As many teams continue with remote work, leaders are looking for new ways to ramp up office communication and team morale. We suggest adding some fun Slack apps.
Slack has become an important productivity tool for many remote teams. But, Slack can be more than just common communication and charts. It can be a source of fun team-building engagement if you have the right Slack apps. We’ve previously reviewed the Ten Best Slack Apps for Your Team and shown you Slack for Project Management and Slack for Reminders and now we’re reviewing seven fun and engaging Slack apps to keep your remote team engaged. These are some of the best ways to make Slack fun.
1. Trivia By Springworks
Trivia is one way to bring the social aspect back to your social-distancing workspace.
Trivia is a team-building tool that hosts interactive quizzes. Reviews on their website rave how hilarity ensues among teams when played – a must for breaking the monotonous daily routine. If working from home has your coworkers feeling down, try some Trivia. It’s a fun Slack bot everyone needs.
Over 30 categories and 1000s of quizzes available
Leaderboards are posted after every quiz
Custom quizzes coming soon
Work conversations over messaging can be quick but impersonal. Transform and brighten any conversation with crowd-pleasing GIFs.
Giphy uses GIFs to inject some personality into otherwise routine communication. If a picture says a 1,000 words then a GIF can speak volumes. Just don’t ask us about how to pronounce “gif.” That’s a debate for another day.
Easy to install into your workspace and use – type the command “/giphy + term” to quickly add a GIF
Library of hundreds of animated GIFs
While working remote it’s hard to establish time to take a break to connect with your team. Little games such as the classic, tic-tac-toe, will give your team a much deserved break and promote team bonding.
Once installed, Tic-Tac-Toe lets you challenge a teammate to a friendly game of tic-tac-toe. Just type the command “/ttt @mention” and the game will pop-up in your chat. You can also play secret games in direct message channels with /ttt. This might be one of the most fun Slack bots available. It’s light, quick, and easy to use for a fun brain break.
Made by the same engineers of the chat pop-up game Tic-Tac-Toe for Slack, Rock-Paper-Scissors is available for some friendly competition.
Challenge a teammate to a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the command “/rps @mention”, you and your teammate will receive a pop-up in the chat and you’re ready to play!
Still looking to spice up your Slack convos and want to go beyond GIFs? How about posting replies to messages as fan favorite characters!
Slacker adds some pizzazz to conversations by letting you post as your favorite characters such as Darth Vader, Elsa, James Bond, Beyonce and many more. Because who wouldn’t want Darth Vader to respond to your coworker when questioned if you sent out the marketing email yet again?
Putting a face to the name can be quite the challenge nowadays as teams are forced to work separately from one another and interact with employees they’ve never met in person. But with Plop, you can make sure you get to know coworkers even when far apart.
Plop is a game that quizzes you to see if you can recognize coworkers based on their profile picture.
Working remotely can create lots of communication challenges and it can make it difficult to understand just how your team is doing. However, GameMonk works to gauge morale and preferences.
GameMonk is a great Slack bot to give your team either a quick break or much-needed feedback. Polls and anonymous surveys help with understanding how your company is feeling and the provided 90-second games will boost interaction with GIF guessing games, trivia, and way more.
@gamemonk: play categories (protip: try saying ‘hint’ during a game!)
@gamemonk: play giphy
As teams continue with remote work, it’s important to keep communication working and morale high. Using these bots and applications for Slack will assist in building team culture, communication, team bonding, and ultimately boost morale. It’s important that as your business grows that your team does as well — adding some fun into the mix will go a long way.
A common question in commercial real estate is, how does coworking compare to office space? In some ways, they aren’t that different. But in many ways, they are nothing alike. This can make it difficult to compare an office lease to a coworking plan.
Elements of a commercial office lease
Comparing the price of coworking spaces to traditional office space can appear complicated. Frankly, just understanding a conventional office lease can be challenging enough. The following is a guide to understanding how a coworking membership might compare to a traditional office lease for small businesses or startups.
When it comes to a traditional office lease, there are several different types. Typically, people don’t know how much office space costs. Most commercial office spaces have a lease rate discussed as price per foot per year. Beyond this, there can be a few different ways to figure the extra tenant expenses. The most important thing to realize about leasing an office space is that there will be costs above the base rent. One of the most typical leases is a triple net lease, shown often as NNN. Another common type is a gross lease. You might also find an absolute net lease, full-service lease, or modified gross. All of these options act differently and present expenses differently to renters. Ultimately, all of this means it is essential to understand your all-in cost to lease traditional office space.
Traditional office space will present costs on a per square foot basis. The price you pay for rent will vary vastly depending on the quality of space you are renting. On the basic level, you’ll see office space referenced as class A, B, and C. Even within these classes, the quality of space can vary widely. In the Omaha office market, office rental rates may vary from as low as $10 per square foot to prices over $30 per square foot. In larger markets, rates are much higher.
Your cost of traditional office space will be higher than your per square foot rate. Depending on the type of lease, you’ll also be responsible for taxes, insurance, common area maintenance, utilities, and other building-related expenses.
The first question to ask is, what is base rent? Base rent is a per square foot rate annually. For example, a rent of $12 per square foot is $1 per square foot per month. If you’re renting a 1,000 square foot office space at $12 per square foot, you’ll be paying $12,000 annually, or $1,000 per month. Often, this rental rate is called base rent. But, there is almost always more to pay above your base rent. We won’t explore every type of lease, but we’ll show you the most common types of office leases.
Triple Net Lease
A triple net lease usually appears as NNN. It stands for the net, net, net. The “nets” in a triple net lease are real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. This is often expressed as a per square foot fee annually, just like base rent. For example, if a 1,000 square foot space has triple nets of $8 per square foot, then you would pay $8,0000 annually. Often, a tenant will not have the whole building. So you will typically see language in a lease around your “pro-rata share” of expenses. This means your share of the costs based on the percentage of the building you’re leasing.
There are key things triple nets do not include like utilities, preventative maintenance, liability insurance, and repairs to something within your space.
A gross lease includes many of the additional expenses we previously discussed. A gross lease will often include the base rent, as well as things like taxes, maintenance, and building insurance. Sometimes a gross lease will even include utilities. This type of rental can make costs much more predictable for tenants. For example, a gross rent of $20 per square foot on a 1,000 square foot space would cost $20,000 annually. That would be $1,666 per month.
Still, even with a gross lease, there can be additional expenses. Sometimes they do not include utilities. They may not include other types of maintenance like pest control, window washing, or repairs to toilets and clogged sinks.
All-In Cost for Office
No matter the type of commercial lease you end up with, you’ll want to understand your “all-in cost” for the office space. This involves your base rent, NNN expenses, maintenance costs, repair costs, utilities, and any other monthly expenses for the use of the space. While a base rent might be $12 per square foot, it could be that all costs are $23 per square foot. On a 1,000 square foot space, this means rent might be $12,000 per year, but the all-in costs are $23,000 per year. There are online calculators that can help with these calculations.
Capital expenses for office space
Beyond your expenses for renting office space, you’ll need to consider your capital expenditures for the new space. For example, will you need new furniture for the workspace? Office furniture for open office spaces can easily cost $1,500 per person. How about art? You may also need audio and video equipment. Many people don’t consider the cost of business internet when setting up an office, which is much more expensive than home internet packages. All of these expenses can add up to thousands and thousands of upfront capital costs and ongoing expenses.
Is office space a liability?
Finally, small business owners need to realize that office space is a liability on their balance sheet. A five-year lease on terms like we outlined above could count as a liability of over $100,000. This lease debt can affect a business’s ability to get loans for operating the company. A personal guarantee is often required as well, meaning business owners must commit to paying the lease themselves should their business not work out. These can be significant liabilities, even with a smaller commercial office space.
The total cost of office space
All of this information should be defined to understand the total cost of office space. The base rent of a workspace is typically the most readily available number, but office space costs more than the base rent. It’s essential to add up all the monthly expenses, figure all the capital costs, and consider how the lease liability will affect your company.
Coworking is any flexible office space with shared amenities. When it comes to coworking space, you will most often encounter a fixed cost with little or no fees charged in addition. Coworking spaces typically charge a membership fee, not a lease rate. This means there is no liability on your balance sheet and often no personal guarantee. A coworking membership will typically include all triple-net type expenses and maintenance fees. Your one membership expense will cover the pest control, repairs, management, taxes, insurance, and other items that you’ll be responsible for on a commercial lease.
What does a coworking space include?
Different coworking spaces provide various types of office amenities. When comparing them, it’s a good idea to learn about which are provided and which are not. It’s important when comparing offices of any kind to understand all of the added benefits and how these might help you. Some coworking amenities may save you money, like the fast internet or included furniture. Other office perks might assist you in recruiting talent like location, culture, or fitness center access.
Identify limitations on the amenities and access
While coworking spaces provide several amenities, that doesn’t mean they are unlimited. Some are only available for an extra expense. One space may offer memberships with a few hours of conference room space, while another may provide unlimited conference room reservations. Some coworking spaces charge for parking, while others have free parking available. Identify which amenities are an extra expense, which have limitations, and which are unlimited. These can make a massive difference in the overall cost.
Additionally, be sure to ask about access to the space. Many coworking offices are 24/7, but some are not. Some only provide access during business hours. These questions should also include guest policies. Most coworking spaces will allow guests, but not all. Some allow guests at any time, while some may only allow guests during business hours.
Shorter membership terms and flexible space
The flexibility of coworking means your membership term will likely be far less than a commercial lease. For many young companies or growing startups, this can be very helpful. Membership terms are often as short as month-to-month and as long as 12-months. Coworking spaces allow you to treat office space like just in time inventory. You can access the space you need when you need it and nothing more.
For example, you may plan to grow by five employees over the next twelve months. Perhaps you hope to grow by fifteen employees over the next three years. With a commercial lease, you’d need to plan for this and rent far more space than you need now to accommodate this future growth. In a coworking space, you can add desks or offices as you grow. Pay only for what your team needs now, and add spaces as you add team members. This can save thousands of dollars in wasted space early on.
A summary of how to compare office and coworking
Finding the right space for your team is an important decision. There is, of course, no one right solution for everyone. Commercial spaces are the right option for a lot of companies. Coworking spaces provide exceptional value for many as well. Ultimately, you need to understand two things: what is the net cost of each option and what is the unique value.
Be sure you’ve identified the costs of each and understand how much your monthly expense will be. Consider the critical factors like the length of the lease, location, parking, access, and how much liability you’ll have. Finally, consider the unique values each can provide, such as a space that will help you recruit talent.
Let’s look at an example from Populus Coworking versus a traditional Omaha office space for a startup company with six people.
Rent: $16 PSF NNN: $6 PSF Utilities: $2 PSF Cleaning: $2 PSF Total for a 1,500 SF office: $3,125 Gym Memberships: $240/mo Internet: $200/mo Coffee and snacks: $75/mo Furniture lease: $350/mo Parking: $200/mo — Total: $4,190 per month
Populus Coworking — All Included: $2,600 per month
Agent: Real estate agents are trained to handle commercial real estate transactions. They must do so, though, with the guidance of a broker.
Base Rent: This is what you pay for the use of commercial office space.
Broker: A real estate broker is licensed and trained to handle commercial real estate transactions. They assist owners, renters, sellers, and buyers.
Build to Suit: An arrangement in which the building owner will take the responsibility of building the space the tenant requires.
Class-A Office: Typically the nicest, and often most expensive, office space. Generally, this space will be newer, though not always. You will often find clients like law firms, banks, or consulting firms in these types of spaces.
Class-B Office: This is the majority of the space on the market. We might call this “middle market” type of office space. It can range from relatively nice to lower-end spaces.
Class-C Office: This would be the low end of the market. This space is often either not very nice, or in a very challenging location. Approach this type of cautiously, though it does have its uses and benefits.
Common Area: Any piece of an office building that would be shared amongst all tenants or uses. This might include things like entryways, lobbies, or hallways.
Gross: In a lease, this typically means your covering all or most expenses in the gross payment. For example, if your rent amount is referenced ‘gross’ this means it includes things such as takes, insurance, and maintenance.
Square Foot: Typical commercial space is measured and referenced by its area in square feet. That is, one square foot would be a square of one foot on each side.
Tenant Improvement Allowance (TI): This is an amount of money that a building owner will provide to the tenant. It is used to rework the office space to fit the tenant needs. This can be paid back in a number of ways. This is typically provided as a number of dollars per square foot.
Triple Nets (NNN): These stand for the net, net, net. In this type of lease, the renter is responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintenance (the three nets) on top of their base rent.
Utilities: These expenses will include things water, electricity, gas, and trash. These are often individually metered per tenant or suite within an office space. If they are not, they will be averaged out for the building based on your square footage use. If you use 10% of the building you pay 10% of utilities. Meters per space is much more ideal when controlling costs.
White Box: when space is stripped down and provided as a “blank slate” it is often called a white box. The term comes from the fact that the space will often be painted a base white and is essentially an empty box.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to help business owners make more informed decisions in regards to the topic; however, please contact an attorney for legal advice and an accountant for tax advice. Populus makes no representation as a legal advisor or tax advisor.
Shared office space, often referred to as coworking, has its roots in Silicon Valley. It started with a bunch of startup employees looking for a way to share the enormous expense of an office. The concept was brought to the mass market by the billion-dollar startup company WeWork.
Since its inception, shared office space has grown and evolved. While it may have once been simple coworking for young entrepreneurs, the benefits of shared office space have been adopted by organizations of all sizes. Small businesses and corporations around the world have come to realize the many perks and efficiencies to shared space. Let’s take a look at a few of these advantages.
No Debt Liability
There are many advantages that shared office space can provide when it comes to work itself, but we often overlook a key financial advantage for small businesses. When an organization signs a lease for 3,5, or even 7 years they now have a huge liability on the balance sheet. When a small business needs to take out a line of credit or loan with the bank, the liability of that lease will be a major consideration.
Most coworking spaces require short term commitments, sometimes as little as one month. With these short term memberships, small business owners do not need to carry the financial liability of a lease. This can preserve the financial margin for debt that might be used for equipment, working capital, and other types of expansion.
Shared office space helps small businesses stay leaner and avoid the hit of a large asset or debt liability.
Truly Valuable Networking
Shared office space provides networking opportunities that are very unique. While meetups and events provide a few days or hours of opportunity to connect with new people, coworking spaces provide daily opportunities to connect with like-minded businesses. In a shared office space, you have the opportunity to meet many different types of for-profit and non-profit companies.
There can be significant advantages for large companies to join shared workspaces for this very reason. Coworking spaces can provide an easier way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to interact with your large organization. Establishing a small presence in a shared office space can be a great marketing tool for any company with a focus on small business clients.
Recruiting Great Talent
It’s tough to get the best talent. One thing great talent is looking for these days is flexible working environments and added amenities. Shared office spaces allow small businesses to offer top amenities and flexibility. Few small organizations can afford to offer things like fitness centers, beer on tap, local coffee, or historic working spaces on their own. But in a shared environment, all of these amenities become viable.
Shared office spaces are a significant tool for companies of all sizes when it comes to bringing in the best talent. Event larger organizations can use coworking spaces to establish remote teams in more hip and trending spaces. The top developers may not want to work in a corporate America cubical, but they are happy to work in a local coworking space.
Shared offices spaces are a mix of people, ideas, concepts, and thoughts. This diversity can be a huge advantage or coworking members. Many businesses suffer from a lack of diversity. Not simply diverse skin colors, but a diversity of thought and concepts.
In a shared office space, ideas flow around the physical network of people. There are different backgrounds, ages, and life experiences. All of these unique perspectives play into the unique advantage of a shared office. There are few other places where businesses can bounce ideas off of multiple people who spend their time doing something completely different.
Shared Office Is Unique
A coworking space is not right for everyone. There are, of course, tradeoffs from a more traditional office environment. It’s likely to have less privacy in a shared space. There may be a bit more noise and distraction. Not every types of business or team will be a great fit for a coworking space. Still, companies of all sizes should consider the very unique benefits that shared office space has to offer them like diversity, recruiting advantages, valuable networking, the reduction of financial liabilities.
Over the past few years, coworking spaces in Omaha have exploded. Populus is conveniently located in midtown Omaha, but we may not be right for everyone. While we’d love to have you become part of our office space community, we realize there is a number of factors that play into your decision. Here are some of the other coworking spaces you could check out.
All of these spaces offer a mix of coworking amenities including printing, coffee, conference rooms, fitness centers, and even beer on tap. And, of course, if we’re missing one please let us know.
1. Commerce Village – Downtown Omaha
Commerce Village is an Omaha coworking community featuring flexible office space, meeting rooms and workspaces for freelancers, remote workers, and small businesses. Work in a beautiful historic building with world-class amenities and stunning views of downtown Omaha.
A transition space between maternity leave and full-time work. Third Space Coworking will be opening soon in West Omaha to provide working parents with more support and flexibility. They partner with employers who want to ease the painful transition back to full-time work after maternity (or paternity) leave.
Watts Coworking is a space where Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Independent Professionals can work together to power their most innovative ideas. We welcome our members to be a part of a culture that embraces community and thinks like an outlier. Watts gives professionals the opportunity to work together and accomplish revolutionary things.
5. Regus Omaha – Midtown, Downtown, and West Omaha
Rent an office, desk space or meeting room for an hour, day, month or years, or establish a business presence with a virtual address. Regus is a worldwide chain of flexible office space with three locations across Omaha.
FUSE Coworking is a shared space where Lincoln’s independent professionals, startups, remote workers and entrepreneurs can work, learn, collaborate and create. Attracting Lincoln’s top technology and talent, FUSE provides coworkers with everything they need to succeed: a place to work with blazing-fast internet; meeting space; and, of course, coffee.
Turbine Flats Coworking seeks to provide a shared, community-driven workspace for location-independent workers. As a member, you’ll be an active part of what Turbine Flats is and does for you and for others.
Turbine Flats provides you with access to the common workspace, internet, office equipment, conference space, knowledge resources, and other services. With the ability to come and go at any hour and free parking you’ll be able to get it all done.
Located at 26th and Farnam Street, Populus is building the most flexible way to office in Omaha. We have over 10,000 square feet of inspired space ready for your startup or small business. Populus provides our members with all-inclusive pricing so you have one simple bill each month.
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