you are a professional working from your home, whether it may be part or full time, keep reading this article to learn about all the opportunities you have at your disposal.

Home Office Expenses Claim

Over the pandemic the government of Canada released a Home Office Expenses for Employees option for those who work from home. This is a 500$ tax deduction for work from home employees. Below are the requirements and how to claim this deduction.

To claim home office expenses, the following criteria must be met:

  • Worked from home during 2020, 2021, or 2022 due to the pandemic (if employer provided choice to work from home, CRA will consider individual to have worked from home)
  • Worked more than 50% of the time from home for a continuous period of at least four weeks in the year (2020, 2021, 2022)
  • Only claiming home office expenses and not any other employment expenses on line 22900
  • Employer did not fully reimburse individual for home office expenses (partial reimbursement still allows use of method if eligibility criteria are met)


Flat Rate Method

To claim the deduction for home office expenses, one must take note of the following steps:

Firstly, the total number of days worked from home in the year due to the pandemic must be calculated and multiplied by $2 per day. Any additional days worked at home during the year due to lockdowns can also be claimed.

It is important to keep in mind that the maximum amount that can be claimed is $400 per individual in 2020 and $500 per individual in 2021 and 2022.

The temporary flat rate method, specifically “Option 1 – Temporary flat rate method” on Form T777S, must be used to enter these amounts, which must then be attached to the income tax return for the year.

Afterwards, the deduction can be claimed by entering the amount from line 9939 on Form T777S to line 22900 “Other employment expenses” on the income tax return.

Lastly, a detailed guide on how to claim the deduction through the temporary flat rate method can be found on the government of Canada’s website.


Detailed Method

If your eligible home office expenses exceed $500, you have the option to claim them using the CRA’s ‘detailed method.’ The detailed method enables you to claim various office supplies, phone service plans, work-related long distance phone charges, and a portion of many of your household bills, based on the percentage of space of your home that is used for your office. The CRA website provides guidance on calculating the percentage of your home being used for your home office.

A portion of your household expenses that can be claimed as an office expense includes electricity, heat, water, home internet, maintenance and minor repairs, and rent paid for your home. Commission employees may also claim home insurance, property taxes, and lease of cell phones and laptops that reasonably relate to earning commission income. However, you cannot claim any of these expenses on your tax return if your employer reimbursed you for them.

Note that you cannot claim mortgage interest and principal payments, internet connection fees, furniture, or capital expenses such as new windows, flooring, or a furnace. If you choose to use the detailed method to claim your home office expenses, you will need to obtain Form T2200S or T2200 from your employer and complete Form T777S or T777 in your T1 personal income tax return.

Using the detailed method requires you to track all eligible expenses, retain documentation, and keep original receipts (credit card receipts are not accepted) for three years.

For more information visit the Canada website.


Can I Write Off The Professional Centre Expenses?

As per Helena Swyter, a seasoned CPA at Sweeter CPA, a firm specializing in accounting services for creative professionals, the answer is a resounding “yes” – you can indeed deduct a coworking membership when it comes to your tax obligations. This renders the rent-based approach of coworking spaces financially advantageous in two distinct manners. Firstly, members have the benefit of cost savings by only paying for the duration they actively utilize the coworking space. Secondly, they can subsequently claim deductions during the tax season.

While numerous expenses incurred at a coworking space are eligible for deductions, such as renting conference rooms, printing costs, or networking event fees, it is crucial to note that the IRS explicitly excludes commuting and parking expenses from deductible items. Therefore, the routine commute from your residence to the coworking space, as well as parking fees incurred at the coworking facility, do not qualify as business expenses and cannot be deducted. However, exceptions exist, as is the case with various tax deductions. If you do not regularly rent space at a coworking office, you may be eligible to deduct the commuting costs from your regular or home office.

Navigating tax deductions requires careful consideration and expertise, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified professional to ensure accurate and compliant reporting. With Sweeter CPA’s specialized assistance, you can confidently optimize your coworking-related deductions while adhering to IRS guidelines, ultimately maximizing your fiscal benefits.

At The Professional Centre, we are dedicated to providing our self-employed and entrepreneurial members with the necessary resources for success. Our offerings include top-notch amenities like high-speed WiFi, keyless access, and 24/7 video surveillance, carefully curated to foster comprehensive growth opportunities.

The Professional Centre, situated in Toronto, Ontario, offers the added advantage of allowing members to claim their rental fees as deductible expenses. This strategic move not only reduces your tax liability but also ensures a more favorable financial position.

To note: This is not professional financial or accounting advice. Please consult a registered professional for any of your accounting needs.

Rethinking your organization’s meeting space or workspace? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions.

6 Tips For Presenting That Will Help You Crush Your Next Meeting

Presenting comes with the territory of business. It’s something we’ve been forced into since our early school days and as we graduate into the professional world we see that it isn’t one of those things that just “goes away”. So whether you excel while presenting or dread it, we have a few tips that can make that big showing you have coming up go off without a hitch. Quarterly presentations are just around the corner and we  want to make sure you have some extra tools in your arsenal to crush it.

Strategize Your Presentation Delivery

Once you have established a solid framework, it is crucial to turn your attention towards the delivery of your presentation.

  • When delivering a presentation, there are three main approaches to consider: reading from a script or teleprompter, using bullet points to guide your speech, or memorizing the entire talk.
  • Reading directly from a script or relying on a teleprompter should be avoided, as it creates a noticeable distance between you and the audience, diminishing the intimate connection and making the talk feel more formal.
  • TED generally discourages reading approaches during presentations, as it hampers the overall reception. An exception was made for a speaker who used a monitor discreetly positioned at the back of the auditorium, but the ratings suffered due to the perceived detachment.
  • Many successful TED Talks have been memorized word for word, which requires significant time investment in rehearsals. Jill Bolte Taylor, a renowned speaker, memorized her talk after crafting her story, practicing extensively, and delivering it multiple times in front of audiences.
  • Memorizing a talk follows a predictable learning curve, often accompanied by a “valley of awkwardness” where the speaker has not fully internalized the content. If delivered in this stage, the audience can sense the detachment and discomfort, resulting in a weakened connection.
  • Overcoming the “valley of awkwardness” entails diligent rehearsal until the words flow naturally. Once achieved, the focus can shift to delivering the talk with genuine meaning and authenticity.
  • It is important to recognize that not every presentation warrants the extensive time investment required for memorization. Assess the significance of the talk and allocate rehearsal time accordingly, keeping in mind the desired level of mastery.
  • At times we don’t have time to pass through the awkward valley of memorization, it is advisable to utilize bullet points on note cards instead. Direct your attention to remembering the smooth transitions between each bullet point, maintaining a cohesive flow throughout your speech.


Establishing a Strong Start

Craft an engaging and straightforward introduction to captivate your audience’s attention towards your content.

Contemplate incorporating a brief icebreaker activity.
A well-placed, tasteful touch of humor, relevant to the subject matter, can prove impactful.

Convey the purpose of your presentation concisely, utilizing clear language devoid of industry-specific jargon, while emphasizing the benefits participants will acquire.

Commence with a natural pace, striking a balance between not rushing and not dragging, to forge a compelling and positive impression. Conclude with a resolute statement that reinforces the presentation’s objectives.

Crafting An Engaging Presentation

When your audience derives enjoyment from and retains your presentation, it is a testament to your ability to deliver it in a dynamic and captivating manner.

  • Engage in a conversation with your audience rather than delivering a monologue.
  • Effortlessly convey your enthusiasm for the topic, avoiding a sermon-like tone. Remember that the majority of communication occurs through nonverbal cues, so pay careful attention to your appearance and vocal delivery.
  • Structure your material in a well-organized manner, while remaining adaptable to cater to your audience. Inform participants whether you welcome questions during or after the presentation.
  • Adapt your language to match the knowledge level of your audience, ensuring that unfamiliar terms are defined.
  • Select your key points judiciously and reinforce them through compelling examples or anecdotes.
  • Encourage audience members to contribute their experiences, using these examples to illustrate essential points or address inquiries.
  • Leverage natural gestures and vocal inflections to augment the interest and impact of your presentation.
  • Cater to diverse learning styles by employing a variety of instructional methods that appeal to different senses, such as visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches.
  • Repeat audience questions to ensure that everyone hears and comprehends them.
  • Guide the discussion back on track if it veers away from the intended topic.
  • When faced with unanswered questions, commit to finding the answers and following up with the individuals involved. Alternatively, suggest appropriate resources that can provide the necessary information, or invite suggestions from the audience members themselves.
  • Incorporate demonstrations to enhance understanding and engagement.
  • Articulate your thoughts clearly and modulate your voice appropriately. Steer clear of speaking too rapidly, softly, or loudly, and ensure that your sentences do not trail off.
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience, conveying confidence, transparency, sincerity, and genuine interest. This also allows you to gauge the audience’s response. In larger groups, mentally divide the room into sections and rotate your eye contact among different individuals in each section.
  • Employ natural and graceful hand gestures to emphasize key points, allowing your hands to rest naturally by your side when not gesturing. Avoid fidgeting with clothing, hair, or presentation materials.
  • Occasionally move to different spots while speaking, pausing briefly before continuing. Avoid excessive pacing.


Creating a Compelling Narrative

In the realm of presentations, storytelling stands as the cornerstone. Seasoned presenters often advocate beginning with a captivating story even before opening a single slide. This approach not only allows for the development of a robust narrative with the most significant information but also helps avoid the pitfall of overcrowded slides.

  • Daniel Goldberg suggests starting with a brain dump to explore connections and find the storyline. Explaining main points in a simple manner and incorporating metaphors and anecdotes enhances relatability and memorability.
  • Colby Zintl emphasizes the importance of ensuring the presentation can be understood even if someone reads it randomly. It should work as a “leave behind” document that maintains clarity and comprehension over time.
  • Crafting a compelling narrative involves refining the presentation to make it visually impactful and memorable, leveraging the power of stories to leave a lasting impression.


Promote Interactivity in Your Presentation

Steer clear of solely delivering lectures to your audience. Instead, actively engage them in meaningful discussions.

  • Encourage interactions and exchanges among audience members, fostering a collaborative environment.
  • Pose an accommodation challenge to the audience, inviting their input on how they would approach the situation.
  • Thoughtfully mirror back individuals’ attitudes, rationalizations, and entrenched patterns of thinking and behavior, while maintaining respect and sensitivity.
  • Allocate ample time for questions, ensuring that all inquiries raised within the presentation are thoroughly addressed or appropriately directed towards relevant resources.
  • Offer practical demonstrations or hands-on experiences with assistive technology, enabling participants to gain first hand exposure to its capabilities.
  • Engage the audience in experiential learning activities, as people tend to retain information better when they actively participate in the learning process.
  • Facilitate group interactions and collaborative problem-solving exercises, fostering collective engagement and shared solutions.

Promote fruitful discussions that enable participants to synthesize key themes and concepts, facilitating a deeper integration of knowledge and understanding.


Crafting Easily Digestible Presentations

Delivering a captivating story is essential, but ensuring it is easily digestible by your audience is equally crucial to maintain their engagement. To achieve this, it is imperative to create meaningful and clean slides. A general principle to follow when designing slides is to embrace the notion that less is more. Can your audience readily discern the main point of each slide? If not, it is necessary to reconsider the structure of your story.

According to Frykman, the success of presentations hinges on their ease of digestion by audiences. This entails creating clean, concise, and aesthetically pleasing slides. She offers valuable tips to achieve professional and polished slides, including:

  • Use text sparingly, emphasizing main points through your spoken delivery rather than overwhelming the slide with excessive copy.
  • Incorporate focused and engaging images while ensuring the slide does not become visually cluttered.
  • Adhere to the company’s designated template, avoiding unauthorized modifications that deviate from the established branding guidelines.


Final Words

Presenting is just a part of life. For most, it is impossible to get away from. So if you have to present at one point or another it is best to be prepared. Book a meeting room with The Professional Centre to make sure you have a clean and professional space to deliver your presentation. Impress your peers with a space as sharp as you and book yours today!


Rethinking your organization’s meeting space or workspace? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed workspace solutions.

10 Best Productivity Tips to Improve Your Life and Your Work

Let’s not procrastinate this, shall we? You want to be more productive, we’re here to show you how. We’ve got ten productivity tips for you to start using right away. Ready? Go.

Tip 1: Do it. Now.

Did you think that intro was short due to lack of space? No, we’re making a point. 

Maybe you’ve got a lot of stuff on your plate – emails, messages, correspondence, and   a few projects that need your attention. On top of just doing your job, you should focus on reducing the number of things on your plate. If it can be done in less than 2 minutes, do it. Right now. Get the quick things done first, and move on.

Kinda like we just did. There’s a long road ahead, but with a clear plate, you’re in the best position to get things done.


Tip 2: Minimize Distractions

Prevention is the best medicine, and if you can reduce the number of things that could distract you in the future, you’ll inevitably end up with fewer distractions in the present.

As you can expect, this has been studied thoroughly. One study looked at the effectiveness of application and website-blocking software, and the results were exactly as you’d expect: “We discovered that with blocking software, participants assessed their productivity significantly higher and could focus significantly longer.” (Mark, 2017).

What’s more interesting, though, is that not all distraction-blocks are the same. According to the study, “People who benefited the most from the software were those who were most distracted by social media.” So, not only is this section of special interest to you if you’re a social media user, but if you’re looking for a few select things to block, you should put social media on the top of your list.

The study also found that, for some, complete distraction removal had the side effect of increasing stress. Stress is already known to reduce productivity, so it’s important to strike a balance that works for you. Breaks of 5-15 minutes should serve as stress-relieving distractions, without eating too much productive time.

Of course, distraction-elimination goes beyond those oh-so-enticing devices and apps. This process is multi-faceted, covering just about everything that exists around you – even job-related things, like email notifications, coworkers, and more. Each of these topics will have unique tactics for distraction-elimination. Perhaps you’ll turn off all notifications, physically distance yourself from distracting workers, or put up a do-not-disturb flag on your desk. 

The important thing is, once you start working, do everything you can to ensure that you keep working, potentially reaching a ‘flow’ state. And once you do, try not to let anything break your focus!


Tip 3: The 5 Minute Rule & Finding your Flow

Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion, until acted upon by an outside force. It’s true for physics, and as it turns out, it’s also true for productivity. And luckily, we already eliminated those “outside forces” in our last tip!

The hardest part of accomplishing a big task is the beginning. Whether it be lingering instincts towards procrastination holding you back, or difficulty “task switching” into a new mindset, there’s always some hangup making this difficult. While we can’t remove all hurdles, we can make the effort as minimal as possible. 

Can you mentally set aside several hours to complete a task? Maybe not. But how about 5 minutes? Everyone has 5 minutes to spare. You won’t finish the job, obviously, but you’ll at least have gotten something done. This is the 5-minute rule – you can probably guess how it got its name. And, if you were paying attention to that intro, you probably know the trick to this technique. 

If you can dedicate just 5 minutes of time to something, then before you know it, you’ve already overcome your mind’s biggest obstacle: starting the task to begin with. Once you get some momentum going and get into a “flow” state, continuing the task is as easy as maintaining the status-quo.

Tip 4: Make it a Habit

Once you find your groove, keep going. This advice may sound obvious, but there’s a trick to it you may not be aware of. “Keep going” doesn’t mean you should work until you exhaust yourself! Work for a regular amount of time, on a regular amount of projects. Tomorrow, you should match that pace. Keep the streak going day after day, and each one gets a little easier.

Getting something done at regular intervals, even if it’s a small amount, contributes to one of the most powerful psychological forces the mind can use: habit formation. Get familiar with your current workload, and if you want to increase the amount of work you can handle, do it little by little. According to studies, variation in workflow actually has a negative impact on productivity, so sudden spikes/lulls in the amount of work you need to do should be avoided. 

“The results indicate that the key for productivity improvement is not to complete as many tasks as possible or to maximize workload, work output, or work hours without following the work plan. Rather, the key is to focus on maintaining a predictable work flow and thus be able to match the available workload with capacity.” (Liu et all, 2011).

Working long days isn’t good for anyone – neither for you, nor for your work quality. The secret to success here is a long-term plan of discipline and pacing yourself, developing the habits and skills needed to be more productive overall. If “just thirty minutes a day” is all you can manage, that’s excellent. Get it done, and before you know it you’ll have a consistent path to success.


Tip 5: Avoid Burnout!

There’s another benefit to pacing yourself, besides assisting habit formation. You should never load up a ton of work at once – that’s a surefire way to create burnout! 

Passion is an extremely powerful motivator, and its loss alone is enough to send productivity down the drain (Dewa et al, 2014). Couple this with a general lack of energy stemming from mental exhaustion, and you create a recipe for disaster. The mental and physical toll just isn’t worth it.

Avoiding burnout for yourself is a good way to keep things running smooth, but this doesn’t have to be a solo job! In fact, one study recommends turning away from that perspective entirely, and viewing burnout more like a collective responsibility. “Faculty stress should not be viewed as a personal problem. Instead, it should be viewed as an organizational issue.” (Bruce, 2009).

Learn how to recognize signs of burnout in others, and help them to ensure they’re not taking on too much work at once. This can involve taking on some of their workload if need be, or talking to project managers about work allocation. ‘Do unto others as you would have done to yourself’, after all. If each person does their part, burnout can be avoided for everyone.


Tip 6: The 15 Minute Rule & Improving Problem-Solving Skills

Turns out, there’s more than one minute-based productivity tip!

You are going to hit a roadblock eventually. No matter how hard you prepare or how many resources you think you have, you’re only human. At some point during your job, you’ll run into a problem that you don’t know how to immediately solve.

So, you find yourself at a crossroads. On one path, you dig around your bag of tricks, you examine the problem in more detail, and hopefully, find a solution. The risk here, though, is that this costs a lot of time – and that investment might not pay off. If your instincts tell you that you don’t have an answer to this, they might be right.

On the other path, we have something that seems faster and easier for you, but comes with another downside: getting assistance from someone else. Here, if your instincts are telling you that this route is just wasting someone else’s time, or that you’re forgoing a possible learning opportunity, they may be right.

But if you know the cheat code – the 15 minute rule, you unlock a third path. Here, you have the upsides of both while minimizing the consequences. And it’s incredibly simple: give yourself a time limit of 15 minutes to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, go find a helping hand.

15 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time. And that’s because it isn’t. But have you ever spent 15 minutes stuck in traffic? Now that’s a long wait. Getting stuck in a task isn’t that different. 15 minutes offers you plenty of time to determine if you’re dealing with a speed bump or a mountain, and with a time limit, there’s no chance of you wasting more time than necessary – you only spend a speedbump’s worth of time either way.

And as an added bonus, you’ll learn a lot about the process of problem solving this way! The first time you invoke this rule, you might not reach your goal in the time limit. But how about the 3rd time? The 10th? Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you won’t need this tip at all – your skills surpassing it completely. And when you do, congrats! You’ve been made way more productive.

Tip 7: Exercise

If you ever find yourself losing focus on any productive day, that’s ok. You can take a quick break. That restlessness you feel – it’s perfectly natural. Your body is telling you what it needs, and it’d benefit you to listen.

Every so often, consider leaving your desk to just walk around. Maybe do some stretches, if you’re so inclined. You can even pair it with a light snack. Your body is an expert on its own needs, and if you spend just a couple minutes listening to it, you’ll be able to return to your work with a revitalized sense of focus. The research is clear: “By performing exercise regularly, users can attain better physiological states and achieve higher work productivity.” (Kwok et al, 2021).


Tip 8: Avoid Multitasking

Be warned, this next paragraph might seem incoherent. Trust the process: there’s a reason why it’s structured this way.

A lot of articles like this will tell you that multitasking is impossible. Focus is something we’ve talked about before, as is the need to shut out distractions. Multitasking used to be a major focal point of discussions around productivity, first cropping up when computers were developed that were purpose-built for multitasking. Distractions, or really anything that diverts attention from the current task, is going to negatively impact the thing you’d much rather be doing. Computers are not people – the human mind is just not built for multitasking, it contradicts the way we work on a fundamental level. So, it’s almost always best to finish your current task before starting a new one.

If you had trouble following that first paragraph, then congratulations, you’re part of the 98% of people who cannot effectively multitask. If you want to read it properly, skip every even-numbered sentence, then go back and re-read the lines you skipped as if they were a separate paragraph.

Multitasking isn’t just a way to take perfectly-functional tasks and turn them into unworkable messes, though. It’s also a guaranteed way to stress you out, or worse. If that paragraph frustrated you, then you’ll have felt this process in action. Be grateful it’s not a daily task.

“Multitasking contributes to the release of stress hormones and adrenaline, which can cause long-term health problems if not controlled, and contributes to the loss of short-term memory.” (Rosen, 2008). The data on this is extremely clear – do not multitask if you can avoid it. It’s just never worth it.


Tip 9: “Perfect” is the enemy of “Good”

The desire to get each detail right is understandable; near-mandatory in some jobs. But perfectionism can also be a curse. If it takes you 50% longer to create some product, but that extra time only returns a 25% increase in quality, the gap in output between yourself and your coworkers will rapidly widen over time.

One little trick to working around perfectionism is to reframe how you look at a given task. With this lens, the task is not something that’s just worked on and shipped out. It’s a process of iteration, where you ‘finish’ one thing to test the waters, get some feedback, make the next one better, and repeat. It doesn’t have to be the best possible product the first time, and with the help of feedback, you’ll increase your skills much faster than without. After enough cycles, you may even be able to create that perfect product with minimal time lost! But that takes work, and if you’re a perfectionist, well, you’re no stranger to putting in work for the best possible reward.

That’s exactly what you’ll be doing here, just in a slightly different way than you’re used to.


Tip 10: Find Your Centre

This next subject is fairly complicated, and not something we can fully cover in a single subsection of an article. Luckily, we don’t have to – a whole article on this exact topic already exists on this site!

In short, the physical location where you do your work can be as important as the skills and habits you take with you. Not just in terms of minimizing distractions, but also in employing little psychological tricks to put your mind exactly where it needs to be. 

Often, just having a space that’s completely separate from all your other usual duties can work wonders for mental focus. And such a space, if built properly, can accomplish so much more. It can be a place with enough natural light to avoid feeling cramped. It can have the walls painted exactly the right color to center certain emotional states. It can feature other coworkers all working on the same task, offering advice and networking opportunities, among other things.

A space like this is something you can create yourself, or you find a professionally-made space that’s suited to your needs. Each route has its own pros and cons – but if you find a space that resonates with you, stick with it.

Book a meeting room in Toronto

If you want to test out a variety of working spaces, The Professional Centre has plenty of options to fill your exact niche – on top of providing options and technology for meetings, group work, and so much more.

Pick up all the benefits of a centralized workplace, without any of the firm anchors keeping your business rooted in a single method. Whether you need to service a large team or a small meeting, The Professional Centre can supply the exact kind of space you need to enhance your team’s productivity.


The 15 Minute Rule & Improving Problem-Solving Skills

You are going to hit a roadblock eventually. No matter how hard you prepare or how many resources you think you have, you’re only human. At some point during your job, you’ll run into a problem that you don’t know how to immediately solve.

So, you find yourself at a crossroads. On one path, you dig around your bag of tricks, you examine the problem in more detail, and hopefully, find a solution. The risk here, though, is that this costs a lot of time – and that investment might not pay off. If your instincts tell you that you don’t have an answer to this, they might be right.

On the other path, we have something that seems faster and easier for you, but comes with another downside: getting assistance from someone else. Here, if your instincts are telling you that this route is just wasting someone else’s time, or that you’re forgoing a possible learning opportunity, they may be right.

But if you know the cheat code – the 15 minute rule, you unlock a third path. Here, you have the upsides of both while minimizing the consequences. And it’s incredibly simple: give yourself a time limit of 15 minutes to fix the problem. If that doesn’t work, go find a helping hand.

15 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time. And that’s because it isn’t. But have you ever spent 15 minutes stuck in traffic? Now that’s a long wait. Getting stuck in a task isn’t that different. 15 minutes offers you plenty of time to determine if you’re dealing with a speed bump or a mountain, and with a time limit, there’s no chance of you wasting more time than necessary – you only spend a speedbump’s worth of time either way.

And as an added bonus, you’ll learn a lot about the process of problem solving this way! The first time you invoke this rule, you might not reach your goal in the time limit. But how about the 3rd time? The 10th? Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you won’t need this tip at all – your skills surpassing it completely. And when you do, congrats! You’ve been made way more productive.

Rethinking your organization’s workspace? Discover our flexibly designed and fully managed enterprise office solutions.

Works Cited:

Bruce, S. P. (2009). Recognizing stress and avoiding burnout. Currents in pharmacy Teaching and Learning, 1(1), 57-64.

Dewa, C. S., Loong, D., Bonato, S., Thanh, N. X., & Jacobs, P. (2014). How does burnout affect physician productivity? A systematic literature review. BMC health services research, 14(1), 1-10.

Kwok, R. C. W., Leung, A. C. M., Hui, S. S. C., & Wong, C. C. K. (2021). Virtual trainer system: A tool to increase exercise participation and work productivity. Internet Research.

Liu, M., Ballard, G., & Ibbs, W. (2011). Work flow variation and labor productivity: Case study. Journal of management in engineering, 27(4), 236.

Mark, G., Iqbal, S., & Czerwinski, M. (2017, September). How blocking distractions affects workplace focus and productivity. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing and Proceedings of the 2017 ACM International Symposium on Wearable Computers (pp. 928-934).

Rosen, C. (2008). The myth of multitasking. The New Atlantis, (20), 105-110.