What not to do on your office PC

Whether it’s buying groceries online or downloading porn, your company can track your data. Here’s what you should definitely not do on your office PC.

Porn’s the obvious one

Just because you’re opening the website in the Incognito mode of your browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.), or it’s really late in the night, or you’re in another country, don’t think you’ll get away with browsing porn on company devices, even if you open the site for a few minutes. “Any inappropriate website, especially porn sites, will get you fired,” says Chaturvedi. Sometimes, you might have to face legal action too.

Don’t connect a USB

Never connect an external hard drive or a USB to the office PC that is connected to the company’s network, even if it is to only transfer your favourite music on to the device or to transfer files to take back home. Anything that can bring or transfer data from outside the network, such as USBs, CDs and Bluetooth, is a threat to the company—it could bring in a deadly virus, leak sensitive data to outsiders or transfer illegal data to the machine, making the company vulnerable to a lawsuit, says Chandrachoodan. “Usually, the company admin would have a software in your laptop that would alert them when a USB drive is plugged in. If you do, they would typically want to know what you did with it,” he adds.

Abstain from shopping

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Bad habits you need to avoid at work

Picture this: In your 20s, you skip breakfast to reach office early. Once the meeting is over, you have coffee and two-three biscuits. You work till late evening. A decade later, you struggle to work, for your shoulder and neck are stiff from slouching in front of the computer for too long; you are overweight, constantly tired, depressed and stressed.

Working in a closed office can damage your health in more ways than you can imagine. Here are some work habits you should get rid of at the earliest.

Walk, stand and stretch

On an average, most of us spend 8-10 hours a day in office. This adds up to 50-60 hours every week. And most of these hours are spent sitting. According to a study published last year in the International Journal Of Epidemiology, the lack of movement, whether sitting or standing, is cause for concern. According to a report, “Is Your Job Making You Fat?”, published in 2010 in the journal Preventive Medicine,office workers have become less active over the last three decades—this partly explains the rise in obesity levels.

Navneet Kaur, senior consultant, internal medicine, at the Apollo Spectra Hospitals in New Delhi, says, “Even simple steps like walking up to a colleague to discuss an issue instead of writing an email or calling on the phone can help.”

In fact, a study published in June in Preventing Chronic Disease, another journal, says that changing even one seated meeting per week at work into a walking meeting can increase the work-related physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes. “Sitting increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease even if you exercise later in the day,” says S.K. Gupta, senior consultant cardiologist at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in the Capital. “Heart disease happens when the blood flow is blocked and cholesterol builds up in the arteries, and sitting does both effectively,” he says, adding that it’s essential to stand for 8 minutes and stretch for 2 minutes for every half-hour of sitting.

Remind yourself constantly to get up for a drink, stand in meetings, sit on something uncomfortable and wobbly like an exercise ball or backless stool and be constantly on the move, says Dr Gupta. And always take the stairs.

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Supercharge for office

More and more people are using their cellphones as computers, and if you’re carrying a “computer” in your pocket, why not put it to work? A phone isn’t always a good replacement for a computer—good luck filling in giant Excel sheets on a 4-inch screen—but there are some ways in which phones can really simplify your work life, or just take a little of the stress away. We look at new apps that can bust work stress.



If you’ve ever had a day where you go in with 10 items on your agenda and end with all 10 untouched, then you need to look at this free app. RescueTime helps you track how you’re using your phone, and can be used to identify the major distractions that keep you from getting work done. RescueTime is a popular app on Google play, with over 700,000 downloads, and its iOS version is expected to launch in February. The app is simple—all you have to do is install it and it will run in the background. You go about your daily usage without having to check the app, and whenever you want to analyse your phone usage, just open RescueTime and you can see an efficiency score that helps you easily track your progress in cutting down on distractions. RescueTime will tell you which apps you’ve been using, how much time you spend on each, and will also track phone calls, so you know exactly how you’ve been spending your time—it even lists your top distractions. There’s also a handy stopwatch to use in meetings or during exercise.

RescueTime is free with some paid features at $9 (around Rs.550) a month, on Android and browser. The iOS app will launch in February.

Talygen Business Intelligence

Location awareness and being online all the time make phones a great way for employees on the road to check in with their office. Talygen is a paid app that helps employees manage all the paperwork without any paper, so they can focus on the important parts of their job. This tool is useful for small business owners who want to keep track of on-the-road employees or time spent in a client’s office. You can track billable time, work on customer relationship management, expense accounting, manage leave and many other administrative issues.

The app, launched last month, makes it really easy for your employee to check in on the go so that you, as the manager, save time tracking. Everything is organized on the cloud and the data can be accessed through the app. The data can also generate an advanced report which can then be exported into a PDF or an Excel file.

Talygen, $20 a month onwards, on iTunes, Google play, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.


Is your smartphone’s battery always dying on you? Install this personal Agent, a smartphone app which does little things to make your phone, well, smarter. The app runs in the background and saves the battery by automatically dimming the screen when your battery signals low, automatically silences your phone during meetings, remembers where you parked your car and puts your phone to auto-respond when you’re driving. It also allows only urgent calls or messages when you’re sleeping. The app is triggered by Bluetooth and it can also read your SMSes aloud or send automatic responses, or reply to a select list of contacts only. It was launched in November, and the makers are adding more features. “In 2014, the app will be able to call you a cab right before your next meeting,” says Kulveer Taggar, CEO and co-founder, “or pay for your coffee before you get to work.”

Agent, free on Google play.



Limitless is meant for anyone who wants to manage their time on devices better. The productivity tool, which works on Google Chrome, gives an update on how much time of the day was spent productively and how much of it on Facebook and Twitter. “We are a behavioural science company that helps users get work done,” says Anup Gosavi, co-founder, Limitless. “If the person has the desire to become more efficient in how they use their devices, Limitless can be the right productivity companion.” The tool categorizes the various websites you visited on your Chrome browser and differentiates with tags like work, social and other learning. At the end of the day, it shows you the percentage you spent in each of those sections. It also has nudges, albeit gentle, to get you back to work. Launched in December, the tool is still in its early stages, releasing updates and building up Limitless for Safari, Firefox and mobiles.

Complete article on www.livemint.com

Share ship: How coworking works

Small co-working spaces are mushrooming across the country in a bid to cater to new-age entrepreneurs and freelancers




Earlier this year, Shitij Malhotra, who runs a small children’s education firm in Delhi, converted his office to The Studio, a co-working space where people from different professions can gather and work from.

“I have only four people in my firm right now and it got quite lonely,” says Malhotra. “With others coming to work here, there’s more energy, more people to bounce off ideas with, and a chance to increase your network,” he adds.

The concept of co-working, or the idea of people from different professions working out of a common office, has been building up for the last two years, with places like Moonlighting in Delhi, Bombay Connect in Mumbai and Jaaga in Bangalore, but it seems to have gained critical momentum in the last few months.

91springboard and The Studio in Delhi, The Playce in Mumbai, CoworkInGoa in Goa, Coworking Chennai in Chennai, Bangalore Alpha Lab in Bangalore—all these spaces have come up in the last six months. Malhotra says these spaces do more than just share office facilities, which is something that large business centres like the international chain Regus, BMS Business Centre in Delhi, Golden Square in Bangalore and others already offer. For an individual, both shared offices and co-working spaces cost a similar amount to rent—anywhere between Rs.2,500-8,000 per desk per month, depending on the city, the area and the type of space. What makes a difference is the space itself. “Shared offices are about paying for a desk, getting Internet, a receptionist and an address,” says Malhotra, “whereas a co-working space offers a feeling of a community. It’s an informal place for people who are just starting out, who are doing their own thing but also want to network and help each other out.”


Gargi Shah and Shekhar Gurav, founders of The Playce in Mumbai. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint.

Gargi Shah, co-founder of The Playce in Mumbai, thinks the trend is the outcome of an exponential increase in the number of entrepreneurs, freelancers and people who work on independent projects, and who are looking both for a cheaper place to work from and a sense of community. Shah herself co-founded The Playce when she was looking for an office to meet her students. She bumped into the other co-founder of The Playce, Shekhar Gurav, who wanted an office for his small enterprise in online education. Together, they convinced the owner of a 5,500 sq. ft space in Mumbai, got him to join as a co-founder, and launched The Playce in November.

“We have started this space for people like us who end up working out of coffee shops and bedrooms,” says Shah. She feels that other than becoming more efficient and disciplined because you are going to an “office” space every day, a co-working space also helps you to meet others like you, generate new ideas, and explore different perspectives. “When you bounce off new ideas with someone else, it helps you figure out what you want to do more,” she explains.

Focused on the community

The key idea behind many of the co-working spaces is the need to create an interactive community, and a co-working space goes out of its way to encourage communication. 91springboard in Delhi, for example, has huge informal seating space in its 10,000 sq. ft office with a cafeteria, which has beanbags, games and many corners for a chat over coffee. The idea is not to just offer a desk and high-bandwidth Internet but also a community-focused collaborative environment to encourage the start-up ecosystem. “The entrepreneurial community in Delhi is pretty active but scattered, which is where our space comes in. We don’t only offer a desk, but a membership that will help you to work and interact with others on a business, creative and technical level,” says Anand Vemuri, partner, 91springboard.

This co-working space also offers in-house services that include executing a lease, registering a new company, executing agreements with clients, managing accounts, filing taxes, picking up and delivering invoices, public relations, etc. Other than that, it also offers funding, incubation and direction to select start-ups. “Rather than from co-working, our profits will come when we help some of the start-ups we have funded succeed through the incubation programme,” Vemuri explains.

Like 91springboard, Dutch designer Marlies Bloemendaal, who plans to open Ministry of New in Mumbai in the beginning of May, hopes to offer services like setting up a company, sourcing the right manufacturer, finances, image management, marketing and legal advice aimed at expats or foreigners who want to start shop in this country. “Since I get approached often by newcomers into the country, I thought why not use that to cover the huge rent of this beautiful space?”

It was the studio itself, a quiet, elegant space in the middle of Mumbai in Lalbaug, that made Bloemendaal think of co-working. At Rs.25,000 per month per person, her space doesn’t come cheap, but Bloemendaal is not aiming at freshers. Rather, her target is companies, entrepreneurs, designers, architects from India and abroad. “We are a bit of boutique,” says Bloemendaal. The high-end co-working space will have an open kitchen area, a bar, and Italian coffee. Though she’s yet to open, a line of possible members, ranging from a London start-up, a journalist from Barcelona, Spain, and two architects from New York, US, to graphic designers from Delhi and Pune, have already shown interest.

The next step after opening is to let out the space for small events like exhibitions, lectures, pop-up shops, unplugged music sessions, etc.

Events play an important part in bringing the community into the space and gathering co-workers. The Playce already does all kinds of events, ranging from an all-night hackathon, a music session, to a workshop on cognitive behavioural therapy, to attract different people. More than a focused approach on the kind of community it wants to build, the three co-founders are more or less letting the people who come visiting decide what kind of crowd should be invited in.

“There aren’t many models around us to emulate, we are taking it as it goes,” says Shah. Since the third co-founder owns this space, they save on the rent cost. “We have around two years to experiment and see what it will become.” Meanwhile, word-of-mouth and community-driven events have given them 40 regular (day-wise or week-wise) co-workers in four months.

Evolving culture


The Studio in Delhi. Photo: Pradip Gaur/Mint.

According to Gunasekar Rajaratnam, who is set to launch a co-working space for friends in Chennai this week, sharing space and gossip is fast becoming an evolved work culture. “The idea is not only to share an office but to share your skills, pitch in support to each other when needed and collaborate,” he says. Right now he has one other co-worker and aims to bring in four-five regular co-workers through friends and word-of-mouth so that they can create a professional family to share infrastructure costs, skills, goodwill, time, social capital, a cup of filter coffee or a joke.

Bangalore-based software entrepreneur Ahimanikya Satapathy has opened up his small office to co-working for similar reasons. To help out technology start-ups, Satapathy has been running a meet-up group in Bangalore called Bootstrap Bangalore for about a year. Opening up an office to help out start-ups was the natural next step. In December, he opened Bangalore Alpha Lab, a co-working space, in his own office. “I see lots of people who want to start on their idea, but haven’t been able to and I want to help them,” says Satapathy.

His space is only open to start-ups and that too if he finds them comfortable to work with. “I have been offered more rent by travel agents, call centres and a lawyer, but I have refused. This is not a business for me. I just want to utilize the extra space in my office for something worthwhile,” he explains.

For most of the people who have opened up co-working spaces, it’s not about making a profit. The focus is more on meeting interesting people and creating a space where everyone can thrive. “You hope that you might break even eventually,” says Malhotra, “but at the end of it, running a co-working place doesn’t make much financial sense. Most of us are not doing it for money but to create an innovative space. You need to make sure the space is open at all hours, the infrastructure and supply needs never stop and you eventually end up spending more time and money on it than you get out of it. But you do it, well, because you want to.”




It has a 10,000 sq. ft place with an open layout that seats 150. High speed Wi-Fi and conference rooms are for members only. A huge cafeteria-cum-hangout space, with unlimited tea/coffee, is meant for networking or events. It’s open only to entrepreneurs and start-ups. Membership starts from Rs.3,999 for 12 days and goes on to Rs.6,999 for 30 days’ use per person. A day’s use costs Rs.499.

Visit: 91springboard.com


This cooperative villa in south Delhi has a section for work and some rooms to stay. You get a desk, Internet, printing and scanning facilities, and a kitchenette. They also prepare lunch on request. Your résumé will be screened before they say yes. This comes with a fee of Rs.6,000 per month or Rs.950 for four days’ use.

Visit: Moonlighting.in

The Studio

It has a working hall with dedicated space as well as a casual set-up and small conference room. Designed for 15 people, The Studio already has around eight regulars. They are looking for individuals or start-ups to join in. The charge is Rs.5,500 a month per desk with Internet.

Visit: www.facebook.com/coworkingdelhi


The Playce

With 5,500 sq. ft of space in Mumbai, The Playce already has 40 co-workers ranging from journalists to tech start-ups, social entrepreneurs and programmers. It can host 120 people at a time and provides work desks, cabins, conference rooms, a seminar hall and a game room. It also has a kitchen and a coffee machine…

Read the whole article on the HT Mint website