What to Wear: Setting a Dress Code for Your Office

When you’re running a business, it’s tough to make time for trivialities like how people dress. Most people can dress appropriately for an office environment, right?

In most cases, yes. Most people understand what is appropriate to wear at work. They know to wear clean, sensible, non-revealing clothing that represents the business well. The dress requirements do not need to be formalized in a rulebook.

In fact, that’s how it works in many businesses. 45% of companies in the United States lack a dress code. The dress policies are merely implied. Many of the companies who do have dress requirements only address safety (work boots, eye protection, hair nets, long pants, etc.).

But at some point you’re bound to come across a person who doesn’t understand what’s appropriate and for whatever reason can’t pick up clues from other people. These individuals can make your other employees, customers, and vendors uncomfortable.

Even if you trust everyone’s work style, it’s helpful to have a written policy in case there’s a dispute or in the event that someone decides to change their routine.

You might think, “If someone is being inappropriate, I’ll address it with them privately.” That seems tactful, but rules are tough to enforce on an individual basis. It’s smarter to create a clear policy that applies to everyone.

Creating a dress code is a simple exercise, but it requires some careful considerations.

Ready to write your dress policy? Use this free template to get started!

Your dress code should reflect your culture

If your dress code doesn’t mesh with your culture, you’ll have a hard time hiring and retaining the right people. You’ll also make people uncomfortable in a work environment that doesn’t suit them.

“Ensure your guidelines are authentic to your business,” recommends human resource executive Ashley Wilczek.” If you are a progressive technology company employing millennials, requiring business suits and ties might not be the best fit.”

In most cases, it’s easier to define your company culture before worrying about a dress code. What type of company do you want to be? What do you want the work environment to be like? If you expect strict professionalism and a luxury appearance, suits and ties would be appropriate. But if you want a relaxed atmosphere of people who work on their own schedules, reduce your dress requirements.

Take common sense into account

Just like your culture, your dress code should consider your business’ purpose. Before you ban a type of dress, piercing or tattoo from your workplace, ask yourself if it really affects your business.

For instance, a law firm that regularly entertains clients would want to put on a professional appearance. Business formal attire would be reasonable. But if you lead a team of developers who work at desks all day and never see customers, jeans and T-shirts are usually fine.

Image: Tom Britt / Flickr
Image: Tom Britt / Flickr

Furthermore, your dress code should reach beyond clothing. Your dress code is an appropriate place to define other work environment policies that matter to you. You’ll want to include instructions for the following categories (if appropriate):

  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Makeup
  • Footwear
  • Dress code while traveling
  • Dress code on the customer’s site
  • Dress code for trade shows or conferences
  • Days or circumstances where the dress code is different (for instance, casual Fridays or scheduled days the investors visit)

Always abide by the law

There are no federal laws governing dress code policies. You may set whatever dress requirements you like as long as you do not discriminate on the basis of religion, age, gender, pregnancy, genetic information, race or disability.

It’s possible to discriminate against a protected class, even if the dress policy doesn’t do so explicitly. Disparate impacts are considered discrimination. Here are a few examples:

  • A hair length policy may discriminate against men whose religion prohibits cutting their hair.
  • A uniform policy that requires a specific garment that isn’t available in a size a pregnant woman needs is discriminatory.
  • A policy that requires a specific garment that doesn’t work with a disabled person’s medical device is discrimination, unless a reasonable accommodation is made.

A common mistake employers make is to implement a policy that creates a burden on one gender over another. Whatever burden you place on your employees should be equal to everyone, otherwise you risk a sexual discrimination lawsuit. In some states, for example, it’s unreasonable to require men to be clean shaven every morning because it’s a burden women don’t share.

Image: Highways England / Flickr
Image: Highways England / Flickr

Some states have their own protections, as well. Your state might protect workers from policies created on the basis of marital status, national origin, or sexual orientation. Make a quick call to your state’s labor department before you write a dress code policy, or consult with a human resources expert.

Follow your own code

Employees take their cues from the top. If you establish a dress code policy, be prepared to abide by it yourself every day. If your staff see you disregarding your own rules, two things will happen.

First, they’ll lose respect for you. Why would they respect someone who thinks they’re better than their own rules?

Second, they’ll disregard the policy as well. It might not happen right away, but eventually everyone will be dressing however they prefer.

So any standard you create should be one that you’re willing to meet. If you want to command respect and be treated like a leader, dress above your own dress code so others see that you take the work environment seriously.

Put the code in writing so it can be enforced

Policies are impossible to enforce unless they’re in writing. Include them in your employee handbook. They don’t have to be extensive, just available.

Human resources professional Suzanne Lucas recommends enforcing the policy consistently. “Companies get in trouble when they let the thin, gorgeous woman wear a micro-mini skirt, but tell the overweight woman to keep her skirts down to her knees,” she says. “If your dress code is reasonable to begin with, enforcing it is not generally a problem.”

Make sure your policy includes a structure of progressive disciplinary actions for dress code violations. These usually start with one or two verbal warnings, written warnings, and then serious consequences.

Let your policy evolve over time

Trends come and go. What was presentable yesterday may not be appropriate today, or vice versa. Three-piece suits were once the height of professionalism, but they hardly exist today. If new hires learn about your unusual dress code, you’ll struggle to bring in good talent.

Evaluate your dress code at least once a year. Have your employees contribute their thoughts as well. (This should be part of a broader review of your employee policies.) Make any changes so that your dress code reflects your business and culture.

Dress codes aren’t a substitute for good judgement

Just because you’ve developed a dress code doesn’t mean you or your employees can stop thinking for yourself. “No dress code can cover all contingencies so employees must exert a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing to wear to work,” says human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield. Encourage your team to speak with you if they have any questions.

Use this free template to create a dress code for your business!

We know that as a business leader, you don’t want to think about little details like a dress code. When there are customers to serve, marketing strategies to implement, and a product to build, it can be tough to tear yourself away from work that has immediate results and worry about office policies.

Nevertheless, your work environment matters. How your employees feel and behave at work can create lasting effects on your business. So a portion of your time must be spent developing and optimizing policies to structure their behavior and create a positive environment.

By starting with a dress code, you send a clear message to your employees that you take your business seriously, so they should too.

Smart Strategies to Improve Employee Retention

If it hasn’t happened already, at some point one of your employees will leave your business. You might receive a thorough explanation, but most of the time you’ll only get a vague excuse.

On the surface, you understand that people change jobs for lots of reasons – most are perfectly reasonable. But as a business leader, turnover is frustrating for three reasons.

  1. Now you have to spend time and money hiring and training someone new.
  2. Productivity will be suppressed during the transition.
  3. Plans you made around that employee have to be abandoned.

Take it from a human resource expert: “Failing to retain a key employee is costly to the bottom line, in addition to organizational issues such as training time and investment, lost knowledge, insecure coworkers and a costly candidate search aside.”

You can’t expect your employees to stick around forever, so you have to take retention seriously.

Free download: Checklist: Encourage Your Employees to Stick Around

Create opportunities for growth


In most cases, your employees are looking to grow in their positions and expand their careers. They want more responsibility, more authority, and, of course, more money. They don’t expect these things for free (well, most don’t), but they want the opportunity. If they can’t move up, they’ll move on.

Unless you’re a large company with a well-defined organizational hierarchy, you won’t have a clear growth path. You can’t commit to salary growth charts. You can’t point to a manager and say “When he moves up, you can take his job.” This makes creating growth opportunities a challenge because even you don’t know the next step.

The growth problem is especially difficult if your staff is composed of millennials (people born between the early 80s and 2000). Millennials have a notorious reputation as job hoppers and it’s not without merit.

A survey by Deloitte explains the situation well: “During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years.”

By 2020, 66% of millennials hope to have moved to a new position. Only 16% see themselves working for their current employer for a decade or more. This lack of loyalty is a challenge every employer should account for, because millennials are the largest segment of the workforce.
So what’s the solution?

1. Provide lots of career and professional development

The best employees want to growth their skillset and become better at their job. You raise the chance of keeping employees if they feel like you’re investing in them.

Send your team to training seminars, workshops, conferences, and meetups of similarly talented people. Give each team member a budget for training. Tell them to suggest a learning opportunity within the budget for your consideration. You get smarter employees and they get to control their growth. This can be a big perk for some people, like database administrators who can attend a conference on a cruise boat.

2. Set a trajectory for financial growth

Everyone wants to make more money. We tell our teams that we want their loyalty, but if you told them they wouldn’t earn a penny more than they do now, they’ll quickly find new work. People aren’t entirely motivated by salary. In fact, there’s a tenuous relationship between compensation and satisfaction, but no one likes a lack of growth.

You may not be able to say “Do X Y and Z and you’ll a raise,” but you should be able to set conditions for financial growth. Tell your employees what has to happen within the business for them to earn more money.

For instance, you might say something like “Once we pick up new accounts worth $200,000/year, I can give you a 5% raise.” This approach not only makes it clear that financial growth is obtainable, but it ties the employee’s performance to your goals. In this example, the employee is going to look for ways to bring in new business because it affects his income.

Develop the right culture

Image: TopRank Marketing / Flickr
Image: TopRank Marketing / Flickr

Your organization’s culture is an intangible quality that’s critically important to your team. Sadly, many organizations neglect to foster a culture that’s healthy and aligned with their business goals.

Your culture should emphasize the significance of each employee’s contribution. A team member should feel involved in the company’s progress. They should feel engaged, which has numerous benefits. They want to believe they are a part of something, not just an easily replaceable cog in a machine.

Making your employees feel valued is easier said than done. 68% of employees don’t feel like their contributions have significant purpose or impact on their companies.
Fortunately, company cultures are far easier to manufacture in smaller organizations. They can be influenced quicker and the results are realized sooner.

1. Hire the right people

The easiest way to foster a desired culture is to hire people that fit. They don’t need any special training, coaching, or readjusting. During your interview process, ask questions that gauge applicants in areas that relate to your values. For example, if your company values impeccable customer service, ask applicants how they would respond to certain customer scenarios.

2. Squash gossip right away

CEO Matt Ehrlichman says “[Gossip] is the antithesis of transparency and collaboration.” Even if it’s not cruel, gossip erodes the company culture. Over time, people build cliques. These groups reinforce their own comfort by putting down other people, which prevents relationships from forming based on goals and accomplishments

3. Discipline/coach consistently

Poor behavior has to be addressed, especially if it violates a written policy. “If behavior doesn’t improve with the individual in question then some may assume the behavior is considered an acceptable way to deliver results,” says Tim Kuppler, Director of Culture and Organization Development for Human Synergistics.

Furthermore, don’t punish competent people who violate minor policies. Be willing to judge the spirit of your rules, not the letter, especially in cases where the employee’s actions serve your goals. For example, let’s say an employee resolved a customer problem with a solution that ordinarily would have required your approval. If the employee made a judgement call because the customer was irate and you weren’t around, don’t write them up for violating a policy when they actually saved the account.

4. Create a transparent environment

Like I said earlier, people want to understand their own contribution to the business. Make your company goals and strategies available so everyone understands the plan. Empower them to work without being micromanaged. Give them access to your time.

Use this checklist to position your business to retain your talent.

Figure out why

Most importantly, determine why your employees leave. Do they feel under-compensated? Do they dislike their coworkers? Do they feel stagnant with nowhere to grow? Do they just hate the desk chairs?

You can’t craft a retention strategy until you figure out why people leave. You won’t be able to respond to many of their reasons. You can’t reduce their commute, pay them double, or switch industries. But some might give some feedback that helps you improve overall retention. The best way to gather this information is through exit interviews after the employee has committed to leaving.

Finally, put your retention strategies in place before people exit. Talking someone off a ledge is pointless in nearly all cases. Once they’ve decided to go, there’s little you can do to stop them. You have to be proactive.

What Do Millennials Want in Office Space?

A millennial is anyone born between 1982 and 2000. When people read those dates, they are always shocked. There’s usually someone who says “I didn’t realize I was a millennial.”

Millennials account for 25% of the American population. They are the largest generation in the workforce, bigger than the Baby Boomers by almost 10 million. Even though millennials are one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse generations, they’ll be pushing some broad trends into their work environments.

It’s no surprise that companies go out of their way to seduce talented people. If you’re smart, you’ll find out what your ideal employee wants and build an office environment that suits them.

That’s a critical strategy for hiring millennial employees, who change jobs every one to four years. According to State Street Global Advisors, 44% of millennials plan to leave their current position in the next two years, which means keeping them around is harder than previous generations.

You don’t need orange slides that wind between floors or treehouse offices to attract and retain millennials, but you should make these concessions.

Before you hire millennials, make sure you understand these common myths.

The end of the 9 to 5


A Bentley University study found that most millennials prefer a flexible work schedule. 77% say that open-ended work hours would make them more productive. They prioritize work/life balance over work itself, and want to be available for life experiences.

The same study found that 80% of millennials are willing to check work messages and contribute to company goals well after work hours. Interestingly, they integrate their job functions into their life, so that responding to a work email at a restaurant or taking a quick phone call on Sunday doesn’t feel like an interruption, so long as personal interruptions are permitted during work hours.

How does this preference affect your office space? To court millennials, you should provide an accessible office. Give them access during nontraditional work hours, even if it means giving everyone a key. Let them use their own tools (laptops and phones) so work is always available. Most importantly, stop thinking of an empty chair as poor work ethic. Instead, measure results.

Your tech should be cutting edge

Millennials were born into technology. The oldest millennials have been using cell phones since they were in high school. The youngest had smart phones in elementary school. They work, socialize, and live their lives through technology.

Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn, Inc., says it perfectly: “Millennials don’t look at technology as an extra. They expect to be able to use it in all aspects of their lives, including at home, in the community, and on the job.”

Millennials look for ways to make their jobs easier and faster. They want the flexibility that can only be achieved with modern technology. Don’t burden them with ancient computers. Be prepared to pay for that premium software tool. That said, many millennials are comfortable with “bring your own device” policies because it gives them freedom to work wherever and whenever they please (which could save you money).

Furthermore, give your younger, computer literate team members the freedom to implement and design their own tools. If you give them the tools you need, they will reward you with productivity.

Open office layouts aren’t what they seem

Image source: K2 Space / Flickr
Image source: K2 Space / Flickr

For years now, there has been a push for giant, open floor plans where everyone works in the same room. The idea is that millennials value communication and collaboration, so companies have literally attempted to break down barriers between employees. In fact, research shows that newer offices have been deliberately designed to represent the open spaces of college work/study environments. Fewer walls mean more talking, right?

Sure, but that’s not always a good thing. Open spaces create a pressure to look busy. When a CEO walks into the room, everyone wants to be at their desk, seemingly at work, even if collaboration (which is good work in the context of an open space) is better performed at the water cooler.

Furthermore, open offices are distracting. An employee’s productivity and creativity are squashed when everyone nearby can hear their conversations. This is especially important for salesmen or customer service representatives who spend a majority of their day on the phone.

Laura Munoz, saleswomen at Groupon, told Monster, “I loved feeling part of that community but as an inside sales rep I hated having people listen to all of my conversations. It was to an extent nice to pick up sales tips from listening to others, but it really made me act differently—either carefree or totally nervous. And of course, there was the occasional private conversation that you wish you didn’t hear.”

Nevertheless, open offices do create a sense of community that translates into job satisfaction. So how do you foster that community without damaging productivity? For small companies, the solution is to find out what your employees want and provide that layout.

Larger companies see success by offering a concept called “hoteling.” The idea is to provide different types of work environments to staff and let them work wherever they please. This means having an open workspace for collaboration and impromptu meetings, as well as quiet, reserved space for concentration. Technology being what it is means people can easily relocate workspace depending on their needs.

Sprinkle in some amenities


Happy employees are productive employees. (There’s really no need to back that up with science, but here it is anyway.) If you smooth out their frustrations, ease their fears, and solve their problems, you’ll create a workforce that gets more done and stays with your company for the long haul.

Some of the biggest companies have made tremendous investments into employee incentives, like personal concierge services, free catered food at all hours, free childcare, on-site gyms, and free laundry service. But those are likely out of your budget.

Still, you can easily improve your employee’s happiness and job satisfaction without giving them raises. Figure out what would make their lives easier that can be solved within your budget.

Does your team of five drink coffee throughout the day? Free coffee for a small team would only cost a few hundred dollars per year, but it would make your team grateful and productive. No late arrivals because the coffee line was long. No mid-day jaunts to the convenience store.

Does your staff like to educate themselves continually? You could reimburse a portion of their tuition or send them to industry conferences. Do they take fitness seriously? Pay for nearby gym memberships (you could probably get a group rate!).

Most importantly, a little perk for your employees makes your company known. You can be the business that lets employees bring their dogs to work, or the office with bagels every morning. Word will spread that will help you attract larger pools of job applicants.

Download our guide: Myths You Need to Stop Believing About Millennial Employees

A final word

I’ve done a lot of generalizing in this article about a large group of people, but at the end of the day, you should create an office environment (and a business, for that matter) that makes your company the most successful.

Maybe your millennials need beer kegs, a ping pong table, and Spotify subscriptions. Maybe they want traditional cubicles and taupe-colored walls. The only way to find out what makes them productive is to ask. Use that data to create a work environment that maximizes your chance for success.

Ready to find a new office? Find your next office environment today.

How to Set Your Employees Up for Success in Your New Offices

It’s no secret that office space is a significant business expense. Signing that rental agreement is an exciting new stage for your company, but it’s also a big commitment.

Think of your new office like an investment. It should increase your revenue by making your team more productive, giving you a place to meet with clients, and allowing you to expand your operations.

But in order to protect that investment, you have to do everything you can to ensure a good return. That means setting you and your employees up for success in your new environment.

What does success mean? For one, you want your team to like their jobs.

The University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive. The research team said: “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

There’s plenty more science behind that, too. Shawn Achor, a Harvard psychologist, found that our brains actually work better when we’re generally happy. Happiness, he asserts, isn’t innate. It can be managed. “It’s a cultural myth that we cannot change our happiness.”

Furthermore, productivity can be influenced outside of happiness, as well. A few changes to work schedules, environment, and even lighting can fan the flames of productivity without pushing workers like a slave driver.

Here are some ways you can make your team successful in the new office.

Haven’t rented space yet? Ask your team these questions beforehand to make everyone successful.

1. Give them whatever information they need


Make your employees’ transition comfortable by supplying them with information about your new office environment.

Pick up some maps or whatever literature the town/city provides on public transportation. They’ll need bus routes, subway stations, train stations, pricing, etc. If there are any nearby parking lots or garages, pick up flyers with their rates and hours.

(Extra tip: Look into negotiated parking or public transit rates for your business. Some places offer reduced rates if you’re buying bulk. Your team might appreciate the savings.)

You should also grab menus from local restaurants or take out places. Yes, your team can easily Google for location food spots, but this will make them feel like you care about easing their transition.

Furthermore, make them aware of any company policies that change or come into effect because of the new office. For instance, you might implement a dress code or more structured working hours. Put all of these changes in writing for later reference.

2. Be flexible with their schedules

Give your team a little leeway with their work schedules once you move into your new office. If this is your first office, they’ll be adjusting to office life after a period of time working from home. If this isn’t your first office, they’ll be adjusting to the new commute. They’ll be learning the new route, traffic patterns, and when to leave the house.

If possible, use the transition as a time to experiment with not worrying about work hours at all or getting rid of the eight hour work day. See if you can depend on your team to work a fair day, even if it’s not exactly nine to five. You might be surprised that people appreciate the latitude and try not to overstep.

Depending on how much you trust your team, you might also give them total access to the unit. Give everyone a key so they can come and go as they please. If someone wants to work late and start late the next morning, give them that option. If you treat people like professionals, they’ll usually respond in kind.

3. Schedule uninterrupted work time

If your employees are used to working in a home environment, they had all the peace and quiet they would ever need. They could turn down their phone, ignore their emails, and log out of Slack chat any time they needed to get something finished.

In an office, we lose that luxury. There’s ambient noise, other people typing, and it’s easy to interrupt each other.

Designate a portion of the day for uninterrupted, solitary work. This is called time-blocking. Usually this is best for early hours when the work day starts. That’s when creativity and productivity are at their highest.

Time blocking is an excellent way to focus on a task without becoming distracted. When we’re interrupted for other things, we have to reorient ourselves back to the project at hand. This constant reorientation costs time and erodes the quality of the work. It’s also stressful.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, blocks off time each day to address his top priority for the year. You could encourage your team to do this by identifying the one thing you want them to do best and giving them uninterrupted time each day to work on it.

During this blocked off time period, team members have the right to work quietly without being interrupted. It doesn’t mean they have to, however. If two people decide to work together or don’t need the quiet block that day, they can work as they please. The key is to give everyone the opportunity so they can really push their own productivity.

4. Make the environment pleasant

You may have worked amidst an untidy mess in your spare bedroom, but that won’t work in a proper office.

Your employees expect a professional environment. They don’t want to be crowded by excess furniture, squint their eyes all day due to poor light, or pinch their noses against odors. It’s your job to create an office environment that’s comfortable and encourages productivity.

Working in a pleasant environment can have a tremendous impact on workers’ performance. A relaxing atmosphere with a few extra amenities may not seem cost-effective, but they can go a long way to influence the attitude of your team.

Lighting is extremely important. Poor lighting can cause eyestrain, fatigue, headaches, and overall poor productivity. Natural lighting is best, but if that’s not an option use lights with adjustable filters.

Finally, give your employees options in regards to their furniture. In turnkey spaces, you’re usually renting the space with basic furniture, but customize whatever you can for comfort and ergonomics. Give your team their preferred chairs, computer monitors, and other tools (wherever possible).

5. Ask your employees what they want

Image: David Wall/FlickrM
Image: David Wall/FlickrM

The best way to learn how you can support your employees is to ask them directly. Find out what they need, what they like, and what would make them more successful on the job. Do they need a special tool or software? Noise-canceling headphones? Flexibility with a certain policy?

Getting honest feedback isn’t easy, though. No one wants to complain to the boss and disrupt the work environment.

Skip the “anonymous” suggestion boxes. If you have a small team, it’s pretty clear who’s making the suggestions. Plus they foster an office culture where suggestions can only be made anonymously due to fear of retribution.

Instead, encourage your team to have honest conversations with you about how the business environment can be made better. Don’t expect your employees to come to you with complaints or new ideas; ask insightful questions regularly.

To rent the perfect office space, survey your team with this list of questions.

Final thoughts

Any time you make a substantial change, there will be an adjustment period. Don’t expect you and your team to become perfectly comfortable in your new office environment right away. Change takes time.

For instance, if your employees are late every day for the first two weeks, chalk it up new routes and traffic, not sudden laziness. Over time, everyone will settle into their new environment, and happiness and productivity will soar.

If you haven’t found your new office yet, start your search today.

Using the Olympics to Create Team Spirit

As the 2016 Olympic games are underway in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, viewers around the world will be tuning in to watch their favorite teams compete for pinnacle prize of gold.  It might just strike you to know that around an estimated 3.6 billion people will be glued to the Television rooting their teams on, that includes the 72% of business professionals.


Summer tends to see a decline in productivity, with more workers taking off during the prime months of July and August than other months throughout the year.  Throw the spectacle of the Olympic Games into the mix and–let’s just say there’s plenty to distract a workforce this season.

So rather than reprimand employees, employers can set a new standard by encouraging employees to celebrate the games and creating opportunities to foster strong culture within the office.  Capturing the joy and celebration that comes along with the Olympic games there are ways to welcome the Olympic spirit into your workplace and boost employee engagement.

Host in-office olympic viewing parties. By soliciting employee input on the events streamed in office, you not only show them that you care about their opinions, but also create windows of opportunities for team bonding. Employees may uncover common sports interests with their colleagues.  They may even carry those shared interest forward even after the Olympics end further cementing team bonding within the office.

Companies can also host healthy competitions amongst the co-workers and generate teamwork with a focus on building relationships with one another, workers can simply inspire each other to achieve goals together, then translate that same focus and collaboration into their daily work routine.  One may even suggest starting a company sports team, there is no better opportune time to start a company sports team.  Distribute surveys to your employees on what sports they enjoy playing the most, and what days of the week they’d enjoy participating on a team.

By encouraging team sports you help employees get the routine exercise they need – which in turn has been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity and reduce employee absenteeism.  It also produces an environment where they feel supported leading to a more success company.  These Olympic games only take place every so often, why not embrace these rare moments and celebrate the opportunity to bring strength and unity to the workplace.

When To Take A Break At Work

Many of us are spending more and more of our workdays sitting in front of a desk managing tasks virtually.

In fact, the recently coined phrase “actively sedentary” refers to a new category of office workers who attempt to compensate for sitting 8-10 hrs a day by engaging in at least 60 minutes of daily exercise. While the effort is valiant, recent studies have shown that this amount of exercise is not nearly enough to offset the negative effects caused from sitting all day. Is there anything else that we, as the “actively sedentary” workforce, can do to make up for the long periods of time we remain stationary at our desks? Believe it or not, the answer may be as simple as taking more breaks.

Taking mid-day breaks is something most of us do of course. The questions is whether we are taking enough of them. Many recent studies have shown that for every hour that someone sits in a chair typing away, or immersing themselves in product software, or whatever their job might entail, they should be getting 5-10 minutes of activity (walking, stretching etc). That means in an average 8-hour workday we should be getting anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes of activity.

Now of course some bosses are more lenient then others when it comes to allowing employees out for a quick walk around the block every hour. However if you manage your time well throughout the day and exhibit proper “break etiquette”, most everyone can achieve this goal and stay healthy even while sitting all day.

In order to develop a proper daily break routine at the office, you must first and foremost know when to NOT take breaks. For me this falls under three categories: When you’re “in the zone”, when it’s inappropriate to do so, and when you are under immediate time constraints. The first category deals with breaking your concentration. We all have periods of time during the day when we are more productive then others. If you find yourself “in the zone”, working quickly and efficient and knocking off you’re daily to-dos rapid-fire, don’t stop what you are doing to get up, stretch and go out to grab a coffee for you and a colleague just because it’s break time. This can completely disrupt your concentration and inhibit those productive moments. Remember, we are trying to convince the boss that short, semi-frequent breaks actually enhance overall productivity, not hinder it.

It’s also prudent to refrain from taking breaks when it would be inappropriate to do so. For example, if you just got back from lunch 5 minutes ago, or your boss asks you to do something for him or her right away, it’s probably not the best time to go out for some fresh air. Similarly, if there is a task that requires your immediate attention, or if there is an approaching deadline for that day, it can be inappropriate to take breaks.

The key is to develop an adaptable routine where you are regularly getting up to stretch or get some air, or to go for a quick walk, without it affecting your productivity and without causing too much fanfare in the office. 5-minute breaks are great for not attracting too much attention and give you enough time to stretch your legs, use the restroom, get some water etc. The 10 and especially 15-minute breaks should often be reserved for later in the day, where even the bosses start becoming a little jaded. It may be likely that you’ll go less noticed from, say 4:00-4:15pm then you will from 9:45-10:00am. Therefore, pick your times wisely and do your best to get a minimum of 40 minutes of activity every day.

How To Not Fall Asleep At Meetings: A Comprehensive Guide


Molly Schneider is a meeting snoozer. She works as a marketing researcher at a major PR firm in Miami.

She’s an active lady, regularly runs half marathons, volunteers at an animal shelter, and goes on weekend hikes and trips with her friends. It’s hard to believe that someone like her – funny, smart, and engaging can barely keep her eyes open in a conference room. At her job, she typically spends half the day at her desk and the other half in meetings listening to presentations. She’s been to sleep specialists, psychologists, meditation retreats, and once drank a 16-oz espresso, but nothing’s helped. Apparently, Molly isn’t alone. Many office workers suffer from meeting-naps or “shoulder drooling sessions” as Molly has appropriately called her bouts of slumber. We at Turnkey Office Space have compiled a list of some great tips that will keep you awake during that lecture or meeting.

The Presentation Voice. Does your facilitator sound like Ben Stein or Gilbert Gottfried? Narelle Lee, founder of Performance Masters, says, “The tonality of presenters contributes (to worker engagement) as there are certain monotone delivery styles that are hypnotic and this easily induces sleep.” Have HR reach out to a cheap talent agency and get a trained baritone or tenor to sing data reports and marketing objectives to the group.

Temperature Change. Setting the thermostat to 72°F can be just warm enough to lull us to sleep. Blazing heat will make workers uncomfortable and distracted. Install a couple of extra AC units in your conference room and turn them up full blast during a meeting. Tell workers that they’re not allowed to wear extra layers during the presentation. Keeping the room around 44°F is guaranteed to keep employees cold enough so that they’re alert and paying attention, but not so cold that their skin is turning blue.

Aromatherapy. According to Tucker Cummings at Lifehack, “one simple life hack that can bring about an almost instant improvement in productivity is aromatherapy. By simply smelling the correct scents, you can lower your blood pressure, sharpen your mind, and improve your outlook on life.” Cummings recommends natural scents like orange, rosemary, and lemon as “energizing and invigorating” scents. We at TurnKey Office Space, on the other hand, suggest keeping a collection of communal diffusers filled with gasoline, skunk spray, and permanent marker ink. A deep whiff of any of these during or before a meeting will most likely light your smell receptors on fire and increase brain productivity to the zillionth power.

The Best Jobs for Fresh College Graduates

Youth. Workforce. Unemployment: three words that don’t sound that great together.

But in this current economic climate, new college graduates have to face the facts, that landing your dream job is a challenging feat for this generation. The overall unemployment rate in the US is 6.3%. In NYC it’s 7.4%, San Francisco 4.4%, Los Angeles 7.6%, and Chicago a whopping 8.4%. So, what’s an ambitious, young go-getter supposed to do? Fear not, budding careerist, we at Turnkey Office Space have some guiding points:

Software Developer (Applications or Systems Software). Technology comprises every miniscule detail of daily life, and thus, its developers are in constant high demand. From computers to automobiles, consumer electronics to Smartphones – behind every device or screen is a developer wiz kid. Software is an easy field to break into, especially if your major was math, engineering or computer science, and many pro coders are self-taught. The salary isn’t too shabby either and can start as high as $100,000.

Analyst (Marketing and Data). According to UC Davis’ Career Report, “market research analyst positions have exploded throughout every sector of the economy with the rise of widespread data-gathering through transactional databases, consumer preference and loyalty programs, the Internet and social media, and customer relationship management systems.” As technology grows, so does the research behind it. With so much competition between software and apps, the analyst’s role is critical to forecasting and trends and pricing between competitors. Luckily the field attracts psychology, sociology, and communications majors as well as math, statistics and computer science graduates. The mean salary for an analyst is around $67,000.

Elementary School Teacher. There are more employed schoolteachers than any other profession. Although many states require a master’s or credential, there are also some that only require a bachelor’s. It’s tough yet rewarding work to command a group of 20-30 young people five days a week, but luckily there are school vacation weeks and a couple of months in summer that provide ample relaxation time. The mean annual salary for a teacher in the US is around $56,000.

Public Relations Specialist. If you’re a people person and care about corporate, media or non-profit consumerism, consider a job in PR. They essentially hold the reigns to a company’s reputation. The job is not nearly as glamorous as Kim Cattrall’s character portrays it as in Sex in the City. As an entry-level employee, you’ll be writing press releases, producing publicity materials and website content.

Freshly graduated AND employed? Looks like all you’re missing is a grade-a office space! Take a look around at our unique selection of office space for rent and we’ll take care of the rest!

July Horoscopes for the Office Worker

What does your office horiscope say about you?

Aries: It’s prime sales season and you’re overwhelmed and stressed. Breath, stretch and close your eyes and picture a rushing waterfall in your office. Let it drown out the noise of meetings, typing and chatter.

Taurus: The heat is exhausting, and its up to you, Taurus to decide if you want to give up or sweat it out. When things in the office get too hot to handle, take a walk or go out to lunch and then get back to the grind.

Gemini: You’re feeling stuck and cramp in your current work environment. This month is about change, Gemini. GiveTurnkey Office Space a call and help them find your business an office with ample space and spectacular views.

Cancer: Sitting and slouching haven’t been your friends lately, Cancer. It’s time for that transformation you’ve been dreaming about. You might want to invest in that sleek new ergonomic chair or that hip, new treadmill desk. A healthy work practice is a happy one.

Leo: There’s been a lot of restructuring going on at the office lately. Teams are being shuffled around and there’s been a surge of new assignments. Work relationships are important, Sagittarius. Take some time to get to know your colleagues; schedule a happy hour or a dinner, you’ll be grateful.

Virgo: Concentration is your ultimate motivator this month, Aries. Stop clenching your teeth and tell your cubicle mate who plays CandyCrush with the volume turned all the way up that your ability to focus is in jeopardy.

Libra: You just got promoted or heard good news about your position. Take this opportunity to celebrate yourself and career. Buy your cubicle, suite or desk a new plant or treat yourself to new business attire. Onwards and upwards, Libra.

Scorpio: Executive suites, hybrid work spaces, co-working spaces, working from home, you’re bogged down with office space options for your growing business. This month is about asking for guidance, Leo. Give TurnKey Office Space a call and have them show you the way.

Sagittarius: Something’s not right or something’s missing, Scorpio. This isn’t the career path you envisioned for yourself or you’ve had a change of heart. July is the month for exploring new options. Change can be scary, but finding happiness in your work life is what’s most important.

Capricorn: Challenges are going to be abundant in the workplace this month, Capricorn, and perseverance is your one and only weapon. Stay strong and be confident. What you have to bring to the table is integral to your business’ mission.

Aquarius: You’re feeling bored and disinterested in your job lately. Maybe business has been slow or you’re just not being challenged. July is your time to brainstorm. What ideas or projects could you instigate at your company to make your career more valuable to you, Aquarius?

Pisces: Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture, Pisces. You’re so dedicated but sometimes you need to step back and take a look at your true career aspirations. July is your month to reflect and figure out what kind of worker you really are.

The Cafeteria: The Heart of the Office

It’s lunchtime. Will you be getting take-out?

Digging into your brown paper bag? Going around the block to the sandwich shop? Or hitting up the cafeteria? Every office has its own specific lunch culture. And in the age of the start up, it seems that more and more businesses are taking meals very seriously.

Many small and up-and-coming businesses have figured out that leaving the office, scouting the neighborhood for a restaurant, and sitting down to order and wait takes up valuable work time. As a way to boost employee moral, encourage worker camaraderie and save time, CEOs and managers are hiring regular lunch catering services to come in every day or a few times a week to feed their employees. Places like Cater2me, Fooda and ZeroCater connect with healthy and local restaurants that create and provide versatile meal options to offices. Fooda has a “rotating cast of restaurant options” and never recruits establishments that are in walking distance of the office. This way, employees are genuinely looking forward to lunch and can expect new and exciting flavors each day.

The cafeteria is the most critical organ of the office. The National Grid Café on the 1st floor of MetroTech knows this. Particularly a hang out for police officers waiting to testify at nearby courts, the café attracts Brooklyn professionals of all walks of life. The Café is mainly considered a secret lunchtime sanctuary. Most of its patrons discovered it through word-of-mouth. “It reminds me of a college cafeteria,” said Erin Barnes, 28, for The New York Times. “No one bothers you. They aren’t going to kick you out, and you feel safe because there are so many cops around.”

At Square, the concept of the cafeteria has been completely revolutionized. They provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for only $1 each meal. “There’s lots of variety. The food is healthy and they provide options for various dietary needs. It’s the sunny, social place in the office that staff are excited to go to,” says Jessica, an employee. Other booming start-ups boast generous staff meal programs. At LinkedIn, there’s an alleged “magic whiteboard” where staff are encouraged to write down what they’d like to see on the lunch menu and days later it appears. Other places like Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor and Dreamworks also provide their staff with multiple daily meals a day, with guaranteed unique flavor every time.