Member of the month: KidsAppBox

It’s not a surprise that most children would rather play video games than read a book.

As technology advances, it can consume a lot of our time. KidsAppBox, an educational game developing company is fully aware of the distraction technology may have on children. As parents themselves, they were determined to find a way to make learning fun. KidsAppBox reached 30 million downloads in four years.

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Member of the Month: Decus Biomedical

Grace Bartoo has operated out of a variety of spaces over the last 12 years. She has rented offices in buildings around the Bay. She has paid month-to-month on a separate house. She has even opened her own home to her 9 employees, giving each a key to her front door as they flowed like a river around her dining room table.

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Member of the Month: Stephanie Tomasky

For many in the startup industry, where a few slices of free pizza can seem like early Christmas, video products might be firmly placed in the ‘I can do without it’ category. Not only does Stephanie understand the struggle of deciding what comes first- the marketing or the success- she knows the frustrations behind the real question: where do you even begin?

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Why I Love Working at Sandbox Suites

I got to work with a lot of people that were around my age and I made great money, but what I loved about that job the most were the people I got to work with and had the pleasure of meeting.

One person that comes to mind was a 63-year-old, sassy, tall drink of water from Beaumont, Texas named Deborah. She always had a great attitude, was in great physical shape and was hilarious. I remember her saying that she loved what she did career-wise and I respected her for that. Her words really resonated with me.

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Is Standing Really Better for Your Health?

Health specialists have been quick to tell us time and again that sitting is the new smoking when it comes to what kills us. Between the 12 hours we spend sitting at a computer and watching TV, plus the 8 hours we’re sleeping, that’s approximately 20 hours we spend each day without motion.

In the last decade, standing desks have become the new craze to defy the downfalls of sitting. Dozens of styles exist, ranging everywhere in price from a few hundred to a cool thousand dollars.

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10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

10 Ways to Better Communicate with Your Employees

Whether you’re a corporate giant towering over the masses or a new startup barely crawling, you communicate every single day. With your spouse as you leave for work, with commuters on the train, with the guy you buy your hot dog from. But mostly, you communicate with your employees.

Here is a list of tips for interacting with all employees, both in your building and out in the world.

Working Together

In the Office

– Pay attention to body language. Take note of a person’s equilibrium state (at lunch or just hanging out) and when they’re working. Learn to recognize stress levels and reactions so you know when you should approach them and when you might want to hold off.

– Schedule ‘non-transactional’ meeting time. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, make it clear to your employees that they are more to you than request-granting machines. We don’t recommend becoming best friends, but business has a better chance of thriving when employees know they can talk to you as a person, not just a boss.

– Communicate in writing. Email, text message, Post-It, whatever- write it out and include dates and times that the request was made. This is important so that the employee knows what’s expected and you know what was said. It also allows you to send messages without pulling them away from their work stations.

Working Solo

Online

– Use voice and video calls occasionally to establish a more personal connection. Meaning can often be misconstrued in the written word, and what may seem to you as the writer might be interpreted as all hell about to break loose to your reader.

– Don’t be afraid to use emojis or gifs to get your point across. Though you might think it feels silly at first, some people are just bad at wording in emails. A well-placed emoji (in reasonable quantities) can completely shoot the conversation over to the other side of the emotional spectrum.

– Utilize systems like Slack, HipChat, Viber, Flowdock, Campfire, or Skype to keep in contact. Some bosses fear the outlet for wandering minds, but these chat platforms allow employees to talk to each other in real time. Not only can it address emergency issues immediately, but the fluidity can foster better relationships than the turtle-pace of emails. Establish a codeword that exclusively means: “please don’t get offended, but I need to focus my undivided attention on this task right now.” Suggestions: ‘pirate ship,’ ‘hammer time,’ or ‘magnifying glass.’

*Sandbox Suites recently started using Slack as our main means of off-site communication. We can categorize our discussions into groups such as ‘marketing’ or ‘general’ and easily search all conversations for that one line from last Tuesday morning. (Their emoji selection is also pretty fantastic.)

– Limit industry jargon. Using acronyms and slang may make things more efficient for you, but for the employee, it may put a drag on productivity if they’re trying to figure out what the heck “Supes in the weeds this mrn, get TAJR report on M’s ASAP” means.

Blog, both
Both

– Make sure everyone knows the lines of communication are open. Employees who are afraid to disappoint or anger their bosses are less likely to communicate information. Reward them for good ideas and encourage them to ask questions. Projects take a lot less time when a wrong direction gets nipped in the bud.

– Use simple words and avoid unnecessary repetition. Nobody likes a dead horse, and nobody likes to hear it beaten.

Sneak Preview of Sandbox South Park

Painting, furniture building and cleanup is under way in the new South Park office in preparation for Opening Day | Startup Waffle party on Sept. 7.

Last week, some lucky companies got to put dibs on the private offices and I’m excited to report that we have a great group anchoring Sandbox Suites South Park, including Ayopa Games, Promethium Marketing, Red Giant Software, RockIT Recruiting, Analyte Health, Sparta Consulting Group, M2Media360, Cherry.com and a few other great companies.

After more than a month of listening to drilling, polishing and hammering, it was awesome to finally have new members running around! And even better to hear how much they loved the colorful private offices:

We’re opening the private desk waiting list, so if you’d like first dibs on a dedicated desk or a cluster for your team, write us a note – info@sandboxsuites.com.

For conference rooms, we’ll have 4 different sizes seating from 4 to 12 people. If you’re not a member, you’ll be able to rent meeting rooms in South Park after Sept. 12. Here’s a fun meeting room for 6 that we just finished:

Can’t wait to see you all in September!!

Creative design from the South

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