Monetize your Knowledge as an Online Course Creator

Your Time is Money

When your small to medium-sized business is focused on the delivery of a service — be it financial, legal, engineering, consulting or physical therapy — you’re really selling a finite resource that is your time. Because there is a limited number of hours in a day, how can you add more revenue or scale your business without losing any sleep?

Typically you would hire more employees or outsource some activities. But labour, especially for service workers, is expensive. Fortunately, thanks to the internet’s long reach and an ever-growing demand for online learning, it’s never been easier to establish new sources of passive income by sharing what you already have in abundance — your knowledge.

The Case for Turning Your Expertise into an Online Course

As a service-based business, your knowledge or expertise is your single biggest asset. It can also be viewed as a commodity because it can be packaged and shared with others to generate revenue. In fact, monetizing your knowledge is an effective way to scale and create new streams of income without ever having to hire or outsource additional resources.

Enter Online Learning Platforms…

In that access to current information is one of the defining characteristics of our information economy, online learning, or E-learning, is expected to generate in excess of $325 billion by 2025. Now more than ever, people expect to find affordable and timely access to credible knowledge and training at their fingertips.

Choosing the Right Online Course Platform

Some of the most successful online courses are from people who have developed a unique set of skills that other people can benefit from. And with a plethora of readily-available online course creation tools, anyone can take their skills and expertise and turn them into revenue-generating online courses.

The obvious challenge facing you as a business owner — in that time is still your most precious resource — is to identify the most effective way to package and distribute your knowledge for market consumption. As such, there are a number of factors you have to weigh when deciding what platform would serve as the best creation tool and home for your courses:

  • Which learning platform best suits my subject matter and audience?
  • How difficult is the platform to use?
  • How long does it take to create a course on this platform?
  • Is there an opportunity for a good return?
  • How will I be compensated?
  • Can I host my course on my website?
  • How much control do I have over the look and format of my course?
  • Do I have access to my students?
  • How much marketing will I have to do?

The answers to these questions will help you determine which online learning platform is the best one for you.

The Three Types of Online Course Platforms

There are three main types of online learning platforms:

  1. Online Learning Marketplaces
  2. Learning Management Systems
  3. Self-hosted Plugins for your website

Starting with the simplest solution to the most sophisticated, let’s look at each type in detail:


1. Online Learning Marketplaces

PROS: 

  • Fast & easy setup 
  • All the tools you need in one place
  • Well-established platforms
  • No upfront costs
  • Access to a large existing student base

CONS: 

  • You do not own your customer database
  • Limited ability to customize your course format
  • May have course price limitations
  • You cannot host your course on your own website

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to create an online course, get it to market, get paid every month and have exposure to millions of students worldwide, then the online learning marketplace is for you.

Learning marketplaces are large e-commerce sites that typically sell thousands of courses from multiple course creators. These sites provide everything you need to create and sell your course.

The biggest downside of the online learning marketplace is that your students are really their customers. Think of the marketplace as a grocery store. Your “product” sits on their shelf. The marketplace owns your customers, including their email addresses, and therefore, the ongoing relationship with them. Plus, the marketplace, just like the grocery store, can dictate your product’s format, how it’s marketed and even how it’s priced.

Some might find this too restrictive. But for thousands of course creators, these are acceptable tradeoffs for the convenience and the potential exposure to an audience of millions.

Examples of popular learning marketplaces are:

  • Udemy is the world’s largest online learning marketplace 
  • You gain access to a 30+ million global student base
  • Teach anything, except a small list of restricted topics
  • Easy to use — ideal for creating your first online course
  • No fee to create and host a course on Udemy
  • You keep 97% of revenue unless Udemy promotes it 
  • Built-in marketing, payment system, 24/7 support, etc.

  • Simplilearn specializes in digital economy training
  • You gain access to 1 million+ students worldwide
  • Teach courses in big data, analytics, digital marketing, programming & development
  • Industry expertise with relevant certifications required
  • You have the opportunity to earn tens of thousands of dollars every month
  • Built-in marketing, payment system, 24/7 support, etc.

 

  • OpenSesame specializes in corporate learning programs
  • Upload your courses, write descriptions & set your prices
  • OpenSesame will publish your course to the marketplace
  • No upfront fees and you keep 50% of course revenue
  • OpenSesame connects your courses to buyers worldwide

  • The best online course marketplace for creatives
  • Skillshare operates on a membership model
  • Get access to over 7,000,0000 member students worldwide
  • Teach design, marketing, photography, web design, etc.
  • Course format includes video, a project & discussion
  • You earn monthly royalties based on minutes watched

2. Learning Management Systems (LMS)

PROS:

  • Feature rich, easy-to-use platform
  • Everything you need is on one dashboard
  • Your customers are yours to interact with
  • You can “host” your course on your website

CONS: 

  • The platform is not yours
  • You pay a subscription to use the platform
  • Templates are limited
  • You do your own marketing
  • Course payments are your responsibility

With an LMS platform, you have control of branding, pricing and promoting your courses to your audience while having access to all of the tools and support you need to create amazing learning experiences. Technically, your course is hosted on an LMS vendor’s website but as far as your students are concerned, everything will appear to be handled on your own website. Whether you want a stand-alone school or an education section on your existing website, an LMS gives you all the flexibility and tools you need.

The downside to LMS platforms is the work involved. You will have to account for more upfront time as you have to set up everything from the course itself to the payments to the marketing. Also, you’re merely renting the vendor’s real estate. This means that if their servers go down, so does your course. If their rules change, so do yours. The design of your course will also be limited by the templates provided by the platform. Plus, these platforms are sold as a subscription, which means a recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual cost. You have to keep paying if you want to keep using the platform. And some platforms even charge transaction fees on top of the subscription.

Examples of popular Learning Management Systems are:

  • 18 million students & 68,000 instructors worldwide
  • Simple yet powerful website customization
  • Effortless setup for learning management, payment gateways, and sales & marketing tools
  • You own your student data & pricing
  • Integrated payment processing, student management & multimedia lectures
  • Three subscription levels available 

  • Kajabi is an all-in-one platform for creating online courses, marketing campaigns, landing pages & even websites
  • Optimized templates for landing pages, sales pages, webinar pages & more
  • Powerful sales tools to generate more customers, boost revenue & repeat sales
  • Three subscription levels available 

  • Everything you need to run your education business
  • 36,000+ course creators 16 million+ students worldwide
  • Easy to use — ideal for building a course from scratch
  • Build courses, landing pages & website
  • Three subscription levels available

  • Everything you need to create, sell, & teach amazing courses
  • Create a step-by-step course with text, videos & PDFs in minutes
  • Very visual platform with an emphasis on design
  • Three subscription levels available

 


3.  Self-hosted platform plugins for your website

PROS:

  • Complete control over format & branding
  • Fully hosted on your own website
  • Scalable
  • Your clients are your own

CONS: 

  • You need an existing audience
  • Longer set-up
  • High level of technical skills required for set-up
  • You handle all marketing & payments

This is the most custom option — with the most possibility for personalization, scalability and control.  Host your online course(s) on your WordPress website by using either a membership site plugin or an online course plugin. You have complete control of the look and format of your course, plus you can add more features as you need them with additional plugins.

Some examples are:

  • Course creation WordPress plugin with drag and drop course builder
  • Restrict your course content to registered, enrolled, & logged in students
  • Drip your content to be released by date or at specific intervals from enrollment
  • Advanced quiz question types, timers, retake limits, reporting, and surveys
  • Configurable automated and manual course enrollment options to meet your needs

  • MemberPress is a WordPress Membership Plugin
  • Create, manage and track membership subscriptions
  • Sell digital download products
  • Grant & revoke access to posts, pages, videos, categories, tags, feeds, communities, digital files & more 

 


The Lesson…

At the end of the workday, small and medium-sized service businesses are especially vulnerable financially if they are dependent on a single revenue stream to drive profits. Likewise, they are also at risk if they are wholly dependent on highly-concentrated client base as if something negative happens to a critical client relationship, all may be lost.

Companies perform better, grow faster and scale successfully when they are more diversified. Hence, monetizing your expertise and knowledge is just good business!


Need a physical or virtual home for your business? 

You can discover an exceptional coworking office experience at The Professional Centre (TPC), the Toronto coworking space where more is standard. If you’d like more information, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

Nonprofits and Coworking: A Dynamic Synergy

Coworking has definitely moved into the mainstream with outstanding locations found in many cities globally including Toronto. The now-broad appeal of coworking spaces goes well beyond merely serving as an option for individuals/organizations looking for an affordable place to work. In fact, coworking is actually shaping the way people conduct business and further, positively impacting the level of satisfaction they derive from their work.

The Harvard Business Review confirms coworking has much to offer and indicates that coworkers report levels of thriving that approach 6 on a 7-point scale, which is a full point higher than claimed by those working in traditional office settings. All of which begs the question, is there a lesson here for nonprofits?

The short answer… Whether newly-formed or an established fixture in the communities they serve, coworking offers nonprofits specific opportunities that a traditional office setting simply does not. Here’s an overview of some of the relevant features…

The Future is Now and it’s Coworking

Globally the number of coworking spaces has exploded in recent years and the sector’s growth shows no signs of slowing. Market researchers predict that there will be well over 21,00 coworking spaces worldwide by close of year 2019. The segment is projected to grow an additional 43 percent between now and 2022.

The massive expansion is expected to be driven in part by a global shift that has seen corporations forgoing traditional workplaces in favour of more agile workspaces with flexible lease terms.  As with these corporate entities, coworking is proving equally strategic for nonprofits. Workplace agility and the more affordable rental rates are the primary reasons routinely cited by nonprofits for choosing a coworking model.

Coworking Encourages Collaboration

Looking beyond the benefits of a fully-equipped and centrally-located physical workplace, coworking workspaces also deliver community and engagement. While the level of desired interaction ultimately rests with the individual tenant, relationship-building and networking is a natural offshoot of regularly interacting with discrete individuals and organizations in a coworking space. Be it the camaraderie inspired by working in close proximity to other professionals or the fellowship resulting from connecting in the shared public areas, these inter-organizational exchanges can prove hugely valuable.

These organic exchanges can also amplify a nonprofit’s impact in ways that extend beyond the obvious. A 2017 survey revealed in excess of 70 percent of respondents working in coworking spaces collaborated with other members in the past 12 months.  Given how the power of social media now augments the effectiveness of word-of-mouth, engagement with coworking peers can spark new ideas and even drive greater awareness of a nonprofit’s core mission. Collaboration that involves sharing concepts, and even resources, allows nonprofits to innovate and potentially accomplish more than they could on their own. 

The Bottom Line

By providing access to an engaging community along with necessary infrastructure — including premium and/or customized workspaces, central locations, state-of-the-art technology, administrative support — that is measurably more affordable as it is prorated among all tenants, coworking spaces have become a solid choice for nonprofits. Through the reduction of fixed costs and the elimination of distracting concerns about basic functions such as IT and office maintenance, nonprofits are left in a demonstrably better position to focus on their core mandate.

Additionally, ongoing research suggests that coworking’s marriage of a highly-functional work environment and a thoughtfully-curated work experience drives the higher levels of thriving that coworkers demonstrate when contrasted with their traditional office-based counterparts. Coworking also enables higher levels of worker autonomy, while still providing desirable structure, which in turn encourages greater productivity. As nonprofits often operate with tightly rationed resources, they are in a unique position to benefit exponentially from any improved efficiency.

Finally, given that a social mission is very often the foundation for many nonprofits, coworking spaces offer a natural synergy as in both cases, the emphasis is on building strong communities, cultivating collaborative opportunities and identifying the most efficient use of shared resources.

Top 10 Coworking Benefits for Nonprofits

1. FLEXIBLE SPACE SOLUTIONS

Coworking provides move-in-ready, agile workspace solutions for teams of any size.


2. COST-EFFECTIVE

With lower rents, no upfront costs and flexible lease terms, coworking is an affordable option.


line icon of location sign post3. PRIME LOCATIONS

With over 20,000 coworking spaces worldwide, there are many options available in every city.


line icon of community in circle4. COMMUNITY BUILDING

Relationship-building and networking are natural offshoots of the coworking experience.


Administrative support professional with headset icon5. SUPPORT SERVICES

Many coworking offices offer professional in-house administrative and technical support.


6. HAPPIER WORKERS

Access to collaborative spaces and community interactions are shown to improve well-being.


7. FULLY EQUIPPED

Coworking spaces come fully furnished and equipped with state-of-the-art technology.


8. ACCESSIBLE & SECURE

Most coworking spaces are fully secure and accessible 24/7 and 365 days a year. 


People in a meeting room at table9. MEETING SPACES

Coworking spaces typically provide dynamic meeting, conference and/or event spaces.


10. PREMIUM AMENITIES

Most coworking spaces offer access to a lounge and kitchen, coffee service and water.


 

Today’s ideal office space for the nonprofit organization is a flexible, cost-effective environment that is supported by the latest technology and allows workers to connect and collaborate in accommodating shared spaces.

You can discover an exceptional coworking office experience at The Professional Centre (TPC), the Toronto coworking space where more is standard. If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your organization, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

How “Generation Flex” is Powering the Growth of Coworking

 

As the worldwide proliferation of coworking spaces continues apace, the key findings from International Workplace Group’s (IWG) 2019 Global Workplace Survey “Welcome to Generation Flex – The Employee Power Shift”, reveals some of the major trends driving growth in the sector.

In Toronto, as is being seen globally, coworking is definitely the new normal as flexible workers and more Canadian companies, large and small, recognize and appreciate how coworking’s agility and flexibility can benefit their employment or businesses.

The IWG survey — which canvassed over 15,000 business professionals in 80 countries — revealed that 62 percent of firms internationally indicated that they now have policies related to flexible work. These policies have been implemented as a result of worker demand as over 50 percent of those polled reported working outside of the company office for at least 2.5 days a week. The IWG survey found that “more than half of global business people place so much importance on location that they regard it as more important than working for a prestigious company, while almost a third think it is more important than a prestigious role.”

The Top Five Benefits of Coworking in 2019

1. Attracting and Retaining Talent

With the Canadian jobless rates hovering below 6 percent, and candidates essentially demanding flexible work arrangements, coworking has become an excellent strategy for both attracting and retaining highly-desirable talent. Significantly, coworking also facilitates a company’s ability to seamlessly hire top talent in different locations without securing dedicated office space, which drives company growth and profit.

83%

of the IWG survey respondents indicated that the ability to incorporate flexibility would positively inform their choice when choosing between similar job offers

70%

of IWG survey respondents reported that “choice of work environment plays a key role in evaluating work opportunities”


2. Increased Productivity

85%

believe that their business has become measurably more productive because of flexible working, according to IWG survey respondents

67%

of the IWG survey respondents believe that workplace flexibility can improve productivity levels by at least 20%

Extensive research supports the clear advantages of coworking as it relates to productivity over the use of a traditional office. According to global research by Deskmag and Deskwanted:

74%

of coworkers are more productive

86%

have a larger business network

93%

have a larger social network

33.3%

reported an increase in income


3. Greater Agility

Coworking enables companies to scale up quickly, especially in new markets, with minimal logistics. Companies can explore inroads into new regions without the incurring the risk associated with traditional leasing. One-off projects can be undertaken minus major overhead costs. Coworking workspaces allow companies to improve agility and scalability via the provision of shareable workspace, technology, and administrative support. Companies, regardless of size, recognize the agility that coworking allows.

Only 24%

of businesses reported that the rental costs for coworking spaces would be perceived as an issue when compared to the perceived benefits, according to IWG respondents


4. Improved Work-Life Balance

Coworking offers great opportunities for networking, idea exchange, business development, as well as socializing which leads to higher levels of job satisfaction. In turn, this manifests as an improved work-life balance. Additionally, when workers control where they work, they report combining their personal and professional lives is less challenging. As an example, coworking can often enhance work-life balance via a reduced commute.

Two out of Five

workers cited commuting as the “worst part of their day”, IWG found

75%

of companies surveyed reported that they are introducing flexible working in order to reduce staff commute times


5. Lower Overhead

Coworking definitely makes solid financial sense! By allowing individuals, including freelancers, contract employees, entrepreneurs, along with small businesses — especially when first starting out — to share the expenses associated with a workplace, coworking demands significantly less of a financial investment. While start-ups and flexible workers were once the typical coworking client, tellingly, larger businesses and established corporations seeking to cut costs and add agility, are increasingly signing on for the coworking immersion.

65%

of businesses say coworking workspaces reduced capital expenditures and/or operating expenses while improving risk management, according to the IWG survey results


 

Coworking in 2019: The Takeaway!

Beyond fulfilling workers’ demands, flexible working as enabled by coworking, is measurably good for the economy. A recent report estimated that by 2030, “the US could see an economic boost of as much as $4.5 trillion annually from flexible working, while China and India could gain respectively $1.4 trillion and $376 billion extra annually.” As coworking has grown from a small movement into a global phenomenon, so too has its potential to positively impact the lives of the workers it serves. 

 


You can discover an exceptional coworking office experience at The Professional Centre (TPC), the Toronto coworking space where more is standard. If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your business, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

Millennials and Work-Life Balance

In 2018, millennials became the largest generation in the Canadian workforce — comprising 35 percent of the total — thereby solidifying their influence on today’s workplace. As first-generation digital natives, this group came of age as technology transformed from something fixed to an entirely mobile tool.

Clearly, the most tech-savvy generation to date, this superior technological proficiency and the ease of connection it enables, saw the millennials’ concept of work fundamentally shift from a specific place to really any connected space. In turn, this development inspired millennials to dramatically reformulate how they define and measure job satisfaction as compared to their predecessors.

The Big Shift

The realigned attitudes embraced by millennials have already significantly shaped the current workplace as well as strongly impelling how it will look by 2025 — when millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. As these younger workers reject the once standard nine-to-five model in favour of non-traditional roles (i.e. contract, consultant, remote or freelance), the makeup of the workforce will, by necessity, continue to adapt to accommodate their vision and expectations.


What employers project the non-traditional share of the employment landscape will be in 2025

35%

Contingent, contract, consultant

32%

Virtual or remote worker

25%

Part-time consultant


Notably, millennials are particularly invested in the pursuit of work-life balance. As such, they highly value the flexibility to prioritize whatever aspect — be it work or life — that requires attention on a given day. Generally speaking, millennials seek to dispense with non-negotiable boundaries between work and life in the belief that a more holistic, fluid approach promotes greater productivity and less stress.

Core Factors Millennials Consider when Assessing Work-Life Balance

Office Flexibility That Works

Millennials have largely rejected the confines of the typical office environment. The traditional office, along with a physical commute and the expectation that one will be continually sitting at a desk for eight hours, has become a seriously outdated concept for most. An astounding 70 percent of millennial employees in Canada report that they would rather telecommute or otherwise work in non-traditional settings.

While this may be interpreted as millennials being eager to escape the office, it actually demonstrates their familiarity and comfort with the tools that allow them to do so without impacting their overall effectiveness. With cloud-based software enabling collaboration across multiple locations, removing the obligation to work in a single location actually improves productivity and allows for better work-life balance.

Redefining Success

As reported by the 2016 Millennial Survey by Deloitte, millennials are less-invested in working to simply acquire more and instead value experiences over possessions. Nearly 17 percent of millennials assess career opportunities to determine if the position allows good work-life balance eclipsing the 13.4 percent who specifically look for opportunities to progress. Millennials equate success with controlling how and when they work along with the ability to integrate various life experiences as this enables better work-life balance

Staying Connected

With access to technology that enables them to seamlessly work 24/7 remotely — which 75 percent of millennials want more opportunities to do — millennials are invested in exploiting their tech know-how and new technological capabilities to increase flexibility. This greater degree of flexibility translates to improved work-life balance.

Moving Up

According to EY’s Global Generation Research, almost a third of millennials report that juggling work, family, and personal responsibilities have become more challenging over the past five years. Nearly 50 percent of millennial managers around the globe reported spending more time working as many are transitioning into senior management roles but also starting families. As well, they are almost twice as likely to have a spouse or partner who works at full-time than baby boomers (78 percent versus 47 percent).

Non-conformists though they may be, millennials are nevertheless navigating the stage of life that sees them marrying, buying homes, and having children at the same time their careers are becoming more demanding. While they are equipped to work 24/7, and for many are required to do so, it’s no mystery why millennials value work-life balance higher than all other job characteristics including the opportunity for advancement, progression, available technology and even a sense of meaning at work.

Getting with the Millennial Program

Millennials have now inched past other generations to corner the largest share of the labour market. Add to that the fact that Canada’s workforce is shrinking overall, and you have a situation where the struggle to hire and retain good workers is only getting harder. Appealing to millennials will require adaptation, and that means embracing an employment model that is flexible and agile as well as it is meaningful.


 

 

At a time when work is done anywhere, anytime, 24/7 and even globally, today’s ideal office space is a flexible environment that is supported by the latest technology and allows workers to connect and collaborate with like-minded professionals in accommodating shared spaces. As the concept of work continues to evolve, coworking is a chance to be part of something significant.

You can discover an exceptional coworking office experience at The Professional Centre (TPC), the Toronto coworking space where more is standard. If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your business, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

The Measure of Workplace Wellness

Young business woman with yoga mat

In recent years, the concept of what constitutes the workplace has undergone a fundamental change. This shift is fueled in part by workers’ desire to substantially improve their work-life balance. Many of these workers are very health-conscious and perceive value in movements such as ‘clean eating’ and ‘flextime’. Millennials, in particular, are committed to empowering themselves in their workplace with the goal of performing better and being healthier overall. In fact, the familiar adage ‘work smarter not harder!’ has now expanded in scope to encompass workplace wellness efforts.

As part of a commitment to workplace wellness, addressing common health and stress issues can often be surprisingly straightforward. The following wellness adjustments are relatively easy to put into practice — by employers and workers alike. Backed by research, these seemingly small tweaks have been shown to significantly improve not only job performance and job satisfaction but overall health and well-being.


33% of Workers report high levels of stress on the job

A recent CareerBuilder survey reveals stress is negatively impacting job satisfaction with a third of workers reporting high levels of stress. 17% of workers say they are dissatisfied with their job overall.

Stress-busting adjustments:

Studies confirm a whole range of benefits — including lowering stress, enhanced creativity, sharper memory and improved mental acuity — can be gained by simply modifying one’s daily work routine by integrating a few minor adjustments to include:

Exercise – Incorporating short movements and exercises throughout the workday can significantly boost energy, engagement and efficiency. When 750 employees at New Balance shoe company integrated some form of physical activity into their routines every 30 minutes for three months, 53% said they increased their level of physical activity at work and 42% reported heightened engagement and concentration.

Maintaining adequate hydration – Hydrated workers are more productive workers. Just a 1% drop in hydration can inspire a 12% drop in productivity while a 3% to 4% drop in hydration can cut productivity 25% to 50%. Most experts agree that drinking at least 2 litres of water a day will prevent dehydration. Break it up into 8 portions. Also, people are encouraged to drink no more than 4 cups of coffee a day as caffeine is a leading cause of dehydration.

Eating healthy – Unhealthy eating is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity, according to a recent study in the science journal, Population Health Management. Workers who choose to forgo sugar-filled vending machine fare, that can ultimately adversely affect blood sugar levels and overall health, in favour of nutritious healthy snacks perform better.

Not smoking/smoking cessation – While heavily regulated in the workplace, smoking continues to contribute to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.  According to the Conference Board of Canada, smoking in the workplace often results in higher expenses for employers. Each employee who smokes costs the employer $4,256 year. To learn how to implement a complete environmental tobacco smoke workplace policy, click here.

Individuals who are committed to these healthy behaviours typically spend 33% to 50% less on healthcare costs inferring less chronic illness and better overall well-being.


61% of workers say they are burned out in their current job

A recent CareerBuilder survey reported 61%, or 3 in 5 workers, say they are burned out in their current job with 31% reporting high or extremely high levels of stress at work.  However, these individuals are not necessarily taking time away from work to relax and rejuvenate.

  • 33% of workers said they won’t be taking a vacation with nearly 1 in 5 leaving vacation days unused
  • 3 in 10 workers still stay connected with work during vacation
  • People in power positions – i.e., senior management — are the least stressed of all workers
  • Women were more likely to report high-stress levels at work
  • Anger issues at work, depression and sleepless nights are among stress-related symptoms workers have experienced

Take a break:

It’s critical to take time away from work to reduce stress and address burn-out. Schedule a real vacation, and fully disconnect or dramatically moderate the amount of work being done. Use these tips to disengage:

Take adequate time off – While strongly dependent on the individual, the majority of us need at least eight days away from work to fully unwind. We are often unable to recover sufficiently during shorter breaks from work because of increasingly disappearing boundaries between our personal life and work life. Therefore, a longer period away from work is needed to fully recover.

Vacations represent the longest period of temporary absence from work and work-related activities. But even while a vacation has a strong positive effect on health and well-being, its effect is short-lived. A recent study out of Finland’s University of Tampere found that longer trips didn’t necessarily increase post-vacation benefits. According to the study, health and wellness levels actually peaked on the eighth vacation day and had rapidly returned to baseline level within the first week of work resumption.

Advise management, colleagues and clients know you’ll be officially off the clock and will only respond to absolutely urgent emails.

Redirect and delegate to ensure business and client expectations are managed. Employ out-of-office messages and auto-reply on email. Make sure coworkers have access to the pertinent information necessary to assist.

Schedule set times for check-ins if you can’t relax without knowing all is well. Then step away from the work phone.


6 out of 10 Canadians believe their employer has some responsibility in ensuring their good health

The physical workplace itself is now recognized as an integral part of achieving high satisfaction with one’s overall work experience. Further, there’s a heightened awareness as to the positive link between wellness in the workplace and improved productivity from individuals, teams, and even entire organizations. In fact, as detailed in the Buffet National Wellness survey, six out of ten Canadians believe “their employer has some responsibility in ensuring their good health”.

Coworking workspaces, with their inherent flexibility, are often uniquely positioned to help workers proactively address wellness issues. As these spaces evolved in relation to recent developments in how work gets done, they are designed to promote a truly integrated state of well-being for individuals while working.

Workplace wellness tips:

Collaborative workplace design – By having access to collaborative spaces, private meeting rooms and shared kitchen and lounge areas, work satisfaction and productivity are significantly increased. When people aren’t tied to their desks, and feel free to move around, there are more opportunities for positive interactions and insightful conversations thereby improving overall happiness and wellness.

Walkable locations – According to new research, attracting premium talent is easier with a desirable office location in a highly walkable neighbourhood. The numbers show that there is a direct correlation between walkability and economic development, education and even social equity.

Sweat the details – Plenty of natural light, minimal noise distractions, elements of nature, flexible office layouts and ergonomic enhancements — all help to create a workplace environment that is as healthy as it is inviting. By investing in these details, people will look forward to coming to work and will feel more inspired and comfortable while they are there.


On a final note, as a favourable work-life balance is an increasingly important measure for today’s workforce, an ongoing commitment to wellness is perceived as an important element of an optimal workplace. Indeed, a workplace invested in health and wellness inspires a culture that attracts highly-motivated talent and leads to improved focus and overall engagement.

 

 


If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for you, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

Coworking Meeting Rooms Versus Hotels: The Better Option For Smaller Meetings

Coworking spaces — with their inherent flexibility and the intrinsic cost savings — are an ideal solution for today’s agile workforce. They have, to a measurable degree, supplanted the traditional office as the workplace of choice. Good to know then that in addition to shared, quality workspaces, many coworking businesses also offer fully-equipped, on-demand meeting spaces.

Self-employment is very much a growing trend in Canada. In fact, Intuit Canada projects 45% of the country’s workforce will be self-employed by 2020. This substantial influx of freelancers, solo professionals, consultants, independent contractors and small-business owners into the workforce is essentially redefining the nature of work… along with where it gets done.

Given the diverse range of settings where people can now choose to work, a significant number of professionals lack ready access to appropriate meeting space when it’s required. Additionally, given how the cost of commercial real estate continues to climb steadily upward, some established corporations are rethinking the practice of designated square-footage for in-house meeting space since it tends to be both expensive and underutilized. This has seen the inventory of company-held meeting space diminished.

Typically, hotels and event centres are less interested in small meetings, opting to tie the use of meeting space to bedroom rentals or food and beverage minimums.

Hosting meetings in a public setting, such a library or a coffee shop, is a hardly a perfect option given the distractions and lack of privacy. The obvious solution, a hotel or event centre meeting room, may not serve either. Typically, hotels and event centres are less interested in small meetings, opting to tie the use of meeting space to bedroom rentals or food and beverage minimums. Small-scale meetings would normally have considerable difficulty reaching established minimums.

Negotiating boils down to synchronized value where you have what they want and they have what you want. The issue with small-scale meetings and larger venues is the perception that small events don’t bring ‘enough’ to the table. But in a coworking centre, smaller definitely doesn’t translate to less!

In fact, coworking spaces provide an exceptional meeting experience for the forgotten niche that is smaller groups that range between two to forty. And coworking businesses often do it in stellar locations in meeting rooms that are as prestigious and as technologically-equipped as those in hotels.

Coworking spaces provide an exceptional meeting experience for the forgotten niche that is smaller groups that range between two to forty.

Beyond the attentively-serviced and fully-wired meeting rooms, there’s a number of solid reasons why meeting rooms offered in coworking spaces are a better alternative than using those in hotels. Coworking meeting spaces can:

  • Foster an excellent first impression when hosting clients as they are greeted upon arrival.
  • Allow users to book the space for as little or as long as required.
  • Deliver access to on-site business-related amenities and services.
  • Reduce costs as compared to securing a meeting room at a hotel/event centre.
  • Provide a hospitable immersion with complimentary coffee/tea service and catering upon request.

Coworking meeting rooms — a revolutionary choice

Be it a group of independent freelancers collaborating on a specific project or a corporate department gathering for a team building exercise, hosting smaller offsite meetings in a coworking environment allows for a degree of flexibility and choice usually missing from other meeting space options. With premium locations and facilities, coworking meeting rooms enable those professionals who are riding the wave generated by the changing conditions. Simply put, when it comes to smaller meetings, coworking meeting rooms are a revolutionary solution!

 


Win a chance for a free meeting room rental!

The first 5 people to get in touch before February 14th will be eligible for a free meeting room rental. Contact us for the details. Be sure to mention this contest!


If you’d like more information on how our meeting and conference rooms can benefit you and your team, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

2019 Coworking Statistics for Toronto

In relatively short order, coworking has essentially transformed the way people work. By providing choice, flexibility and affordability, it has enabled millions to start their own businesses, grow an existing company or simply work on their own terms. In fact, coworking has fundamentally disrupted the commercial real estate sector globally. Predictably then, in light of Toronto’s historically low downtown office vacancy rate, this global phenomenon is emerging as the ideal workplace solution locally.

Coworking has become the preferred workplace for a cohort that values agility and demands an enhanced work experience as they define it. By the end of 2018, approximately 1.7 million people worldwide had utilized a coworking space. As traditional commercial real estate options — with their inflexible leasing arrangements and sky-high rents — are proving ill-suited to meet the shifting demands of today’s working community, coworking is a trend that is definitely forecast to grow.

As the statistics reveal, in Toronto as elsewhere, coworking is the new normal. Here are the key numbers for 2019 and beyond…

2.6%

VACANCY RATE, THE LOWEST IN NORTH AMERICA

As 2019 opens, downtown Toronto office vacancies are at a 20-year low of 2.6%, with class A holdings at an even tighter 2.0%. The city has claimed the lowest downtown office vacancy rate in North America for five consecutive quarters.

Tech, coworking companies and a very limited supply of newly-constructed space account for the largest portion of Toronto’s current office growth. Often they go hand in hand as tech companies are at the forefront of the coworking adoption trend.

For the foreseeable future, low vacancy levels will continue to present an obstacle for tenants looking to expand, particularly downtown, as they will have very little leverage negotiating conventional rents/leases. These conditions are giving rise to the growing appeal of coworking — making Toronto a prime location and incubator for shared workplace adoption and innovation.


10 million

SQUARE FEET OF NEW OFFICE SPACE

Downtown Toronto is projected to add a modest 10 million square feet of new office space over the next five years, essentially ensuring healthy demand will continue to support low vacancy rates. It also provides an incentive for continued development of alternative workplace opportunities.


30%

MARKET SHARE

By 2030, industry forecasts project 30% of corporate real estate portfolios (globally) will be coworking or flexible space.


23%

ANNUAL GROWTH

Flexible workspace, including coworking, has been growing at an average annual rate of 23% since 2010 and is now the primary growth driver in the U.S. office market.


29.4%

OF NEW LEASES

Confirming its advance into the mainstream of commercial real estate, coworking and other flexible workspace formats accounted for 18.1 million square feet, or 29.4 percent of new space that was leased in the United States over the past two years.


At a time when work can be done anywhere, anytime, 24/7 and even globally, the focus has shifted from monitoring output to measuring effectiveness. To that end, today’s ideal office space is a flexible environment that is supported by the latest technology and allows workers to connect and collaborate with like-minded professionals in accommodating shared spaces. As the concept of work continues to evolve, coworking is a chance to be part of something significant.

 

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If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your clients, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

Coworking Solutions – Sourcing Office Space for Toronto’s Tech Sector

In an age marked by rapid change, technology continues to dramatically dominant the way life is lived, work gets done and leisure unfolds.

Demand Exceeds Supply

Beyond its pervasive impact on life in general, Toronto’s flourishing tech sector is squeezing the existing supply of the city’s office space…with no immediate reprieve in sight.

As well, changing expectations find workers increasingly invested in achieving a more equitable work-life balance. Thus, they are seeking more…most often defined as a workplace that offers agility and flexibility…which notably has fueled the rise of the coworking sector.

Toronto currently has the distinction of being the tightest office property market in North America. As well, Canada’s booming tech sector is slated to continue as a major force for innovation and a reliable source for economic growth.  CBRE’s Annual Tech Talent Scorecard reveals the city has claimed the #4 spot. As these trends overlap, commercial agents sourcing professional office space in Toronto suitable for technology firms will likely face challenges for the foreseeable future.

Numbers Tell the Tech Story…

Cushman & Wakefield’s Office MarketBeat, the quarterly summary of the commercial real estate that analyzes recent trends and market data in key cities, reports:

  • The third quarter of 2018 in downtown Toronto saw the city retain its edge as largest and fastest growing office market in Canada.
  • Downtown office availability in Toronto plummeted for a fifth consecutive quarter to yet another historic low of 2.3%.
  • The technology sector is one of the main engines driving heightened demand with the tech scene stimulating more than 30% of the city’s office growth in the past year.
  • With demand projected to remain steady in the short term, downtown Toronto will have limited office availability which may constrain growth and manifest in upward pressure on rental rates.

Also detailed in the MarketBeat summary, overall availability, which takes into account inventory in a city’s fringe, in major Canadian markets is now in a rock-bottom 1.5%, which has caused downtown average net rent to climb by 16.7% year-over-year.

Technically Speaking…

Given Toronto’s tech scene’s volatile growth, this marked shortage of appropriate office space is the number one challenge facing commercial agents and their potential tech tenants. In 2017 in downtown Toronto, the tech sector alone accounted for more than a third of demand for office space. No mystery then that proactive and solutions-driven commercial real estate professionals recognize that coworking spaces are the ideal solution for their Toronto-based tech sector clients.

In 2017 in downtown Toronto, the tech sector alone accounted for more than a third of demand for office space.

Having evolved well beyond the original ‘start-up’ concept, coworking remains an excellent model for today’s next-generation of tech firms. Offering prime space in key locations complete with state-of-the-art technology, shared amenities and common spaces, measurable financial advantages and a degree of flexibility unavailable with traditional arrangements, coworking also contributes to the organic exchange of best practices and professional expertise.

Savvy commercial agents acknowledge coworking can be the best answer to a tech client’s dual desire for high-functioning office space that also serves as a platform for agile working solutions. Likewise, coworking landlords are now investing in partnering with commercial agents. Seeing mutual benefit for themselves and agents, they are cultivating ongoing relationships via formal commission programs and other incentives.

 


If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your clients, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

 

The Synergy of Coworking and Commercial Real Estate Agents

The Changing Face of an Industry

These are significant days for the coworking segment of the commercial real estate industry. As the very nature of work has been redefined so has the actual physical workplace. Predictably, these combined changes have far-reaching implications for commercial real estate agents that go well beyond commission.

At its most basic, the impressive growth and rapid expansion of the coworking model is fundamentally transforming the way commercial real estate is structured. And coworking’s impact — which relies on innovative use of existing/new office space — is manifesting across the entire commercial real estate ecosystem. Likewise, the industry’s movers and shakers are adjusting and strategizing to adapt to this changing reality.

The Shifting Nature of Work

Today’s economy is primarily compelled by innovation and information versus a reliance on manufacturing. Hence, what constitutes work and the workforce has shifted dramatically as well. With an estimated 400,000 Baby Boomers retiring annually by 2020 in Canada each year, Generation X, and to a greater extent, Millennials and Generation Z will be left to provide the labour to replace them.

Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives who are never without their devices. As they carry everything needed for work with them, their notion of work is no longer tied to a physical place but rather viewed as something extremely transferable. Essentially, for them, the ‘traditional office’ is an outdated concept.

That noted, an Emergent Research survey on coworking found nearly 83 percent of respondents reported joining a coworking space saw them experience less loneliness, reflecting the growing trend towards “working alone together”! Further, the perception is that productivity is enhanced by using a space according to the work that needs to be completed — private offices for focused tasks, meeting rooms for brainstorming, shared common spaces for networking — so today’s ideal workplace needs to revolve around flexibility and choice.

89%

reported they are happier

83%

reported they are less lonely

78%

reported coworking helps keep them sane

 

The Expanding Opportunity for Commercial Agents

Many commercial agents initially hesitated to embrace coworking as the traditional real estate market shifted to the then mostly-unknown model. However, in light of the continuing growth of coworking and its being the preference of the largest block of the workforce, savvy agents are definitely adapting so as to be able to service those who are invested in finding agile working solutions.

Landlords too have come to recognize the inherent value of partnering with commercial agents and have stepped up their efforts to cultivate ongoing relationships. Many now offer formal commission programs. Additionally, they may incentivize agents with promotions that bump up commission, allow bonuses to be earned or offer financial rewards for referrals.

Wise commercial agents also recognize coworking’s appeal has spread well beyond the original cohort of freelancers and start-ups and now includes many larger corporations as well.

Wise commercial agents also recognize coworking’s appeal has spread well beyond the original cohort of freelancers and start-ups and now includes many larger corporations as well. These bigger players find coworking makes it easier to attract new talent and also increases employee productivity since coworking is seen as a perk.

The Evolving Coworking Landscape

Big picture: Coworking is here to stay and is projected to continue growing. More commercial landlords will be building from the ground up to accommodate cosharing. As well, they’ll be developing strong brands to effectively compete and attract users. Conversely, tenants, possessed of considerably more flexibility, will be increasingly regarded as guests and the workplace viewed as a hospitality platform designed to enhance work-life balance.

As coworking’s influence manifests across the commercial real estate spectrum, increasing numbers of commercial real estate clients are giving coworking the serious consideration it deserves. To be sure, brokers are definitely navigating a new landscape wherein exceeding client expectations will demand a swift response, flexibility, and coworking expertise.

…brokers are definitely navigating a new landscape wherein exceeding client expectations will demand a swift response, flexibility, and coworking expertise.

Clearly, the coworking train has left the station and successful commercial agents would do well to join their competitors who are already on board! Commercial agents who work in tandem with clients to identify innovative workplace solutions are building solid relationships. Finding these clients, whether non-traditional workers or large corporations, a dynamic workplace with affordable overhead that can adapt along as growth demands, is a rewarding business!


If you’d like more information on how our shared office space can work for your clients, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.

Coworking – Trading Myths for Facts

The number of professionals choosing the many benefits of coworking over using a traditional office continues to grow across multiple disciplines and industries. GCUC’s, the world’s largest Coworking conference series, 2018-global-coworking-forecast projects there will be approximately 30,500 spaces and over 5 million members by 2022.

With workers demanding greater workplace agility, coworking really is an ideal solution for corporations, entrepreneurs and remote/non-traditional employees alike. But as with any development that challenges long-held business norms, some still remain skeptical. Let’s explore some stubborn coworking myths…

Myth – Coworking is only for freelancers!

Fact: Many businesses-from large corporations to innovative start-ups-are embracing cosharing. Progressive companies are thinking outside the standard cubicle and utilizing coworking spaces to:

  • Secure desirable, but still-affordable, satellite-office space that includes all the required amenities.
  • Support remote/non-traditional employees by allowing access to a collaborative environment with state-of-the-art technology.
  • Host off-site meetings in coworking meeting rooms as an alternative to more expensive hotels.
  • Stimulate increased productivity and innovation from non-traditional employees via the flexibility and collaboration found in a coworking space.

Myth: Coworking Spaces Are Noisy and Distracting!

Fact: A new survey by Clutch, a leading B2B research, ratings, and reviews company, found over half (54%) of employees with an option to telework say they are most productive when working outside of a traditional office such as in a coworking space.

Certainly, coworking spaces encourage community and collaboration. Indeed, 25% of the Clutch survey respondents cited access to a professional community as the main benefit of coworking. Being surrounded by other highly-motivated individuals who want a professional environment means work gets done!

Coworking facilities also provide multiple options–ranging from open-desk seating to dedicated desks as well as private offices–allowing individuals to select the space that sees them perform best! The reality is coworking spaces are designed for work!

Myth: Coworking Works Only for Certain Sectors!

Fact: Coworking actually appeals to a broad range of companies and industries. Currently, IT, public relations and marketing & sales are the dominating industries for coworkers. But many diverse industries have begun embracing the business model. As the concept gets older and coworking spaces evolve, so do the individuals who use them. As such, it’s increasingly workable for a wider range of people and organizations.

Clearly, startups continue to enthusiastically embrace coworking spaces. But even traditionally conservative disciplines, such as the legal profession, are beginning to appreciate the cost savings, flexibility and professional environment they offer. Of note, niche coworking spaces that provide sophisticated, upscale spaces in prime locations are successfully attracting people who would not typically consider larger, less-sophisticated cosharing options.

Myth: Coworking Is Costly!

Fact: Comparatively speaking, coworking is definitely more-affordable than securing traditional office space. Flexible rental terms allow companies to reduce their exposure to long-term leases. Whether a new undertaking or an established business, coworking also minimizes overhead via savings on:

  • administrative support
  • state-of-the-art technology
  • shared common areas such as reception areas, lounges and kitchens
  • ancillary costs such as office cleaning

Companies can then invest these saving where it matters…in growing the business.

Harvard Business Review reports that coworking is seeing increased acceptance as more professionals begin to appreciate that any presumed shortcomings are actually myths. In fact, their study found that people who work in coworking spaces are flourishing. How come? These coworkers feel their work is significant. They report having more control over it. And they find validation in operating as part of a like-minded community.

 


If you’d like to find out more information on how shared office space can work for you, call The Professional Centre today at 416-367-1055 or contact us.