Cobots: Meet Your New Work Colleague

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Have you heard about cobots? If you haven’t, get ready to hear a lot more about them in the near future, because cobots are likely to be something many of us are going to have to get accustomed to. Cobot stands for ‘collaborative robot’, and they’re set to revolutionize the workplace. 

We all know that robots have been doing much of the work once done by human hands, for some time now. But the next wave of the robotic takeover is upon us. So, if you’re wondering if your new work colleague may be a cobot, read on. 

Are cobots a new idea?

It’s no secret that robots have been used in assembly plants to do repetitive jobs for decades. However, the problem with robots is that they are not suitable to do tasks that change from one moment to the next, or that require a light touch.

Cobots are not a new idea. They have been around for over 20 years, mainly doing tasks related in the car industry. The problem so far has been that technology has only allowed them to do basic tasks such as heavy lifting. But that is now changing. 

Why are we hearing about them now?

A range of advances has allowed the concept of cobots to become more than glorified manual laborers. For a start, advances in AI have meant that robots can now learn from their human counterparts. Additionally, advances in robotics have enabled robots to handle more fragile materials.

One major step forward has been the development of new sensors. There was never going to be much collaboration while humans needed to be protected from robots, but now that robots are more ‘aware’ of their surroundings, they can work more safely around people.

Will cobots take jobs from humans?

This is a bit of a tricky question to answer, because taking jobs from people is not the idea behind the development of cobots. The keyword here is ‘collaborative’, which suggests that the point is that they enhance what people are already doing. However, there are some instances where they might end up replacing human workers.

For example, with advances in pressure points and sensors, cobots could learn how to do dangerous tasks. Once they have understood how to do a job safely, the question would be why have a human do that job? Having a cobot do it would surely be the right thing to do.

What will the future bring?

Experts think that it will all come down to trust, which pretty much boils down to how safe the software is. And in many ways, that will always be the problem. Is software 100% safe? Just think how often your computer operating system needs to be updated and you will have the answer to that.

As the Internet of Things grows, so does the risk of hacking. So, even if the software used in cobots is 100% safe at any given moment, there’s no guarantee it will continue to be so. Until the software can be relied on, any changes in the way robots interact with people will be relatively minor.

Summary

To summarize, the development of cobots will certainly bring many new challenges to the work environment. However, it is safe to say that if you go to work tomorrow and find you have a cobot as a new work colleague, you won’t have to start worrying about looking for a new job.

Using Lessons From Remote Working To Run A Better Office

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One of the hallmarks of a successful business is listening to your employees and ensuring you take on their feedback. But these days there are so many out there are scattered all over the place, that you can’t have them all under one roof. Remote working is so popular now, but for all of the veritable pros and cons, you may very well want to bring everybody back together. What can we learn from remote working to ensure that we run a better office?

Being sociable works wonders for positivity

If you’ve been working on your own for a long time, you might find that remote working means you lose that social aspect. By encouraging that old fashioned approach to the water cooler, and having a conversation about last night’s television, you start to solidify a bond between the employees that goes beyond the work. So take it upon yourself to install a water cooled chiller and encourage people to talk because this means collaboration becomes effortless.

Communication and collaboration works across many lands

In running a remote team, or if you work by yourself at home, you realize just how easy it can be to get in contact with others. There are so many different communication tools out there that it’s very easy to get to speak to someone, either via Skype or email. But when it comes to this office environment, we can very easily ping over an email to someone, but this could interrupt their work flow. Set about finding the right communication tools and collaboration so everybody still has that working flow. It is a very difficult thing to get right, but when you want to inspire collaboration and communication ensure that people get up off the chair and wander over to their colleagues, especially if they’re only on the other side of the office! Some businesses frown upon this because it takes people away from the desk but if you want to run an office driving, culturally sound, and where people communicate effortlessly, that human contact is also essential.

People can be disciplined when they want to be

When you run an office, that temptation can be to bark orders and everyone so that they follow the rules. But when you bring people in from a remote working environment they have to function under their own steam. As a result of self-discipline is a fantastic tool, not just because people figure out their own way to get a task done as quickly as possible, with great quality, but it also inspires trust. If you can entrust your employees to do the job that them to do without them feeling that you are watching their every move, they shall work better, are more relaxed, and everybody wins.

Many people find that remote working is a heavy burden on a business, but others can’t help but go down this route due to the cost-effectiveness aspect. But there are things we can learn from remote working that we can apply to an office environment. That lack of sociability from remote working means that employees will make the most of developing relationships with employees, communication is better and more comprehensive and also, that idea of self-discipline is arguably the biggest asset of any business when you transfer remote workers to an office environment.

Office Space Planning Tips

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Office space planning is one of the most difficult things you will encounter related to your business premises. Nevertheless, it can also be one of the most rewarding processes if you get it right. After all, having the ideal layout and making the best utilization of space can reap mass results.

Not only are you being efficient, but your productivity levels will soar and your company will look great as well. As is the case for any type of planning, knowing where to start seems to be the most difficult part. However, once you have read this blog post, you should have a better understanding of office space planning, as well as the inspiration needed to begin thinking about your office’s layout.

One of the first things you need to think about when planning your office space is how your employees work with one and other. Is your business one that is very team orientated? Or do people tend to do most activities on their own? If your business is one whereby teamwork is imperative then having desks lined in a long parallel line won’t be very productive. You need to come up with a design that aids productivity. Nonetheless, if you do operate a business whereby people work solo, it is important that you don’t make people feel isolated. It’s good for all businesses to have a friendly and warm ambiance. It does wonders for productivity because it makes people feel more at ease.

When designing the layout of your offices you also need to consider how easy it is going to be for people to maneuver around. Nobody wants to have to encounter a maze every time they enter your building. There is nothing wrong with a winded or curved path – this can break away from the rigidness that is so often associated with offices and, therefore, can be a highly positive point. However, you don’t want people to have to wind around every single desk or they will end up feeling dizzy by the time they get to the place they were originally going to.

You also need to remember the fact that making the best use of your office space does not mean cramming in as much stuff as possible. There are too many people who make this rookie mistake, which is why enlisting experts like Vertical Interior Design is a good option. Planning your office space does not mean having no space left at all. When you are considering meeting rooms or your employees’ working areas you need to put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel sat at this desk for eight hours a day? If the answer is cramped, uncomfortable, and enclosed, then you know that you need to create some space. If your employees don’t feel at ease, they can easily begin to fluster and their productivity levels suffer dramatically.

If you consider the three main points touched upon in this blog post, then you should have a solid basis for effective office space planning. Just remember to contemplate creating a layout whereby everyone is included, there is enough space for people to feel comfortable, and the pathways are uncomplicated.

Is it Time To Nurture Your Employees? My Tips To Help You Do It

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Running a business is never going to be an easy thing to do is it? But one of the biggest factors you can face is having employees and subsequently making sure that you care for them and their welfare while they are under your responsibility. However, it can often be a forgotten aspect so it is important to understand some of the ways that you can nurture your employees. A happy employees means someone who will be productive, which is definitely what you want. So I thought I would share with you some of the things to think about to help you look after the staff you have.

Are their HR needs being met?

As an employer you now have the responsibility of HR and ensuring that you take this into account, not just when you employ people but for the duration of their employment. You may find that you may face HR challenges along the way, but this is something to think about to ensure that you do right by the staff you have. A great way to ensure people are aware of rules and policies is to have a staff handbook. This will cover everything from notice periods to what is expected of them in the workplace. It helps to cover all bases.

Have you created a pleasant environment for them to work?

One of the things you have complete control over is whether or not the environment that you have created is a nice and pleasant one to work in. This means thinking about things such as the room temperature, or even just offering drinking water or a places to store food and drink. It can be the little things that make the biggest of differences to how someone feels in the workplace.

Communicate with them often

You might want to think about how often you communicate with your employees. This can be a big one, and as a manager or owner of the business, you do need to ensure that you are approachable in terms of good communication. Employees want to feel like they can come to you, and you also need to feel like you can discuss things with them to. From performance levels and how well they are doing, to change in targets or directions of the company.

Is there room to enhance and develop their skills?

Taking time to ensure that can feel like their career matters is an important step to take, and you may want to look at ways that you can enhance or develop their skills. Extra courses, learning different aspects of your business, or even stepping up for added responsibility and promotion. This helps employees to feel like valued members of the team.

Keeping them motivated could be an essential move

Finally, motivation in any workplace is key, and so you may want to look at ways you can keep people motivated. That might mean extra incentives with bonuses or rewards, or even just being a positive influence yourself.

I hope that these tips help you to nurture your employees in the workplace.

Encourage Your Employees Within Their Environment

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Your employees should be seen as godsends – sure, they may bug you at times, but that’s just human beings in general. Your employees are the ones that you can fall back on when nothing seems to be going the way you want it to. They’ll pick you up off the floor and brush you down, encouraging you to carry on. And they deserve an awful lot of credit for that. You can’t begin to think about expanding your business if you don’t have them standing behind you.

Having said that though, we all have our off days, and when they happen we seem to lose all motivation and struggle to focus. – It’s your job as a boss to ensure that all of your employees are encouraged so they always work to the best of their ability, making you and your business proud. And one brilliant way of doing that is by the kind of environment you provide everyone with, as this has a huge impact on people’s mindset.

Here’s how to get started.

Remove all the unnecessary clutter.

A messy home equals a messy mind, and not only that, but it can lead to danger too as things can cause an obstruction as well as an injury, so there is no excuse to leave the place a mess. This is just as much your responsibility as it is your employees, but you should be leading by example because you’re the one in charge. So make sure that all leads and wires are well secured and hidden so they can’t be tripped over. Keep any files and documents properly organized and stored away in drawers and cabinets in an order that is understood. And of course, ensure that people clean up after themselves.

The exterior is just as important.

A lot of people won’t bother about the outside of the office as they see it as being irrelevant and doesn’t affect anyone – but this is totally wrong. It’s the first thing that people see when they approach the workplace, essentially making it the first mood decider of the day. If the area is messy and unkempt, the mind will adapt to that environment, whereas if the space is clean and pretty in appearance, it will brighten up anyone’s mood. So get in a gardener to pretty up the place as much as you can, and add some Commercial Site Furniture so that your employees can sit out in the sun during their break and bask in the sun.

And last but not least, when you enter the office, make sure that you have a good energy that follows you, because people will instantly vibe off that. You can create the same energy from the walls that surround you all too. Think of fun ways to make the place more alive and exciting. Create a feature wall that stands out. Paint it a bright pop of color, and decorate it with paintings or various art pieces. Inspire people – that’s what it’s all about.