The Convenience of Coworking

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Work when you want & can

 

Coworking spaces are on the rise all around the world. If you are following Ment, I’m sure you are familiar with who we are and what we offer by now. However, have you really thought of the benefits you could gain by giving coworking a try? 

 

You have heard it before, one of the biggest pros to coworking is convience. Before you look scroll past and ignore the rest of this post, I want you to break down your life and ask yourself how convenient it is. Are you commuting an hour to your office every day? Trying to work 9-5 at your home office while starting a family? Driving 15 minutes to spend $5 on a fancy latte just to share on your instagram story? Neglecting cooking dinner every night due to your chaotic, all over the place work schedule? Lets face it, we all have things that come up last minute and cause inconvenience, but often times we place ourselves right there in the very situation. 

 

Coworking instills a convenient, professional workplace that you can go to, right in the heart of your town. For an affordable price, you are able to know and trust the environment you work in and get things done, so you have time for fun later in the evening without feeling guilty. 

 

The friendly environment that coworking offers provides individuals with a community rather than competition, whether it be working together to complete tasks, or even blow off some steam over a cup of coffee. Coworking allows you to network and build connections with like minded individuals who will inspire you to do your best. 

 

Do you travel for work? Many coworking companies offer sister spaces, in which you can go and work for free. There’s nothing worse than working out of your hotel room or airport between flights. Here at Ment, we partner with IHub and Center 615, based out of Louisville and Nashville to provide free day passes to our traveling members. 

 

Overall, coworking reduces uncertainty and allows you to leave your work where it belongs – at work. What is your next step to add convenience in your life? 

 

3 Tips to Start September off Right

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As labor day weekend draws to an end, we all hopefully will head back to work this week with cleared minds and hopefully some rest. September has somehow snuck up on us, and can I just say how rude of summer to come and go so quickly. As business men and women, it is essential that we take each and every day to our full advantage. Today, I’m going to offer three tips to start the month off on the right foot and make it the most productive one yet. 

A new month brings the chance to start new, set goals, accomplish more and overall better yourself. Focus on where you’re at today, where you would like to be in the future and the steps you are going to take to get there. 

Get a good night’s sleep: I’m sure you have heard this one before, but how often have you actually tried to enable it in your routine? Leave your work at work, come home and be present with the ones you love and when it is time to unplug, I challenge you to really and truly unplug this month. Leave your cell phone charging across the room, lay your clothes out for the next morning and get to bed at a decent time. Wake up a bit earlier this month than you’re used to, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Use this time to manage morning tasks, answer emails and eat a nutritious breakfast. 

Set Goals: If you don’t have goals, WYD? This month set goals for yourself or your business. Whether it be one big one or three small ones, the ball is in your court. Put these goals somewhere you will look at them multiple times a day and each time you’re working on something, ask yourself if what you’re doing aligns with a specific goal. If it doesn’t, it probably is taking away from something more beneficial you could be doing. And that leads us to…

Avoid Multitasking: My personal worst. This month, rather than micromanaging one hundred little projects, try focusing on one project or task at a time. Decide how you want to manage your ideas and follow a list or timeline to check things off. Believe it or not, this will actually decrease stress and increase productivity. 

Find an accountability partner to help you establish these goals and stick to them. I hope these few tips help you start September off on the best foot possible! 

 

Getting Zesty – Interview with Emma Napier

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Happy August! Each month for the rest of the year, Ment is partnering with a local business on our blog and social media accounts. This month is Zest Juice for Life, owned by Emma Napier: a 24-year-old from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The local juice shop located in the heart of the downtown scene has many flavors of tasty, healthy juice and they promote a healthy lifestyle in everything they do. 

Emma Napier, a graduate from Western Kentucky University, got her start working in an office for a national company in a corporate office. She was teaching spinning at The Spot next door to what would be her future business as well. She loved her coworkers and the work she was doing but disliked the stuffy and strict culture that was in her cubicle-filled office. “I soon realized that sitting at a desk was not for me,” she recalls.  

                             

Emma knew the previous owner of Zest from her job at The Spot and soon became friends with her. From this friendship, she fell in love with juice. She would drive all the way across town to get juice from the original Zest, the home of the former owner. The owner mentioned selling the business and asked if she knew of anyone who was interested. Emma knew instantly that this was the perfect opportunity to transition out of the cubicle and bought Zest Juice for Life. 

One of Emma’s favorite things about owning Zest is the amazing small business community located in Bowling Green. While she is a fairly new business owner, owners from all over town have offered to help her. “Bowling Green has such a thriving community of small business owners and truly want to see each other succeed,” she notes. She says learning a lot from so many people who have been in the same shoes as her. She has gotten to work with and collaborate with some of them and says they have helped her create her space, the logo, the menu boards, and more. 

  

Of course, I had to ask Emma what her -ment word was, which is a little something we do here at Ment by picking your favorite word with -ment as the subject and having it describe you, such as experiment, achievement, nourishment. Emma said her word was encourage-ment. She aims to be a smiling face to anyone who walks through the doors of Zest, and hopes her encouraging spirit keeps people coming back for years to come. 

Emma’s favorite juice she sells is kickin’ carrot, a juice that contains apple, ginger, and the star: carrots. Other juices you can find at Zest include Kale Yeah!, Jolly Green, Happy Beet, or my favorite, Hula Hooch. 

Check Emma and the rest of the Zest team out on their Instagram: @zestjuiceforlife

Conflict Engagement

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Written by guest writer and Ment member, Nolan Bramschreiber: Hello! My name is Nolan and I’m a husband, student of Organizational Behavior, Outcome & Planning Specialist with interCare and a mountain bike coinsure!

Conflict exists whether it is acknowledged or not. If placed on a spectrum, conflict would range widely in degree.  Some conflict could be categorized as surface level and easy to resolve, while other found to be deeply imbedded and spanning generations without full resolution.  If conflict is somehow ominously present, touching all relationships and interactions at some point and to some certain degree, why does it seem so difficult to navigate? Wouldn’t continual exposure positively increase one’s ability to engage conflict effectively? It is imperative we understand what creates conflict and prevents us from engaging it in a productive fashion. 

Building an Understanding

In order to understand how one might engage conflict productively, we must first understand what brings it about. Conflict is an interaction that can provide solid ground to build upon. Instead of vilifying views, opinions or differences, its best to seek clarification and understanding. This process referrers to differentiation. It is absolutely imperative for those engaging in conflict to spend significant time understanding differences between each other if their hope is to move away and out of the differentiation stage. Without all constituents embracing and understanding present differences, differentiation will move into integration with one foot still in the differentiation stage; forcing parties to start over in the future.

Acting on an Understanding.  

Understanding and legitimizing difference in perspective is not enough to solve a problem in conflict.  While an in-depth understanding is the foundation to problem solving, the integration stage is where parties explore and implement resolutions based on common ground. Integration can be marked by “standoffs” and “slings and arrows”, but if parties can endure the pain of furthering those processes forward, the diversity of thought can lead to actual solutions between parties. In practical application and to effectively handle conflict, understanding of conflict management approaches need to be addressed throughout all management levels, rather than strictly through Human Resources or a legal office. In the application of understanding differences and moving conflict management forward, parties need to understand what scenerios could arise to derail progress.  

It’s imperative the field based application be centered and focused on the understanding of differentiation, integration and aspects that disrupt the effectiveness of the linear model. Avoidance and escalation are threats in moving conflict management forward. The mere appearance of either escalation or avoidance do not presume ineffectiveness, but if gone unregulated, could derail the conflicts journey to problem solving. 

Applying my Understanding.  

In encountering conflict with loved ones, colleagues and friends, I have often found myself in an uncomfortable position. In order to mitigate potential conflict, my default position would be to heed the opinions or perspectives of whomever is speaking, and not state my opposing position.  While this behavior has evolved over time with growing confidence in independent perspectives and perceptions, I feel a tension to fall back into this uncomfortable position of forfeiting my difference by not advocating for or engaging it. This behavior is often perpetuated by failed attempts to voice my developing opinion.  Now, with the understand of how differentiation and integration works, I can confidently approach conflict with a genuine curiosity about why other perspectives deviates from mine. This acknowledgment provides a rich and robust opportunity to expand my horizon beyond norms applicable to me. If harnessed, I believe we can all have a better chance at conflict engagement. 

5 Tips to Defuse Conflict in the Workplace

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Conflict is all around us, no matter where we go. It’s people fighting for the closest parking spot to the front at the grocery store. It’s two friends arguing where to eat for lunch. It’s passive-aggressive glances when your coworker walks in late. Conflict, while unavoidable, can be helped through some easy techniques that you can implement in your daily work life. 

First, let’s start off with what conflict is. Conflict can range from a small difference in opinion all the way to two people not being able to be in the same room with one another. I am sure all of us have been in some sort of conflict in our lifetime and I, for one, am not a fan of it. Not all conflict can be harmful, but regardless, it will happen and it is imperative to know how to deal with it when it comes along, especially in the workplace. 

How should you deal with conflict in the workplace?

  1. Be on the lookout. 

I know this may sound easy, but it can be harder than you may think. When you start to notice alarming behavior from one of your coworkers, address it before the conflict gets out of hand. 

  1. Assess the situation. 

Just because you assume a conflict may be rising, don’t assert yourself in like you know best. Before you go saving the day, know the facts. Make sure you have a grasp on the real situation before you address the conflict. 

  1. Listen to both sides. 

We all know people can exaggerate when they are heated or in a difficult situation. Once you hear the other side of the story, you might realize the conflict is just one-sided, or it was all taken out of context. 

  1. Encourage compromise. 

The whole point of addressing a conflict is to ultimately end in a resolution. This step might take a little bit of prying, since people can really be set in their ways and want the resolution to go their way. However, once you can find common ground, a compromise becomes a more attainable goal. 

  1. Be positive. 

Moving forward can be difficult after a big fight. Make sure all is resolved before this stage and then make a point to be positive and encouraging to the other party. Treat the other person in a positive manner. The conflict is resolved, so there is no need for bad blood anymore! 

It is pretty much impossible to go through life without experiencing some sort of conflict, especially when working with so many different types of people in an office setting. Hopefully you can take some of these tips and apply it to your workplace! 

 

Why You Need More Vitamin N

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It’s no secret we live in a society where we are always indoors. Most people will leave their homes to drive to where they work (most likely inside) and then back home. A recent study has shown that humans will spend 93 percent of their time indoors. There is also a shift to living in big cities that have limited access to natural surroundings. There are countless other studies conducted about the benefits that nature can have on our health and well-being. 

There is just something so rejuvenating about spending time outside, whether that is in a forest surrounded by towering trees or on the coast with the waves hitting your toes. Spending time connected to nature grounds us and helps us see the magnitude of the world around us. I am sure that you have noticed this phenomenon, especially during the summer months when you are outside more or even on vacation. 

Author Richard Louv questions what he calls “nature-deficit disorder,” which is an alienation from nature altogether. He poses the question in his book Last Child in the Woods, “What could our lives and our children’s lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” 

What can cause us to fall into nature-deficit disorder? That’s not an easy answer. The rise and continuation of technology in our everyday lives, urbanization, and fear of the unknown can all be traced to having an effect on why we are spending much more time indoors rather than out experiencing nature. Louv states that prolonged alienation from natural surroundings can have deep affects on our mental and physical states, especially in our children. Research has shown that spending more time connected to nature can help with depression, obesity, ADD, and can stimulate creativity. 

In his most recent book, Louv has come up with a solution for nature-deficit disorder: Vitamin N. This book details specific activities on how to connect more with the natural world around you. Louv also cofounded Children and Nature Network (C&NN,) which is an organization determined to get children and families outside. Through this nonprofit’s website, you can take a pledge to finding Vitamin N and offers support, tips, and more. 

It might not be practical to drop everything in your life and go live in the woods forever, but there are lots of ways to implement some Vitamin N into your daily life. Enter: biophilic design. If you have been around on our blog for a while, you might have heard us talk about this. It is about integrating nature into your already present environment. It is so much more than just putting a succulent on your desk—do that if you want, though! Biophilic design takes into account the whole space, whether that is your home, your office, or wherever you spend your time. 

Pieces that can be considered biophilic design are plants, water, natural light, even natural air flow. Ment was created with a biophilic design in mind. We have a little green in every room of our space, a huge skylight in the coworking lounge and more. However, your place of work doesn’t have to do the design for you, you can do it yourself. Open the blinds or the windows  in your office. Place some plants everywhere. Your eyes will shift to the green leaves and put you at peace. Buy some nature-inspired art to hang around. The best tip of all would be get outside! Take your lunch out on a bench, meet with clients at a restaurant with outdoor setting, or just go for a walk on your break. 

Our nature-deficit disorder that we might face may not be totally curable in an instant. It is something we have to work on every day. Taking into account the words of Richard Louv, begin to implement some of his tips into creating a life that is more green. 

Using your Business Anniversary as PR

You say it’s your birthday?!

If you are reading this blog, you might be nearing an anniversary for your business. Whether it is one year (like us— I’ll get into that in a bit) or 50 years, any milestone is worth celebrating. If done right, your anniversary can boost your company’s PR through media coverage, word-of-mouth, and more.

A business anniversary is not just about getting a cake with the company logo across it, but who doesn’t love cake?! Still get the cake, duh. But, The Society for Marketing Professional Services really gets it. They state that business anniversaries can be used to really build up a lot of goodwill and brand recognition, and they describe it perfectly:

“Think of the milestone as a year-long celebration of the company’s longevity, and plan an anniversary campaign that strengthens the brand and promotes the firm and its mission. The target audience for the anniversary campaign could include employees, clients, prospects, potential hires, partners, and media influencers in the company’s target sectors. There are many marketing and PR activities that lend themselves nicely to anniversary promotion. Your goals, budget, and target audience will determine which activities best fit your company.”

Since we are only a year old, we are still learning and growing. We haven’t mastered any of these tips yet, but we found some really cool ways to build PR around our anniversary and we hope that we can all learn together.

It all starts with the planning. Think about what makes up your brand and what you want to highlight about yourselves. Planning should be done well in advance to make sure that this anniversary campaign can reach as many people as possible.

Social media is a great way to build your brand all year-round, but can truly be utilized during a business anniversary. We are using throwback photos from when Ment first took shape all the way until now. These types of photos can spark some nostalgia in some of your brand’s most loyal followers. This month on Instagram, we have been posting pictures of the construction of our space with a side-by-side of its current state. Events that celebrate the anniversary can also be posted and marketed in this way. Be consistent about posts and make sure they speak to your target audience.

Storytelling can also be used to generate brand involvement—people love that stuff. Detail how your business started with the idea and share how it grew and grew to where it is today. Highlight those people who helped along the way such as the owner all the way down the chain of command and thank them for their contributions. This week in particular, we are thanking those who have been with Ment since the beginning. Interview people who currently work in the space. Testimonies like these reach followers on a different level than just a normal ad.

Run a special on your product or service to commemorate this occasion. For instance, Ment is having a free coworking day and beergarden on June 14 to celebrate our one year anniversary. This is a great way to get people into the space and involved in what we do here, and hopefully keep them coming back again and again.

While it is important to focus on the past during an anniversary and dwell upon how you got to where you are, it is equally important to take a look into the future. Take note on what you as a business have done in the past and decide on how you can be better in the future.

June 13 marks the one year anniversary of Ment Cowork. We are so excited to have reached this milestone. It has been wonderful to serve Bowling Green in this way and cannot wait for what is to come!

Happy birthday to us and to you as well! 🎂

coworking space bowling green

Vulnerability in the Workplace

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Vulnerability and workplace are two words that do not usually mix. The former, a flowery word that concerns itself with feelings and emotions cannot fathom intertwining itself with the hard corporate world of deadlines, investments, and structure. Thus, people seem to hide their emotional selves while at work and bottle them up until they go home for the day.

However, I don’t subscribe to that school of thought. Being vulnerable in your workspace can be the best thing for you. Being open allows you to really, truly connect with coworkers or executives on a deeper level. Every single person has feelings, whether they choose to show them or not. The ability to feel is what makes us humans on the most basic level and what separates us from every other creature on this planet.

Acknowledging vulnerabilities can lead to a more productive and proactive work environment. Being emotionally intelligent allows coworkers to connect deeper, to form lasting relationships, and in turn, get more done. Taking a moment to see emotions, talk about them, and move on really shows strength and humanity.

On the flip side, hiding emotional vulnerabilities can wreak havoc at a place of work. People may hide their feelings because they don’t feel adequate or that their emotions do not matter, but bottling them all up will only lead to a bigger explosion down the line.

Opening your emotions at work will bring about more growth and learning. Vulnerabilities allow for a sense of humanity within a workplace. Genuine connections can blossom once you become more open with yourself and others in your space. Creating vulnerable and intentional conversations can foster true connections.

Being vulnerable applies to leaders as well. In my opinion, the best bosses are ones who connect emotionally and are willing to be vulnerable. Not that an executive needs to be crying all the time or asking too many personal questions, but maybe being open to those things (aside from the crying.) Stepping back as a leader allows other’s ideas to shine and employees to feel more connected, grounded, and engaged in their work.

Egos are nowhere to be found in a vulnerable workplace. Once you take down your personal guards around whatever you might be feeling, your ego will naturally see itself out. Putting your ego aside allows more room to listen and take from others. You have room to acknowledge other people’s ideas and to attach your’s to theirs. Egos can get in the way of a cooperative work environment.

Vulnerability is so important that the coworking industry as a whole has made it one of their core values. Ment has taken that and ran with it and we created our value nourishment based on their tenant of vulnerability. We believe as a space that we are here for your highs and lows. We strive to be expansive and inclusive and to nourish the souls of everyone who walks through our doors.

As a space, Ment wants to make ourselves as comfortable as possible to allow for open conversations. Our lounge has comfy couches, a skylight, and plants to create an environment you want to be in. Our library is color-coded (seriously, I am obsessed with it so come check it out) and organized to allow for better workflow. All the colors in our space are neutral as not to distract, but also to create a calm and reassuring environment.

The moral of the story is simple: being vulnerable allows all the good things about humanity to shine through. Bringing feelings into a work environment is tough, I get that, but it allows people to bring their whole selves to work and not leave a portion of themselves at home. Start by taking a moment to genuinely ask a coworker how they are. Not some quick small talk to start the day, but intentional curiosity about that person. Get to know them on a deeper level, know their families and their history. Begin to foster a vulnerable environment.

How Do You Define Your Values?

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From the first time a potential customer hears your company’s name, they are subconsciously analyzing what makes up that company. Things like why are they here? what do they do? and what makes them stand out? are among the questions that wrack a consumer’s brain and this is all before they consider buying your product or using your service.

In this day and age, consumers are getting online and researching all there is to know about a company before applying for a job, eating at their restaurant or even just getting a haircut. The decision is made before they step foot into your space. Your online presence and your brand convey something a good review just cannot say: your values.

It is important to define a company’s values in a language that is plain and simple so that customers can grasp them, but complex enough to define your entire brand in just a few words. Values allow the potential consumer to really take a glimpse inside your brand and see whether they align their beliefs with yours. Today, a company’s values are just as important as the first sale and it is imperative for a brand to have them and use them well.

First and foremost, a set of values identify a brand to its consumers. It shows the company in a favorable light and provides the customer with all that the brand is and wants to be. Values clarify what a firm stands for, and if they have a great set of values compared to a competitor that has lax values, (or none at all) I know I would choose the one with the clear values backing their brand.

Values allow a company to have something to fall back on in light of a difficult decision. If a conflict arises, a company can look to their values to answer there question. If one of their values is honesty and they are knee-deep in a scandal, it might be best to tell the public the truth.

Ment has been focusing on defining our values recently and we thought we could share our process with you in hopes that it could help your business maybe do the same.

First off, we sat down and did our research. There are five existing core values for the coworking industry: Community, Openness, Collaboration, Accessibility and Sustainability. While these values are ones we uphold as well, we felt there were different words to describe how Ment feels and how we want it to feel for others. Therefore we pulled up our handy dandy Google search and began looking for other words that stuck out to us but still fell under the five industry values. There were many (a lot) of -ment words that we pulled out and as you will see we kept a few of them too.

We wanted to really harvest what we were trying to do as a coworking space and then provide that to the members and the community of Bowling Green as a whole. With this, we landed on four core words that we ended up realizing they cultivated the image of a plant growing into a garden.

Take a step back and think about what makes up your brand, what makes it stand out, and what you want to convey to the public. Those qualities are what will make up your values. Proceed then to share them on a website, blog, or on your social media accounts. Your values will allow you to dive deeper toward your customers and provide a more personal approach to business which will result in a brand that will last through any recession, any hiccup, and any mistake.

The Luck of Your Office

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Hello again! It is Emily back this week with another blog post!

As you might now, our monthly theme for March is all things g r e e n—whether that is becoming more sustainable, making more money, or St. Patrick’s Day. Last week, we focused on the importance of being more environmentally friendly and even employed the help of our friend The Lorax! In this week’s post, we are examining The Pros and Cons of Coworking and how that can make a better bang for your buck and help you thrive. 

When working in a coworking space, you are exposed to all kinds of people and businesses you wouldn’t normally be exposed to. For instance, Ment houses a magazine, a lawyer’s office, a mortgage company and more. Many of those people wouldn’t cross paths if it wasn’t for their connection to Ment and we call that luck. We strive to create a community that members want to be a part of. Our members can network daily in the office and due to that community aspect, coworkers have a 50% higher chance of getting more clients or jobs.

Interested in making more g r e e n? Coworkers have reported higher incomes that those who might work in a more traditional office. We all love more money, so who wouldn’t want to get in on that? Coworking spaces have been popping up rapidly all over the world at a rate of more than 16% a year. They originated around 2007 with 14 coworkers and in 10 years time, there were 14,000 around the globe, with an expected 30,000 by 2022. It is one of the fasting growing industries and rightfully so. Our author states that it is because it has “the holy trinity of WiFi, coffee, and camaraderie.” On a serious note, coworking allows three major workplace trends to shine, which are the independent workforce, startup culture, and the third being corporate organizations looking for creatives in out-of-the-box ways. 

People who work in coworking spaces feel as if their work has more meaning. People feel they can bring their “whole self” to work, which is eliminated by the lack of office competition or politics. Working amongst people who have their own goals will in turn strengthen your personal ones. Members vibe off of each other, allowing each person to grow. 

Here at Ment Cowork, we feel honored to be creating this serendipitous atmosphere here in Bowling Green for our members and love that we get to be a part of their lives. We love that we can help them grow and achieve their professional goals. Ment offers a work environment that allows people to become the best version of themselves. And we feel pretty lucky to have those opportunities.