Do you believe in business gurus? Finding the perfect one for you

The title of this blog might as well be: Do you believe in fairies?

But reality is, some business owners completely buy into business gurus and heed their advice religiously. Business Gurus have been around since the 1960s. According to Wikipedia, "There is no existing qualifications, anyone can be a business guru by making an impact in a particular business field."

 In case you are confused, a business guru or management guru is deemed as a leading authority on business practices and can be defined as a person with influential ideas or themes about business. They are mostly American, normally academics with real-life business experiences. They are normally published authors and so, you can have them sitting on your desk or on your shelves.

Our social media team here at the BEC uses quotes from business gurus often mostly on a Monday as part of our Monday motivation campaign; however, let us see what they come up with for woeful Wednesday which is their new challenge.

 Predominantly people are in two camps over business gurus: those that wholeheartedly believe in the theories and concepts they develop and promote, and those who think it is a load of mumbo jumbo.

 I thought I would tell you about my favourite guru for quotes in business. I am not sure what nationality he is, but I have been an absolute fan of his theories on life since I was a child. He is the big fat ginger cat in Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire cat is his name. 

 I listened on Monday, 4th January to Boris Johnson’s speech on Monday night with you must stay home speech and I thought of the Cheshire cats quote of ‘How queer everything is today and yesterday things went just as usual. I wonder if I have been changed in the night. Let me think was I the same when I got up this morning!’

In normal times, I get to deliver quite a few presentations about starting a business and what you need to succeed. People are always nervous about starting a business and this will be heightened in the current financial climate and pandemic restrictions. I always use the Cheshire cat’s ‘Every adventure requires a first step’ to encourage that first push to entrepreneurship. This one also describes the journey of being an entrepreneur ‘Only a few find the way, some don’t recognise when they do some don’t ever want to’.

 I have talked about this many times. I am a planner. Visualise whiteboards, fancy stickers and coloured pens, and fabulous stationery because it must be fancy to inspire me. I talk about planning a lot with businesses and with my team at work.

However, I have never always quite managed it in my own life; especially when it comes to careers… I went from hospitality, to teaching, then to adult social care, and now have found my niche of supporting businesses. In life like us all, I have had challenges; and we are all facing our greatest challenge in working out how we are to survive this and think about business recovery.

Well, the Cheshire cat can give us all inspiration. The plot is, Alice reaches a crossroads and says to the Cheshire Cat, ‘Would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?' and the cat replies ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to’. Alice retorts ‘I don’t much care where’, and the cat replies ‘It doesn’t matter which way you go’. Alice replies in exasperation ‘So long as I get somewhere’. ‘Oh, you’re sure to do that if you only walk long enough,’ concludes the cat.

 Whatever you feel about business gurus, what is clear is that we all need inspiration at this challenging time and it's great to find a kindred spirit someone you can wholeheartedly believe in and rely on for advice, a sounding board or just to reaffirm your decision-making process. For some, this may be a guru, for others who use our services it is the fabulous business mentors who support the BEC. In my case, it is the Cheshire cat and our fabulous Operations Director Donna Finley, my work wife… the ‘ying’ to my ‘yang’. And if you were ever in any doubt about how well we know each other and why the relationship works so well… below is a picture of my Christmas present from her!

Lockdown 3! – Here we go again

In a previous blog at the end of last year I shared that I had spent New years day 2020 planning the BEC’s year …big mistake as we all know all that it all went horribly wrong and the arrival of COVID-19 decimated our plans for 2020.

This year I wasn’t at all well over Christmas and New Year no prizes for guessing the illness, however, I was luckier than most in not needing medical attention or the hospital. Having lolled around for two weeks feeling wretched I was looking forward to going back to work… a return to routine and a sense of normality in these strange times.

Well, that lasted for one day as the 8pm announcement on Monday the 4th revealed that we would be heading back into lockdown from Tuesday.  Now thankfully for many businesses this is just business as usual as they have been homeworking for nine months or more, like my public sector colleagues who essentially have never really gone back.

However, for the businesses who reside with us at the BEC, who had returned to our buildings in June of last year this is yet another major upheaval yet again the buildings need to be vacated and closed. Many would argue that after the first lockdown they should always have had a contingency plan; believe me we tried but our residents and businesses feel a sense of belonging, a community of like-minded people and I get that is just not available at home.

So here are some tips for making working from home more bearable.

I get that its difficult home schooling, crap weather making working difficult. When my son lived at home, we did not have a spare room to convert and so I had a desk on the upstairs landing not ideal but at least a space I could work from.  Now thankfully he is long gone (I’m not thankful that he is gone but that is a whole different blog) but that his former bedroom is now my office. I converted it last January I must have had a premonition.

So, try to find a space that is separate from family life even if it is a ‘Harry Potter’ office you know the cupboard under the stairs style office.

My second tip is about a routine which means taking a break, a tea break, lunch breaks and an exercise break before it gets dark, basically some down time and if you are home alone this needs to be more than a cuppa and a slice of toast! A proper lunch its January and you might not have Greggs nearby, but we should be eating healthy right?

My third tip is about keeping in touch and I don’t mean having a zillion video meetings. My learning from first lockdown is that I didn’t keep in touch with friends and family as much as I should have done. Not for any other reason than just ‘zoomed out’ in a very intensive working period.  So, make times for friends and family however ‘zoomed out’ you may be, we are all missing our circle of friends and family however big or small that is…

My fourth tip is about collaboration working from home can feel like a solo experience, but it still involves interacting with others. While email can be effective for deciding or passing information; we all know that working from home clogs up inboxes quickly.  My tip is to find an app that works for you to ask that quick question or check in with your team or partners. Rapport has never been more important now in my eyes.

My final tip is to start thinking about the future, this must be over at some point and if you are like me there is joy in planning especially with fabulous stationary, stickers, and coloured pens but that is probably also another blog.

Whatever works for you to get through this, lets hope and pray this is the last time. In my darkest moments I visualise putting my hand in a coat pocket and finding a face mask.  I look at it and think remember when we had to wear these in public spaces. I think that in years to come this will bring me more joy than finding a £20 note in my husband’s jeans pocket and keeping it!

The new language of business

My digital marketing team who are fab by the way! Helpfully every month give me blog titles which I then go off and attempt to write. Madly it works mostly although occasionally it does feel like an english class when I was at school with the title given to you and the word discuss at the end.

I was writing another blog about my reflections of 2020. When I got to thinking about how the language of business, and with that acceptable practices have changed over the last eight months with the onset of the pandemic. It’s great to see that the phrase working from home is now widely accepted by all businesses and not seen in the context of a cheeky day off as it was perceived a few year ago.  Likewise. that ‘childcare issues’ are not seen as an inhibitor to career development nor lead to the historic groaning in some people. We hear ‘post COVID-19’ a lot. I personally refuse to use it because sadly, I don’t believe we are, for us and the businesses we help they are very much still in the middle of it and some fighting for survival.

Two online meetings today had me thinking about new business phrases, which have emerged since we moved to an online culture. Phrases such as ‘you are on mute’ continue to make me smile and I hope when we meet face to face it may still be acceptable to mute people when needed.  Who knew that ‘legacy hand’ would be a thing, used to describe when someone puts their virtual hand up on screen, and forgets to take it off the screen.  Another favourite ‘we can only see your chin/s’ when one person has still not figured out their camera angles, and my all time favourite where are you? Which leaves me with a mental image ofa zoom séance and Ouija board.

In 2018 the Oxford English dictionary named toxic as the word of the year, and in 2019 climate emergency was the word of the year.  A recent article in November stated that the Oxford English dictionary has chosen not to name a ‘word of the year’. It described 2020 as the year which cannot be accommodated in one single word. I am sure like me you could beg to differ, crap and disappointing spring to my mind but I will leave you with your own thoughts on that.

I also read an online article about 12 new words which have entered the dictionary some made me laugh out loud. I have posted the link if you need a lift, and look at MacGyver think we all know one of those. Here are three that made me smile!

Manspreading – used to identify a public transport commuter attempt to increase the space available to them. In my time I have pocket dialled people on numerous occasions, I am not sure that I will ever be owning up to butt-dialling for when that pesky smartphone is in your back pocket.

There is a great new word which supports equality and a fairer society,  Mx said as mix or mux by the way, this is one we all need to be familiar with for a person who prefers not to be identified by their gender or is gender fluid.

There are also other phrases, which I think have had an enormous impact on the way we work, we talk now about self-care and well-being, and it no longer comes across as disingenuous or insincere but instead are genuine phrases with no stigma attached.  I cannot end this article without mentioning mental health as both a word and an issue. I have recently seen some brave posts on Linked in whereby business owners have genuinely opened about the impact of the pandemic on their mental health. This is good news and a new word I hope we will continue to use once this is truly a post COVID-19 world!

As mentioned earlier if you want to smile then look at the 12 new words.

https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/12-brand-new-english-words/

Business tips for coping with Covid-19

Well if you are like me then you thought that all this would be over by the end of Summer, but clearly despite great news about potential vaccines and the belief that by next summer 2021 we as a nation will have a handle on this; that still leaves more than six months for your small business to survive.

There is no denying it has been an awful year for businesses of all shapes and sizes but if you have survived this long then there is hope.  Now for many small businesses it is a case of avoiding the move to make your business COVID smart in the hope that it will all go away but it has not, and it won’t.

#1 E-commerce stop ignoring it - Now if you’re a business with products to sell that don’t require real world interaction think about adapting your business model to an e-commerce platform, either by using something similar to Shopify, a shoppable landing page or a selling site such as Etsy. If you don’t currently have a website, start by setting up a quick free site (Wix offer templates that are easy to use or WordPress has free options) building a shoppable landing page where your customers can buy your products. You can also use it to sell gift cards that can be bought now and used later, when you can open the doors of your business to the public once more.  Remember that if you chose to use a separate selling site, like Etsy or eBay, you will need to factor in their fees to your pricing plus postage and packaging. If you already have a website that sells, then now is the time to tidy it up, organise an SEO review, make sure all the pages are working as they should be and potentially review the pricing or product lines you have to optimise ROI in every area of your business.

#2 – Optimise social media channels - The reality is if you are not on social media you are not seen and  If you haven’t already then now is the time to set up and optimise your social media channels, consider which work best for your audience. Not only is organic social free but it is often more effective to market your small business as people feel they are not being sold to as blatantly. Using these channels for paid advertising is great for getting fast results but if you are not sure what you’re doing can end up costing more than you expect and returning very little in the way of sales. Find an expert who can help you if you are not sure, most 15 – 19-year olds can provide free advice on guidance on which platforms will work best for your products and services.

Being able to use the right platforms to connect not only with your existing customer base but also local demographics and potential new clients is often a great way to market your small business and eventually sales too. More now than ever people want to look at the human side of your business. I get that it is scary and uncomfortable, trust me I am the voice of experience in this matter. It has taken me years to get over myself in how I look and sound. However, you can be creative if it is not your thing. There are some ways such as a behind-the-scenes video of how you make your products, an interview which discusses an area of your business you get asked about frequently or some beautiful lifestyle images of your products all of these demonstrate your business without direct selling.

#3 – Find a support network that works for you, a virtual support bubble of likeminded people can help in so many ways. They provide context and meaning, and a shared understanding of the challenges we are all facing during these difficult times. I was invited as a guest to a network of creative artists in Havering (borough next door). I went because we support two of the artists, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a real sense of comradery and support without any competitiveness it restored my faith in a cooperative business community. Arguably very necessary in these difficult times.

#4Enterprise Support – there is a plethora of support available via numerous organisations obviously including the BEC, but there is lots of advice and guidance on all of the organisation’s I can think of, as well as a wide range of training opportunities to upskill. Our ‘make it click ‘programme is an online platform via google which enables business owners to register and take any course at their own pace and in a time when it suits them.

Despite all this year has brought I want to believe that if small business can weather the storm then there are opportunities to rebuild. If you are a small business and you need support, then reach out to us!

Reflections of 2020

I had a pretty testing 2019 on a personal level, losing both the ‘outlaws’ within the year. I recall on New Years eve/day thinking through all sorts of plans both personal and for the direction of the BEC. I was adamant it was going to be a year of growth and change for the BEC, we were excited about developing a brand new affordable creative workspace bang in the middle of Barking town centre which is currently under major regeneration. We had plans to develop some innovative business growth programmes for growing sectors in our communities as well as other projects in the pipeline.

 Sadly, these went ‘out of the window’ with the impact of Covid-19 and our crucial role in supporting start ups and SME’s took over for the whole year. I am pleased to say these plans are back for 2021 which happens to be our social enterprise 5th birthday. I have to say that despite the enormous challenges and the impact that the pandemic has brought there were some great things that did happen.

Firstly, improved relationships, between our organisation and those we consider to be our partners; these have changed drastically for the better. We have always talked about partnership but now it truly feels like ‘mutual partnership’ is truly happening. Now given that we no longer meet face to face instead using the plethora of video technology this was somewhat a surprise. I call it the new informal formal way of working, this is especially precedent in our different relationships with departments of the local authority and it feels great to get things done! Not just talk …actual actions which will improve the economic situation for businesses.

 Secondly despite the circumstances we have seen some businesses who adapted quickly and pivoted and diversified into new markets and kept afloat or in some cases thrived despite all the challenges.

There has been a shift in the culture of business it sounds ‘twee’, but people are just nicer and kinder to each other; well that’s my perception and my lived experience over the last 8 months. I really hope post COVID-19 that continues and is embraced as a culture identity in business.

 The reach of the BEC has grown significantly; we have finally dispelled the myth that we only work in Barking and Dagenham I think! This can be attributed to the digital shift of our support services in the main. It was money well spent to move our training and mentoring online, I didn’t think that the BEC would ever need to consider the time in New York to discuss mentoring, but we did. It appears that there is much more of an appetite for online events and training, of course it makes sense it fits round work and family life. From a business perspective it is a cost-effective way to deliver networking although I miss the ambience of a networking event and we will all think differently about those shared buffets now!

 A highlight in October was that we achieved our London Living wage accreditation, for some not a big deal I recognise. For me it was important as it’s not just about us, its about those we contract with as well, and we want to lead the way in supporting a fairer business community.

 In January/February this year the news and media were full of Brexit and the implications, we have found that its just not been at the top of business owners lists since March, However of course if you are affected you are running out of time to review your plans.

 Ruminating on my plans for New Year, my thoughts now are how we blend our service offer to a mixture of face to face delivery (when safe to do so) whilst still developing our online activity. Getting the two projects that were this year off the ground in January 2021. We are pleased to be supporting kickstart in our borough from January and keen to develop or Board of Directors and engage more people from the business community to be part of our growth and development.

Crucially, those 5th birthday plans remain high on my list for 2021. It may not be February, but I am confident that at sometime in 2021 we will meet to celebrate.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Creative Industries

In 2007, I was asked to join the Board of a local arts organisations, which led grassroots participatory arts in the borough I call home. To cut a very long story short the following year 2008 I became the Chair of that organisation and have ‘chaired’ Studio 3 Arts since then. It has grown phenomenally in that time, I am delighted to say.

Apart from my prior limited knowledge, I have been on a major learning curve about arts, culture, and creative industries for the last 13 years. What I have learnt is that arts, culture, and creative industries change people's lives for the better. The media is flooded with talk about well-being and mental health and how being creative supports people for the better.

COVID-19 has brought all sorts of difficulties to every area of industry and business, however arguably, no other industry has been impacted so much as the creative industries. 

 The first lockdown left empty theatres, music, spoken word, galleries, and most places where creative practice and opportunities happened were forced to close. As those which were about to open, the second lockdown occurred and they remained unable to practice. 

I recognise that a significant number (including Studio 3 arts) moved their services and practices online and we have all benefitted from arts, culture, and creative practice opportunities being streamed into our homes in this challenging year.

However, the reality is that, it is just not the same nor does it help the thousands of people who work behind the scenes to make these magical things happen. The techy folk as I call them; most were left unable to work at all.

Here at the BEC, we are about to start work building a creative industries hub and workspace with our partners Be First, Create and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Not to forget our fab architects in Assemble.

Our ambition is to build a truly affordable world-class creative hub that delivers more than fabulous workspace. That is our model. It’s what we do. Constructing the space is a given. Creating a culture of support from mentoring, training, and business-to-business opportunities take more work, but it is what we do. 

I have often thought during the last eight months that if we had built 360 before 2020, we would have been able to support creative industries more effectively locally. It is definitely food for thought about how we rebuild creative industries in a new post-COVID-19 world. 

What I can be assured of is when it is finished, 360 I mean, that we will build that support bubble for creative industries and hope that we can be part of the journey to rebuild such an important industry sector to benefit us all.

Workplace Stress - Is it a new negative transferable skill?

Stress in the workplace is a well-known problem widely written about and loads of material to help people cope, but now people are being advised to work from home where possible; is workplace stress a new negative transferable skill? Have you even thought about how you have just transferred the stress from the office to your home office or kitchen table? Throw into the mix managing the children, and other members of your households also working from home and you potentially have the recipe for disaster! 

So how can we manage this and make this new norm workable as sadly it is not going away anytime soon?

What Causes Stress When Working Remotely?

There are several factors that may be influencing your stress indicators when working remotely that are very different from the typical factors you find in the workplace. These include:

So, how can these stress indicators be managed?

Discussing issues 

If you’re feeling that you are taking on more work now that you’re working remotely, it’s important to address the issues with someone you trust and value or even better build your own virtual support bubble. If you have a business mentor, you may want to chat through this with them. Whomever you find helpful using a face to face communication method is always better than email. Recognisably seeing each other on a face-to-face basis offers a host of benefits including making you feel connected to the individual in question and improving their ability to relate to you and what you are saying. Your Support bubble will be able to visibly see how this stuff may be affecting you. 

Taking A Break

Remote working can provide you with some negative habits including taking your work with you wherever you go. I am sure we all identify with answering work emails whilst entertaining the children; or making phone calls at family mealtimes despite telling the family to put their phones away.  You do not have to be a genius to work out when you work in the office, you do not do this because there is a clear line between work and home lives. You need to put this line in place even when you work from home. Set yourself clear times to start and stop work, and make sure that the activities that you would normally enjoy uninterrupted with your family remain uninterrupted, even though you’re working from home.

Making Time to Interact Socially With Others

Social interaction is something that business owners identify as missing from this new normal, finding like-minded people who are in the same boat. There are some things you can do to minimise this feeling of isolation.

Join us every Wednesday at 11am for Virtual Brunch, no agenda, just a chat and support from like-minded people. We all know that Tier 2 restrictions present meeting up in person challenges but don’t forget you can still go for a walk with a trusted colleague or use your virtual support bubble for informal ‘after works virtual drinks’ or even a coffee and a catch-up.

Online Fatigue

Sometimes a day on zoom, MS teams, Adobe, or a combination of all three is just too much! The last thing you want to do is another video call. Here is a suggestion…use the opportunity to read all those business books you were going to get round to, listen to those podcasts you have been meaning to. Take that walk that you have been meaning to do all week.

Setting Yourself Boundaries

One of the biggest problems of working remotely is setting boundaries for yourself. Many people lack the space at home to set up an office or dedicated workspace apart from children, pets and other family members and this leads to a lot of disruptions and interruptions. A lack of productivity when working from home can lead to a lot of stress, and one of the best ways to relieve this is to have a separate working space that is away from family members.  We recognise that space is always an issue and the cupboard under the stairs does not present an attractive work environment.  

Using a flexible coworking space is a great solution since it will give you boundaries between home and work and help you to stay productive as you get through your tasks for the day without anyone else butting in. BEC’s coworking spaces are the ideal solution since they allow you to enjoy a fully equipped office environment away from all of the distractions of home. Contact us here to see which of our accommodation options suit you.

Try these top tips to reduce your stress when working remotely, and see the difference that they can make to your mental well-being whenever you work from home instead of the office. 

The BEC CIC CELEBRATES COMMITMENT TO REAL LIVING WAGE

The BEC CIC has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer. Our Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at the BEC CIC receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.30 in the UK or £10.75 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the government minimum for over 25s, which currently stands at £8.72 per hour.

BEC CIC is based in London, a region where nearly a fifth of all jobs (19%) pay less than the real Living Wage - around 785,000 jobs. Despite this, the BEC CIC has committed to pay the real Living Wage and deliver a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earns a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum. Since 2011 the Living Wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 230,000 people and put over £1 billion extra into the pockets of low-paid workers.

Karen West-Whylie CEO said, "As a business whose sole purpose is to support other businesses, it was only right that we sign up to being a London Living Wage employer. We are delighted to be leading the way."

Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation said: “We’re delighted that the BEC CIC has joined the movement of over 6000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earns enough to live on."

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Chelsea, and Everton Football Clubs, Lush, and many more. These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like the BEC CIC believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay," Chapman added.

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About the Living Wage

The real Living Wage is the only rate calculated according to what people need to make ends meet. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that choose to take a stand by ensuring their staff earns a wage that meets the costs and pressures they face in their everyday lives. 

The UK Living Wage is currently £9.30 per hour. There is a separate London Living Wage rate of £10.75 per hour to reflect the higher costs of transport, childcare, and housing in the capital. These figures are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, based on the best available evidence on living standards in London and the UK.

The Living Wage Foundation is the organisation at the heart of the movement of businesses, organizations, and individuals who campaign for the simple idea that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. The Living Wage Foundation receives guidance and advice from the Living Wage Advisory Council. The Foundation is supported by our principal partners: Aviva; IKEA; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; KPMG; Linklaters; Nationwide; Nestle; Resolution Foundation; Oxfam; Trust for London; People’s Health Trust; and Queen Mary University of London.

What about the Government’s national living wage?

In July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would introduce a compulsory ‘national living wage’. This new government rate is a new minimum wage rate for staff over 25 years old. It was introduced in April 2016 and the rate is £8.21 per hour as of April 2019. The rate is different from the Living Wage rates calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. The government rate is based on median earnings while the Living Wage Foundation rates are calculated according to the cost of living in London and the UK. 

Stop procrastinating and start doing!

Procrastinate ‘a verb – to delay or postpone action: put off doing something. Recognise anyone?

Yes, without a shadow of a doubt we have all been there; and more recently, loss of focus and drive with all the distressing reports of the ongoing effects of the global pandemic make procrastination part of the ‘new normal’.

Recent surveys have shown that around one-fifth of people are chronic procrastinators, and if you are one of them you may need reminding that you need to start being more productive. We all know that procrastinating feels good at the time, but putting off essential tasks has a high cost in the long-term. Not only does it take a toll on your business, but it saps your energy and negatively impacts your productivity levels too. So, how can you beat the delaying habit? Here are a few top tips.

Breaking tasks down Into Smaller Tasks

Often, if a task feels too large or too vague, you put off doing it. It’s all-too-easy to look at those enormous jobs on your to-do list and then overlook them in favour of a smaller task that isn’t as important but makes you feel like you’re getting things done when you tick it off. The key to getting those larger tasks completed is to break them down into smaller chunks. For example, you could break down the task ‘work on cashflow’, update the business plan, and develop marketing initiatives. 

Set A Timer

One way of getting started on tasks is to set yourself a timer for a short period of time, say 10 minutes, and dedicate yourself to completing one task in that period of time. Make sure all distractions have been shut out during that time and really focus. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done.

Give Yourself Rewards

Procrastinating, at the time, feels as if you’re rewarding yourself. So, you need to come up with something that feels just as pleasurable to reward yourself for getting the job done. Evidence shows that giving yourself small treats every time you complete a small task is a great motivator. So, for example, you might choose to have your favourite coffee every time you complete one job on your to-do list. It’ll make you feel good each time you get those jobs done. 

Use Implementation Intentions 

This tactic is a helpful way of building up positive new habits and to quit procrastinating. Setting implementation intentions involves committing to engagement in the behaviour you desire whenever a certain cue is received. So, for example, you may work offline for 30 minutes after turning on your office light rather than checking your email, or completing a task from your project once you’ve finished eating lunch. Implementation intentions help you to quit procrastinating because you pair the actions that you want to take with actions you do automatically so you don’t have to rely so heavily on your discipline and willpower. 

Remember the ‘What I Have Done’ list

For the days when procrastination took over, or other urgent tasks diverted you from that list, do not be discouraged! Get in the habit of a "What I Have Done Today" list, which may include running a business alongside four loads of washing, all part of keeping you productive and functioning. 

Hopefully, these tips will help you find the motivation that you need to change your delaying behaviour and make progress on the tasks on your to-do list. Remember, that procrastinating is a habit, but it’s possible to form new habits over time and with practice. You can beat your procrastinating behaviours – so start working on changing your habits today!

How the BEC is supporting co-working survival

Before COVID-19 over recent years, coworking spaces have seen a great surge in popularity as freelancers, sole traders and independent contractors alike have begun to recognise the benefits that come with sharing a workspace instead of trying to work from home or rent a full-time office.

However, with the arrival of COVID-19, there are some concerns from the industry about the survival of such spaces. Not us here at Barking Enterprises Centre (BEC). We know that we are able to provide a COVID-secure environment to ensure that our current and prospective co-working tenants can survive and thrive. This includes socially-distanced desks, overflow space should everyone arrive together, and the implementation of some pod-style booths in our BEC 2 building.

Recognising that co-working might offer a solution 

Despite the problems that COVID-19 has thrown our way over the past few months, it’s clear that coworking spaces still offer users a host of benefits. In fact, a whole new category of workers has now recognised the advantages of these spaces – those who are now working from home due to the pandemic.

With companies nationwide now being asked to allow staff to work remotely, the need for suitable workspaces for those employees has become obvious. Not everyone can work effectively in their own home. From children and pets getting in the way and causing distractions to a simple lack of room, remote workers have realised that renting a coworking space is the best way to make sure they get their work done on time. 

Coworking costs in these uncertain times

If the local coffee shop is your escape from the kitchen table, then great! A change of scene is essential. However, did you know that the price of a co-working space at the BEC is less than two cups of your favourite latte or flat white per day? Our new BEC Touchdown space will allow you to work for a whole day with free tea and coffee for just £10 per day, a day being from 8am-9pm of course! Coming from mid-November, no join up fee, just touchdown and enjoy the experience.

Ensuring COVID-Safe Workspaces

With the need for COVID-safe workspaces firmly in mind, coworking spaces have been getting an overhaul for 2020. As more people than ever before are now working outside the office, there is an increased need for such spaces. BEC is working to accommodate this need, having ensured a COVID-friendly environment that is ideal for remote workers of all kinds to use as a base during these unprecedented times.

We’ve been catering to the needs of freelancers and independent contractors for some time, but now we’re helping a wider range of individuals who are looking for a suitable place to work during the pandemic instead of working from their dining table or going into a non-COVID-secure office. 

If you’re looking for a safe and comfortable place to work, BEC is here to help. Our workspaces are furnished and fully serviced, with a front desk service, secure offices, free refreshments, high-speed Wi-Fi, mail handling services, daily cleaning, and all utilities included in the price. You can even benefit from access to complimentary professional events including business growth coaching so you can network and learn as you work. Contact us here to learn more.